23 Jun 2008

A stormy day on Hilbre

With high winds orignating from the S W conditions weren't ideal for a 'classic' Hilbre seawatch but the intrepid trio of Duff, Williams & Woollen braved the elements and spent 5 hours on Hilbre yesterday fortified by Mrs William's fantastic chocolate cookies. With the winds rattling the seawatching hide and sea water coming through and puddling on the floor this was a comfort food sorely needed!!!
A pretty good haul considering with a record number of Gannets being recorded and good numbers of Manx Shearwaters. Suprisingly there were no Storm Petrels although two were reported past Formby. As Steve said it probably needed it bit more north in the wind to drive them inshore for us to see. A full list of the sightings can be seen here
Other 'stuff' included a very bedraggled looking Grey Heron, a single male Eider and a small party of Grey Plover. A very enjoyable few hours.

Closer to home Stanney Woods held few suprises with most birds either feeding young or on eggs. A pair of Bullfinches were a good record being a local rarity at this site. Garden birds are doing well with newly fledged Blackbirds and Song Thrushes joining the throng at the feeders. A pair of Wrens have been discovered nesting under the porch.

Elsewhere Mark Payne scored with a Red Kite near Kelso whilst out prosepcting for possible sites for Nightjar. Several potential sites were found and an evening trip is planned soon.......
Saturdays rain forced a large number of Common Swifts down over the fields near the house. Fantastic views and everyone checked for a potential rarity. What happens Sunday? Not one but two Pacific Swifts reported with Common Swifts in the UK. B*mmer.

After my previous posting concerning the effects of the Countys magnetic repulsion of rarities it turns out the neighbouring Counties of Lancashire and N Wales have scored again this week with singing Melodious Warbler and not one but two Rose-coloured Starlings respectively.

Something else of interest.
A colour ringed Herring Gull found by Allan Conlin & myself at Leasowe Gunsites back in March originated from Walney - see response below from the guy who ringed it.
Thanks for the observation of the Herring gull with the black cr-ring WB0K. This was a bird that I ringed as a 30 day old juvenile at the colony on S Walney (SD54.03N - 03.12W). I had ringed it thinking it was a Lesser Black back because there was a paleness and blotching on the inner primaries. However there is no doubt that it is in fact a Herring gull , as your excellent photo really show clearly the pink legs.. This is the only sight I have had of this bird since it was ringed. The elapsed time is 2 yrs and 238 days and Leasowe is 70 km S of the walney colony. It would be interesting to know where this bird has been in between ringing and your sighting wouldn't it?

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