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Thursday, 18 November 2010


31st October

Porth Hellick-Holy Vale
1 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Buzzard, 5 Siskin, 5+Chiff, 2 1st winter male Sparrowhawk, and 4 Bramblings

2 male Brambling, 12 Skylark and 10+Siskins

Lower Moors
1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler and 6 Chiff

 30th October

Porth Hellick
1  DUSKY WARBLER, 2 Yellow-browed warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat and 5+Chiff

                    The DUSKY WARBLER at Porth Hellick crossroads. Martin Goodey

 A visit to Dump Clump saw a 1 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, 1 Brambling and a flyover Serin and the 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese were at Porthloo

29th October

There were 10+Chiff  at Lower Moors and with them was a easten-type Chiff.
Late in the afternoon I went to have  a look at the RED-BRESTED FLYCATCHER that's been at the dead pine trail on the Garrison for the last few days. It was blusty conditions and I found the flycatcher sheltering deep inside the pines where it showed down to a few metres flycatching in the lower branches. After 10 minutes the radio came into action and someone said there were 2 Spoonbills flying past the airport heading towards Old Town. I quickly rushed out of the pines, across the football field and scanned Penninis. The radio, 'There over Buzza Tower' Two 1st winter Spoonbills came into view and glided low over Porthcressa towards Morning Piont and out of site. As I made my way back
to the taxi the radio came alive again. 'There over Star Castle' I looked up and there they were just above my head. How on earth did they get there that quick?! They continued towards Tresco channel until they were white dots. Not a bad end to the day.

28th October

A late Common Sandpiper was at Watermill and a Swallow was at the stables. Later in the day I was in the flower field above Holy Vale and With in 15 minutes I saw 5 species of raptor overhead. The first was the small accipter followed by 2 1st winter male Sparrowhawks. Then 2 Kestrels, male Peregrine and a Buzzard, The Buzzard had been feeding on a Hedgehog! I thought I should inform other birders, who were waiting around Newford for the small accipter, to make there way to Maypole triangle as this was where all the raptors seem to be moving through. 

25th October

As Soon as arrived at Porth Hellick,on either side of the road, I could hear single YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS calling. After an hour of walking around I had altogether 4 birds and singles of Lesser Whitethroat, Firecrest, Swallow and only heard, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the large pines at Salkee.

24th October

 My mission today was going to look for the Serin at Green Farm. There were a lot of birds and straight away walking up the field, I flushed the female Reed Bunting. 2 Bramblings were with the 70+Chaffinchs and on my third scan of the hawthorns I refound the SERIN in the braken, front on. I rang Ren, to get Ralfs number and in 5 minutes he was by my side with Nit, but no sign of it. Nit had just had a Little Bunting fly into the field on the otherside of the field. How did I miss that one! I put the news out on Birdnet and decided to look for the Little Bunting. Birders quickly arrived and with in ten minutes, the Serin was relocated in the Hawthorns and was seen throughout the day. Over 200 Redwings and 25+Fieldfares were being harrassed by 2 male Sparrowhawks. 10+Siskins were also flying around. Nearby at the stables, I found 2 Mistle Thrushes.

23rd October

 A Black Redstart was at the airport, first thing this morning and at Porthloo, there were the 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese and a Bar-wit.

 Later in the afternoon, a CATTLE EGRET at Porth Hellick came on the pager and sure enough birders were asking for a taxi to see the bird. As I drove over the brow of the hill, I shouted,'there it is flying above Carn Friars'. Everyone jumped out and we watched it fly out towards Giants Castle and as it went out of site, Alan came on the radio,'The Cattle Egret is in the field with horses at Carn Friars'. I quickly replied,(not on the radio), it's not and has flown off, pointing in the direction of Giants. It then dawned on me and others that there must be 2 CATTLE EGRETS!! I had just found myself a Cattle Egret! Seconds later a Cattle Egret was flying towards us from the field where Alan had just said it was. It made two very wide circles above Porth Hellick, before landing in one of the large pines at Kittidown. It started to rain and everyone was satisfied with the birds and everyone got in and drove off. A very succesful twitch wth the taxi and they didn't have to move an metre from it!

