3 Apr 2010

Migrants and starry skies.

I spent the night on Hilbre Friday as the Obs team attempted to catch some waders as part of their long term colour ringing scheme for Purple Sandpipers and Turnstones. No success but a beautiful starlit sky in which, without the interference from street lights, the Andromeda galaxy could be clearly seen through binoculars. Another first for me was the bioluminescence released by Noctiluca a dinoflagellate that's found in rock pools around the island and glows when disturbed. Brilliant.

A very late night and  very little sleep later the Obs was buzzing as we eagerly anticiapted what might have dropped in over night. A few migrants were around with an almost obese Blackcap - someone tell Jamie Oliver. It had obviously spent the winter nearby and its whole body was covered in a layer of yellow fat unlike a fresh trans-Saharan migrant that would have burnt up all its fat reserves.  A Chifchaff was also present and two Blackbirds were also new birds in and not the usual wintering ones.

Small numbers of finches flew overhead but the best birds were a pair of lost Blue Tits - my first for the Islands. Fortified by a huge cooked breakfast most of the rest of the day was spent catching up on sleep although a walk locally enable me to gey tet more photo's of our local Robin trying to out-sing its rival.

Not to be outdone the local Dunnock was giving his all whilst a nearby Chiffchaff contented itself flycatching around the ivy.

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