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Post Info TOPIC: Hilbre


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Hilbre


John.

John Gittins was one of the founder members of Hilbre Bird observatory when it was set up in 1957. We had two more founder members on the island last Saturday! Both in their 80's now.

Its probably a bit early for large numbers of Skuas yet as they appear to be still on the breeding grounds. We still get get numbers when the weather conditions and tides are right and can get pretty close views although normally they are miles out near the windfarm chasing terns.

 



-- Edited by Phil Woollen on Wednesday 18th of July 2018 11:32:13 AM

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The Merganser was not far from Eider, but was mainly with a group of gulls and Dunlin.

I thought perhaps it may of returned to Hilbre, but it was last seen way out in the channel in the direction of Point Of Ayr.

I spent a lot time looking for Little Terns, but could'nt find a single one. Common Terns were quite plentiful and associating with

the Sandwich Terns, both species were diving after fish offshore, opposite the lifeboat station.

The pair of Arctic Terns, and there was possibly a third bird, were close inshore on the South side of the island, and were seen

to catch several stickleback sized silver fish. Oddly I could'nt find any Gannets passing offshore, I don't usually have a problem

finding them in good visibility. Thanks to the photographer who gave me the tip off regarding the Grayling butterflies, which were

difficult to see as they kept disappearing into the long grass and rushes near the pond, but as there was a family sunbathing nearby,

I opted to save trying to get a closer look at the insects for another day.

I can recall spending a few hours in the hide above the lifeboat station on an August day a couple of decades ago, in the company

of the former island warden John Gittings and a student, Arctic Skuas were really harassing the terns then. The skuas were flying

so close to the hide you could almost touch them, truly magical, but I bet such scenes are not repeated today?. Although mid-July

is a little early for that kind of passage.

I was chatting to a chap who was admiring the seals by the lifeboat station on Saturday, at 10.30am he said I'd better get off

the island asap, before I could advise him he was too late he had gone, I hope he managed to get back?.



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John Williams


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John.

The Swallows have indeed bred on Hilbre again this year and we have many youngsters flying around at the moment. Did you see any Common Terns among the Sandwich and Arctics as we had quite a  few Saturday over the high tide (we had the Obs AGM and BBQ so there were a lot of members on the island). Sandwich terns don't bred anywhere near Hilbre but bring their newly fledged young over as the estuary provides a safe environment for them. I think the nearest breeding colony is  Cemlyn on Anglesey. Numbers are gradually increasing and they spent a lot of Saturday roosting on the East Hoyle bank out towards the lifeboat station. Skylarks no longer breed on the islands so your bird was definitely a visitor.

The Pied Wagtails have raised one brood but unfortunately the 2nd nest got predated - it was in the shed with benches in next to the toilets. Linnets have done very well this year. 

We are interested in the Merganser. Was it associating with the Eider? We haven't heard a report of one with a broken wing but we did photograph a Goosander alongside the Eider and the single eider was joined by 2 females late Saturday evening.



-- Edited by Phil Woollen on Monday 16th of July 2018 12:58:48 PM

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08.30-15.00 (Spent high tide on the island)

1 eclipse male Eider. 1 eclipse male Red Breasted Merganser (With a broken wing, but the bird left the island and swam off

towards Taleacre. The bird did not seem impeded by the damaged wing, it swam and dived with ease, so it may well survive).

6 Whimbrel, 2 Arctic Terns, 1 Turnstone, 4 Pied Wagtails, 1 Grey Heron, 4 Redshanks and 6 Little Egrets.

There was a procession of Sandwich and Common Terns passing the former lifeboat station throughout, these birds were also

frequently seen feeding around 250yds offshore, and were occasionally harassed by large gulls. The Sandwich Terns were

often seen flying towards Hoylake with their beaks full of sand eels, which appears to indicate their colony is North of Hilbre

and not in Wales, Seaforth perhaps?. A large and restless flock of Dunlin spent high tide by the lifeboat station, amongst them was

a very pale juvenile which really stood out from the others. 6+ Swallows were flying around the island, a regular birder to the island

advised me that these are probably birds that have bred on Hilbre. The resident Linnets and Meadow Pipits were frequently seen,

and a single Skylark gave a brief burst of song. One adult Herring Gull was huge, easily the size of a Great Black Back and may well

be of Scandinavian race.









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John Williams


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8 30 am
200 plus Brent Geese
5 Eider feeding very close in at bottom of old lifeboat causeway inc one juv male

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Highlights of High Peak RSPB group visit today from 9.30-1.45:

2 Purple Sandpiper, Knot, 11 Eider, 150+ Brent Geese, Common Scoter, 12 Turnstone, Little Egret 



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Morning visit in fine and bright weather conditions. Highlights were -

2 x whimbrel, large numbers of oystercatcher, 2 x grey heron, 2 x great black-backed gull, large numbers adult and juvenile herring gull, 2 x linnet, 12 x meadow pipit, 1 x wheatear at the observatory buildings, 1 x cormorant, 1 x Sandwich tern flying north of the island.

