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Friday, 8 April 2011

NIGHT HERON at Porth Hellick!!

The female Woodchat Shrike was still showing well near the Steval, Garrison.

  What a day! With one good and six new birds for the year! The first new bird of the year was a Sedge Warbler, first thing this morning at Lower Moors. This was followed later on in the afternoon by a Green Sandpiper flying high NE out of the moors.
  There were 3 Wheatear on the golf course, but no sign of the Hooded Crow with the 15 Carrion Crow that were still present. A busy day at work and it was not until the afternoon that I went for a quick walk around the Garrison. The female Woodchat Shrike and a Tree Pipit were near the Steval, but two hours later, in the same area when I returned with Robin, we both got two year ticks. This included a 1st summer male Pied Flycatcher, (my first male in nearly eight years) and a Swift. There were also, 2 Pied Wagtail, 12+Willow Warbler and 7 Chiffchaff. It was obvious, in the SE breeze and warm sun, that birds were arriving on the island throughout the day. Two hours after I left the golf course, Martin told me that he had over 20 Wheatear! At Telegraph, there were 7 Wheatear and at the entrance of Star Castle there were 4 Wheatear. Nearby, in one of the pines, I located a male Pied Flyctcher!

Male Pied Flycatcher at Star Castle Joe Pender 

1st summer male Pied Flycatcher in the dead pines near Steval, Garrison   

This Swift was flying above the Woodchat on the Garrison 

Female Kestrel at the Woolpack, Garrison 

Female Woodchat Shrike near the Steval, Garrison 

 Watch how she alarms three times before diving into cover as the female Kestrel passes by.

  At 20.00, I was at Porth Hellick and the first bird I see is a Short-eared Owl hunting at close range! A flava Wagtail flying NW from the pool calling, I discovered later, was the male Blue-headed Wagtail, and on the pool, there was the first Common Sandpiper of the year and a immature male Sparrowhawk scattered the 25+Swallow, 10+Sand and 6 House Martin. Robin joined me and we decided to walk the loop trail. We had only walked a few steps around the trail, when Robin shouted 'What's that?' 'NIGHT HERON!!' I shouted. It was an adult and seemed to come up from the reeds in front of us and flew low turning right over the Sallows. What away to end the day!

Short-eared Owl performing well at Porth Hellick

The first Common Sandpiper of the year was at Porth Hellick 

  Two other firsts for the year were found today. Ritchie found 3 Ring Ouzel at Deep Point and Higgo visited Tresco and got a Wood Warbler.

Sunrise from my house 


  1. Woodchat Shrike the same bird as photographed on Gugh. Head pattern, peach wash on underparts, colour of mantle, pattern of tertials, greater coverts and state of moult identical. See Robin Mowers pictures on surfbirds for comparison. Rich Mills.

  2. Hi Rich, thanks for your comment. Robin saw both birds on the same day and said that he thought the Angy bird was a male, maybe a 1st summer. (I tend to agree with him) Also, Doug Page was still watching the Angy bird after I found the female on the Garrison. We also make sure that we don't record the same bird visiting different islands as so often is the case.