Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Scilly Week

A week away on St Mary's, main island on the Isles of Scilly with Pete, Nina, Jack and Josh was a lot of fun, with some good birds seen, some good birds missed and a fair amount of wind and rain.

 We did run a moth trap on most nights, but the only "new" moth we found was the sub-species of Feathered Ranunculus, Polymixis lichenea scillonea, found only on the Isles of Scilly.

A Subalpine Warbler up at Longstone was very active in a small weedy field, but most of the time I was there it was windy and rained, making it difficult to get decent pictures.

One of my favourite birds of the week was this Red-breasted Flycatcher, at the bottom of Rocky Hills.

There were a group of Greenshanks commuting on the island. Taken here on the lake at Porthellick.

This Spotted Crake did its utmost to appear when it was elsewhere and disappear when I was waiting in Lower Moors for it to perform. On Monday evening, in late sunshine it walked around just a few feet away, seemingly totally oblivious to the group of admirers watching it.

An American Robin on Tresco was an unexpected bonus, but after the strong weather system, an American thrush was not totally unexpected. It was a bit elusive at first but finally gave good scope views before disappearing behind the hedge again.

I have tried for one before, during my twitching days, but that was a miss as the bird disappeared overnight. As that had involved a drive to the north of Aberdeen this was a bit of a catch up. 25 years on!

By Thursday I had managed to miss the Whites Thrush on Agnes and I decided to stay on Mary's and not return to Agnes for another try, as it turned out it showed well, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. A Red-backed Shrike made an appearance in a field behind the incinerator, good to see but not as exciting as first thought, when Isabelline was thought a possibility. It did have a reddish rump, but the tail, was dark and with a good view it was a pretty standard Red-backed Shrike.

The Rose-coloured Starling that had been hanging round the area all week, chose the incinerator door as it'd perch.
Not the best of sites, and not quite as stunning as an adult bird, nevertheless this juvenile has a charm of its own.
Along the beach at Porthloo there were around six Black Redstarts, a bird that we seem to have been a bit short of at home so far this Autumn.


Both sub-species of Pied/White Wagtail were around, I think that this is a female white, although all the black along the flank is a bit odd.

It's always to to see a mature male Black Redstart with the females and first year birds, they are really striking, so common just across the channel and still pretty scarce in the UK.

A lone Northern Wheatear was also patrolling the beach. I think there had been a different, somewhat darker bird earlier in the week. This one looks rather plump and "Greenland" like in this shot, but it didn't stand out as such when I was watching it.

There are hundreds of Rock Pipits around the coast of the islands, and a large amount of seaweed deposited in the bay was proving a good feeding area.

Two Golden Plovers on the Golf Course did raise my hopes for a couple of minutes, but they proved to be European  and not the result of the trans-atlantic  blow.

1 comment:

Rob Stokes said...

Hi Tony great to meet you on Scilly , good write up and pics , i have put a link to your blog on mine , might see you around Kent some time Cheers Rob.