2 May 2017

Good fall of migrants on Hilbre.

I'd arranged to go over to the Obs late morning and stay over the tide - I wish I'd got up earlier. There was the best fall of birds on Hilbre for several years with the star bird being a Wood Warbler followed closely by a Tree Pipit. However, there were still birds arriving as I drove on and joined the rest of the ringing team and I arrived just in time to process this lovely 5 male Whinchat (Euring code 5 - a bird born last year). A first for me (Photo courtesy of Al H).

Willow Warblers were very where with an estimated 120 on the island with more being caught right up until the time we left at 17.00. There were several larger, paler birds which were probably from more northern parts of their range. Steve William's photo below shows the differences quite well.

Other birds ringed included the first Whitethroats of the year and a Linnet. If it wasn't so windy and we could have put  couple of mist nets up we may have easily ringed 100 birds but we finished on 80 with one control Willow Warbler.

There was plenty of activity on the sea as well with large numbers of Dunlin roosting around the island. A phone call from Jane Turner had us scanning the sea for a flock of Black Terns she'd picked up from her window and we eventually found a flock of 10 feeding on the tide line. Later we had 4 closer down the west side. A drake Eider put in an appearance and there were a few Red-thraoted Divers - including a couple of summer plumaged birds. Terns were the theme of the day as far as sea-watching was concerned with the first Little And Arctic Terns of the year being recorded as well as Common & Sandwich Terns.

With the Bluebells in flower and the Thrift just beginning to flower the island is beginning to look stunning. A feature of Hilbre is the wallflowers which seem to have become naturalised around the old buildings and these are also in full flower.

A great day and I arrived home suitably knackered and wind burnt but happy.

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