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Monday, 16 October 2017

Hurricane Ophelia hits Scilly

The power of Ophelia pounding the quay wall

 As expecting Hurricane Ophelia arrived overnight and the following morning there were no flying or sailing from the mainland and tripper boats were cancelled to other islands. Mid-day she picked up to gusts of over 60 mph but by late afternoon she had died down.
  About 16.15 Graham and I were just about to sea watch off Deep Point when news came on the radio that 2 Leaches Petrel were being watched from The Mermaid car park looking out into The Roads. We raced to town, calling Ren as it was a Scilly tick for him and picking other birders up on our ways, and arrived at the car park where Dick Filby beckoned us over to look through his scope. Ren beat us to it and for myself this is only my second Leaches for Scilly. We could only see a single petrel as it battled against the hurricane and was a Scilly tick for most visiting birders.

From The Mermaid car park

Waves crashing in Porthcressa Bay

'Gugh is on fire!!' Smoke from the fire on the north side of Gugh looking from Porthcressa Bay.

The storm has passed

Large numbers of Portuguese Man-of-War were washed up on Porthcressa Beach
  On land, birds were keeping their heads down low while the storm passed. However, the Red-breasted Flycatcher was still at Watermill, the American Golden Plover was at Porth Hellick and the ISABELLINE WHEATEAR was at the airfield.
 On St Agnes, out of the blue a Pallas's Warbler was discovered in the Parsonage with the Little Bunting still present nearby at Porth Killier. Also a Leaches Petrel was found on the deck and taken into care after being observed flying over the campsite.


Collard Dove

  First thing yesterday morning, Graham and I were at Maypole observing 20 Hawfinch circling before heading towards Holy Vale while we still had 10+ in Hawthorns in front of us. After this we kicked every field from Maypole to Green Farm to Pelistry to Watermill! As a result we got 5 Yellow-browed Warbler including 2 at Newford, 4 Firecrest including a singing male at Trenowth and we observed siskins and a single Black Redstart arrive in off the sea at Watermill. We also had a single Skylark over Maypole and Tree Pipit south over Watermill.
  Shortly after we left Watermill, a Red-breasted Flycatcher was found in the cove. However, in the late afternoon another RBF was discovered on the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison. As it was only a stones throw away from my digs I went to have a look and after a while of waiting around I got good views on and off in the pines.

  On St Agnes the ORPHEAN WARBLER SP and Little Bunting were still present on St Agnes.

We got 30+Hawfinch in the Maypole/Green Farm area including a flock of 20 heading towards Holy Vale while at the same time there were still 10+birds in the Hawthorns

11 of the 12 Hawfinch that flew high north over Watermill. Later we had small flocks and singles in the Peace Haven/Trenowth area. These are more than likely the Maypole birds commuting.

Altogether we had 4 Firecrest including a singing male at Trenowth

Throughout the day Siskin flew overhead in very small numbers with 12 being the largest count 
There were 4 Blackcap at Peace Haven 

Small Copper

Today I saw that John Hague put this song on his FB to go with Hurricane 'Ophelia'. I thought I ain't heard this song for a long time. I walked out the door. put my Spotify on from my favorite 3000 random songs and guess what the first song that came on? 'Ophelia!!' It happened to me while I was in Palestine. I had just seen the sign for Jericho and out of my 3000 random songs came on my phones 'Jericho!!' by the late Joe Strummer!! What are the chances of that happening!?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

2nd ORPHEAN WARBLER for Scilly

Mega find of this ORPHEAN WARBLER SP on St Agnes by the Wright brothers, Neil and Paul and Martin Finch!!!

  Yesterday at 16.00 I was the only one my ways to St Agnes to join the 250 birders already there who had twitched for the probable WESTERN ORPHEAN WARBLER discovered in the late afternoon/evening the day before. I casually strolled down the lane towards the church from the Coast Guard Cottages until Geoff Holmes told me that it was showing now! I legged it and as I approached the crowd, I heard Nit say 'It's in the scope if anyone wants to see it!' I scrambled in and thinking I was the last person to see it, as I was the last one to arrive on the island, I asked if everyone had seen it? Two ladies came forward and said that they had not seen it and had been waiting for eight hours! So I told them that I'll have a look first to make sure it's not a Blackcap! No, just joking! I let them go ahead and while they were looking, 'Wayne the Pain' said that he had it in his scope. It was on the far side of the field feeding on Coprosma berries and showed well in the open. Ideal!!
  As I was staying overnight with Graham Gordon and Laurence Pitcher at Rosevean again I managed to see the warbler breifly again before 18.00.

