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17 Sep 2013

When the N W wind blows it's Leach's time!

With good seawatching conditions forecast off the N Wirral coast plans were made to spend some time in the seawatching hide on Hilbre. I've got a numb arse from sitting from sitting on a hard wooden seat for 14 hours over the last few days   Its been worth it though as we've had the first prolonged strong N W gales of the autumn blowing in to Liverpool Bay.  With these gales come the Leach's Petrels!







Fantastic little birds and a real Wirral speciality. In addition to the Leach's I had a single Storm Petrel.

As well as these little gems we've had a good number of L T Skua's with one Sunday, two yesterday and a stunning adult today. Photo's will appear later on the Hilbre blog. I managed a record shot but with the hide packed like a tin of sardines I couldn't move the camera quickly enough to get it as it flew directly in front of us. At least it was cosy.



This was my first adult off Hilbre!
Arctic Skua's have been scarce with only a couple of birds being logged but we did manage a marauding Bonxie that was paying close attention to a couple of exhausted Manx Shearwaters.

 Kittiwakes were few and far between but it was nice to log more juveniles than adults.
 
 As usual in these conditions you get plenty of Manx Shearwaters:



Another highlight was juvenile Black Tern that was seen three times on Monday as it battled against the wind. The first Brent geese of the autumn also made an appearance with the first bird being seen at the weekend and three more today.

Common Scoter have also been seen in good numbers - generally on the ebbing tide. Counts of 100+ have been recorded but they are usually a long way out.


This jack up rig is currently moored adjacent to the wind farm off the north end of Hilbre and illustrates Health & Safety gone mad. Note the big white arrows along the side, pointing downwards, showing which way up it should be


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