14 Sep 2012


The first real gale of the autumn had Steve & I hurrying over to Hilbre before the tide this morning. With a WNW gale force 7-8 blowing things were looking good and we weren't disappointed!

White horses were being whipped up by the winds and spray was already coming over the narrows at the north end when we entered the seawatching hide and settled ourselves in for the next 5 hours..............

Almost immediately we started recording Arctic Skua's, Gannets & Manx Shearwaters. Next up was a pale(ish) juvenile Long-tailed Skua followed by the first of 5 Bonxies. Steve picked out a juv Sabines Gull over to the west that had somehow slipped past unnoticed and we then picked out the first of two sub-adult Pomarine Skuas followed closely by the first Leach's Petrel of the day.

Birds were coming at us thick and fast and another darker juvenile Long-tailed Skua came shearing in almost tern like from the east whist another juvenile Sabines Gull appeared in front of the windfarm.

Next up was a fantastic adult pale phase Arctic Skua that came close enough for a few shots.

Steve yelled at me to get on a small grey / white wader careering across the wave tops out towards the HE2 & HE3 buoys. Next minute it pitched down on the water - our only Grey Phalarope of the day. Allan rang us to say he'd had a Fulmar and sure enough we picked it up in front of the hide about 15 minutes later.

Some Manx Shearwaters came close enough to photograph and were obviously tired as they were settling on the sea.

By now we had seriously numb arses and my hands were getting pretty cold but there was just time for an adult Sabs Gull which Allan had rung us about from Leasowe Gunsites and a final closer Leach's Petrel.

A fantastic day and what autumns all about when the winds blowing in from the NW on the Wirral.


Findlay Wilde said...

I saw my first Manx Shearwaters off Lands End in August. I really enjoyed you pictures today. From Findlay

Phil Woollen. said...

Thanks Findlay. Manxies are amazing birds - you read all about their migration. I've seen them off South Africa before they start the long journey back to the northern hemisphere.