14 Mar 2016

A beautiful spring weekend.

Saturday was WeBs count day on Hilbre and I was up early and in the garden listening to the birds singing by 06.30. A good move as I had my first skein of Pinkfeet of the year heading south west towards the Dee Estuary! A new species for my 2016 Patch Challenge. I put a mist-net up for a brief period whilst waiting for Mark Payne to arrive and immediately caught another 6 Siskins and a Lesser Redpoll!

With the arrival of Mark we set off for Hilbre stopping briefly for essential supplies from the supermarket on the way. There was a slight mist over Hilbre and it soon became evident there'd been some migration with a number of new birds being ringed including 2 Robins, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Goldcrest and a Dunnock!

Attention turned to the sea and a male Eider flying along the west side before promptly disappearing was a good start. A female Velvet Scoter was picked up in flight with Common Scoter and local birder Elliot Monteith had a male Velvet Scoter as well. There were few Great-crested Grebes and even fewer Red-throated Divers but 6 Purple Sandpipers roosted on the weest side cliffs.

By now hunger was setting in and we retired to the Obs for a full cooked breakfast and a brew before venturing back out into the field for a last look around.
We managed to leave the island and get home in time to watch the rugby after which I took a walk round the patch in the hope of picking up an early spring migrant but the best I could manage was a good sized flock of Redwings sitting in the top of an isolated oak tree.

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