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Monday, 28 February 2011

Firecrest at Porth Hellick

Sunset looking from Porthloo

The male Firecrest at Porth Hellick

  I thought it would be worth checking out Porth Hellick for the Short-eared Owl this evening. When I arrived, I found Ritchie leaving one of the hides. He moved on to look at the beach, while I went into the hide he had just come out of. I had been in there for a few minutes when I heard a male Firecrest singing outside. I rushed out and started looking for it. Ritchie returned and we both saw the Firecrest showing well, on and off, for the next ten minutes. This is more than likely the same male we saw here on the 17th Feb. It was almost dark and I made my way back to the road. As I cycled home, I managed to see 2 Woodcock and Pipistrelle Bat fly over in front of me.

With the light almost gone, I was surprised to get these shots of this Firecrest as it played hide and seek!
    At work, I found a Woodlouse and Nesury Web Spider, both in the building of the swimming pool. 

I read later, that the fangs of a Woodlouse Spider are designed to pierce through the hard outer shell of Woodlouse and my skin!

Male Nursey Web Spider at Star Castle

Another shot of the sunset looking from Porthloo

Sunday, 27 February 2011


A very rare sight on St Mary's!  

  There was a cold NW wind throughout the day. So, as Porth Hellick was sheltered, Tony and I arrived there just after 08.00. We there for an hour and from the hide there were 2 fem Wigeon, pair of Teal and 5 Coot. A very unusual sound was heard and in came 4 Canada Geese from a easterly direction! They all landed in the center of the pool and made there way towards the far shore. This is the first time that we have seen Canada's at Porth Hellick and they might be birds from the mainland! However, there are also 4 resident birds on Tresco and therefore we can't be 100% sure where these birds have come from.
  While we were watching the Canada's, a pale Chiffchaff was flycatching just in front of the hide. It showed well briefly for a few minutes before moving on. sure enough it turned out to be a SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF! Joe arrived shortly afterwards and told us that he had over 40 Golden Plover on the airfield.  At the latter site we saw 44 Golden Plover, including a single almost in summer plumage.


From the top, drake Gadwall, Canada Geese and 2 fem Wigeon at Porth Hellick 

  A heavy shower moved through and when the sun reappeared we went down to Lower Moors, but the only birds of note, were a Chiffchaff calling, 12 Meadow Pipit, 9 Curlew and 5 Snipe. Tony dropped me off at home and on the way back we spotted the Buzzard over Carn Vean being mobbed by 2 Carrion Crow.
  Later, I went to town and got a 1st winter male Black Redstart, Grey and 6 Pied Wagtail at Little Porth.

Over 40 Golden Plover at the airfield included this summer plumage individual.  

Buzzard over Carn Vean 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Crossbill at Porth Hellick

An amazing sunset this evening!

 Male Blackbird on the east wall of Star Castle

  For the last four days the islands have been covered in fog and as result stopped flying both in and out of Scilly. Today it was windy, but throughout, there was bright sunshine. I made very quick visit down to Porth Hellick and it was not until I returned to the wagon to find a Crossbill calling in the pines above the doctors house. I had no time to look for it and could still hear it when I got into the van. An unusual record for this time of year.

  At Star Castle I found, what I think is a Linen Weaver Spider? and the largest Common Garden Centipede that I have ever seen.

Linen Weaver Spider? at Star Castle 

Look at the jaws on this Common Garden Centipede! 

A few days ago, I looked below the quay wall and saw, what I thought was the 1st winter Grey Wagtail I had over a week ago. However, I noticed that this bird had a large amount of white on the tertials, proving that it was a different individual. 

Note the large amount of white on the tertials in the top Grey Wag in comparison to the bird below 

Looking from Porthloo out into the Atlantic 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Unusal worm at Star Castle!


  While lifting up a very large flower pot full of earth in the Star Castle garden, I found a very interesting worm underneath that I had never seen before! I picked it up and the impression it gave me, by it's behaviour, was a pale looking leach. It was flesh colored above, paler on the flat underside and sometimes left a slimy trail behind, when moving. I took some shots and then when I finished work, I took to Ren's to have a look. He too had never seen anything like it and asked if he could keep it overnight.
 Later when I returned home, I identified it as an AUSTRALIAN FLATWORM! As it turned out, the first UK record was in 1980 on the Scillies and has more than likely arrived in a plant from down under! Since then they have been taken to the mainland and from the south continued to progress northward and also into Irland!


Before I went home, I had a walk along Porthcressa Bay and observed this adult Great Northern Diver at close range in the bay

  When I did arrive home, a single Woodcock and 20 Snipe flew over the garden heading south towards Porth Hellick, just before dark.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Same birds as last year!

Ritchie and Higgo scanning from Bar Point

  The plan this morning was to walk along from Carn Movel to Innisidgen, hoping to relocate yesterdays Red-necked Grebe. So at 8.30, Ritchie, Higgo and I, walked along the coastal path, scanning all the time, but the SW wind was making it a little difficult to spot everything out in The Roads in the choppy conditions. We didn't make it to Innisidgen. We decided to stop at 12.00, at Bar Point, because it was looking like rain was coming in. In the end, all we could muster were the same birds, that more or less, arrived last year in November and decided to stay and winter. This included, the drake Long-tailed Duck, adult Black-throated Diver, 7 imm/fem Common Scoter, 2 Slavonian Grebe and at Bar Point, the 3rd winter Yellow-legged Gull. At Carn Moval there was a male Merlin with a female shooting across the lengh from St Martins to Tresco in well under a minute! Up to 8 Little Egret and only 9 Great northern Diver were seen on the walk and a fem Sparrowhawk, 3 Whimbrel and 29 Bar-tailed Godwit were at Bar Point.

Great Northern Diver off Bar Point

Curlew and Whimbrel at Bar Point

Cormorant out in The Roads