Very big gathering of grey seals in the sandbank in the channel, 1 bobbing around close in shore at the north tip of Hilbre Island itself.



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21/05/2017 - Shorelark 1 -Hilbre Island Wirral Cheshire. It took me 4 hours to find this cracker today , after covering every inch of the Island several times, I finally found it on my way off before the high tide stopped my Exit from the Island .Another Brilliant day with some nice birds including 2 Whimbrel  and 3 Sandwich Terns :)

 

 



-- Edited by JOHN TYMON on Monday 22nd of May 2017 06:41:00 AM

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Shore Lark showing well on the main island before the rain set in!

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Yesterday

Little Eye Wheatear

main islands 4 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, several Meadow Pipits, flock of 8 Linnets,(1 Ringed)  Grasshopper Warbler Middle Eye, 20 Redshank, 22 Turnstone near lifeboat station others scattered about, lots of Ringed Plover, Oystercatchers, and Dunlin, 2 Knot, a Sanderling, few Curlew, several very mobile Wheatear, Wren, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit  and a Juvenile Black Tern. Also lots of Grey Seals all around.



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Sunday 24th July with Steve Burke and Simon Gough.

Afternoon visit, on the island until gone 5pm.
Of note...

- Arctic Skua 1
Turned up as the tide was on its way out. A very dark individual with no obvious markings for easy identification for age, in my mind I'm still not sure of the age, possible juvenile, mobbing Sandwich Terns, great to see.
- Sandwich Terns
- Little Terns
- Common Terns
- Manx Shearwater 1 made for good viewing
- Gannets
- Guillemots
- Common Gulls
- Turnstones
- Dunlin
- Ringed Plover 1
- Whimbrel
- Curlew
- Black-tailed Godwit
- Oystercatcher
- Common Sandpiper
- Redshank
- Little Egret
- Common Scoter 8
- Shelduck
- Great Crested Grebe 12
- Linnet everywhere
- Rock Pipit 1 ringed juv, possibly another
- Wheatear 2, 1 fem 1 juv
- Meadow Pipits
- Swift
- Swallow



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Day out with the LOS. Wind not ideal today however we saw... 2 rock pipit 15 Turnstone 2 Knot 70 pale bellied brent geese Big numbers of Oystercatcher Couple of black tailed godwit 1st house Martin of the year along with 7 swallow Eating my dinner I had a goldcrest about 20 cm away from my foot 1 willow warbler 4 common Scoter 1 eider duck 8 redshank 1 dunnock 15+ Meadow pipit Plenty Cormorant One of the members picked up an osprey heading towards north Wales but I missed that... All in all an amazing experience and an enjoyable day out

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james hall wrote:

Trip planed to hilbre for this Sunday with the LOS which is the best place place to view sea watch and how far out do you need to be focusing your attention, cheers James


 James.

I might see you there as it looks like I'll be at the Obs Sunday at some point and will probably stay over the tide. As James says the birds can be anywhere as you are surrounded by water at high tide. Keep an eye down the west (Welsh) side as birds often fly down the estuary. A lot will depend on the wind direction and weather conditions. Make sure you bring plenty to eat and drink as if you're staying over the tide you will be on the island for 5 hours at least. The current forecast is for strong SE winds so you'll have the wind behind you walking out but in your face walking back.



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The far end of the Main Island is where most people sea-watch from. Apologies if this sounds a bit obvious, but the birds could be anywhere! Some people stay at a higher vantage point, others go lower, to your right you can see back to Hoylake shore, left is Point of Ayr and obviously straight out. At this time of year don't forget to look up too, they've had 2 Ospreys through in the last week or so I believe.

I'll never forget a day there last year, my first ever Arctic Skuas, 2 Pale Phase adults flying together, only a 100m or so off the island, absolute class. Also my first ever Whimbrel, Velvet Scoter, Great Skua and Red-throated Diver at various times. I love the place.


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Trip planed to hilbre for this Sunday with the LOS which is the best place place to view sea watch and how far out do you need to be focusing your attention, cheers James

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Hi Ian.

It must have been you I spoke to as I walked through the paddocks to the heligoland traps! 

The Purple Sandpipers were joined by a 6th bird a bit later. We also had a male Eider and two Velvet Scoter in flight with the Common Scoter flock. and a few Red-breasted Mergansers.

