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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Weevils and Flies!

  This afternoon I had a look at Porth Hellick and met Mick and Big Al there. Before I arrived, I missed a Green Sandpiper by ten minutes and the Marsh Harrier. Mick also flushed a Short-eared Owl on the down! All I saw were a few Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and at the crossroads, 2 House Martin and 4 Swallow.

 This Vine Weevil was in the swimming pool building at Star Castle. Later, when I was cleaning the floor, I found two more!  

 Also, this Double-lined Pug was in the castle

  The last few days I've spent taking photos of flies, as they are amazing creatures when you get close to them. When I find time, I will try and identify them all.

Hoverfly? at Green Farm

Noonday fly (Mesembrina meridiana) These were all over the shop 

Yellow Dungfly, Green Farm 

There were 100's of male bibio lanigerus

Dronefly at Carn Vean 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Winter thrushes linger on!

This female Pochard has been present at Porth Hellick for nearly a month! 

  This morning at Porth Hellick, there were small numbers of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Sand Martin. The Marsh Harrier showed well, landing on the island briefly in the middle of the pool and a female Sparrowhawk went through.

  At Pelistry, there were 4 Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap and on the beach, a single male and 2 imm/fem Black Redstart. A single Swallow and Willow Warbler were also at Star Castle

There were up to 3 pairs of Teal and the female Pochard at PH

  A walk through Holy Vale towards Porth Hellick this evening, found 5 late Fieldfare and 11 Redwing in the tops of the trees. A male Sparrowhawk also put up 30+Linnet in nearby fields. I entered the Sussex hide just before 19.00 at PH, sat down and the first bird I hear, is the Cetti's Warbler! It was pretty vocal, on and off, and although it close, it proved elusive. Robin arrived and we both went to the sluice to look for the Reed Bunting that Martin saw yesterday. There was no sign of it, however, under Camal Rock there were 3 imm/fem and a 2nd summer male Black Redstart. The male was very interesting, the left wing showed the white wing panal, while on the left wing, it was absent! We returned to the hide, heard the Cetti's, observed a male Peregrine briefly and the 35+Sand Martin roosted in the reeds.

Fieldfare and Redwing lingering on at Holy Vale!  

Note that there is only a white wing panal on the left wing of this male Black Redstart. When observed in the field, you could see the brown wing feathers, (which you can clearly see in the record shots).  This made the age of this bird a 2nd year. 

Yet another Blackbird, this time a female, trying it's best to look like a Ring Ouzel at Mount Todden! 

Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar at Carn Vean 

Monday, 28 March 2011

Fog all day!

Looking from Star Castle over town, first thing this morning 

  Fog stopped most of the flying today and when they did start flying, the helicopter broke down for the second day running! What time I did have off work, I made the most of. At the airport, a female and cracking male Black Redstart were flying from post to post, ahead of me, as I drove the wagon very slowly. A very brief look at Lower Moors and there were 15+Sand Martin, 7 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warbler. At Telegraph, 7 White and 4 Pied Wagtail were in field next to the road, the House Martin was still over town with the Sand Martin from yesterday, and a single Willow Warbler visited the Star Castle Garden. The last hour of the day was spent at Porth Hellick. Robin joined me, hoping for the female CETTI'S WARBLER and at 20.45, I heard it call! In twenty minutes, we heard it seven times. Up to 40 Sand Martin, 4 Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, 5 Teal and a single Swallow, Black Redstart and Grey Wagtail were also present.

I've been looking for a Ring Ouzel for the last week. I guess this Blackbird might be the closest I'm going to get to being one! 

A yellow variation of a Common Striped Woodlouse, Star Castle 

A brown and grey variation of Common Rough Woodlouse, Star Castle 

A 1st year Grey Heron at Lower Moors 

This Chiffchaff was one of the 7 Chiffs feeding with 3 Willow Warbler at Lower Moors 

One of the 7 White Wagtail at Telegraph 

Something big blocked my path and I wasn't going to challenge it!   

Sunday, 27 March 2011

A good end to the day!

 Black-tailed Godwit at Porth Hellick 

  I joined Jacklin and Jim first thing this morning, in the foggy conditions, at the ringing station at Porth Hellick. Before I got there, I heard 3 Willow Warbler and 10+Chiffchaff. On the pool, a single Swallow with 23 Sand Martin and the male Merlin flew through. We trapped, a single Chiffchaff and Robin and 2 Great Tit and just before 10.00, Jim and I left Jacklin to continue ringing.

Male Great Tit 

Chiffchaff. Note the pollen at the base of the bill, indercating that this bird is a newly arrival.


  In town, there was a single House and Sand Martin above the main street and at 10.15, I headed straight to quay. From here, Robin was going to Tresco, Higgo, St Martins and myself, St Agnes. I picked the short straw! Except for good numbers of Willow Warbler, Black Redstart and Robin and at St Warne's Well, a single continental Song Thrush and Redwing, there was nothing else of note. I covered almost all the island, but only half of the plantation on Gugh, as I only had half an hour left before I caught the boat back at 15.45. There were up to 11 Black Redstart, including 3 males, at Periglis Cove, but talking to Doug Page later, he told me that he had 18 birds first thing this morning. There were 20+Willow Warbler, 12 on Gugh, and a total of 80+Robin!


St Agnes Lighthouse appearing out of the fog with the Big Pool in the foreground 

Contintental Song Thrush was feeding with a Redwing at St Warne's Well 

Meadow Pipit, male Wheatear and female Kestrel, St Warne's Cove 

Male Blackcap at the Birdcage 

I found 4 male Bibio lanigerus on Gugh 

Six-spotted Burnet Moth caterpiller on Gugh

The ramains of a Robin kill at Periglis. 
   When I returned to St Mary's, Robin saw a Short-eared Owl and Higgo, a female Reed Bunting, that showed very well and 18 Black Redstart. The fog was still lingering as I returned to Porth Hellick at 17.30, and here I met Robin just leaving. I noticed there was a slight increase in Willow Warbler numbers from this morning and as I was talking to Robin, 4 birds moved through together with a single Chiffchaff. In the end, I had a total of 8 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap. There was also an increase in hirundines with, 3 Swallow and 50+Sand Martin. As I walked between the two hides, I heard a Black-tailed Godwit coming in! There's only a handful of Blackwits seen on Scilly each year. So, I called everyone before I got to the Sussex hide to have a look. Sure enough, right in front of me, was a Black-tailed Godwit. It was just beginning to moult into summer plumage, with a tad of dark barring on the belly, a few dark markings on the upperparts and an orangy neck. Robin arrived with in seconds and in the ten minutes he was there, we observed a female Sparrowhawk briefly unsuccessfully try to chase a Sand Martin! A short time later, I heard the female CETTI'S WARBLER calling to the left of the hide on and off! Jim trapped it over a week ago and that was the first time it had been seen this year! Robin returned again, but it had already gone to roost by the time he arrived. However, as we both approached the gate at the crossroads, I looked to my left and shouted 'Long-eared Owl'! It passed by at close range, but was silhouetted and flew up towards Porth Hellick House and landed on top of the tallest pine. After a few minutes, it was off again, towards Holy Vale.

Black-tailed Godwit at Porth Hellick 

Part of the flock of 50+Sand Martin at Porth Hellick  

Can you make out the LEO in the center on top of the pine? No, niether can I, but it's there! 

  A slow start on St Agnes, but a good end to the day!
Shanty taking a liking to my camara!