24 Sep 2018

A longe overdue trip to Hilbre.

After the seawatching bonanza of the past week when storm Ali graced us with her presence a plan was hatched to spend a day on Hilbre and do a bit of seawatching over the high tide last Sunday. Although the prolonged gale force winds had receded the Met Office was still showing that the wind would gradually increase during the day so with Mark P meting me at my house and picking up Steve on the way through we set off to relieve the early shift of Alan & Colin.

It was great to be back on the island even though the seawatching was bit dismal with only a handful of terns, auks, Kittiwakes and Red-throated Divers to show for our endeavours. A couple of rounds of the heligoland traps resulted in another Robin being ringed as well as a late Chiffchaff.

Other summer migrants were represented by two Wheatears whilst autumn finch passage was represneted by three Goldfinches that spent the high tide feeding on seed heads around the paddocks.

Wader numbers are building up and as usual Oystercatchers are the commonest bird.

The long staying sub-adult male Eider put in an appearance and has been recently joined by a juvenile bird. We've been speculating where these birds originate from. Eider used to be a regular but scarce visitor to the N Wirral coast but recently they've been much commoner. This seems to coincide with a population increase on Puffin Island suggesting they've come from there rather than the colony at Walney. Perhaps the presence off Hilbre of a juvenile Shag as well on Sunday has some relevance as they also breed on Puffin Island and we've had a few ringing recoveries from there.

All in all a bit quiet bird wise but still a great day and it was just nice to be out and about for a change.

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