The Goldcrest was our first spring bird this year - we normally ring 20-40 each spring. With new in Song Thrush, Redwing, Robins (2), Blackbird & Dunnock in addition to the 'crest it was an enjoyable morning. We also had a good number of meadow Pipits moving through and an overhead trickle of Skylarks. 2 Rock Pipits are present on Hilbre and were displaying over the weekend so hopefully they'll stay and breed again.

See our blog for updates:

http://www.hilbrebirdobs.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/12th-march-2016.html



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Stayed over tide

Middle Eye Rock Pipit, Female Stonechat, Little Egret, Lots of Brent Geese

Around Dunlin, Redshank, Lots of Oystercatcher Curlew, Little Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, 5 Purple Sandpipers on a rock ledge, several  Common Scoter, Great Crested Grebe, 1 Shag, Cormorants

Paddocks Lots of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks- (Middle Eye and  Hilbre) 1 Redwing, Blackbird, Several Wrens, Dunnocks (1 Singing), Robins, (1 Singing) Goldcrest that had been just ringed. 



-- Edited by Ian Boote on Saturday 12th of March 2016 07:02:21 PM

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Chris.

Water Pipit would be an exceptionally rare record for Hilbre. In fact I don't recall one in recent history. If you've got a photo can you forward it to me for our records - I'm secretary of the obs. Rock Pipits were proved breeding on the island for the first time in living memory this year.

 



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With High Peak RSPB group from 12-2.30. Highlights : Purple Sandpiper from sea watching area on end of main island with many Turnstone and Oystercatcher Guillemot at sea 100+ Light Bellied Brent Geese Presumed Rock Pipit, still analysing photos for a possible Water. 5 Ringed Plover 2 Sanderling Peregrine Falcon 2 flocks of 10+ Common Scoter 7 Great Crested Grebe 40+ Grey Seals

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14.30-18.00 (Followed the tide out, would have preferred to spend high water on the island, but did get to see the sun set over Little Eye on the way back).

Sand/mudflats

2 Bar Tailed Godwits, 7 Grey Plovers, 1 Little Egret, 1 Sanderling.

Middle Eye

3 Skylarks, 4 Linnets (Feeding on sorrel seedheads), 7 Meadow Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits.

Hilbre

1 Shag (Resting on the rocks in front of old lifeboat station). A flock of 16 Swallows above the cottage, they then drifted off to the East.

1 Kestrel, 2 Skylarks, 4 Meadow Pipits and 2 Rock Pipits. 16 Knot amongst the waders in front of the lifeboat station. 3 Sandwich Terns flew South.

A group of 5 Teal drifted passed on the sea. Strangely no Great Crested Grebes offshore, but Cormorant numbers far greater than I've seen before here.

1 Cormorant caught a large flatfish, which it had a real problem swallowing. No sign of any Purple Sandpipers amongst the Turnstones yet.



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First visit to Hilbre for many a year today over high tide and being on the island for just over four hours. Bit of a breeze but started cloudy with the sun coming out later and quite warm. Amongst others :-

Great crested Grebe (10)
Gannet (c.30)
Cormorant (c.75)
Grey Heron (2)
Eider (1)
Common Scoter (1)
Buzzard (1)
Peregrine (1)
Oystercatcher (c.2000)
Ringed Plover (c.35)
Dunlin (c.150)
Whimbrel (1)
Curlew
Redshank
Turnstone (c.30)
Great Skua (3)
Sandwich Tern (c.50)
Common Tern (c.300)
Little Tern (c.15)
Linnet

A male Peregrine put in an appearance scattering everything in its wake but didn't make a kill. Good to see a pair of Great Skuas chasing Terns, then a single bird later on. Good numbers of Gannet about of which about 80 per cent were juveniles. A great few hours birding at the northern tip of the island in favourable weather.


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The Arctic Skuas were lifers for me too. Brilliant to watch, also significantly closer than two weeks ago. The first 2 adults were pale phase, handsome birds indeed. Good views in the scope, even down to distinguishing yellow and white around the throat area. I saw one pale phase bird when it landed on the sea, interesting how the chest/throat area caught the light. I wonder if I've ever seen one before and assumed it was a gull.
All the distant birds looked dark, assumption being immatures or dark phase adults. 1 Great Skua was very distant, the other much closer looked to be a juvenile. We discussed the ID a fair bit, it wasn't a massive bird but the ID features were pretty clear. Then the pair of close Arctic Skuas came up, an adult pale phase bird and a juvenile. This bird was actually bigger than the adult, not surprising if it succeeds in robbing food off the senior partner as it did on this occasion. My personal view was that this adult was one of the first 2 that flew in some hours before and it had been on the sea the whole time. It arose from a similar area to where the initial 2 had been heading. We'll never know...

