3 May 2021

Hilbre visit

I've managed a few trips to Hilbre recently - mainly to help on the never ending maintenance necessary on the Obs & the heligoland on a windswept and salt sprayed island. As usual the sunrise was spectacular and the dockside cranes at Liverpool docks took on a prehistoric appearance silhouetted by the rising sun.

These photos were from a couple of weeks ago when there were still a few winter visitors lingering alongside newly arrived migrants. Brent Geese numbers were greatly reduced as the majority of birds had already headed off to their high arctic breeding grounds. Among the commoner Pale-bellied there was still a lingering Dark-bellied bird.

My first Whimbrels of the year were seen and heard but the majority of the wintering Curlews have moved off to breed. Other winter visitors included Red-throated Divers and a few Common Scoter.

The resident Meadow Pipits were proclaiming their territory with parachuting display flights and also singing whilst perched on the tops of bushes or from fence posts.

Another vocal resident this time of year are the local Wrens. They seem to thrive on Hilbre and their breeding numbers are boosted with a small but regular passage. Linnets have also returned to breed and the adult males are beginning to look stunning in their resplendent red waistcoats.

Not many birds were caught and ringed but we did catch this female Blackcap with a 'pollen horn' where pollen has tuck to her feathers as she searches for insects in the blackthorn flowers which are now beginning to cloak the bushes in clouds of white flowers and hiding the lethal thorns! 

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