News archive

September 2010

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland

Singing in the rain !

The walk out to the magic Island of Hilbre always leaves you feeing exposed doubly so when you are walking out in howling wind and torrential rain! Some of the group took to singing to kept their spirits up in the dreadful weather conditions. Little birding could be done on the walk out due to the weather conditions but we did manage to add curlew, redshank and black-tailed godwit to our tally. Amazingly as we arrived on the island the rain stopped and the sun came out - just warm enough for us to dry out!! Loads of Sandwich terns were passing the island with several arctic skua in attendance with 2 birds very close, almost flying over the north end of the island. Plenty of gannets came past, again close enough for us to identify adult and sub-adult birds. Cormorants were everywhere, with the odd great crested grebe either flying by or fishing. Bird of the day was a lovely red throated diver, not in its drab winter colours but in summer plumage - always a nice bird to see especially, as it was for one young boy on the island, it's the first time you have ever seen one ! A few common scoter flying far out and a good number of guillemot were seen, one very close to the island. Numerous waders roosted both on Hilbre and Middle Eye, with a small mixed flock of ringed plover, redshank, dunlin and around 8 sanderling actually resting on the rocks behind the old lifeboat station. The previous week had seen good passerine passage on Hilbre but alas for us the only birds of note were a few willow warbler and chiffchaff feeding in the bushes around the ringing station and 3 wheatears feeding on the rough grass. All too quickly it was time to go and we left, as always, vowing to come back soon.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland

It never rains but it pours !

On the walk out to Hilbre Island you feel exposed at the best of times but in a torrential rain storm and strong winds the feeling of misery is magnified ten fold. However, those who braved the weather were in for a treat on this small but enchanting island. In the gullies around the island waders such as redshank, black tailed godwit and curlew spent the last few minutes before the tide came in feeding. As we reached the island the sun came out, as it did for most of the time we were there, warming the air sufficiently for us to dry our clothes. Plenty of sandwich terns passed the island and with them the inevitable arctic skuas, with two birds coming exceptionally close almost flying over the north tip of the island. Gannets lazily flew past in good numbers with sub adult and full adult birds being seen. Severally guillemot could be seen feeding on the sea, with one bird coming very close affording everyone excellent views. Huge numbers of Cormorant could be seen from the island with the occasional great crested grebe in amongst them. Sea bird of the day was undoubtedly a lovely summer plumaged red throated diver swimming not far away - proving a particular hit with one young birder on the island who had never seen one before ! Plenty of waders roosted on the island or nearby Middle Eye. Huge numbers of Oystercatchers and Redshank could be seen with good numbers of Dunlin, ringed plover, turnstone and about 10 sanderling. Visible passerine migration on the island was limited with only a few willow warblers, chiffchaff and 4 wheatears. If you got bored of bird watching you could always look at the seals who came close to the island seemingly to see what we were all doing!