It was great of Hilbre to put on a show for Rob's first visit too. What a great spectacle, you're watching elemental nature right there. Really brilliant birding. Honourable mention to the Dunlin for the swooping, swirling flocks in the air looking for a place to roost. Mesmeric.





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A trip to Hilbre Island today (never actually been on the island so a first for me) in the company of who else but Steve Burke and Simon Gough.

68 bird species and 4 Mammal species seen on the day between here and Burton Mere, a heard only, and a bird that could've upped the tally to 69 I've actually changed my mind on so it remains at 68.

-ARCTIC SKUA - 10 a Lifer for me
And what a way to get a Lifer, watching them doing exactly what they do best. Mobbing other birds.
Firstly 2 adults mobbing a Sandwich Tern and eventually getting the Tern's catch. Quick, strong and acrobatical, fantastic to watch. We then had another single adult which set down on the sea and another single through.
Then another 4 were seen together, a bit more distant towards the windmills but then came another great sighting.
2 more came flying in a lot closer, an adult and a juvenile working together on another Sandwich Tern. It too lost its catch after trying to evade them. The Skuas then started squabbling between themselves as they flew away. Exceptional viewing and they gave formation flights so we could compare them together!!!

-Great Skua - 2
-Sandwich Tern - lots of them, on the sands, flying around, fishing
-Little Tern - quite alot around, mainly out over the sea
-Common Tern - not sure on numbers, mainly out fishing
-Great Black-backed Gulls
-Lesser Black-backed Gulls
-Herring Gulls
-Common Gull - 2
-Black-headed Gulls
(The Gulls were all around and a large roost of at least a few 100 had gathered over near West Kirby at high tide whilst we were on Hilbre)
-Cormorant - lots
-Gannet - 2, judging by plumage both juv of some stage
-Manx Shearwater - 3
-Guillemot - 4
-Great Crested Grebe - 5 that I recall
-Red-breasted Merganser - 3
-Curlew - few about
-Whimbrel - few about
-Bar-tailed Godwit - 1
-Oystercatcher - uncountable
-Dunlin - probably a few 1000's
-Ringed Plover - quite a few about
-Turnstone - 10
-Sanderling - 2
-Redshank -
-Grey Heron - 1 among the rocks
-Stock Dove

...and of note among the smaller species were :
-Wheatear - 1
-Common Swift
-Swallow
-House Martin - 1 only
-Rock Pipit - 2 (1 adult feeding a calling younger bird)
-Meadow Pipits
-Linnet
-Pied Wagtail

...and of note I thought I had an Arctic Tern but I couldn't be 100% so I'm putting it down to a Common Tern.

See other Wildlife


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Cheers Simon.

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I've sent you a PM Phil

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Simon.
Can you let me know how many Rock Pipits you saw? We think they may have bred on the island for the first time in living memory.
Cheers

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A quite literally bright and breezy sea-watch on Hilbre today (or yesterday in fact) over high tide, with Chris Chandler and Steve Burke

Highlights were:
1 95% probable Arctic Skua - Steve spotted this bird, distant in front of the more northerly wind turbines. Couldn't be 100% sure though
1 Velvet Scoter - a lifer for me, sadly the other 2 guys didn't see it because as it flew by it took me so long to twig and call it out that it had dropped onto the water and that was it
1 Great Skua - Chris spotted this one, closer in so we were happy with the ID. Another new bird for me

The Skuas were both seen chasing Sandwich Terns, really stunning to watch. In particular the Great Skua chased the Tern then as the Tern dropped its catch the Skua just dived and caught it. Superb. There were loads of the Terns about, 200-300 at least. Also a few Gannets, Common and Arctic Terns, 1 Guillemot, Great Crested Grebes and a few dozen Common Scoter

Also about in addition to the usual Hilbre suspects were 6 or 7 Whimbrel and a flock of 20 or so Sanderling in summer plumage. Quite charming were some Rock Pipits showing well which we thought might have just fledged.

No sign of the reported Black Redstart or Mediterranean Gulls for us, or Little Tern or Manx Shearwater that we had expected to see

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spent the day over the high tide, highlights being...

2 manx shearwater, showing really well as they went past & got closer & even better when they decided to go past hilbre & headed towards little eye, just managed to get an ok pic smile
12 gannet
9 kittiwake
1 red breasted merganser
15 guillemot, several more auk species a bit further out.
22 common scoter
4 great crested grebe
4 tufted duck
3 mallard
lots of tern species just out of range for any positive id, but did manage close views of...
numerous sandwich terns
10 little tern
3 common tern

on the islands...

3 little egret
7 whimbrel
lots of dunlin
oystercatcher
ringed plover
turnstone
curlew
1 kestrel
1 rock pipit
1 wheatear
plenty of meadow pipit
several linnet
several swallows whizzing around
2 sand martin
1 house martin
great day out smile

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A nice walk over to Hilbre this morning with Chris Chandler, hoping for some interesting seabirds in the blustery westerly wind. On the island by about 930 ish and back by 1. Not much over the sea as it happened, but some smashing birds though.