 At Carn Gwarvel, while looking for a reported Dusky Warbler, a 1st winter WHOOPER SWAN flew over low, NW. Later, at the log, it was comfirmed that there was indeed 2 Cattle Egrets! The other was found by Paul, one of the Holy Vale crowd from Spurn.

         Record shot of the first CATTLE EGRET flying towards Giants Castle Robin Mawer

22nd October

Lower Moors
1 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF singing on the loop trail, 2 Swallows and 3 Bramblings.

I walked through the pines at Mcfarlands Downs and got a total of 9+Blackcap. I continued and did all the fields at Trenowth, 4 PINK-FOOTED GEESE kept coming on the radio. flying here, there and everywhere on St Mary's, but I could not see bloody one of them! I rang Renn so he could tick them off from his house. I watched a male Sparrowhawk putting up over 100 Chaffinches and as I looked up to the blue skies, there above me were the Pink-feet gliding towards Tresco! Before this I had only seen 5 on Scilly.

The small accipter, very briefly, and a Whinchat were at Green Farm and a single Brambling was at Content.

When I returned home, I observed the 1st winter male TUNDRA PEREGRINE, unsuccesfully chasing a Wood Pigeon. This bird was found on Tresco, the day after I found the small accipter at the airport and this was the first time I had seen it. It's identified by it's pale head, which I could see quite clearly. It comes from Alaska/North America and could prove to be the first to be recorded this side of the Atlantic.
Ren also got the geese from his house and was very happy!

21st October

 I kicked the veg field and the only thing I got was bloody wet jeans and I hate that! It's one that's got away and I will never know what it was, I picked up Tim Vaughn and we started off, where else, but Green Farm and guess what happened? There were plenty of finches around in the two veg fields and with them was a female Reed Bunting. To the next field I noticed a movement in the hedge and raised my bins. All I saw was a large grey warbler with white outer-tail feathers flying further and further away. I turned to Tim and said,'I'm sure I just saw a Barred Warbler. Tim quickly picked it up at the far end of the field moving in a Hawthorn, but before I could get on it, it was gone. He also seemed to agree, but we both needed better views. We gave up looking after a while and imformed a few other birders and no, it was not the bird I saw yesterday in the veg field nearby. I told Tim about the acro and with Higgo we all tried again and nothing.

 Tim and I couldn't find the Richard's Pipit on my patch either, but the fem Reed Bunting was still present. A Firecrest showed very well in the wood nearby only to find another at Lower Moors. I left Tim here and made my way back to Green Farm, hoping for that god damn small accipter! When I arrived, there were two of my mates watching yet another Firecrest in the front garden of Carn Withiers. I told them I was going to walk through the veg field. They stayed and all we got of note, was a Whinchat, but as I came out of the field, I shouted 'SERIN'! I heard it and then picked it up circling above us and it seemed to come down in the nearby fields. I quickly got Ralf and Nit from the house and left them all to it as I had to do a taxi.

 Later on I discovered that they heard the bird calling in the field but did not see it and Tim had found a singing Siberian Chiffchaff at Lower Moors.

  Firecrest having a good old preen on me patch

    Firecrest in the front garden of Carnwithers
20th October

 I was having soup and toast at Renn's, which I always enjoy, and the radio was crackling all the time, as usual. Renn was getting pissed off with it, I do as well, and told me a few times I hate those things and I was deciding wheather to turn it off or not. As I was thinking about it, 'HEN HARRIER over Hugh Town'! came out. I've never seen Renn move so fast and I followed him upstairs. The directions were still coming out and then I picked it up straight infront of us, head on. It flew past at close range and over the house. Ren had a new house tick. 'What do you think of the radios now?'

 I met Tim Vaughn up country and we tried for the Richard's. While leaning on the gate, I heard a LAPLAND BUNTING, a patch tick and sure enough the RICHARD'S PIPIT and fem Reed Bunting were in the field with 3 Skylarks.

Lower Moors
3 Reed Warblers, 4+Bramblings, 20+Chiffs and 40+Chaffinches.


