Wednesday, 29 February 2012

29th February 2012

Apart from the mild temperature there were plenty of small signs of spring today, from the presence of more Linnets and Meadow Pipits (12), some singing at their breeding areas, more movements of waders travelling north, 6,000 Knot and 1,500 Dunlin, and the appearance of typical early spring migrants at Hilbre such as Wood Pigeon(left) and Magpie (above, yes, migrants as they are not everyday birds on the island). Smaller fare over today included 3 Pied Wagtails and 4 Goldfinches. Two Grey Plovers were on the shore with the 219 Brent Geese (including 3 of the dark bellied species).
With special thanks to Brizery Herrera, a young lady from Mexico who found an injured seal and helped us to deal with it.
(BSB,DB,CJ)      [4-3]        photos CJ 

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

28th February 2012

Flocks of 2,000 and 3,00 Knot were seen to fly north out of the estuary, also 1,000 Dunlin were following the same route. A single Skylark was noted and the Brent counted at 204.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

26th February 2012

A Great Tit was found in the obs garden, a good record of a bird that occasionally turns up at this time of year. Despite the very light winds a sea watch produced 2 Scaup, a Canada Goose, 3 Red-throated Divers, 86 Great Crested Grebes and 600 Common Scoter. There were 21 Purple Sandpipers at high tide, which just about represents the maximum present this winter.

Friday, 24 February 2012

24th February 2012

We are still in a quiet period before the start of spring movements, and the regular wintering passerines over the last 2 weeks have included 5 Blackbirds which all seem to have been ringed and 2 Song Thrushs which haven't, and only 2 Skylarks were logged in the same period. Five thousand Oystercatchers still use the islands to roost and the many Brent geese also have 3 dark-bellied individuals amongst them. Logged today were 10 visiting Carrion Crows, 2 Goldfinches and 2 Common Scoter. A strange event has been the finding of 10 dead Shags around the islands since December. Shags are never that numerous at Hilbre, and to find so many dead is puzzling. A Common seal was hauled out today on the rocks near the south end (above), another creature that is far from an everyday sight on the island.
(DB,KMC), also BSB & DB on some other dates,      photos KMc.    

Thursday, 9 February 2012

9th February 2012

Another bitterly cold and dull day where the temperature struggled to reach positive figures all day.

Waders numbers were again impressive with 4,000 each of Knot and Dunlin, 500 Sanderling, 450 Grey Plover and 40 Bar-tailed Godwits off the East Hoyle sandbank. 19 Purple Sandpipers and 83 Turnstone roosted in Niffy Bay over the tide.

A single female Eider and a Great Crested Grebe were noted on the sea.

Two Song Thrushes remain on the island and one was caught in the Newton trap and ringed. Up to five Shags roosted on Middle Eye over the high tide.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

8th February 2012

Another bitterly cold day. Highlights today included another sighting of the Rabbit.

Wader numbers were again good with 31 Grey Plover, 500 Sanderling and 14 Purple Sandpipers being recorded. Knot numbers were in excess of 7,000 and 115 Bar-tailed Godwits were also counted. Great Crested Grebe numbers increased to 20 and two male and two female Wigeon were also logged.

Song Thrush numbers had increased to three and raptors were represented by a Merlin and a Common Buzzard being mobbed by crows over the East Hoyle bank; a good record for the island at any time of year but particularly so in winter.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

7th February 2012

A real 'pea souper' of a fog greeted the single observer making his way across on foot this morning.

Wader numbers are increasing again with 33 Grey Plover , 350 Sanderling and 20 Purple Sandpipers being the pick.

A small movement of passerines in response to the cold weather was noted with a single Starling and 2 Song Thrushes being new in. Highlights on the sea were 8 Red-breasted Mergansers (5 males and 3 females) and 3 Great Crested Grebes.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

4th February 2012

Highlight of a bitterly cold day, that saw rain freezing in to sheets of ice as it fell, was a flock of 13 Lapwings flying west towards Wales over Middle. Single Shag and Rock Pipit and 14 Purple Sandpipers were more expected but a count of over 20 Sanderlings as the tide flooded was a good count.

The elusive Rabbit put in a brief appearance whilst a Peregrine was watched hunting down the west side on several occasions from the warmths of the Obs.