First were a nice group of Ringed Plover and Dunlin feeding close by on the sand by Little Eye, we ended up with at least 200 Dunlin seen at various points on the sand on the walks out and back, and around 50 plovers. Also a single adult summer plumage Grey Plover, my first one in the black and grey. Nice views of a Kestrel hunting on the Main Island, the odd Linnet and one mystery little warbler that eluded ID on the way back. And thanks to John Rayner we have to check every Pipit now...but it was just Meadows for us...

We picked out 1 Turnstone amongst Oystercatchers at the tip of Main Island then I spotted a Curlew on the seaward side, or possibly a smaller version? Then it flew and when we checked the channel on the Wirral side there were 2 Whimbrel down there. Class, a lifer for me. There was indeed a Curlew to compare with, so it was really great to see them together. We had time to see a Gannet over the water and spot a fair number of Common Scoter reasonably close then we had to head back.

At least 3 more Whimbrel on the rocks over to Middle Eye, one showed superbly nosing in a pool about 50 yards away from us. I think we ended up on at least 5 birds, but they were pretty mobile. Some nice flight views were obtained, and we even heard a bit of calling. Comprehensive!

A cracking session on there, then we got back on the train and headed for Leasowe, posting on the Wirral thread for those birds

-- Edited by Simon Gough on Sunday 10th of May 2015 02:39:17 PM

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over high tide
8 Purple Sandpiper giving confiding views, thousands of Oystercatchers, plus smaller numbers Dunlin, Sanderling, Redshank, Grey Plover, Curlew, 60 odd Brent Geese, Male Scoter, Turnstone, Cormorant, Blackbird, Robin two Wrens, Carrion Crow and a Meadow Pipit. Sea Spleenwort and waves coming over and into the old lifeboat house.

-- Edited by Ian Boote on Sunday 25th of January 2015 12:22:47 AM

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An enjoyable first visit to Hilbre island today in gloomy but dry at least conditions. Lots of common waders including Oystercatcher, Curlew, Turnstone and Redshank. Counted 26 Pale bellied brent geese, firsts for me. 2 Rock pipit at the very end of Hilbre on the rocks. Also 2 Stonechat on middle eye and Kestrel. The seals were at distance on sandbank towards Talacre.

-- Edited by David Wilson on Tuesday 14th of October 2014 09:10:00 PM

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simon, I probably would of gone for a few less words here, but an excellent write up.
I can also add that on middle eye as all the birds gathered there was also 7 little egrets, 1 grey heron & several curlews.
nice find on the first of many of the red throated divers by yourself & an even more excellent find of the only manx shearwater wink
great views of the arctic tern, which I also sent pics off to ian mckerchar & also confirmed arctic tern.
as simon mentions the cettis warbler at red rocks was my first ever excellent (prolonged) scope views of this bird & glad you eventually got another lifer simon, well worth going back for.
overall a great day out with great company & hopefully do this again. I am now also glad that you know that I do not walk around with birds in my bag.
biggrinbiggrin

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A pukka day with Steve Burke on Hilbre over high tide, which was pretty high today at about 9.5m at 1 o'clock.

Started at Red Rocks, first great birds were 6 Whooper Swans cruising over the estuary north to south, honking as they flew. We met 2 local birders who had seen a Cetti's Warbler. We heard this bird rattling, whilst I was focussing on that Steve picked up a flock up high of around 20 Redwing, heading inland. A great spot, the flying style was noticeably different to Starlings that I'm sure many would have put them down as. Also prominent here were good numbers of Skylarks over and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Also Water Rail heard only.

We headed over to the islands and the first notable birds were 6 Brent Geese; we also saw 16 flying in. Some other guys on the island had got 10 as they went over. There were a few Common and Great Black-backed Gull amongst the Herrings and Black-headed. I got some of my best views to date of the GBBs, they are monsters if you get close. Also some Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlews amongst substantial numbers of Oystercatcher and a number of Redshank and Turnstones. We ended up estimating 2000 or so for Oystercatchers, the spectacle of them crammed on Middle Eye at high tide was quite something.

As the tide came in we started picking up Great Crested Grebes on the sea, then Steve picked up 2 in flight, a Red-breasted Merganser fly by north to south and a number of Common Scoter. But the honour fell to me of spotting the first Red-throated Diver of the day, which we put down as winter plumage adult. This was a lifer for me and so I was delighted, especially as for once I'd beaten Steve to it. He subsequently found groups of 6, 4 and 7, we ended up settling for 'around 20' as a count. A mix of adults and juvs in summer and winter and intermediate plumage. The calm sea and great light really helped, would have been fiendish in choppy water and/or rain.

