1 Jan 2024

The final visit to Hillbre of 2023

I've been a bit remiss writing up this blog recently . The run up to Christmas and the main event itself is always a busy time in our household and since we came back from Mauritius I haven't dome much birding apart from locally around the village. The festive season also corresponded to some pretty grim weather which wasn't exactly conducive to getting out much. My ongoing knee issue and a consequential back issue has also made it difficult for me to get around! With intensive physio slowly making me more mobile I decided to spend the final day of 2023 on Hilbre. The winds had dropped and the day promised much as there wasn't supposed to be any rain! I also wanted to try out some new camera settings suggested by my old Uni birding mate Andy Swash before heading off to Antartica in a couple of weeks.

I had the whole island to myself over the tide and enjoyed photographing the Purple Sandpipers that can be incredibly tame if you sit and wait for them to come to you. 

Other regulars included the long staying female Kestrel and the group of Eider - including an adult male.

A surprise was a group of Knot that spent the high tide on the rocks at the south end of the island with some of the Brent Geese. Unfortunately there were no colour flagged birds among them.

One of the things I wanted to practice was Andys advise on birds in flight with the Olympus OM1 Luckily the local Herring Gulls were actively picking up mussels and dropping them to crack the shells so gave some opportunity to practice before the heavy rain started

A great day and the weather cleared just enough for a wateery sunset before I made my way off the island as darkness fell.