                                            Richard's Pipit at Telegraph

What a cracking shot Martin Goodey's captured


The HEN HARRIER at Peninnis just before it almost entered Ren's window! Martin Goodey

21st October 

 A male HAWFINCH was showing well in a small Hawthorn at Maypole Farm. I decided to go to Green Farm and hope for the small accipter. I started to walk through the veg field to the right of the lane. Nearing the end of the field, I saw the weeds just infront of me move and thinking it was a rat, I carried on. What a mistake! A small bird jumped a few intches ahead of my foot and a few intches more again as the other foot came down and crawled and disappeared into the weeds. All I saw was a greyish bird, the size of a Blackcap, very briefly. It was an locostella and the only one I could make out, was a possible River Warbler! It was still in the weeds next to my feet or so I thought. Despite seaching through every weed and blade of grass in the area where I saw it, I could not find it. Where the hell did it go? I called Higgo, who was keen to come and look. We went over and over the same patch but nothing and thought we would try again tomorrow.


 19th October

 With the girlfriend gone back home, it was back to work and this morning I picked up a birder in town and helped him look for the SUBALPINE WARBLER at Mount Todden as he needed it. It took awhile but it flew out infront us. For over half an hour we got some brief but good views on and off. The male Crossbill and 3 Skylarks also flew over and at Porthloo I flushed a Jack Snipe.

Porth Hellick-Salkee
2 Reed Warblers, 2 Whinchat, 4 Blackcap, 5+Chiffs and 1 Siskin

 I thought I would do my patch and in the same spot as the owl last week, I flushed a RICHARD'S PIPIT and a female Reed Bunting! The pipit flew around, giving it's sparrow like call, with 40+Meadow Pipits, before landing in the next field. I put the news out, but I knew that no one would see it unless it got up and called.

        RICHARD'S PIPIT at Telegraph
16th October

I was driving birders up and down to the Mount Todden for the SUBALPINE WARBLER, thats was found yesterday, throughout the day and the first trip that I did, I had a look myself. The bird was very flighty and I only got brief views before it disappeared into the bramblings. As I was near, I thought I would go and have a look at the Easten type Yellow Wagtail that's been at pelistry. I walked through the fields at the back and found it feeding next to the cows. A very interesting bird, but I couldn't tell you what race it is and I hope the more experienced guys can ID this one. It's been here for two days now and I don't think anyone one is going to be 100% of it's race.

14th October

 Walking along the coastal path towards the turning circle of the airfield, we flushed a LAPLAND BUNTING. It flew just a few meters ahead of us and as usual, like all these buntings, it showed very well. The AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER on the airfield also showed well. .

LAPLAND BUNTING sharing the coastal path between Porth Minnick and the turning circle

12th October

 In the last few days, the pager has been left behind. I haven't done much birding at all and I've really enjoyed it. So today was no different and in the warm sunshine, Gayna and I set off for a walk around the island. We had been walking for over 2 hours, talking to friends on the way and as we approached Porthloo, there was a male Redstart and juvenile Wheatear on the beach. I also met Martin Owen, a friend I know from that great birding county, Shropshire. He was telling me what had been seen and also told me of a possible Pied Wheatear on the airfield this morning and now it has been seen not long ago, on the golf course. We continued to walk the coastal path. At Bants Carn, I could see a birder looking through his scope on the brow of the hill. As we were passing him, I thought I would ask him want he might be looking at? I was thinking maybe a Wryneck, but as I got near him, I noticed a wheatear fly infront and put my bins up. Jesus, a PIED WHEATEAR!!! It was a 1st winter male and I asked the guy if he had put the news out. He told me that he wasn't to sure what it was but thought it was a Pied Wheatear. I put the news out on Birdnet and with in 10 minutes, out of the woodwork, the crowds arrived. Gayna and I decided to leave and on the way down, I spoke to a birder that I noticed taking photos of the wheatear at the top of the hill when I first saw the bird. He was from the Holland and he knew what it was, but he didn't know anything about it! Shaking his hand and saying well done we left him to it. I would be very happy if the next wheatear I help ID was a White-crowned!

