9 Mar 2023

Hilbre - 1st visit this year!

A combination of being in Australia and then the Landrover being off the road for a couple of weeks has prevented me going to Hilbre this year  - until yesterday! Arranging to pick Steve up at the relatively civilised time of 8 am we stayed over the high tide. 

A great day with wildfowl being the theme of the day. Thirteen Goosanders were at the north end before the tide flooded along with a male and female Eider. The Goosander were pairing up with the males circling their chosen females to stop other males barging on on their romance. 

There were plenty of Common Scoter on the sea and they also appear to be pairing up and flying around in small flocks. Several birds chose to see out the high tide on the sheltered west side away from the cold easterly wind.

As the tide flooded more Eider appeared and we had a count of seven - including the adult males and two sub-adult males. These drifted with the tider and ended up off Middle Eye along with the Goosanders.

The Brent Geese numbers are dropping but there were still plenty around the islands. It won't be long before these remaining birds start heading off to their arctic breeding grounds. Other birds on the sea were a handful of Red-throated Divers and Guillemots.

It was good to see fifteen Purple Sandpipers feeding along the rocky foreshore along with at least two hundred Turnstone. These will also soon be heading off to the Arctic to breed. Other waders present in good numbers were Redshank, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Dunlin & Knot whilst two Bar-tailed Godwits and a few each of Sanderling and Ringed Plover made completed the wader species recorded on the day sheet.

Our Rock Pipits are beginning to attain their summer plumage and there were a number of unringed birds present with the resident ringed birds. 

Several Blackbirds were present and its hoped they'll breed again this year. Apart from the resident Wrens there were very few other passerines about although a friendly Robin has taken residence in the Obs garden.

A great day despite the cold weather and I arrived home in flurries of sno.

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