1 Apr 2014

The Hilbre game estate....................

A Hilbre mega had the Obs members excited last could have been anything this time of year. A Yankee Sparrow perhaps or an early overshooting Mediterranean migrant. It was only the 2nd record for Hilbre and totally unexpected. A bleedin Pheasant! It was found last Thursday and I saw it Friday afternoon when I made a short trip across to do some more maintenance work.  I didn't manage a photo as I only saw it in flight as Steve almost trod on it but I did see the elusive Rabbit. Take note Mark & Harriet!
Saturday morning and Mr Jones & me were on the Island at first light. It was looking good for a few migrants but the first round of the traps produced nothing. The Pheasant suddenly appeared on top of the five bar gate leading into one of the paddocks and proceeded to walk towards us, past the Obs and down the Landrover ramp! Result.

With Partridge two years ago, a Rabbit & now a Pheasant the council will soon be selling the shooting rights to raise money!

The excitement soon abated as a couple of Northern Wheatears appeared and Chiffchaffs started appearing in the heligolands. Two male Wheatears were caught and ringed using potter traps to catch them and six Chiffchaffs were caught. There was a good passage of Meadow Pipits through the morning and small numbers of finches flew overhead with a Greenfinch, two Chaffinches and three Goldfinches settling for awhile.

 Photo above © Steve Williams

Both the Wheatears were aged as 2nd calendar year (Euring 6) on account of the black wing coverts and lores.

It was nice to see the Linnets back on territory with several males singing at different locations.

A bit more excitement was provided by a young Grey Seal that decided to spend the high tide on the beach at the south end and then got stranded when the tide receded. With a large number of people visiting the islands, as part of a joint initiative between the ranger service and RSPB, Obs members were asked to help 'persuade' it to move to a slightly less obvious location. This we managed to do despite its reluctance and occasionally lunging at us with bared teeth. They may look cute and cuddly but they are a to predator with teeth to match.
Another excellent couple of days and I even managed to install another 4 nest boxes at Barry's private site. To cap it all a very photogenic Little Egret hung around long enough in the gutter for me to photograph. Normally they're off as soon as you stop the Landrover.

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