13 Apr 2015

Migration in full swing

A stunning couple of days on Hilbre with the weather conditions just right for a bit of migration! It started late last week with not one, not two, but three Ring Ouzels being caught and ringed on Thursday. This is presumably a record for the number caught and ringed in one day by the Obs. I managed to get across in the evening and one of the birds was still there. The sunset was beautiful and the weather omens looked good for the next morning............

Above: the old Liverpool Dock & Harbour Company telegraph station with the sun setting behind it.

The morning dawned cool and slightly misty. By 6 am we were up and opening mist nets to the sounds of Goldcrest and Chiffchaffs calling. There'd obviously been a small fall of birds during the night. The first few rounds produced a handful of these two species and a few Willow Warblers.
One of the Chiffchaffs was a control wit ha BTO ring so it'll be interesting to see where and when it was ringed.

As the sun rose the morning got better. Two or possibly three Ring Ouzels were on the island. one was a ringed bird from the previous day but at least one more was unringed! As often happens birds appear mid morning and today was no exception with a fine male Redstart making an appearance - the first of the spring.

Overhead migration was in full spring mode with Goldfinches, Redpolls, White / Pied Wagtails and numerous meadow Pipits being logged. A highlight was Lapland Bunting that flew calling over the Obs balcony. Several tree Pipits were also logged during the morning.

There's been one or two Merlin's hanging around the islands recently and one gave fantastic views as it tried to chase down one of the numerous Meadow Pipits that were passing through in small groups.

A few Wheatears appeared and four were caught and ringed.

All were 2nd calendar year birds that, like the one below had moulted their median coverts in their post juvenile moult last year so showed a good contrast between the black adult type and the brown feathers of the rest of the wing.

The Ring Ouzels gave us the run around for most of the day but just as I was packing up to leave before the high tide one of them got caught in the SK heligoland!

Its always a privilege to see these mountain blackbirds close up and it was the perfect end to the day.

1 comment :

Adam Jones said...

Fantastic day and always a delight to see a Ring Ouzel. I was at Leasowe on Friday hoping for one, but no such luck. A male Whinchat was a good consolation though.