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Thursday, 18 November 2010



                          A SCILLY STAR!!!!

My singing angel Tean, singing 'NORMAL GIRL'. A song that she wrote and composed all by herself! 13/11/2010 

                                           Great photos below taken by Martin Goodey.

30th November

 Bright spells with a cold NE wind. I did a few taxis this morning and could clearly see that there had been an arrival of both Golden Plovers and Lapwings. This was confirmed when I went up to airport and found there were 22 Lapwings feeding with over 30 Golden Plovers. A 1st winter Common Gull also flew over with small numbers of Black-headed Gulls. I had a bad morning, trying to sort out train tickets for Tean and I to go to Shropshire for Christmas. I hate doing things on line and wished it could go back to over twenty years ago when you spoke to someone on the phone and you knew that you had booked everything right. I nearly stayed at home, but I had to clear my head and decided to visit Porth Hellick. However, a call from Joe got me up to Penninis, where he had observed from Porthcressa, 19 'grey' geeses', fly in from the south, circle Peninnis and thought they might of come down. I met Dave Mawer, returning from Peninnis, and he told me that he had seen the geese continue NE towards Deep Point. I thought maybe they've gone to Porth Hellick Pool. Here I located the SIBERIAN CHAFFCHAFF straight away at the crossroads, showing very well with a Firecrest. A walk towards the hides found, what looked like another SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF and while I was videoing it, I could hear another one calling from behind me. After a few minutes, it popped up at the top of the Sallows. No geese on the pool, however, the Little Grebe had returned, the Teal had increased to 10 and I flushed 22 Snipe in a boggy field at Carn Friers. Over 25 Meadow Pipits, E, and all the time, Lapwings, Golden Plovers, Fieldfares, Redwings and Chaffinches, were flying over in small groups. In the next few days, I would exspect to increase as the freezing weather, on the mainland, push the birds south.
 I wanted to get to Pelistry to see if the geese were there, but thought I should first have a look at the loop trail. Good job I did! Both Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests were in higher numbers than yesterday and as I came out of the wood on to the board walk, I saw a small bird very briefly in some bracken, a few meters away. I knew that I had got something and strongly suspected it to be a Pallas's Warbler! There was movement in the undergrowth below me, but could I see the bloody thing! I got very brief views and before I put my bins up I could see that it was a beauty, 'seven striper' PALLAS'S WARBLER!! It was no more than a few meters in front of me feeding on the floor on the side of the path. It flew into the reeds, showing off it's yellow rump, and into to a Sallow and continued to show well and as it flew into the wood, it gave a single call. I left it and ran like the devil to get the news out.
  While I was picking everyone up in town, Higgo text me to say that there was a GOLDENEYE at Porthloo! Here, that's a lot rarer than the Palla's! This will only be my third Scilly Goldeneye. Five of us twitched the Goldeneye, in the now 'twitching mobile' how many times it's been used for that, and found the bird with the Red-breasted Merganser. Ten minutes later, we joined Joe and Higgo at the Pallas's site.
 Seven of us searched everywhere and later on were joined by Richie and Tony, who both found the Goldeneye. Still no joy, but we did get 2 Firecrests and Ren found possibly a different SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF and Will had a Crossbill go over. I dropped off Nigel, Will and Ren, Big Al decided to stay, and then I tried me patch. I flushed 3 Woodcocks in the wood and 7 Meadow Pipits and a single Goldfinch in the fields. Apart from 4 Golden Plovers going over, that was it.
 The Pallas's Warbler is not the latest I've seen. Colin Sage from Cornwall, found one at Lower Moors on the 26th November,'02 and it stayed to the 12th December with a Yellow-browed Warbler.
Will had the Yellow-browed Warbler and 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs at Lower Moors and the Water Pipit was still at the Quay. Over all, not a bad day on Scilly, for this time of year and I hope that everyone sees the the Pallas's Warbler tomorrow.

Porth Hellick
I PALLAS'S WARBLER, 2 maybe 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Gadwall, 2 Firecrests, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Woodcock, 3 Coot, 4 Greenshank, 10 Teal, 12 Goldcrests, 15+Chiffchaffs, 22 Snipe, 25+Meadow Pipit, 30+Chaffinches, Fieldfares and Redwings

 I also won my singles and doubles at pool for The club against the Golf Club. After eating lots of chips and sandwiches, that the golf club kindly provided, I went on to pick up the Mermaid team from the Old Town Inn. They hadn't quite finished. While waiting, I finished off the hot pot, three bowls of it! At the club, Mike the chief, gave me potatoes and pie. There was so much, I just couldn't eat all. So I took it home to eat in an hour or two. Man United lost in the Carling Cup to the bottom of the league, West Ham, 4-0! What away to end a very good day!

                                     Sunrise over Old Town Bay this morning

                                   Lapwings and Golden Plovers on the airfield

I thought this could of been the bird trapped at Portland at the end of October. However, it is ringed on the left leg and the Portland bird was ringed on the right leg. Maybe it was the bird ringed on Bardsey only eleven days ago!?



         As you can see, the PALLAS'S WARBLER showed down to a few meters away!

If it wasn't for the bloody leaf in the way, then I would of got some good footage of it preening. However, you can hear it call as it flies away, followed by a call from something else.

    When I was filming this 'Eastern Chiffchaff', probably a Siberian, I could hear a SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF calling behind me!

                    This Chiffchaff was feeding with the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF 

         The top five shots are of the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF at Porth Hellick crossroads. Note how the bird can look different in certain light

             SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF feeding in the sun at Porth Hellick crossroads

                                      Male Pied Wagtail on Porth Hellick Beach

Ren, Nigel, Will, Martin and Big Al, twitching for Higgo's GOLDENEYE successfully at Porthloo, in the 'twitching mobile'. Surely Big Al's arms are a little stiff by now? How does he sleep at night? (see November 23rd)

This fem GOLDENEYE at Porthloo, is a lot rarer than the Pallas's Warbler at Porth Hellick. Martin Goodey
 The fem Red-breasted Merganser was diving close to the Goldeneye at Porthloo. Martin Goodey
 We had to be content with 2 Firecrests instead, which would be enough to brighten my day.

