25 Apr 2010

Sylvia's everywhere.

Saturday morning saw me leaving home in the dark to join Colin 'Raddes Warbler' Jones on the trek to Hilbre. We arrived around 6.00 just as the sun rose to the gentle sound of the Chairman & Secretary catching up on their sleep..................................

One of the first birds heard was a Grassopper Warbler followed quickly by two fly over Tree Pipits and the first of 4 Yellow Wagtails. The first bird trapped was a Hilbre scarcity - a Lesser Whitethroat. I'd only been commenting to Colin on our way over that I'd not seen a Whitehroat this year yet. A Lesser Whitethroat would do nicely! But Hilbre is full of suprises and didn't disappoint as we also trapped a Common Whitethroat closely followed by two Grasshopper Warblers. Most of the visible passerine movement was over by 07.30 but two later Blackcaps added to the Sylvia list. Counting the Willow Warbler(s) and a solitary Chiffchaff we ended up with 6 species of Warbler. Not a bad record for Hilbre.

Keeping an eye on the sea paid dividends with a large mixed flock of Little Gulls and the first Arctic & Common Terns of the year passing down the west side along with a single Manx Shearwater. My first House Martin of the year was picked up by Steve flying over the north end heading east towards Red Rocks. A Sparrowhawk hugged the waves arriving from the west, rising only to glide over the island and also headed east where it was seen flying in over the sea by other shore based Obs members - closely followed by two Herring Gulls!  As a certain female Obs member commented, 'right up it's ar*e. Very eloquent!

Later o nSaturday afternoon Stanney Woods the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker was drumming briefly but warbler numbers are very poor with single Chiffchaffs & Willow Warbler with 3 -4 Blackcaps. A Lesser Whitethroat was singing in the hedgerow opposite the car park.

Elsewhere near home this Chiffchaff decided to put on a wing quivering display whilst signing for the camera!He was obviously intrigued by Molly.

We have two Blackbirds nest in the garden - one in the front and one in the back! The front ones have just fledged whislt the female in the back is still on eggs. A Blackcap has taken up temporary residence by the pond. Goldfinches are also nesting in the front garden.

A quick walk along the canal towpath was rewarded with a Whinchat on the Gowy water meadows and our first local House Martin arrived Sunday morning and was joined by five others by midday.

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