17 Jul 2011

Squally weather

Saturdays weather forecast was pretty grim but with the possibility of a bit of seawatching I decided to head to Hilbre. For once the forecast was spot on and no sooner had I arrived then the heavens opened. Visibility was so poor at one point that West Kirby was shrouded in drizzle or low cloud - I couldn't tell.
The journey over was enlivened by the discovery of this adult Yellow-legged Gull on the edge of the advancing tide between Middle & Little Eye.

With several Med Gulls being seen recently and gull numbers building up I'm pretty sure something else will be found soon. Sandwich Tern numbers are also on the increase with 6 - 800 on the edge of the tide. Scanning them all for  something with a yellow or red bill was unsuccessful but I did pick out a couple of metal ringed birds.

The weather improved slightly about an hour before high tide - just enough to make a dash for the seawatching hide! Almost as soon as I opened the flaps Manx Shearwaters careened past in front of the next incoming squall. 3 Arctic Skuas hunted as a pack harassing the terns (and each other). Highlight was undoubtedly the adult Pomarine Skua with full spoons chasing 2 Arctic Terns. Seen heading towards Wales it must have either given up or won its pirated meal as about 20 minutes later it flew fast towards the mouth of the Mersey.

Not many passerines on the island but a Rock Pipit flew past the north end at high tide and a juvenile Common Whitethroat lurked in the Old Obs garden before settling in the SK paddock fly-catching when the sun came out. Two juvenile Linnets were ringed seemingly proving that the Linnets have had second broods as did the presence of two very juvenile Blackbirds.

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