          You can't believe that's it's the same Firecrest as the photo above it Joe Pender               

                  At Porth Hellick loop trail looking for the Pallas's. Note that Big Al's arms are still in the same position and hang on a minute, the HIGGO monster has changed, he looks a lot better looking! Oh no, my mistake, it's Ritchie Aston!

 Ah, here's the HIGGO monster, (see November 23rd), he's pretending to look for the Pallas's when really he's staking out a new home as the Shooters pool will soon too flooded for him to live there. Note, the great camouflage of the bright yellow and also how I keep my distance!

29th November

 A bitterly cold ENE wind with squally hail/sleet showers. This morning, as I jumped out of the taxi at Porth Hellick crossroads, I immediately heard a SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF. It took me another 20 minutes to locate it, only to find it briefly feeding with, what looked like another SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF. While spending time looking at these two birds, I heard singles of Skylark and Siskin and observed the Buzzard being mobbed by a Kestrel. Again only a few Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. The pool was ice free and on the beach there were 3 Knots. While here, a text came through from Will, 'WATER PIPIT' on Quay Beach'.
 Half an hour later I arrived at the quay and Will put me on the pipit. It was pushing the Rock Pipits away when ever they came close to it and sometimes a 1st winter male Black Redstart would be feeding nearby. In the 40 minutes I was there, we also had a Great Northern Diver fly very low over our heads and town, and a Little Egret and Brambling, (heard). The Black Redstart was still present at Little Porth and there were 17 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel and Greenshank and a fem Sparrowhawk at Bar Point.

                    The WATER PIPIT was at the Quay with the a Black Redstart

                                   WATER PIPIT at the Quay on the shoreline

 The best I could do in the dull conditions with this SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF at Porth Hellick crossroads

                                One of the 17 Bar-tailed Godwits at Bar Point

28th November

Still, sunny spells and bloody cold! I was taking Bobby Hayes to the golf course this morning and as I drove past Porth Mellon, I noticed 4 Brent Geese, close in shore. We both got out and found that an adult pale-bellied Brent Goose had joined the 3 that have been present in this area for over a month now. There was also a good count of 3 1st winter and 2 adult Common Gulls. At the golf course there were 3 Golden Plovers and another 8 on the airfield. At Porth Hellick it seemed that most birds had moved out, ahead of the cold weather coming in, I guess. 3 Chiffchaffs were all I could find. This was confirmed when Jim told me that he had not caught anything all morning. Up to 16 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel, 9 Curlew and an adult Common Gull were all at Bar Point.
 At 12.30, Big Al joined my daughter, Tean and I for a big roast at the Bishop and Wolf! When we had finished, Big Al went home and we returned to the taxi, via Porthcressa Beach, and were rewarded with a 1st winter male Black Redstart.   

                        The white stuff started to fall at 16.15 outside in the garden

Half an hour later it got heavier, however, five minutes later it had stopped, to Tean's disappointment.

                               Tean watching the Black Redstart on the wall at Little Porth

            80% of ice covered Porth Hellick Pool but there were still 2 Coots on it

27th November

 It snowed on and off throughout the morning but came to nothing. A quick look at Porth Mellon found the fem Red-breasted Merganser still around, an adult Kittiwake was close in and a 1st winter and an adult Common Gull were also present. The short walk from here to the Dump Clump could only produce a single Firecrest and Chiffchaff. While here, Higgo called to tell me he had a Little Grebe at Lower Moors and flushed 2 Woodcocks.
 As soon as I opened the door of the taxi at Porth Hellick crossroads, I could hear Firecrests and found three birds together with a Eastern 'type' Chiffchaff. While watching these I also heard a single Golden Plover and the Buzzard was circling above me. There are now 3 Coots on the pool and the drake Wigeon, from Shooters Pool,  was asleep with a drake Gadwall. A total of 4 Woodcocks were flushed and there was a very small increase of Fieldfares.
 15.00 I had just finished my dinner, when I got a call from Paul to tell me that he had just had a grey goose, probably Pink-foot, fly low over the golf course towards Lower Moors, but distance. Ten minutes later I picked him up at Porthloo. Nothing at all at Lower Moors, not even the grebe. No flying this afternoon, so up to check the airfield. New in were, 15+Golden Plovers and 25+Fieldfares, but no goose. Are last chance was Porth Hellick. Again, as we got out of the taxi, I could hear Firecrests and we managed to locate one. We sheltered in the hide from the sleet, and again, no goose. It was getting dark and it was decided to search for it tomorrow.

Porth Hellick
3 Firecrests, 1 Eastern 'type' Chiffchaff, 1 Buzzard, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Snipe, 3 Coots, 4 Woodcocks, 7 Goldcrests, 10+Chiffchaffs 10+Fieldfares and 20+Redwings

                                  Adult Kittiwake just off Porth Mellon Beach

     Eastern 'type' Chiffchaff was feeding with 3 Firecrests at Porth Hellick Crossroads

Here is a walnut/carrot cake I made! God that would be amazing! Amazing, because I would of eaten all the carrots and walnuts before I even started making the cake! And more than likely burnt the house down in the process of cooking it! Rachel from the club made a lot of cakes to sell at the school jumble sale today. I helped her out by transporting the cakes to the school and back again and she gave me this beauty. As you can see, I couldn't wait and scoffed some down my neck already and it tasted bloody good! If you ever visit Scilly, make sure you go to the club and have one of Rachel's cakes.

26th November

 The 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS and the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER remained at Lower Moors along with 6 Goldcrests and 15+Chiffchaffs. As I approached the screen at Shooters Pool, the Buzzard was on top of the opposite screen and flew off as soon as it saw my face peer through.

