News archive

April 2017

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Dark-bellied brent goose on water at Hayling Island

Hilbre Island adventure

As we walked across the sands to the island, the talk was all about shifting wind directions and the possibility of a migrant 'fall'. Things looked good when we came across 8 Whimbrel amongst the waders feeding in the rock pools between Middle Eye and Hilbre. Was this a sign of things to come? We could see a piar of Common Scoter on the water just off the south side of the island and knew that we could get closer views once on Hilbre. As we walked onto the island we immediately came across a few Wheatears feeding on the short grass on the cliff tops. The local Meadow Pipits and Linnets could be seen but their calls were almost lost in the noise of the increasing wind. Down to the south side of the island for a close look at the Scoters (.... and a toilet stop for some !! ....) before setting up camp for a seawatch. We usually go to the far end of the island but couldn't this time as large numbers of Dunlin were using that part to roost over the tide giving us brilliant close views of Dunlin in lovely summer plumage. Turnstone and Ringed Plover shared the rocks with the Dunlin flock. Seawatching provided us with views of a least 2 Red Throated Diver; a single Manx Shearwater flying north; loads of Gannet, Sandwich Terns, Guillemots and Cormorants. The Observatory members very kindly allowed us to watch the 'ringing' of a number of birds they had trapped. This fascinating process was explained to us in great detail and we were extremely impressed by the skill and professionalism of the ringers. As we left the Observatory building a Peregrine 'stooped' into try and catch birds roosting on Middle Eye, flying right over our heads as it chased an unlucky pigeon. Just off the island a Brent Goose drifting by on the receding tide. As our thoughts turned to that very important question .... "could I make it back to West Kirby before needing the loo?".... we set off home across the sands reflecting on what a good time we had on Hilbre. Our thanks go to Kenny and the other Obervatory Members for their kind hospitalityduring our stay.