16 Mar 2015

Purple Sandpipers & Robins

It was WeB's count last weekend and I got over to Hilbre as the tide was on the flood to carry out the regular counts. There were literally thousands of Common Scoter milling around and taking flight in small flocks. Other highlights included Scaup, red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye. The weather was appalling when I first arrived with heavy rain making viewing difficult. As the tide peaked the rain stopped and it appeared we'd had a small fall of birds with 4 new Robins and a new Blackbird being ringed.

 All the Robins were 2nd calendar year birds (Euring 5) and had a recognisable moult limit in the greater coverts. The bird above had 7 old buff-tipped greater coverts contrasting with the newer adult ones that were olive green. Some adult Robins also have small buff tips to the greater coverts but the olive green colour, rather than brown, is a giveaway.

The bird above nicely illustrates the pointed juvenile tail feathers and the wear to the primaries associated with a juvenile bird.

12 Purple Sandpipers roosted at the north end over the high tide and gave some good photo opportunities.

A female Stonechat seen in the heavy rain earlier in the morning reappeared in the paddocks near the SK heligoland and was seen to be the ringed bird from the previous day.