We also picked up the first of several Guillemot, and the constant backdrop was a small flock of Ringed Plover buzzing around, joined by a Dunlin for a while.

Next nice birds were a pair of Rock Pipit, seen at a slight distance by Steve, but then they ended up about 20 yards away from us showing beautifully. One was hopping about catching some insects, great to watch.

Then I managed to pick out a Manx Shearwater, well off shore, quite happy with that one. Steve replied with 2 Razorbill on the water, brilliant work to spot them. Then he noticed a couple of Terns in the air, one bigger than the other. We started off not sure on size, possibly Common and Little, then one headed into us and we lost the other. The one we tracked in was a juv 'Commic' and I was starting to wonder what we'd do about the ID, when the bird flew over our head then plopped down on the wall of the sea-watching hide. Doing us a good 'tern'? Oh dear...
Anyway, this revealed it as having the shortest legs you've ever seen, and this with the dark bill with hints of red told us Arctic Tern. Another lifer for me. We got in to 20 feet away from it, brilliant stuff. Must have been a bit tired, we wondered if it knew it had about 10000 miles to go...a juv Sandwich Tern flew by shortly after, clearly the larger bird seen before.

Next nice seabirds, 3 Gannets heading south, 2 seen to dive in that spellbinding way they have, one flew pretty close in, largely adult plumage but looking a bit scruffy, possibly a 4th yr summer? The tide was receding and so some of the birds that like the rocks around that end of the island were heading back in, around 100 Turnstone ended up there, with them 3 Knot and another Dunlin.

One other thing to note was a really amazing sight of a gigantic dark cloud over the sea, above the wind farms, with a small trailing plume drawing down towards the water and a matching appearance of water being sucked up to meet it. Essentially a tornado on the sea! Scary...

Honourable mention also to the numerous Grey Seals, quite noisy at times but always charming.

We headed back to the Red Rocks reedbed area from West Kirby, saw a nice male Stonechat on the golf course, then got back to the area where the Cetti's Warbler had been. We picked up a rattling call again. Fair play to the couple from the morning. They had said "most stuff here is gone within a couple of hours, but if you come back later the Cetti's will still be here." They were right. We latched on to the call and then saw movement. Then the bird showed! Unreal. Took a minute at most. The classic posture with the tail cocked right up, looked like a big Wren. It bobbed in to the bush again, then another showing. This time the eye stripe, grey belly and chestnut brown on the head and body were very evident. What a ripper! A 3rd lifer for me too, I'd heard them before but hadn't dreamt I'd be this fortunate today.

At which point my phone rang! My mum, so I had to take it. While she did her own rattling call, so to speak, Steve managed to get the Cetti's in his scope, which was a first for him I believe. Then it flew off, then we saw a male Sparrowhawk sat on a house nearby. Only time to hear 2 Water Rail in the reeds, then to see another overflying flock of around 15 Redwing and a flock of 20 or so waders that we thought might have been Golden Plover. As the sun was setting over a serene looking estuary it was time to leave.





-- Edited by Simon Gough on Saturday 11th of October 2014 11:34:43 PM

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Simon Gough wrote:

First visit to Hilbre for me yesterday, on a guided walk led by the RSPB to stay on the island over high tide. Lovely weather, outperforming the forecast so it all meant for a really nice walk. Managed a visit to the Burton Mere reserve and a walk up the Marsh so posted for there in other threads. Met fellow forum member Chris Chandler on the walk over, ended up working as a pair for the day, hello mate and thanks for the company!

Birds at Hilbre:
Sandwich Tern numerous all around, many juveniles amongst them so some noisy calling
Numerous gulls, nothing special that we could see
Numerous Oystercatcher, a few Curlew

Middle Eye
Numerous Linnet, Meadow Pipit
Yellow Wagtail, lifer for me
Little Tern 9 seen well evident from a big flock of terns and gulls that went up as we walked over
Turnstone 4-5

Main Island
Linnet and Meadow Pipit again
House Sparrows
Common Scoter adult pair, showing beautifully around the lifeboat slipway and resting on rocks
Peregrine over
Dunlin several mobile flocks, up to 100 in total
Turnstone 7 also some birds bombing about with the Dunlin
Sedge Warbler juvenile, shown to us in the hand by Steve from the Observatory, really nice guy and a great ambassador for the place, the bird was beautiful seen so close
Ringed Plover 25-35, including some juveniles

Walking back some superb views of Little Tern feeding visible from Middle and Little Eye, diving and rising and diving in groups of 10-12, saw at least 50 in all.

