Friday, 10 April 2015

A few words for the RSPB blog - Hilbre Haze

On Sunday I met up the MNA group for an early start on the slipway at West Kirby for 09:15hrs and the small group then walked over to Hilbre Island  for a high tide stay-over, which took us about 3/4 hr to walk across the sands to the bird reserve.

There was little wind which didn't dissipate the localised sea mist which hung around all day but did make an effort to lift for a while during our stay.
While there we saw quite a few small migrating birds that had stopped off for a rest and a quick feed. Also a few nosy Grey seals were seen bobbing up and down around the island just keeping an eye on us.
The usual wading birds were seen and a flotilla of Brent geese majestically passed the island at one point. Through the mist we could just see a few hundred common Scoters which looked like a large oil slick, as there was that many of them.

The volunteer bird recorder who had set caged traps around the island had caught several small birds in them and brought them over in soft white bags to show them to us. Pointing out the feather length differences between a first year bird and an adult bird returning from Africa. He blew onto the bird's chest feathers to separate them, for us to see how much yellow fat was left through their thin skin after their long journey.

Among these birds were a small Gold Crest, a Wheatear, which had stunning feather plumage.
We were allowed to watch him ringing, measuring, weighing and recording the birds statistics into his log, which would then be transferred onto a national computer data base. So that the individual ring identification numbers can quickly be accessed and can make a data comparison. 
One that he had just caught in a mist net had flown all the way from Africa ... which is just amazing when you come to think about it. As these birds only weigh a few grams. 
It was around 16:00hrs when the tide had receded sufficiently enough for us to walk back across the sand to Hoylake.
The mist rolled in even thicker, so i just followed the tracks in the wet sand of the vehicles that had driven to and from the island after the tide had receded.

The visitors who were still on the island and those returning to the mainland, got caught out by the mist, which was very disorientating and had to call the RNLI life guard for help, who fortunately was at hand and parked up on the island on his quad bike. He sounded his horn so they could get a bearing on him and to follow him back to the mainland ... 

As soon as i drove away from the coast and onto the M53 Wirral motorway to return back home. The sun was cracking the flags and had been a warm summer's day by all accounts.
A lovely day was had by all, disregarding the sea mist but seeing those lovely birds close up was a real treat.

Neil ............ 

1 comment:

Ann Tomo said...

Thanks Neil, it was a lovely day and we also saw the first swallows of the year!

Ann Tomo