29 Jul 2021

Melodious Warbler, Hilbre

After a frenetic day of activity Monday I slept through until relatively late this morning and woke vaguely aware that my phone was ringing downstairs at 7 am. A moments pause to orientate myself & then I thought its obviously important for someone to ring this time of the morning.......

Seeing it was Chris I accurately surmised it was something good on Hilbre as I knew he'd gone over the previous night to get an early start. Ringing him back I was amazed to hear he'd caught a Melodious Warbler! This may not be a rare bird to some people but for Cheshire & Wirral its definitely a 'mega' with only 13 previous records. The last Hilbre one was 1994 and followed a run of Wirral sightings with birds being seen in 1992, 93, 94 (2 records this year with one on Hilbre in May and one at Red Rocks in September) and 1995. Todays bird was the 3rd for Hilbre following the one in 1994 and a previous one in 1977 - its almost a once in every 3rd decade bird! The last one for Cheshire and Wirral was in 2017 and only seen by the finder and identified from photographs.

Seeing as the tide was in there was nothing I could do until we could get across around 9.30 so I had a leisurely breakfast and arranged lifts for anyone who wanted one in the Landrover.

With a full complement of passengers, fully masked up despite the easing of restrictions, we set off across towards Hilbre with a clear blue sky and hardly a breath of wind. There'd been no sighting of the Melodious Warbler since its release nearly three hours previous but luck was on our side as it was re-trapped in a different heligoland trap. After a brief view and a re-check of wing formula & it was released and dived straight back into deep cover. 

A great July record and testimony to the continued coverage by the Obs regular volunteers despite the current dearth of birds. As they say, the biggie travels alone......

My first not only for Hilbre but for Cheshire & Wirral. 

Unfortunately for those arriving later there was no further sign by the end of the day..

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