Fortune favours the brave,
As I crossed the sands towards Hibre Island at 07.00 with the wind and rain biting at my face I started to question my sanity. The subalpine warbler had not been seen since 13.30 yesterday and then only briefly but the weather had been windy and rainy during the night so I thought that it was probably still there. Two other birders were already there when I arrived and two others joined us soon after. I thought there would have been a few more birders here with this bird being only the 4th record for Cheshire and the 2nd for Hilbre. The buckthorn around the heligoland trap seemed birdless except for the odd linnet popping up. We had the strong wind at our backs from the west. One of the birders said he was going around to the east side were it was more sheltered on the beach and look up at the buckthorn overhanging the sandstone cliffs. Its a good job he did because half an hour later he came back saying the subalp had just been showing with a willow warbler. We all rushed around to the beach on the east side to look up at where it had just been seen. A bird flitting about at the bottom of the buckthorn was flushed by the warden checking the traps. The subalpine warbler flew out and landed in a small bush out in the open and gave excellent views if only brief.It then flew back into the buckthorn and was not seen again by us. Five birders with big smiles then left to walk back to the mainland. This bird is a first summer male and was trapped and ringed yesterday morning
I then drove the short distance to leasowe to see the great grey shrike close to the lighthouse. It was perched low in a hawthorn sheltering from the wind around midday. All five of the Hilbre birders met up again and the group photo was taken below.
These are two great birds for Merseyside or is it cheshire?