Car Trip to Hilbre Island Sunday 22nd September 2013

Five members of the Bird Watching Group set off from West Kirby to walk to Hilbre Island on a warm sunny morning, with a following light breeze.

En route to Little Eye we spotted cormorant, pied wagtail flying over, little egret, herring gulls, a lesser black-backed gull, a curlew with its distinctive call, grey heron, oystercatchers and a couple of swallows, maybe ready to leave for their sunny destination.

At 9:40 am we arrived at Little Eye. Here we heard the mournful howls of a large colony of grey seals, and saw them basking over on the West Hoyle Bank.

En route to Middle Eye we saw lesser black-backed gull, common gull with the distinctive greenish legs, cormorant flying over, and a large flock of oystercatchers in flight with the lovely dazzling plumage and loud piercing calls. Onto Middle Eye, the oystercatchers had landed along the water’s edge. A greater black-backed gull, and 6 Brent geese were feeding at the water’s edge, bar-tailed godwit probed in the mud, while a redshank in a pool probed with its much shorter bill. Cormorants were sunning themselves in the warm sun.

We arrived on Hilbre Island at 10:35am. Meadow pipits fluttered about, three swallows flew overhead, a robin was heard in the bushes and later seen perched on a post, with a dunnock foraging on the ground. We counted 8 knots and 6 turnstones. Brian pointed out the bird trap and box that is used to capture the incoming birds to enable ringing. We saw all the seals had now left the Bank and were in the sea, heads bobbing up now and then.

We arrived at the old boat ramp at 11:15am. Brian spotted common scoter far out at sea, and a great crested grebe, which we all managed to see later on in the afternoon. Three shelduck, a guillemot, and red-throated diver were also seen out at sea. Wading birds we noted were ringed plover, sanderling, redshank and dunlin.

A kestrel landed on a post near to the cottages, giving a wonderful view of itself in the sunshine.

Leaving the island after the tide had retreated we saw more turnstones well disguised amongst the rocks. We arrived back at Little Eye beach about 4:15pm to have an amazing sight of a great skua. It had landed on the beach but disturbed by a dog took off, flying low, a wing span of 125 – 140cm, to land and rest further down the beach, its head just showing above a rock. A dramatic end to a good day birding we thought.

Passing through the car park a solitary starling showed off its glossy iridescent plumage in the sunshine.

We ended up with field list of 30 birds for the day.

JENNY I

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