 This YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER has been present at Lower Moors for four days now

                 Two of the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS feeding together at Lower Moors

25th November

 Big Al, Nigel and I left the quay at 7.30 a.m on the rib and with in ten minutes we arrived at Higher Town Quay, St Martins. From here we took our time towards Middle Town to try and locate the Little Owl in the pine belt above the finders house, Viv Jackson. With the bitterly NNE F6 wind blowing the pines all over the shop, it was obvious that the bird was not going to be here. We looked in the more sheltered pines nearby and then Viv arrived and told us that yesterday it flew down towards the campsite below. Here we found it was a lot more sheltered, but I could see straight away that we were not going to find it. We looked around from the main road and then decided to split up.
 After an hour of looking, I decided to walk along the beach where it was also sheltered. Good numbers of waders and then I heard a redpoll sp, overhead from SSW, high in off the sea. I let it go and carried on. The boat was leaving in less than an hour and I came off the beach and joined the coastal path. Then, I heard the redpoll again, near the school and very close, but could I see the bloody thing! It seemed to be louder and percussive than other redpolls I've heard. With the small influx of Mealy Redpolls in the UK at the moment, I wanted to nail this one down. I called Big Al and told him about the bird and I'll return on a later boat. Both Big Al and Nigel were cold and wanted to get back. For the next two hours I went towards Middle Town, returned to the school and back again, but nothing. One more time towards the school and then I gave up.
 I got some cookies from the shop, that I nearly lost to the wind and then braved the cold and blustery conditions on top of The Plains to look for the Hen Harrier that's been present here for the last two weeks.. No luck with that either. However, on the coastal path at English Point, I could hear that loud redpoll coming towards me. Low overhead was this large chunky redpoll with a long tail. It landed on top of a Pittosporum briefly and then carried on towards the Daymark, calling all the time. Through the scope, it was side on and the flanks were pale with broad streaking. Otherwise, it looked like a large Lesser Redpoll. It had to be a GREENLAND REDPOLL!! I've never seen one before and it would be only the third Scilly record, if accepted. Ren and Mush found one on Tresco in the early nineties and in Oct 2004, Higgo found one on Bryher. In the end the bird found me.
 Viv told me that there's snow on the way and I replied, with my teeth rattling, 'It's bloody cold enough for it!'
Met Will at the Club tonight and he told me that he heard a redpoll flyover Porth Hellick, Monday just gone, and thought it was louder than your usual redpoll. I would of thought that it was the same bird.

St Martins
1 GREENLAND REDPOLL,  flammea rostrataro, 1 Stock Dove, fem Kestrel, 2 Bramblings, 2 Water Rails, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Greenshanks, 3 Goldcrests, 3 Snipe, 4 Goldfinches, 5 Grey Plovers, 15+Chaffinches, 25+Redwings, 40+Wood Pigeon and 65+Ringed Plovers 

 Unfortunately, ever since Big Al took away Paul's arms by mistake to get to Paul's coat sleeves, (see the 23rd November), at the time Paul was looking through his bins and the arms have stayed in that very same position! As a result, every time I pointed out a bird, Big Al was always the first one on it without fail before anyone else! However, he kept on bumping into things!

                                             Sunrise over the Eastern Isles

Water Rail out in the open, feeding with Starlings in a bulb field next to the cricket pitch, St Martins

My one pound cookies that I was scoffing down my neck before a gust of wind blew them out of my hand, while at the same time, I was trying to get on to a bird! I was not too happy. Now, what's more important, the bloody bird or cookies? What about the pound? Well it's not the bird! Anyway, they tasted a lot better than before and were gone in a few seconds before that gust of wind blew them away over the cliff!.

                           Adult male Brambling with a male Chaffinch at Middle Town
1st winter male Blackbird scoffing all the berries before the Waxwings arrive in their 100's!

                     Looking over Crow Sound from English Point to Innisidgen, St Mary's

                                  Dark clouds over Lower Town Quay

24th November

 It was a very cold NNE breeze with bright warm sunshine. At 8.00 a.m, I found myself at Porth Hellick beach looking at this stunning sunrise over Carmel Rock, when I heard a Reed Bunting overhead and land in the reeds behind. It flew across to the bushes at the entrance of Porth Hellick trail and then flew high SSE. There was also a notable increase in Redwings, Woodcocks, Snipe and Goldcrests, but a lot of the Chiffchaffs had cleared out and I could only find 3 Firecrests. Jim had caught his first Scilly Woodcock, however, I wasn't there to see it.
  At mid-day, I had a pasta dinner, washed down with grapefruit squash, (very good), at Big Al's and then we scanned off Star Castle, but all we managed to see was the first Black Throated Diver of the winter and 3 Great Northern Divers. Big Al wanted to see the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS at Lower Moors and we got all three of them as well as the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER. Big Al also had a Firecrest, that I missed. The Sibe Chiffs nearly out numbered the Chiifchaffs with only six of the latter species! We were going to Bar Point next, but the wind got up and the rain came in and we decided to call it a day. When I returned home, Ren called me to say that Viv Jackson has got a LITTLE OWL in the pine belt, Middle Town, on St Martins!!!! WHAT!?

Porth Hellick-Holy Vale
1 Reed Bunting, 3 Firecrests, 1 Skylark, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Brambling, 1 Buzzard, imm male Sparrowhawk, 4  Woodcocks, 4 Greenshank, 10 Snipe, 10+Chiffchaffs, 20+Golcrests and 20+Redwings

Green Farm-Pelistry
1 Linnet, 1 Woodcock, 1 Fieldfare, Fem Sparrowhawk, 20+Blackbirds, 25+Goldfinch and 35+Redwing

Lower Moors
1 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS, 2 Bramblings, 6 Chiffchaffs, 10+Redwings and 10+Goldcrests 

