21 Sep 2015

Octopus on Hilbre.

Saturday was a beautiful day to be out and about on Hilbre so I arranged to meet Steve and take a leisurely few hours on the island. On the way over we spotted a Lesser Black-backed Gull behaving oddly. It was pecking at something on the sand and wouldn't move far even when we drove the Landrover up to see what it was.

We soon found the object of its attention - a dead Octopus and a prize find for a hungry gull. I've never seen an Octopus in UK waters so this was a new one for me.

Alan H was already at the Obs and had caught a couple of Goldcrests before we arrived. With the arrival of John Elliot we decided the weather was calm enough to put up a couple of mist nets and we soon caught a few more Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff. We also caught two juvenile Rock Pipits. This year they've bred on the island for the first time in living memory so these youngsters are quite historic!

Both were undertaking their post juvenile moult and later one of them caused some initial identification confusion by jumping about in the top of a pittosporum bush in the Obs garden. This unusual behaviour was soon explained when a large female Peregrine flew through the area.

Linnet numbers have  increased dramatically with a a high count of 120 birds. The only other migrant of note was a Common Whitethroat that appeared in the Obs garden but resolutely refused to be caught.

An excellent few hours with good company and plenty of tea and chocolate cookies.

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