15 Sept 2017

Hilbre and a close encounter with a grebe!

For the first time for several years the weather gods colluded to give us prolonged north westerlies - Leach's weather! With my Landrover still off the road Steve kindly lent me his for a quick afternoon trip to Hilbre accompanied by Col & Kenny.

The tide was already flooding three hours before high tide when we set off from West Kirby. A stranded Great -crested Grebe was spotted on the rocks adjacent to the Landrover track by Middle Eye and Kenny leapt out of the vehicle and caught it. Grebes can't take off on or walk well on land as their legs are so far back. A quick examination showed it didn't appear to be injured and was probably exhausted - in fact Kenny sustained more injuries than the grebe had in trying to rescue it!

Arriving at the Obs we put it into a large bag to keep and warm and calm with the intention of releasing at at high tide.

Leachs Petrels were spotted from the Obs balcony almost on arrival and after a quick brew we headed down towards the sea-watching hide with the grebe in its bag for release.

It dived under water immediately it was released and we last saw it swimming back out to sea.

A good seawatch ensued with 16 Leach's Petrels being tallied along with 3 Arctic Skuas, Manx Shearwater and a pristine summer plumaged Black-throated Diver. We also had 6 Black Terns including 5 in one flock and numerous Sandwich terns but only two Kittiwakes.

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