23 Aug 2010

Hilbre special forces.

Special Forces have been training on Hilbre. It was revealed an Obs member had gone Commando to photograph a record flock of Goosander seen off Middle Eye Saturday. Either that or sincere apologies to any distraught grockle who was confronted by an underpants-less photographer crawling through the bracken! Read the story  here. Plenty of good birds to be seen off Hilbre this weekend but a real contrast in the weather conditions with Sunday almost summery.

The weekend started early with a healthy Hilbre fryup. Just what was required on a cold and wet morning. Bacon, fresh eggs and home made bread washed down with plenty of tea.

Some good birds were seen including a Greenshank in the gutter and 6 Little Egrets whilst seawatching resulted in a huge count of 750+ Manx Shearwaters, Gannets and a handful of Arctic Skua's. It was so damp even the Sea Slaters had ventured out and one was crawling up the outside of the seawatching hide.

Contrast this weather to Sunday's where a beautiful sunny day greeted the early risers who made it across to Hilbre before the tide. Once again seawatching was the order of the day but a few migrants made it to the Island before moving off.

A sunny day meant a healthier option for breakfast but amends were made on the calorific front when Mrs Williams sumptious cup-cakes made an appearance. Lovely.

The north end on a beautiful sunny Sunday.

Once again good numbers of Manx Shearwaters & Gannets were seen but Great-crested grebes and Common Scoter numbers were also increasing. Arctic Skua's predominated the kleptoparasitic scene but a single Bonxie was briefly seen mugging a Sandwich Tern off the west side.

Turnstone numbers are steadily climbing and the bright sunshine made them glow amongst the sandstone rocks.

Closer to home the hybrid Buzzard x Harris Hawk continues to beg from its parents near Stoak but refuese to come within camera range so I settled for another scenic shot of the Shropshire Union canal near Craughton moorings and a local Mallard.

More news on the Purple Swamphen last seen at Saltney at the beginning of the month.  ( read story here)  Despite attempts to catch it theres no definite proof it has been re-caught and it or another bird has pitched up a few miles away at a private fishing lake near Buckley where its been resident since the Saltney bird disappeared.......... Losing one bird is careless. Losing two is criminal. Its either a completely different bird from the same source (which contradicts the supposed owner saying he'd lost two but one came back of its own volition), the same bird thats relocated (makes you wonder if it was really an escape if its moved that far on its own) or the same bird thats been captured and re-released either by a caring member of the public or the 'owner' who wants shot. Either way its reported as coming to sweet corn along with the local Coots, Moorhens and Mallards. Good to hear its thriving whatever its origins.

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