What better way to spend your birthday than on Hilbre sea watching with a roaring fire and whiskey laced tea to fall vack on in the Obs. With the recent gales it was hoped a few misplaced divers & grebes might still be lingering in Liverpool Bay and with a high spring tide they'd surely be pushed closer to Hilbre? That was the theory anyway and plans were hatched for Mark to arrive at mine in good time to beat the incoming tide as we drove to Hilbre. With the recent storms the sand was extremely rutted by the wave action and severely tested the Landrovers suspension. Even 2.5 hours before high tide the track between Middle & Hilbre was underwater.
First things first. With all the recent rain the Obs needed a good airing so the wood burner was lit and a few windows opened. Sitting in front of the fire almost proved fatal as we soon began nodding off. Only a Herculean effort forced us out into the chill and into the sea watching hide.
Once settled it soon became apparent we'd bade the right decision. First up was a distant winter plumaged Slavonian Grebe. This had us scratching our heads for awhile as we went through all the features separating Slav from Red-necked. After watching the bird for about 30 minutes we"'d agreed on Slavonian & put the news out.
The high speed jet boat used for maintenance work on the wind turbines forced birds off the water in front of if as it powered across to Mostyn. An incredible flock of 73 Red-throated Divers passed through the scope view and soon after I found a a Great Northern Diver drifting past.
During the high tide lull we counted the roosting waders - 16 Purple Sandpipers was a good count. Manga birds were displaced from their usual roosting spots as the high tide was lapping over them.
A flick of 20 Ringed Plover was found high up on one of he west facing cliff ledges and the access track at the south end was covered in roosting Oystercatchers.
Following a traditional Hilbre fried brunch we returned to sea watching and continued logging sightings until the cold gig to us & we returned to the Obs for a final brew and write up the log before leaving in a beautiful sunset.
Cheshire & Wirral: 305 Western Sandpiper - armchair tick!
New garden list: 70 Little Grebe
Garden List: 128 Spotted Flycatcher
What this blogs about.
Welcome to my blog about birding on the Wirral, in Cheshire and beyond. This blog will be updated regularly to include photographs of birds (and other wildlife) I've photographed both in the UK and abroad. Enjoy!#
All photo's are taken by me unless specified and I retain the copyright. Photos shall not be used for any other purpose without express permission.
Moved to the Wirral in 1983 and settled there after marrying in 1986. I've been birding since I was 7 or 8 - it was that long ago I can't remember!
My formative years were spent in Suffolk and birds became a passion in my teens. I started twitching when still at school but began seriously whilst at University in the late 70's and early 80's. Yes I am old enough to remember Nancy's cafe!
Took a bit of a break due to other committment but now able enjoy getting out birding both locally and for long distance twitches and trips.
Married to my beautiful wife Janet since 1986 and have two grown-up children.
I've been lucky in that work has taken me to many countries and I've always managed to do a bit of birding wherever I go. The only continent I've yet to visit is Antarctica!
I first became interested in photography whilst still at school and used an old Zenith SLR with a Tamron 300 mm lens. I've rediscovered my earlier interest and have graduated to digital - much easier to use for an amateur like me! My kit now includes a Nikon D7100, Nikon D7000, Nikon F4 500, Nikon F2.8 300, Nikon 80-400, Nikon 1.4 & 2.0 x teleconverters.
I've been birding since I was a kid - I got my first pair of Prinz 8 x 30 binoculars aged 9 and these saw me through until we moved to Suffolk in 1971. On my first visit to Minsmere I realised the old binoculars had to go.....................................
My Great Aunt, Joyce Lovell, encouraged my interest in wildlife and I remember spending hours in her Somerset cottage poring over Tunicliffe's superb illustrations.
My first solo twitch was in Suffolk when, in December 1977 when a Sociable Plover turned up at Great Henny - a 12 mile push bike ride but I had to get Dad to collect me in the car as I was so cold I couldn't move and took refuge in a telephone box!
I trained as a ringer at Wicken Fen in the 70's whilst still at school but let my licence lapse when I left University and worked abroad. I've subsequently retrained and ring extensively with Hilbre Island Bird Observatory & the SCAN ringing group.