                Reed Bunting very briefly calling at Porth Hellick before flying high SSE

                    The sun shinning through the trees on the loop trail, Porth Hellick

                                        Two photos of the path going through Holy Vale

23rd November

 Warm, sunny and still. Yesterday was good, but today was even better! Went to see Jim at Porth Hellick first thing this morning and we trapped 2 Chiffchaffs, 'collybita'. A slow walk back to the taxi, with a detour around the loop, found 4 Firecrests and as I joined the main path, a CETTI'S WARBLER called to my left! It wasn't until ten minutes later that it called again. It was there, skulking at the bottom of the brambles and reeds in front of me, calling on and off, but could I see the bloody thing! If it wasn't for me doing a taxi, then I would of stayed there until I saw it! This is the female that Jim trapped in October and retrapped again a few weeks ago. Before this, I had only seen two birds on Scilly. So, I would like to try to get to grips with this one, if it stays. As I approached the taxi, I could hear another Firecrest by the crossroads. It was obvious that there had been a small influx of Firecrests, however, there seemed to be less numbers of Chiffs and crests.
 After doing the taxi, I parked at Porth Mellon and here there were 2 1st winter Common Gulls. At the Dump Clump, the first bird I saw was a single Firecrest followed by a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER. Both birds showed well and moved on. In fact that's all I saw, it was dead in there!
 At Lower Moors, I met Higgo and while we stood there for a few minutes, talking on the path, a Woodcock got up right beside us. Also, I got a call from a local, describing a perfect Waxwing that she had seen yesterday, by the hides at Lower Moors! Higgo ventured into his new home, Shooters Pool and I made my way to the hides. There was no sign of it but I did hear all 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS. The first I located by song, while at the same time, The other two birds were calling nearby to each other. As I suspected, this confirmed identification of all three birds. The YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER from yesterday, started feeding with one of the Sibe Chiffs and both birds showed very well. Severn Bramblings were also here but did not hold yesterdays cracking male.
 A ten minute look at a the back of Rose Hill found 4 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest, that was showing down to a meter away, but could I video the bloody thing!? 

Porth Hellick
1 CETTI'S WARBLER, 5 Firecrests, 1 Brambling, fem & male Blackcap, fem Sparrowhawk, 2 Coot, 10 Redwings, 8 Teal, 7 Snipe, 4 Goldfinch, 6 Goldcrests, 15+Chiffchaffs, 16 Moorhen and 30+Chaffinch

Lower Moors-Rose Hill
1 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS, 1 Firecrest, 2 Woodcocks, 6 Goldcrests, 7 Bramblings and 25+Chiffchaffs

 I picked Big Al up just after two and we made our way to Innisidgen. Here we scanned Crow Sound and got 3 fem Common Scoters, 10 Great Northern Divers, 16 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Shelducks. While looking over towards Tresco, a white-winged gull came into my view and I shouted, adult Iceland Gull! By now Paul had joined us and we all watched the gull circling the sound before it flew towards the Eastern Isles. It was getting late and the sun was going down quickly and it was very cold. We all walked towards Bar Point and on the way I looked towards the Eastern Isles and picked up 2 RISSO'S DOLPHINS! At Bar Point, I found an imm Black Redstart on the rocks followed quickly by the fem Red-breasted Merganser flying towards St Martins.
  A great day out, I won my game of pool for the Club A Team, later on in the evening and Arsenal lost! Things couldn't get better really!

Innisidgen-Bar Point
1 Adult Iceland Gull, Fem Red-breasted Merganser, Imm Black Redstart, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Shelducks, 3 Common Scoters, 10 Great Northern Divers and 2 RISSO'S DOLPHINS  

                  YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER showing very well at Lower Moors

                  One of 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS singing and feeding in the sun

Here we see the HIGGO MONSTER at home, Shooters Pool. Before I arrived, I could hear him doing his mating call, but like all the birds, as soon as I got the camcorder out, it shut up and dived into cover. Look out for it! It's very scary looking and talks like, 'Ye know wha I mea like'

While watching the 2 1st winter Common Gulls at Porth Mellon, the HIGGO MONSTER traced me down and tried to creep up on me. If it wasn't for that distinctive sound of rigga boots and a Wolverhampton accent, then he would of got me. However, I was too quick, but as you can see by his behaviour, he wasn't very pleased that he had not seen any birds all day! In fact all week! No, all year! Not surprised with them bloody bright yellow waterproofs on. Anyway, I was lucky to get away, but next time it could be different.

                    At the Dump Clump, this little fellow followed me wherever I walked

 Big Al and Paul watching the Red-breasted Merganser disappear towards St Martins. It also looks like Big Al nicked the sleeves off Paul's coat, while he wasn't looking! I think he might of taken his arms as well by mistake!
22nd November

 Cold NNW breeze with sunny spells. Today saw an increase of Chiffchaffs with over 50 birds present at only two sites. Also with them were up to 3 maybe 5 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS! This included the bird from yesterday, calling at Porth Hellick while not far away, another bird was calling. The latter bird has been present in the same patch for over two weeks now.
 At Lower Moors, I could hear a singing male and quickly made my way to where I thought it was. I found it straight away, only to see it being joined by a second bird! While I videoed both these birds, another bird was singing and calling close by. I guess this was the bird I heard and as a result of trying to find it, I bumped into these two birds instead! Although these two birds looked very good for Siberian Chiffchaff, I did not hear them and therefore they go down as possibles? The singing bird I continued to search for and with another burst of song, I located it. While observing it, it continued to sing on and off and showed well. If the other two birds were Siberian Chiffchaffs, then I could of seen up to 5 different birds!

           2 maybe 3 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS at Lower Moors included this singing male

                           One of the three SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS at Lower Moors

                                   Same bird as above that did not show very well

 Before I saw all the Sibe Chiffs, I went to see Jim at Porth Hellick ringing station. While I was there, he trapped, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackbirds and 5 Siskins flew over. Porth Hellick also hosted 2 Firecrests, 1 Skylark, 3 Bramblings, 10+Goldcrests and 20+Chiffchaffs.
 Over 30 Chiffchaffs were at Lower Moors with 2 Bramblings and new in was a single YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER that showed very well.
 For the third time running, I saw the Great Spotted Woodpecker! This time it was low in dense cover at holy vale and I could make out that it was a female. While passing Old Town, one of the passengers in my taxi had heard, from Radio Cornwall, that there was a Spoonbill in the bay and she would of liked to have seen it. She was in luck. I spotted it flying high over the bay towards Hugh Town. When she had seen it, I don't think she was that impressed.

                    Two of the Chiffchaffs that Jim trapped this morning at Porth Hellick.
The bottom photo is a bog-standard Chiffchaff 'collybita'  while the top photo is showing more white on the underparts and in the supercilium, a greyish cast on the upperparts and an all black bill. This makes it a colder looking bird and maybe an eastern type Chiffchaff?

                                   A cracking adult male Brambling at Lower Moors

                                   One of the three Bramblings at Porth Hellick

                   YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER showing very well at Lower Moors

21st November

Porth Hellick
 A cold ENE breeze with patchy cloud. One maybe 2 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS were showing very well in the willows with a single Firecrest near the hides
1 Siskin, male Blackcap, 1 Skylark, 1 Coot, fem Sparrowhawk, 2 Mute Swans, 3 Bramblings, 4 Woodcocks, 4 Snipes, 10+Fieldfares, 10+Goldcrests and 15+Chiffs. 

