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Thursday, 17 April 2014

BEE-EATER at Lower Moors

The Lower Moors Spotted Crake have a good ol stretch 
   Yesterday, just after 07.00, I was at Lower Moors hoping to catch the Bee-eater that roosted in the area the night before. As usual the Spotted Crake was putting on a good performance, but no sign of the Bee-eater. I decided to go and have a look at the back of the moors near to the junction going up to the airport. Here I found Will Scott looking pretty happy as he had pinned down the bird sat in a dead sallow warming itself in the morning sun. Within minutes everyone was on top of us observing the BEE-EATER, doing what else, catching ants.


The BEE-EATER was flushed by a Blackbird and disappeared over the moor. It wasn't until 12.15 that Robin saw it fly over the moor and 45 minutes later, Doug page was observing it on St Agnes. 

The Spotted Crake shared the flooded willow with a single Water Rail and both birds were on show throughout most of the day.
  I was given the rest of the day off and in a breezy SE I made my way around the SSW of St Mary's. First I had my first Whitethroat of the year at Star Castle, followed by a Tree Pipit at Lower Moors. A stunning male Redstart in the Salkee fields, most of the Wheatear had cleared out, but I came across small flocks of Meadow Pipit totaling over 70 birds altogether. Up to 20 Swallow were at the airfield with a single Sand Martin. In the late afternoon, Elle and I kayacked to Tresco and got 2 Whimbrel, lots of Sandwich Terns and the juvenile Iceland Gull was on the heliport.

Whitethroat at Star Castle

Tree Pipit at Lower Moors

2 White Wagtail were on the football pitch
Yesturday on the golf course I counted up to 4 Ring Ouzel and Will Scott had a high total of 167 Wheatear

Female Chaffinch

Male Stonechat
  Azorean Yellow-legged Gull? My ass!! Sunday just gone, I came across a messy looking 1st year large gull on the airfield. I questioned if it was a Yellow-legged Gull, but thought it was too dark above. I called everyone up to come and have a look. All agreed that was an interesting gull and the darkness of the bird, questioned me to think maybe a possible Azorean YLG. No one, including myself , had really no idea what to look for and after some time it was decided to put the news out as a possible Azorean YLG. The only reason for this, so birders visting the island could come and have a look themselves and make their own minds to what they think it is. I sent the pics to Martin Elliot and he identified it as a YLG but thought that it was possibly from the Atlantic region. ie, Portuguese coast, Canery or Madeire Islands.

With only one or two sightings a year, this Yellow-legged Gull was still a good record

Over a month ago 'Match of the Day' played the great intro to 'Stagger Lee' while showing the faces of  various managers in slow motion. However, they stopped the music just before Nick Cave was just about to sing. If  you have a listen to this one hell of a song, you'll understand why. A long time ago my band played this song a lot.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

This is the best I could do of the adult SORA RAIL

   Today Nigel Hudson came across a BEE-EATER in trees at Nowhere carpark. Just before dark I made a visit to Lower Moors and while observing the Spotted Crake at very close range I heard the Bee-eater. I rushed out from under the Willow and found the bird hawking above my heard before disappearing behind the willows. It reappeared a few times after this and every time returned behind the willows infront of me. When everyone arrived it was late and it had more than likely gone to roost nearby.
  Also today Phil found a Wryneck on the main path towards the Great Bay, St Martins and there was a fall of both Ring Ouzel and Wheatear. On St Mary's there were 14 of the former species with singles on both Martins and Agnes.  A count of 167 Wheater were on the golf course with over 60 on the airfield. A Green Sandpiper was at Porth Hellick, I had a female Redstart on the Garrison and the Rook I had yesterday over Hugh Town ended up with the yesterdays CHOUGH on St Agnes where there was also a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Tree Pipit and 3 Common Sandpiper.

If only the Sora peformed like this Spotted Crake

There were also 2 Brown Rat knocking around with the rails and crake
After not seeing it in October last year and dipping out on it in Febuary, it was on the 9th April when I finally caught up with the adult SORA RAIL feeding under the flooded isolated willow between the Shooters Pool and the two hides at Lower Moors. The following day I had much better views in the early afternoon and after this it was never seen again. However, birders continued to seaching for it and Paul Varney was rewarded with a Spotted Crake the following day. The crake showed superbly a few meters away infront of all the birders. Over a week ago Will Wagstaff had a flyover CHOUGH on Bryher. Yesterday it was rediscovered on St Agnes and by the colour rings it proved to be from Cornwall. I had a single Common Sandpiper at Porthloo while in the Twince fields, Robin counted up to 8 Ring Ouzel feeding together. 3 Dotteral also turned up in the Chapel fields on St Martins.
The SORA always showed well but was a devil to get any good pics of it
Little Egret at Lower Moors
The 2 adult Greenland White-fronted Geese are still present on Porth Hellick and were briefly joined by these 2 Canada Geese. Last week 6 Canada Geese were in the harbour

