8 Jan 2018

A cold trip to Hilbre

A dark and frosty morning saw the team braving the cold with the promise of copious quantities of tea and mince pies! As the sun rose it became apparent the day was going to be beautifully sunny but bitterly cold. This was reflected in the bird sightings with a presumably cold weather movement of Pinkfeets overt he island with flocks appearing throughout the morning.

Several Wigeon were also logged and the now semi-residnet flock of 4 Eider were present off the north end.

This small group have been around for awhile and its rare to have them for so long off Hilbre. With the population on Puffin Island Increasing perhaps these birds are from there rather than Walney island? Either way it would be nice if they eventually stayed to breed.

As well as the resident Brent Geese we also had four flyover Greylags. Star billing, however, went to nine Whooper Swans that appeared from the east before landing on the sea off the West Hoyle bank for awhile and then flying west towards Gronant where they were picked up again and tracked past Llandullas all the way across to the Alaw reservoir on Anglesea.

The first birds of the year were caught and ringed with a Blackbird and Song Thrush being trapped in the heli trap and duly ringed by trainee Thomas.
With the visitor numbers arriving from West Kirby increasing we packed up and left around 11.00 and I was home for 12.00. With the rest of the family out for the day I decided to go for a walk around the lanes to see what species  I could find for the New Year patch list. An hour later I'd added three new species - Bullfinch, Stock Dove & Nuthatch but failed to find Woodcock along the railway embankment where I'd seen them previously. A cold day turned into a cold evening and a beautiful sunset with Moel Famua bathed in a golden light as the slid behind the hills.

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