27 Mar 2023

Black Guillemot!

Black Guillemot is a rare bird off the Wirral coast with perhaps one or two records per year. Most are seen off Hilbre but unfortunately they don't seem to hang around and they've never been around when I've been on the island. My luck changed though when Al picked up two bobbing around on the sea as the tide started to flood. We thught they may drift in with the tide but they just disappeared. This constitutes the 2nd and 3rd record for Hilbre this year. To soon to predict a change but seeing as they breed on the Great Orme, Which we can see distantly from Hilbre, perhaps they're getting commoner? Unfortunately we couldn't get any photos due to the sea swell. This was my 320th species for Cheshire & Wirral.

We've had a great start ot the spring with an amazing number of Stonechats present on the island with several more being ringed. Northern Wheatears are moving through and I think this year will be a record year for the number ringed. 

One of the features, on Hilbre this time of year, are the waderspassing through as they head north to their arctic breeding grounds. Some high tides, coupled with a pretty impressive storm surge, has meant many are roosting on Hilbre as there isn't any foreshore or beach for them to use.

These can give incredibly close views as long as they aren't disturbed. Unfortunately many people are ignorant of the fact that they're disturbing roosting birds when they move around the island. Several hundred Dunlin were disturbed by a couple who decided to sit at the top of the cliffs at the south end and have a picnic over the high tide whilst a Ringed Plover Roost was disturbed at the north end folowing a similar incident.

Luckily there are a few areas on the island without public access and some waders will use this when theres no available beach.

Another feature of spring at the Obs is Chris's cooked breakfasts! Something to look forward to and energise us when there's maintenance work to be carried out on the heligoland traps - this time the SK where two lengths of galvanised chicken wire had to be replaced.

No comments :