                      Brief footage of the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF at Porth Hellick

             SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF sharing the same bushes as the Firecrest below

                      It was a pretty dull morning when I took this shot of a Firecrset

Call of the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, 'tristis' with a single call of a 'collybita' in the background

20th November

Porth Hellick
 A ENE wind with sunny spells. Again I saw the Great Spotted Woodpecker briefly in flight by the large pines and a Swallow flew by. Another Coot joined the lone bird that's been present on the pool since October.
20+Fieldfares, 3 Redwings, 30+Meadow Pipits, 12+Chiffs, 8 Goldcrests, 3 Pied Wagtails and 1 Woodcock.

Lower Moors
 Mid-day and I picked up Higgo to go and cut back the reeds at Shooters Pool. I told him, you need more than Wellingtons. The water was way to high and there was no way I could help him. Out came his waders and away he went, leaving me to go and look around. Maybe up to 3 eastern type Chiffs, but not one of them called and the drake Wigeon was with a fem Gadwall. 
 1 Siskin, male Blackcap, 1 male and 3 fem Bramblings, 6 Goldcrests and 10+Chiffs

 As we drove past, we could see the 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese at Porth Mellon

19th November

 A cracking start to the day with bright warm sunshine. Ren, Big Al and I enjoyed the 1st winter Spoonbill showing very well as it fed in Old Town Bay. This is the first time, on the Scillies, that I've observed one this close. Normally they are far out on a remote rock or a flyover, like the two birds in October. We all went to Bar Point and met Mick and here we could only find 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Little Egrets, 10+Curlews and 7 Whimbrels. Last year six Whimbrels overwintered and it looks like these birds are set to winter this year. Lots of flies in the seaweed and attracted a male Blackcap and a Grey Wagtail. Also a Brambling flew over. In the The Roads there were 2 fem Common Scoters and the adult Common Gull.

 At 23.30, as I dove home, a Long-eared Owl flew in front of me at the bottom of Airport Lane.

                       Top two shots of Spoonbill at Old Town Bay, taken by Martin Goodey

                            The Spoonbill lifting off from Old Town Bay Joe Pender


                              A very rare sight to see a Spoonbill like this on St Mary's

                             This is also a very rare sight on St Mary's. A SMASH UP!!
     Fortunately both drivers were not hurt in the accident that took place on Porthloo Lane.

17th November 

 Well we did get the heavy overnight rain and gale farce winds and first thing this morning, there was slight southerly breeze and it turned out to be a pleasant day. At Porth Hellick there were 2 Mute Swans and it or another Little Grebe on the pool. In the surrounding area I found a single Firecrest and Woodcock, 1st winter Sparrowhawk, 2 Pied Wagtail and up to 12+Chiffs. I've heard the Great Spotted Woodpecker on nearly every visit, since it was fiest found by Alan in September, between Holy Vale and Porth Hellick. Today it was in the pine belt at Salkee and made a short flight down to the trees below and that's all I got of it.
 The Buzzard showed well at Maypole triangle where there was also 40+Goldfinches in fields nearby. The taxi had to go into the garage this afternoon to have a new brake light switch. This gave me opportunity to go up the road to Lower Moors. A YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was very vocal, but could I see the bloody thing! The 2 Swallows were still flying around the chicken fields. Other birds included, 1 Firecrest, 1 Woodcock, fem Sparrowhawk, fem Blackcap, 5+Bramblings, 10+Goldcrests and 20+Chiffs.

A fly zooms passed and this Chiffchaff catches it! Also notice the Willow Warbler coloured legs.

  Same Chiffchaff as in the video. Note the white fringing to the tertials and again the orangy legs. This bird has   been in this area for over two weeks now and this is only the second time I've seen it!

                            Up to 5 Bramblings were at Lower Moors. This one is an adult male

16th November

 I didn't leave the house until early afternoon. I did me patch first and a fem Sparrowhawk flew by followed by the Buzzard. 2 Goldfinches and a single Skylark were the only other birds of note. At Bar Point, a 1st winter male Sparrowhawk flew out across The Roads towards Tresco. On the rocks, there were 2 Pied Wagtails, 2 Whimbrels, 12 Curlews and a record for me, 14 Bar-tailed Godwits! I had to do a taxi and as I returned to the van along the top bank, a cracking male Black Redstart flew below me. How much I wanted to have a look at it, but didn't have time. When I did the taxi, I called Paul about the Black Red and picked him up at Old Town. We couldn't relocate it, but when all the waders flew off, we counted 18 Bar-tailed Godwits! There was also a single Chiff and an adult Common Gull. By now the southerly winds had started to pick up a little and it was predicted overnight heavy rain with winds gusting up to 50 mph by mid-night!
 I had a drink with Higgo at the club tonight and he told me he visited Bryher today and he got a YELLOW-BROWED WARBER and observed flocks of Wood Pigeons coming in off the sea, totaling, 2300!! The largest flock was 500! It made my 250 look pretty crap!

                                   What species did you think owned this nest?

15th November

 A stunner of a day with bright warm sunshine. Just before ten this morning, I stood at Maypole triangle and in ten minutes I did a vis mig. Straight away I picked up 100+Wood Pigeons coming from the south and from much higher above, another 150+ joined them and they all headed off, NNE, as you can see in the video. A single Skylark was heard and 7 Goldfinches went through, SW. At Porth Hellick crossroads, there was no sight or sound of the Dusky Warbler. Two Firecrests and the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF were nearby with 10+Chiffs. Only 2 Fieldfares and a handful of Redwings, but throughout the morning you could hear very small flocks of Chaffinches flying over in all directions. With them you the odd Brambling and Goldfinch called.
 Lower Moors was very quiet and all the Yellow-browed Warbles from a few days ago had cleared out. There were over 20+Chiffs, with 1 maybe 2 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFFS, 1 Firecrest, 1 Woodcock, 1 drake Wigeon, a fem Sparrowhawk and the highlight was a LAPLAND BUNTING heard heading NW.

                          Over 250 Wood Pigeons was the most I've observed on Scilly!

