20 Oct 2014

Autumn gales.

We've not had any N W gales year this year to blow any Leach's petrels into Liverpool bay. This weekend was no exception but with the wind firmly in the SW blowing force 7-8 I still decided to make the trip across to Hilbre following the tide out Sunday morning in the hope that a Yellow-browed Warbler might have showed up. Unfortunately the idea was right just the place was wrong with Jane having one in her garden just across the sand in West Kirby!

Despite the wind the weather was beautiful and very warm. As the tide was just ebbing the waders were close in and I had great views using the Landrover as a hide.

Several hundred Cormorants were on the tides edge between Little Eye and the Tanskies.

Between Middle and Hilbre this Curlew was busy catching small crabs. It was fascinating to watch it probe its bill into the bladder wrack and come up with a small crab. It then tossed it in the air before catching it the right way round to swallow.

 Oystercatchers were present in their thousands but I couldn't make out any colour ringed birds although  I did pick out two birds with metal rings on their right legs.
 Good numbers of Redshank  were also feeding along the newly exposed shoreline.
 A few Ringed Plover flew in to feed.

Star bird though was this very late Sandwich Tern hunkered down in with the the roosting gulls.

Despite the wind direction not being conducive to migration there were a few land birds around on the island with a female Chaffinch in the Observatory garden and a Reed Bunting appearing in the SK paddock. Later a Wheatear appeared in flight down the sheltered east side and was seen to land on the beach at the south end.

Back at home the highlight of the weekend was a skein of 40-50 Pinkfeets that flew calling over the house late Sunday afternoon.

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