In the hides at Porth Hellick we counted 4 Jack Snipe, only to be told by Alan, who came in, that some people have counted 9! I thought we were doing well. He also told me about 3 LITTLE BUNTINGS at Carn Friars. On Carn Friers lane we stopped in our tracks. In front of us were 10+birders looking at the buntings on the lane, but I couldn't see them. We had to walk in the other fields, all the way around, so not to disturb the birds or upset the birders. When we finally got there, I saw Robin and had a look through his scope at 2 of the buntings that were showing well feeding with Meadow Pipits. Entering the main road off the Carn Friars, a birder came towards me and said, 'Mr Spider, how good are you at squashed birds?' I recognized his face from visiting the Scillies before, but I didn't know his name. He had a photo of, what was clearly a Pied Flycatcher that had been flattened on the road. What was also clear, was the large white patch on the primaries bordering the greater coverts. In fact, it was a block of white! Collard Flycatcher?! And no, it was not like this because it had been run over a hundred times. The rest of the bird was a mess. I asked where he took the photo and he told me it was just around the corner? I took some feathers and passed them onto Nigel for DNA. We will wait and see. For someone who's not really birding, I'm not doing to bad.

                       First winter PIED WHEATEAR at Bant's Carn, St Mary's Martin Goodey

       This was my third bird that I've ever seen, all on St Mary's and was also the forth record for Scilly.

              A very nice male Redstart and juvenile Wheatear at Porthloo

9th October

 Mid-day found me driving to the quay to meet my girlfriend off the boat when John Bushnell flagged me down by The Strand. 'Take me up to the Garrison will you'. I looked over towards the harbor to see the boat lining up at the quay. John couldn't walk well and I demanded him to get in quick. I dropped John off and he made his way towards the dead pine path. As I was turning to make my way back down, Paul Sampera stopped me and told me that he had just taken a photo of a pale wheatear and asked if I had a book? I turned to the page with Isabelline Wheatear on it and as I passed the book over, he passed me his camera to have a look at the photo. 'BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR!!!' I shouted. I'm sure it's is. Where did it go?' I asked. 'Over in the grounds of the Star Castle' 'Get in' The only Black-eared I've ever seen, was a fine male of the Eastern Mediterranean race, melanoleuca on Tresco, in May 1998 and the very man who found it, was walking up towards us, Ron Johns! If anyones got experience with B-E Wheatears, then it's him. He had a look at the shot and said, 'it's looks like one to me'. Paul saw a wheatear fly over towards where he first had it. We returned to find Ron had a wheatear go back into the grounds of the castle. While this was happening, I was thinking all the time about my girlfriend waiting for me on the quay. I go into the castle grounds and there it was on the far side of the grass. I got a second in the bins before it flew off towards the football field. I didn't even see the tail pattern. I ran out to find everyone waiting, 'Put the news out quick?!' they did and I called Birdnet. I was happy and felt a lot happier to see Gayna sat on the bench waiting for me. Was I pleased to see her. With F 7-8 SW, I thought the boat would of turned around and returned to Penzance! Thank god it didn't. I blamed John for the delay, but also thanked him for asking me for a lift to the Garrison. We had just got into the house when Alan called, 'We've got your small accipter in the pines just outside your house'. I left them to it.
 The B-E Wheatear was relocated on the coastal path looking over at the rocks, just past the pottery and was ID as a female of the western race, hispanica

     Female Western BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR, hispanica.  at the Garrison Martin Goodey

                 A crowd shot of where the BLACK-EARED WHEATEAR favoured. The guy in the red coat is the finder of the bird Paul St Perrie

4th October

 Mid afternoon I got a call from Joe Pender to tell me he had seen a Grey Phalarope from his boat off Carn Morvel. I couldn't go straight away and I let Robin know, who went to have a look for it. Half an hour later I was with Robin and the phalarope was now at a distance off Standing Stones cottages.

2nd October

 A lot of birders were between Deep Point and Pelistry this morning to look for the reported grey shrike yesterday evening. In the short time I had, I joined them. Two LAPLAND BUNTINGS flew SW towards Deep Point. The shrike was found and identified as a greyish juvenile WOODCHAT SHRIKE. Unfortunately I had to go and do a taxi when it was relocated in the fields at Pelistry.

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