16 Aug 2014

A late summers afternoon on Hilbre

Its been a few weeks since I was last on Hilbre and the fine weather Friday afternoon spurred me on to get over and joint the Chairman and family for a few hours spent lazing around on the island over the tide.

What a good decision! Not only was the weather good but we caught a few birds as well! Highlights were a Pied Wagtail (a new ringing species for me!),  a moulting Redstart and a REED WARBLER! A huge rarity on Hilbre but common everywhere else. IN the 60 year history of the Obs there have only been 8 records and I'd never see none on the island before. Having seen the mega rare Blyth's Reed Warbler on Hilbre I was a bit shocked to see it fly in front of me as I entered one of the heligoland traps and once back at the Obs we double checked the wing formula to make  sure it wasn't the rarer species.

Permission was also sought and granted to ring the 2nd brood of Swallows in the look out station and the Chairman duly ringed a brood of 3 young birds.

Wader numbers are building up and large numbers of Ringed Plover and Dunlin spent the high tide at the south end.

 Eat your heart out Daniel Craig. You never looked this cool stepping out the sea in your trunks.

 Many of the Dunlin are still in summer plumage with black bellies whilst the number of juveniles suggest they've had a good breeding season.

 A young Peregrine had a half-hearted attempt at trying to catch one of the roosting waders by flushing them off the rocks but they were wise to the trick and kept low over the water before returning to their ledges.

We also had time to practice our amphibious landing maneuvers in   readiness for the big autumn rarity. With the Chairman at the helm I took the opportunity to take a look at the Island form the sea - a view I'd not seen before.
A fabulous afternoon with a good variety of birds caught and seen Little Tern numbers are building up and as we drove off after the tide the gutter was full of them diving for fish.

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