A slight pang for me was not seeing a Whimbrel, still not caught up with one

We also saw numerous Grey Seal around the islands, and a nice Emperor Dragonfly on the main island. No porpoises or anything like that.

Thanks very much to the RSPB crew, Wirral Rangers and the Bird Obs.





Nice to hear you enjoyed your trip to Hilbre. We welcome birders to the Obs to show them what we do and sometimes if your lucky there will be a bird in the hand! As we rely on migrants visiting the island spring and autumn offers the best chance of seeing birds in the hand - especially if there's a bit of east in the wind! You'll have to excuse us on a busy day though as we sometimes don't get much time to talk. Whimbrel are passage birds on Hilbre and the best time to see them is during the spring migration.

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Nice to meet you Simon. All in all it was a great day's birding in fantastic weather!

The Little Terns really were a highlight, putting on a great display, fishing the channels smile

Steve from the Observatory gave us a great demonstration of the work they do and it was a real bonus to see the juvenile Sedge Warbler in hand.

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First visit to Hilbre for me yesterday, on a guided walk led by the RSPB to stay on the island over high tide. Lovely weather, outperforming the forecast so it all meant for a really nice walk. Managed a visit to the Burton Mere reserve and a walk up the Marsh so posted for there in other threads. Met fellow forum member Chris Chandler on the walk over, ended up working as a pair for the day, hello mate and thanks for the company!

Birds at Hilbre:
Sandwich Tern numerous all around, many juveniles amongst them so some noisy calling
Numerous gulls, nothing special that we could see
Numerous Oystercatcher, a few Curlew

Middle Eye
Numerous Linnet, Meadow Pipit
Yellow Wagtail, lifer for me
Little Tern 9 seen well evident from a big flock of terns and gulls that went up as we walked over
Turnstone 4-5

Main Island
Linnet and Meadow Pipit again
House Sparrows
Common Scoter adult pair, showing beautifully around the lifeboat slipway and resting on rocks
Peregrine over
Dunlin several mobile flocks, up to 100 in total
Turnstone 7 also some birds bombing about with the Dunlin
Sedge Warbler juvenile, shown to us in the hand by Steve from the Observatory, really nice guy and a great ambassador for the place, the bird was beautiful seen so close
Ringed Plover 25-35, including some juveniles

Walking back some superb views of Little Tern feeding visible from Middle and Little Eye, diving and rising and diving in groups of 10-12, saw at least 50 in all.

A slight pang for me was not seeing a Whimbrel, still not caught up with one

We also saw numerous Grey Seal around the islands, and a nice Emperor Dragonfly on the main island. No porpoises or anything like that.

Thanks very much to the RSPB crew, Wirral Rangers and the Bird Obs.


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11.00-15.30

Hilbre Is.

10 Whimbrel (single group), 70 Dunlin (single flock), 10 Wheatear, 1m+1F Common Scoter off shore, as was a single Great Crested Grebe.

A steady movement of Sandwich Terns flying across from the Welsh shore and plunge dive fishing off Hilbre.

Just a few Turnstones remaining but still lots of Oystercatchers. Plenty of Meadow Pipits too, almost standing on them in places.

A few Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs flitting around bushes by the Heligoland trap.

Also a steady Northbound movement of Swallows, plus the odd one giving the impression they're settling to breed in the buildings. Do Swallows breed here?.

Middle Eye

1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 male Whinchat, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff & 2 Linnets in the few brambles on the island.

A couple of Wheatear and lots of Meadow Pipits also here.

On the cliff by the old lifeboat station I was plagued with miniature version of St Marks Flies, they were everywhere, Thrips too.







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11.30-13.30 (Low Tide)

240 pale bellied Brent Geese, half of which flew in from the South in a single flock, in addition there were 60 more on the South side of Middle Eye.

Thankfully today with a strong Southerly blowing, there were few visitors around, in the past I've seen people deliberately walk to end of the slipway and flush all the geese.

The large flock that flew in settled by old slipway, then most of them seemed to fall asleep.

Also around the old slipway and NW corner of the island, 5 Knot, 5 Purple Sandpipers and 8 Curlew with the Turnstones, Oystercatchers and Redshanks.

Apart from 2 Common and 2 Great Black Backs, all the other gulls were Herring,with most of the adults now showing pure white heads.

Surprisingly there was'nt a single Black Headed Gull around Middle or Hilbre, and only a few around the boating lake.

Offshore apart from Cormorants, there were just 4 Great Crested Grebes and a single Grey Seal, although 7 more seals were on the Dee Estuary sandbank.



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12.30 - 1.45, Terrible conditions, very strong winds created a sand storm on the way over and torrential rain on the way back. Of note.

