8 Dec 2022

Hilbre and the return of the Purple Sandpipers

Fresh from our travels to Africa and the warmth of the Masai Mara I ventured across to Hilbre to spend the day on the island over the tide. Although the weather was quite balmy for November (encouraging a Common Frog and Red Admiral to put in an appearance) I still felt the cold! 

A good day for overhead migration with lots of finches and Starlings passing over in small groups all day. Wader numbers are picking up as most have now returned from their breeding grounds. Purple Sandpipers have declined massively over the last few years so it was good to log an early winter of 16 birds roosting on the west side. Some of these birds will undoubtedly move on leaving us with a small wintering population. Its always a treat to see these little waders close up and Hilbre provides one of the best opportunities to do so in the north west.

Purple Sandpipers on their roost - 16 birds are visible in this photo.

It was nice to also see Red-throated Divers back on the sea and we also had a party of Goosander, that were originally seen flying past Seaforth, pitch in opposite the Obs before continuing down the estuary.

Little Egrets can be seen regularly off Hilbre hunting for small fidh and crustaceans in the rock pools. This one was particularly unperturbed by the Landrover driving past.

A great day that was made even more enjoyable by the superb sunset as we drove off after the tide had ebbed.

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