14 May 2015

First Spotted Flycatcher of the year.

An early start Sunday as we arrived on Hilbre around 06.20 on a blustery day. There weren't many migrants about but the appearance of a female Redstart in the Newton trap around 09.00 filled us with some optimism.
This was the first female caught so far this year! There were plenty of other birds around though with the numbers of Dunlin & Ringed Plover building up before they head north to their breeding grounds. Singles of Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone & Grey Plover were also recorded.

As usual it was the gulls that gave it away - they go mad when a bird of prey is spotted and quite often their clamouring means an osprey or harrier is passing overhead. Today it was a Short-eared Owl that Alan picked up over Middle Eye being pursued by the gulls and mobbed by the resident crows. It appeared to have been roosting on the beach as had a piece of seaweed wrapped around its talons before it managed to shake it free.
 Note the seaweed trailing behind the bird.

It behaved rather strangely - initially it headed towards N Wales but then came back along the west side of Hilbre and headed out towards the windfarm before eventually heading back towards us and flying low over the sand east towards Red Rocks and then coming around again gaining height before disappearing north west.

There was a strong passage of hirundines with good numbers of Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins coming in off the sea. Three Swifts were also seen along with several fly-over Yellow Wagtails. The island is becoming covered in flowers with the Thrift just beginning to open fully. it'll be amass of pink blooms in a week or so.

The south end is covered in Bluebells whilst the irises on the cliff above Niffy bay are also in full bloom.

Invertebrates were well represented with the obs garden being full of Garden Tiger moth caterpillars with the occasional Yellow-tailed Moth caterpillar also being found.
The best was saved to last though as, on our last round of the heligoland traps, we caught our first Spotted Flycatcher of the year!

With the RNLI inshore lifeboat on exercise around Hilbre their launch and recovery tractor unit was seen racing up the gutter.

There's  obviously been quite a movement of Spotted Flycatchers over the last week as I had one in my garden for a brief few minutes earlier this week. A garden first! I caught sight of it through the kitchen window whilst eating my dinner but every time I went to the patio doors with the camera if moved off. I got one poor record shot and despite a search around by the pond after dinner it couldn't be relocated.

No comments :