14th November

 With Paul we scanned The Roads from Star Castle. All we got was 2 fem Common Scoters off the E end of Samson and 5 Great Northern Divers. Three of the latter were also off Watermill, where we also observed over 40 Redwings and 6 Chaffinches go high out to sea, NE. At Porthloo, the adult Common Gull was feeding with 110 Black-headed Gulls. 

13th November

Today was still with patchy cloud. A Skylark and 2 Bramblings flew over the house this morning.

Porth Hellick
1 DUSKY WARBLER, 1 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, 1 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, (heard only) 1 Firecrest, 2 Woodcock, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Fieldfare, 10+Goldcrests and 15+Chiffs.

Lower Moors
2 Swallows, 3 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS, 1 SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, 1 drake Wigeon, 3 Woodcock, 4+Brambling, (heard only) 20+Chiffs.

                           One of the YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS at Lower Moors today!

                      Some brief footage of a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER at Lower Moors

                              Drake Wigeon at the Shooters Pool, Lower Moors

 A total of 4 YELLOW-BROWED WARBLERS with the three at Lowers Moors in the same areas as they were two days ago. While watching the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF and Firecrest, I could hear the Great Spotted Woodpecker from Salkee. Only 1 Fieldfare and a few Redwings and in the late afternoon, Paul and I watched 2 Swallows hawking around the chicken fields at Parting Carn. The DUSKY WARBLER showed well at Porth Hellick crossroads and the drake Wigeon had moved from the latter site to Shooters Pool.

12th November

Overnight rain and winds, F 8-9 W, continued well into the day. A quick look at Porth Hellick found a drake Wigeon, 7 Teal, included a drake and 7 Greenshank. It was way to windy for anything else, but just before I got back into my taxi, I could hear the DUSKY WARBLER.


11th November

 A force 7-8 WSW hit the islands this morning with squally showers. At Porthloo there was an adult Common Gull, 50+Black-headed Gulls and the 3 pale bellied Brent Geese. 4 Pied Wagtails were on the beach.          

The 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese braving the windy conditions at Porthloo

10th November

Porth Hellick
 A beautiful morning with a light SW. As soon as I opened the door of the taxi at Porth Hellick, over 35 Redwings flew over SE. Then 5 Fieldfares heading in the opposite diriction, followed by a Brambling. It was obvious they had just come in off the sea. For the last week I've been seeing up to 10 Redwings and 1-2 Fieldfares. Thrushes were flying everywhere including a flock of 4 Blackbirds, E. A Reed Bunting flew over high, NW and single Golden Plover, Siskin and Skylark were heard. Lapwings coming high in off the sea included two flocks of 7 and 8, N. Small numbers of Chaffinches were also moving through and with them were 4 Linnets. This all took place between 8-8.30 as I had to go and do a taxi. While this was all happening, the DUSKY WARBLER was calling on and off behind me and the Siberian Chiff was also calling nearby with 10+Chiffs. On the pool there was a Little Grebe, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, 7 Greenshanks and a pair of Teal.
The Buzzard was taking advantage of the warm sunshine and the fem Merlin was taking turns in chasing a crow.

                   A Little Grebe at Porth Hellick was my first in two years on Scilly!

 At Holy Vale you could hear Goldcrests everywhere and with them were 2 Firecrests. Lots of Blackbirds were feeding with 100+Redwings in the leaf litter and the Great Spotted Woodpecker was vocal. In the fields nearby more thrushes, Chaffinches, 20+Meadow Pipit and 2 Brambling. All the time I could hear Redwings and Fieldfares overhead.

 In the afternoon I made a visit to Lower Moors and the first bird I saw was a YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER! It showed very well and after 10 minutes I moved on to find a brighter individual!  There was also 10+each of Chiffs and Goldcrests, 2 Woodcocks, 2 Bramblings and a single Firecrest that had a ring on it's right leg and I found yet another YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER!  Just before dark, the 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese were at Porthloo.
 Before I went to Porth Hellick this morning, I saw Graham at Old Town walking up to airport and offered him lift? He declined and told me he had plenty of time and continued on walking. Ten minutes later he found a RICHARD'S PIPIT in the fields on the track from Ennor Close to the airport!

Highlights and Totals throughout the day

1 Little Grebe
Great Spotted Woodpecker
3 Firecrests
150  Chaffinches+
5 Skylarks
15 Lapwings

                                  One of the 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese at Porthloo

9th November

 I woke up to a gale force NW and as a result it took me half an hour to see my first bird! A Goldcrest followed by a Wren at Holy Vale. I heard the DUSKY WARBLER calling as I approached the crossroads at Porth Hellick. In the more sheltered parts there were 10+Chiffs roaming around with 15+Blue Tits and at a Carn Friars there was a good count of 12 Moorhens in one field. 5 Stock Doves and 4 Siskins flew over. Also a fem Merlin had a go at a crow at Carn Friars. The same bird from a few days ago no doubt?  Paul called me to say he had a Hen Harrier at his place, Trenowth. I checked the fields at Telegraph and 2 Skylarks were the only birds of note.

6th November  

Porth Hellick
 As I was looking for the DUSKY WARBLER, which was still present, it was obvious there had been a small increase in birds. You could hear overhead, thrushes, Siskins and Chaffinches and a Skylark. A walk around produced singles of YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER, SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF, and the Great Spotted Woodpecker, (heard). Returning to the crossroads, I met Jim and we both enjoyed the Dusky Warbler. As I continued to walk towards Holy Vale, Graham from St Agnes, was trying to catch me up. He was looking for the Dusky, but before he went off to look for it again, we both observed a female Merlin flushing everything out of the large pines and then chasing everything and I mean everything! First to come out was a Mistle Thrush! Followed by a Blackbird and then a Wood Pigeon! It chased the pigeon and then turned it's attention to a Kestrel before it settled in a tree in Holy Vale. It was like it was playing around. Other birds included 20+Chiffs, 10+Goldcrests, 2 Siskins and the small Sparrowhawk?

Lower Moors
 Again I flushed LEO, but this time out of a different tree. While in the wood I heard a LAPLAND BUNTING fly over and the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was singing on and off.  The Willow Warbler, 15+Chiffs, fem Blackcap and the dark male Peregrine were also present. 2 Linnets were worth noting.