Mark William Lanegan (born November 25, 1964) is an American alternative rock musician and singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Ellensburg, Washington, Lanegan began his musical career in 1984, forming the grunge band Screaming Trees with Gary Lee Conner, Van Conner and Mark Pickerel. During his time in the band, Lanegan also started a low-key solo career and released his first solo studio album, The Winding Sheet, in 1990. Since 1990, he has released a further six studio albums and has received critical recognition and moderate commercial success. This is a song that both Elle and I really dig.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Bottle-nosed Dolphin in St Mary's Harbour

This Bottle-nosed Dolphin was showing so well just off the quay in St Mary's Harbour

  I had a call from Joe Pender yesterday afternoon to tell me that there was a Bottle-nosed Dolphin in the harbour. I've never seen one before and a quick look out of the window, that looks over the harbour, and Elle and I observed it swimming very close to the quay. I rushed down and it put on a good show as it swam by. Then Ossy gave a shout 'Ere!' With others I climbed aboard The Merideran boat and from the top deck we all got cracking views as it followed the boat around the quay.
  A visit to Porth Hellick this morning produced up 10 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 White Wagtail and 2 Sand Martin.
  At 12.00, with Robin, Lucy, 925, Big Al and a few non-birders, I went over to St Agnes to go and hopefully see Graham's Hoopoe that he found last week. Graham came to greet us and for the next 30 minutes he was leading Hoopoe tours and he had the bird pinned down in a field below the Parsonage where we all observed it for a good ten minutes before it flew off. I stuffed my face and had a large brew at Graham's before making my ways over to the beach below the campsite to see the male Redstart that was seen yesterday and found it feeding with a female Black Redstart, 4 male Wheatear and lots of phyllocs. A female Merlin flew by and on the Big Pool there was a single Canada Goose. (A very rare sight here). 925 also saw a Tree Pipit and on Bryher Higgo got two of the latter species. These being the first of the year.

This Continental Song Thrush was a nice surprise

Before the thrush, this Continental Robin was trapped and showed no fat reserves
Elle ringing her first Willow Warbler
Up to 16 Willow Warbler and 15+Chiffchaff were on St Agnes. While on Bryher Higgoi also got 15+willow Warbler.
Robin Mawer

The Hoopoe showed well but was always distant

A very smart looking male Redstart. Note all the flies buzzing around that it was feeding on

Up to 4 male Wheatear were on the beach with a single Black Redstart
The Hoopoe tour leader
Returning to St Mary's and the Bottle-nosed Dolphin put another good show

Friday, 28 March 2014

Night Heron over Hugh Town

Juvenile Iceland Gull at Porthcressa

  Since my last blog, coming on to almost 2 months now, it's been pretty quiet on the islands. However in the last week, Will Scott watched an adult Purple Heron over his house at Longstones, 25th. Graham has had a Hoopoe feeding around his house for the last four days on St Agnes and on the 17th, I jumped in me wagon at Star Castle with guests in, and started pulling away, when I spotted a Night Heron flying over the church and heading towards the Porthloo area where it seemed to come down. For the next three days it was seen briefly at Lower Moors and on the 20th, over Will's house. Migrants are just starting to trikle through and today there was a single Willow Warbler on St Agnes and I had up to 3 on St Mary's. The first of the year was trapped yesterday at Porth Hellick. Ring Ouzel, White Wagtail, House and Sand Martin and Swallow have also been seen.

Two weeks ago, thanks to Bob Dawson and Hayley, we stayed over on St Agnes and got my first 12 Wheatear of the year. There were also 4 Black Redstart and a single House Martin on the island.

These 2 adult Greenland White-fronted Geese have wintered at Porth Hellick




From top to bottom, Grey wagtail, Pied wagtail, Robin, Starling and Turnstone


This juvenile Iceland Gull has been observed in the last month on Scilly.
Herring Gulls getting stuck into bread that we threw at them. As a result we got told off by the TIC. It was worth it though.
Moldy Giant midget Gem we spotted on St Agnes

Love to see band live. Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter have traveled extensively in both the US and in Europe, and have had the pleasure of touring with: Black Mountian, Earth, Sparklehorse (rip), Bright Eyes, Iron And Wine, Marissa Nadler, Laura Veirs, J. Tillman, Great Lake Swimmers, and many more. They have shared the stage with acts on opposite ends of a vast spectrum of genres, ranging from Sunno))), Boris, Nicolai Dunger, Coco Rosie all the way to Steve Earle,  Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch. The core  still remains singer-songwriter Jesse Sykes and guitarist/ writer Phil Wandscher.