Heavily cropped shots of the Orphean Warbler

The area where the warbler favoured

And Higgo, in blue, seeing his second Scilly Orphan Warbler after the one that Spurn fella found, Micky Turton in 1981 on St Mary's!

  First thing this morning, like most of the resident birders on the St Agnes, we were leaning on the 5-bar gate looking towards the Orphean favoured hedge and just before 09.00 we all got good scope views for a good two minutes. I decided to try out Wingletang and all of note I got were 2 Siskin and a single Wheatear. Already news had come through of 6 Hawfinch on St Mary's and there were 7 also on St Agnes but no one had no idea what was to come!! Shortly afterwards, some 25+Hawfinch were seen over Carreg Dhu Gardens, St Mary's!
  I returned to the Orphean and got my best views of it before Graham pulled me aside to tell me that he had just had a Rustic or Little Bunting on call fly overhead towards Costella Down. Including Laurence, we checked out the latter area and as we approached the campsite, Graham picked it up in flight. We watched it come down directly in front of some birders, oblivious that it was there until we told them, at the campsite. It turned out to be a Little Bunting and we observed it preening before flying towards Periglis. While searching for the bunting, Dick Filby told me that is now 50 Hawfinch on St Mary's!!
  Mid-afternoon and I just bumped into Ren at the Orphean site and heard a bird overhead and said 'That's a rosefinch in it!? Although I had never heard one before, we followed it and it landed just above all the birders waiting for the Orphean to show. It was still calling and Ren shouted Common Rosefinch and everyone came out to see it. It was the same individual that Dick had found earlier in the Broweth Fields. I moved further up road and Richard Thewlis told me that a Hawfinch had just flown towards the lighthouse. Before returning home at 15.30, At Barnaby Lane I could hear 2 Hawfinch and found one showing well at the top of the tall Elms. At last I had seen one!

Wheatear on Wingletang

Little Bunting at the campsite

Common Rosefinch at the Orphean Warbler site with what appears to be a tick below it's eye.

I had 2 Hawfinch at Barnaby Lane

  Graham had to come off St Agnes and as soon as we hit St Mary's, we picked up Ren and went searching for the Hawfinch where they were last seen in the Maypole area. It didn't take long to find a mobile flock of 12+ in Hawthorns near to Maypole triangle. We made our ways to Green Farm and every second field we were finding ones and twos until we had a flock of 17 circling before flying off high east. After they had all moved on, we relocated the 12 immediately and continued to see more ones and twos in hawthorns along the track returning to me wagon. We reckon we had up to 30 birds altogether! Later we were told that 25 Hawfinch were still at Maypole when the flock of 50 flew over Lower Moors towards Peninnis! If you include the 7 on St Agnes and 11 on Tresco that's maybe in total, an amazing 70 Hawfinch!! This is by far is the largest numbers ever recorded on Scilly!!

  I dropped Ren off at home and in the last hour of light Graham and I tried the airfield. I left Graham with the ISABELINE WHEATEAR at the north end and walked down the south runway towards the turning circle. To my right I could hear a Little Bunting and picked it up low flying across the runway to the east side where it seemed to pitch down in cover. Despite searching there was no sign of it but not a bad way to end a 'fandabydozy' day!! We didn't have time to go and see the probable WILSON'S SNIPE still at Porth Hellick

We observed some 30 Hawfinch in the Maypole/Green Farm area!

The ISABELINE WHEATEAR has now been present on the airfield for 16 days!

Two days ago, 12th, this interesting 'flarva' wagtail was showing very well in gardens at Trench Lane, Old Town, especially Nigel Hudson garden where I took all these images. We had some 10+birders watching the wagtail from his kitchen window!

Mick Flannery (born 28 November 1983) is an Irish singer and songwriter.
His debut album Evening Train resulted from his time spent studying music and management at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa in Cork. It featured tracks which had previously won Flannery two categories at the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, Tennessee, as judged by his idol, Tom Waits. He was the first Irish musician to win in this event.
Flannery's second studio album White Lies was released on 12 September 2008, achieving a top ten position on the Irish Albums Chart. It later went platinum and was nominated for the Choice Music Prize.

The Irish Times placed him at number forty-six in a list of "The 50 Best Irish Acts Right Now" published in April 2009. Also that year Flannery won Best Irish Male at the 2009 Meteor Awards. Influences include Kurt CobainLeonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.