Brent pale Bellied c150
Oystercatcher c350
Turnstone
Knot
Dunlin
Redshank
Curlew


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Thanks Steve, good to meet you too. :)

In addition to your sightingws, I counted 150+ brents
20+ great crested grebe on the sea
3+ great black-backed gulls on the sea, as well as good numbers of the commoner species.

The buff-bellied pipit was reported at Burton Marsh too.



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10-2.30pm. low tide.

on the walk over from the marine lake there was 1 drake goldeneye on the lake, huge numbers of knot, dunlins, oystercatchers, redshanks, curlews, several grey plovers & shelducks, 1 grey heron.

on the middle eye, 2 linnets

on hilbre, lots of oystercatchers & curlews, plenty of turnstones & redshanks, plus flyby sanderlings. I counted at least 122 brent geese, 1 purple sandpiper being very elusive, 2 common scoters, at least 15 great crested grebes, no signs of any divers.

also around & on hilbre 1 kestrel, 1 wren, 1 bar tailed godwit, 4 knot, 2 dunlin.

nice to meet & speak to tanmay dixit, doing a good job there smile  



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Very sunny
over 100 Shelduck, over 100 Brent Geese, lots of Curlew, Oystercatcher, Redshank, few Purple Sandpiper, Red Throated Diver, Turnstone one giving very close views preening, Kestrel on a roof 2 Meadow Pipits, 2 Robins, 2 Wren, Goldfinch, Hedge Sparrow, 3 Heron, 2 Little Egret and more common gulls. Also several seals on the far sandbank but most disperse to breed around the Welsh Coast at this time of year.

-- Edited by Ian Boote on Saturday 30th of November 2013 03:27:36 PM

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 30th of November 2013 07:50:42 PM

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Over high tide 7.30 till 12.45, highlights

The Brent geese (Pale Bellied) numbers have increased significantly in the last couple of weeks with 70 counted
Purple Sandpiper 7, The very reason for getting up at silly O'cloclk
Turnstone c150
Oystercatcher c500
Guillemot 5
Gannet 15
Sanderling
Dunlin
Curlew
Great Crested Grebe




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Trip over to Hilbre and back this morning at low water produced.

3 Pale bellied Brent Geese
Knot
Redshank
Turnstone
Curlew
Bar Tailed Godwit
Meadow Pipit
Quite unexpected a Kestrel


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Today over high tide 6 Pale bellied Brent Geese, Good close up of Turnstone, Swallows, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Common Scoter, Guillemot Well out Little Egret and other waders

-- Edited by Ian Boote on Sunday 22nd of September 2013 06:27:49 PM

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Also spent a very pleasant day on Hilbre yesterday, only additions
2 x Arctic Skua
Peregrine chasing waders as we walked out to the island
2 x Grey Wagtail
great to see the Red Throated Divers in Summer Plummage
and the highlight tho non-birding was 3 Porpoise.



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spent high tide on hilbre with phil Kelly.

20+ red throated divers
2 gannets
1000s of scoters over towards turbines, several passing close by showing themselves as commons, no signs of any other species.
at least 3 great crested grebes
30+ guillemots
1 distant skua sp
several sandwich terns
few common terns
6 brent geese
2 little egrets
8 grey herons
could not find the purple sandpiper, other waders inc..
turnstones, redshanks, curlews, ringed plovers, dunlins, oystercatchers, bar tailed godwits.
several meadow pipits & linnets.

despite not seeing any other sea birds and not getting back to see the semipalmated sandpiper at kings gap, a very pleasant day, thanks again phil smile

-- Edited by Ian McKerchar on Saturday 21st of September 2013 08:55:19 PM

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DavidBowman wrote:

Hi Hazel, the bird we saw didn't appear to be ringed and that's also borne out by the photo (which I'd be happy to send you if you want).

Cheers David




Thanks David, I just wondered if it was the same one I had seen the previous week but sounds like it was another Mediterranean Gull with having no ring; such lovely birds and this one I saw was a juvenile, born this year so nice to know they are making their way to the N.West ! I always love seeing photos and much appreciate the offer of emailing it, thank you. Here is the link to the ringed Med.Gull that I saw Photos from the Wirral ( Mediterranean Gull) Hope the link works, first time I have tried it. Thank you again David and Kind regards, Hazel

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Hi Hazel, the bird we saw didn't appear to be ringed and that's also borne out by the photo (which I'd be happy to send you if you want).

Cheers David

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Hi David, interesting to read about your venture over to Hilbre and the sightings. Regarding the Mediterranean Gull at Marine Lake, did you notice if it was ringed by any chance as I was lucky enough to see one last week at Marine Lake and reported the ring code (3AAH) ; turned out to be a Danish born chick and the people I reported it to (in France and Belgium) were interested to hear if I spotted it again in the future. I was at West Kirby yesterday with no sign of the gull in the morning at low tide. Thanks :)

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