    Nearly put my foot on this big chap! Don't see many of these on the island because the Purple Herons, Little Bitterns and Cattle Egrets have swallowed them all up before they grow to be this big!

 It's my birthday today! Look what my girlfriend brought me, what else, but SPIDERMAN socks! 6 amazing pairs in total!

                    Heres 4 of the pairs that I managed to hold back and not open yet.

          This pair I've worn all day and I can't wait to put them back on when I've taken this photo!
               These I just can't take off and I like them so much that I'm going to wear them in bed! Oh, the other pair, in the second photo, I'm wearing underneath these! It does get cold on Scilly.

5th November

 The DUSKY WARBLER was at it's usual place at Porth Hellick, but around the loop trail I found a Garden Warbler. This was pretty late, but not as late as one I had on the 22nd November at Newford, '01. Nearby there was a SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF and 6+Chiffs. The SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF at Lower Moors was located by it's Bullfinch like call and the Willow Warbler popped up with 5+Chiffs.

DUSKY WARBLER at Porth Hellick crossroads

4th November 

 At Lower Moors, I got a bit close to an ivy-covered tree and out came LEO! I've seen so many Long-eared Owls fly past me at night while driving the taxi but never found one roosting. I'll keep a watch on this tree from now on. A YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER was calling on and off and there were only 5+Chiffs.



You can also read and see more photos about this very interesting and educational bird on Martin Garner's excellent website, birding frontiers, 

 On the 27th September, I had just left the airport and was driving down the start of the slope. To my right, out of nowhere, a Sparrowhawk alighted on a post about 2 meters in front of me. It was a juvenile bird, but it had buff underparts and brown upperparts with no bars but streaks! Even though there was nothing to compare it with, you could clearly see that it was smaller than your average male Sparrowhawk. It then shot off and chased an alba wagtail and landed in a nearby tree. Now, I've just observed a small juvenile male Sparrowhawk with streaked underparts and that's all I really got on it, because it all happened in a few seconds. I thought I would leave it and see if any other birders might get to see it better than me. I did tell a few of the local birders at the time, but that was it.
 The following morning, I was up early and went looking for the small accipiter. I met Chris Jones, a visiting birder, at Higher Moors and when he had finished telling me what he had seen that morning, I asked him if he had seen a small Sparrowhawk? I was surprised when he said yes! He had observed it fly through half an hour ago with a female Sparrowhawk. He also saw it well on a rock at Peninnis Head, yesterday! I then asked if he saw very buff underparts and did it look small? He also told me that he had visited America. 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' and he said yes! Understandably, he didn't like to say to me or anyone else, that he thought it was showing some characteristic of Sharp-shinned Hawk. And that's the position I was put in.

 What do I do? Well, I could leave it and like yesterday, hope that someone else gets on to it or, I could alert birders of the presence of this small accipiter on St Mary's and then everyone will hopefully see it, what ever it is? It was decided to put the news out and it came out on Birdnet as, 'small accipiter showing some characteristics of a first winter male Sharp-shinned Hawk'. Why the hell the other pager service put it out as a 'small accipiter, probably an adult male Sparrowhawk', I will never know!? I thought that adult males are blue and juv/first winters are brown on the upperparts. Are they judging me? Did they see the bird? Is there something I've missed? In fact, it was almost three weeks later that the other pager service decided to put the news out in the same way as Birdnet. Birdnet put the news out, because it was an interesting bird that needed to be seen. While, the other pager completely blanked it and put the news out how they wanted to put it out! How can that be right? If these two pagers put out how they wanted to put the news out, without getting any information on the finding of the bird, then surely, a lot of people would be upset.

 Over the following month, I saw the bird very briefly about six times. It was also being seen by lots of visiting and local birders and they all said on how small it was. Those who saw the underparts, commented that it had streaks and couldn't believe it was a Sparrowhawk. However, it was never observed well enough to be
identified. Until that was when Jim Askin trapped it at Porth Hellick and even then, when it was in the hand, it was not positively identified!

3rd November

  Alan called me early this morning, 'Jim's caught a small Sparrowhawk with streaks'! I knew he had trapped my bird and thought at last the id will be clinched. However, as it was, it didn't turn out to be all that easy. I ran ahead to the ringing station at the back of the reeds at Porth Hellick and found Higgo was all there. Jackquelin took the accipiter out from the bag as Alan turned up, who I brought down in the taxi 10 minutes ago! Everyone was excited with what we were going to see, especially me.


wing length 191
tail 145
bill length 11, bill depth 8.5
tarsus 55.1
hind claw 11.8

“Stephen Menzie and Mark Grantham say that as a juvenile male, wing length shows it to be at the absolute bottom end for juvenile male Sparrowhawk but it’s still 8mm too long for even the largest Sharp-shinned Hawk. So the impression that it was a small bird was certainly correct.” Tom McKinney of Birdnet.
 On this juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawks underwing, you can see dark pencil line streaking and heart-shapes turning to bars where the axillaries feathers overlap the underwing coverts. Some of the heart-shapes foam bars. In comparison, the small accipiter also shows heart-shapes and dark pencil line streaking in the same areas and less or no barring on the underwing coverts. Also, the feathers on this sharpie are pale with dark markings and on the small accipiter, it's buff with dark markings.

 This juvenile male Sparrowhawk shows brown broad barring on the underparts, especially the flanks, and the undertail coverts are clean. Note that there are some brown broad streaking on the upperbreast only. If this extended all the way down the breast, this could be a good candidate for a possible Sharpie. If you look closely you can see one or two long heart-shapes on the underwing coverts, but no streaking. Otherwise, it's spotting with bars.

                Typical barring on the underwing and underparts of this juvenile female Sparrowhawk

     On this juvenile male Sparrowhawk, both the underwing coverts and underparts show very brown broad        strong barring. The streaking on the throat, is typical of Sparrowhawks.

On the small accipiter, the underwing coverts show clearly heart-shapes and pencil line streaking. This points more to a Sharpie than a Sprawk which should show bars on the coverts, although, the latter can vary a lot. However, this is the only features on the bird that Sharpie shows and Sprawk does not. The barring, restricted to only the flanks, should emerge from the streaking on the upper-side of the breast instead of clear cut like the shot above and the underparts should be pale with buff streaking rather than dark streaking on buff underparts.

