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12 Sep 2010

Waders.

Waders. Required wearing over this weekends high tides but also the generic name for a group of small shorebirds. The hightide Saturday morning coincided with a cloudy night so a session wader ringing on Hilbre took place.  By 11.00 pm Friday night the persistant rain had eased off and the wind had dropped - exactly as forecast for a change. With the aim of catching Turnstones as part of a long term colour ringing study and the intrepid team fumbled around in the dark before retiring to bed at 04.30 am Saturday morning well satisifed with a catch of 29 waders  - the majority being the target species with Dunlin & Ringed Plover also being caught. It was interesting to see the racial variation in Ringed Plover & Dunlin with bill length measurements of the latter giving some indication of their geographical origin. Even whilst concentrating on the waders there was time to note a migrant Song Thrush calling overhead and after 2 hours sleep it was obvious there had been a small overnight passage of passerines with the Island hosting several Willow Warblers, Robins, Chiffchaff & a Wheatear.  Great stuff.

Knackered after so little sleep I took it easy for the rest of Saturday only venturing out to check the stubble fields for any Lapland Buntings. No such luck and imminent rain forced an early retirement fro mthe field to the sanctuary of the conservatory where the inclement weather forced a Chiffchaff to take shelter in our garden.

The local birds are making good use of the garden feeders and most days there is a throng of finches amongst the usual tits with some of the adults still undertaking their post breeding moult - like this Greenfinch photographed through the window.
Sunday saw a return to Hilbre preceeded by a walk along Red Rocks saltmarsh just in case a Lapland Bunting had decided to drop in over night. Ever hopeful the only bird Molly & me managed to find was a very showy Wheatear.
Hilbre from Red Rocks and Seaholly.

Bird life was noticeable by its absence on Hilbre so a short seawatch was order of the day. The highlight being a colour ringed Oystercatcher picked up whilst counting waders on the foreshore - seawatching lived up to its name. All sea watching and no birds!

With few birds around thoughts turned to breakfast back at the Obs and with nothing of a feathered variety to photograph I tunred my attention to some artistic image taking.
A great weekend and many thanks to the lads for giving Janet a lift over Friday night and then driving her back in the dark so she could enjoy Hilbre for the firsrt time.

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