20 Jan 2013

Snowy weather

We got some snow this weekend. After bitterly cold midweek weather the temperature rose just enough for us to cop a load of the white stuff! Plenty of birds around and the garden feeding station was busy with the star birds being a female Brambling that showed up Friday afternoon along with at least 4 Blackcaps. One of which I managed to catch and ring. The BTO are doing a survey on wintering Blackcaps and hopefully I'll catch a few more to help contribute to the information they're collating. There was plenty of fat on it and its obviously thriving on the fat balls, apples and sunflower hearts they seem to be preferring.
As well as the Brambling there are good numbers of other finches with  Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Siskins, Greenfinches and a solitary male Bullfinch!

Deciding to spend some time on my 'foot-it' January list I wrapped up and took a six mile hike around the local fields trying to add a few more species to the total. I managed four new species - Skylark, Raven, Kingfisher and Greater Black-backed Gull.
Sunday dawned cold and with the threat of more snow in the air but the intrepid team of Hilbre obs members were undeterred by such conditions and were rewarded with some good sightings - two flocks of Scaup were logged totalling 32 birds in total. Both flocks were on the water and visible at the same time so we know we haven't double counted.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't conducive to good quality photos. A real shame as 'Thumper', Hilbres moost famous resident, posed well to prove he's still alive!


Waders put on a good show with at least 12 Purple Sandpipers at the north end where a solitary Grey Plover was hanging around with a small flock of Knot. A Common Seal was also logged. This species is becoming increasingly common off Hilbre and are much cuter looking than the Atlantic Greys.
Finally, as the snow came down again, there was time for one more brew and a good record of a Skylark that landed briefly during the blizzard and then moved off south as it cleared a bit..

Just as we were leaving a group of walkers flagged us down as one of their number had fall and badly and possibly broken her collarbone. She was in shock and cold but we managed to bundle her into the the back of the Landrover and Chris rang the coastguard to ensure we had an ambulance waiting for us on the foreshore. All in a days work for the Obs members!

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