 A juvenile male Sharp-shinned Hawk. Again, note the heart-shapes, but the streaking is broader than that of the other Sharpie. The underwing must vary on most Sharpies, however, the heart-shapes are always present.

 To fill in some more of the identification ideas Martin Garner on his website asked Paul French to comment as he knew he has been looking at this subject for a while.

 “The Scilly hawk is actually quite an interesting individual. At first glance on the flight shots I was very happy it was small, but certainly a Sparrowhawk. On second glance, there are a couple of features that draw attention. The underparts do resemble Sharp-shinned, as it is distinctly streaked on the upper breast, and the pattern on the lower breast certainly recalls individual S-s Hawks in the NHM collection with a dark shaft widening out into a lozenge shape. However, the flank and thigh feathering betrays its identity as a Sparrowhawk. Here, broad bars spread out across the feather. Another factor is the rufous ground colour to the breast. Not that unusual in Sparrowhawk, but all of the Sharp-shinneds I’ve looked at were much paler, with a whitish ground colour. Also, the tail bars on Sharpie tend to be more prominent than Sprawk, and the back shot below (on blog) shows them to be quite dull.

N.B. when comparing biometrics of North American and Eurasian taxa, the wing length of American raptors is measured as unflattened chord, and British ringers generally use flattened chord.”

 As you can see in the left photo, the streaking continues all away from the lower throat to the center of the breast. From the upper-breast down, there are some dark isolated diamond and tear drop shapes and you can just see some dark barring on the right side flanks. The front of the lower throat shows dark pencil like streaking, broadening slightly, further down the breast. Sharpie can show these shapes, however the streaking is not right.

Dick Forsman commented on 'That this bird shows streaking to that of other Sparrowhawks he has observed and always the barring is restricted to the flanks and breast'.

                                                           Of the latter, you can make out that there is no barring on the
lower breast, which we also observed when in the hand. It was
white with only one or two dark spotting.

 “ … although not easy to see from any of my shots. This
bird definitely did not have bars down the central third of the undersides. The flanks and thighs were clearly barred but the breast and belly were not. I think we are all now happy that it wasn’t a Sharpie but it was certainly not your average male Sparrowhawk.”

This was a comment from my good friend, Martin Goodey,
who lives just down the road from me, on Martin Garner's website.

 Here in the left photo, you can see dark broader streaking on the upper-breast and instead of the steaking emerging into baring on the flanks, it's kind of all messy. What you can not see are the pencil line streaking on the throat. The undertail coverts are white with buff markings. The comments that came from the experts are, 'That Sharpies have white undertail coverts'. I thought Sparrowhawks also have white undertail coverts as well.

Also on this shot, the dark barring on the flanks are looking more like Sparrowhawk.

 In this shot, well it might as well be a Sparrowhawk.

 All these streaks, barings, markings all point to Sparrowhawk, except for the underwing coverts showing streaks and heart-shapes rather than barring of a Sparrowhawk, all I can say is, thank god Jim caught this one! Jim told me that when he pulled it out of the net, although a small bird, it felt like a female! Attentions, from some other birders, have switched towards a possible female Sharpie, as the measurements are spot on! Jim also said that he couldn't really put a name to this accipiter and he had to put a name of a species in his book, Sparrowhawk. I think there's no doubt that this is a very unusual Sparrowhawk and we have got a lot to learn from it.

 All photos were taken by Martin Goody.

Footage of the small accipiter being ringed at Porth Hellick

A shot of the small accipiter taken by Mark Yates. Note, what looks like broad buff barring on the flanks and buff streaking on the underparts, Also, it gives the impression of being smaller and shorter tailed than that of a Sparrowhawk. In the field, everyone commented on how small it was and it flew more like a Merlin and that's the impression I got when ever I saw the bird.

 Here is a shot taken of a Sparrowhawk at Flamborough by Brett Richards, showing what looks like streaks and no bars. Brett told me 'In the field the bird seemed to show indistinct barring on the lower breast, not at all apparent in the photo, where the streaking appears to extend all the way down.'

Below are some shots showing variations in the underparts on three different juvenile Sparrowhawks. Note that they are all barred.

 Overall I have no experience with Sharp-shinned Hawk and thought this was a very interesting bird that everyone should see as it did show some characters of a Sharp-shinned Hawk and put the news out. Even in the hand it was not identified. In the end, it's a very interesting and unusual Sparrowhawk that looks like it might winter here.

 I would like to thank everyone who helped me out on this Sparrowhawk

Porth Hellick
1 DUSKY WARBLER, 1 Siberian Chiff and 1st winter male Sparrowhawk?

2nd November

Porth Hellick
1 DUSKY WARBLER, 1 Sibe Chiff, 1 Lapwing, 1 Brambling, 1 Woodcock, 10+Chiff and 5+Goldcrest

A fem Red-brested Merganser was close inshore at Porth Mellon and Firecrest was at Lower Moors.

                            The Red-breasted Merganser at Porthmellon Martin Goodey

1st November

Porth Hellick-Holy Vale
1 DUSKY WARBLER, 1 Brambling, male Blackcap, 2 Siskin and 10+Chiff

 As I approached the back of the Woolpack, I noticed a 20+Starlings flying out S-SW. This was then followed by a mixed flock of 4 Redwings, 20+Chaffinch and House Sparrow, all going SW. Four Sparrows returned 2 minutes later. It was obvious there was a movement moving out and sure enough more Starlings were heading in the same direction. Between 8.45 and 10.00 some 500+Starlings in flocks from 20-100+were on the move. A total of 13 species were observed all flying S-SW. The highlights were a single Swallow, a flock of 3 Blackbirds and 3 Grey wagtails and watching 20+House Sparrows circling high above my head, on a number of occasions, making the crazy decision wheather to join the party and see what there missing! They all chickened out.

Here are the totals:

1 Swallow
6 Siskin
10 Meadow Pipit
1 Alba Wagtail
7 Redwing
3 Blackbird
fem Sparrowhawk
1 Fieldfare
3 Stock Dove
1 Skylark

The 3 pale-bellied Brent Geese from Porthloo flew N past Morning Point heading hugging the coast and the dark male Peregrine was over the hospital.