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Monday, 30 May 2011

Unseasonal Teal at Porth Hellick

Drake Teal at Porth Hellick was an usual record for this time of year 

   A twenty minute look at Porth Hellick this afternoon found a drake Teal feeding in front of the Sussex Hide. The last sighting of Teal was the 18th April when there was a female with  2 ducklings. The following days there was no sign of any Teal until this drake arrived today. Also there was a Little Egret resting on the island, 21 House Martin and nearby, only 1 Turtle Dove was at Salakee.

Turtle Dove feeding with Rabbit at Salakee 

Little Egret in breeding plumage at Porth Hellick 

Drake Teal at Porth Hellick

Female Chaffinch carrying a caterpillar at Porth Hellick

3 fledgling Wrens waiting for mum to arrive at Holy Vale 

Spectacle in the garden 

Scalloped Hazel in the garden 

Looking from Star Castle towards Samson  

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Shag showing features of Mediterranean race (desmarestii)

Shag showing features of Mediterranean Shag 

  On Thursday 19th May, returning from St Martins we were approaching Carn Movarl Point off St Mary's. Before this there are a row of rocks that jet out from Tolls Porth called The Creeb. Right on the tip as we passed in the boat, I noticed a very pale shag and I thought it was a leucistic shag! We had one here a few years ago and so it could be that bird returning. However, on looking at it through my bins, I could clearly see that it wasn't and started to think that it could be the race, Mediterranean Shag, (desmarestii)

  The head, neck, tertials, secondaries and primaries were dark, like that of an adult European Shag, (aristotelis), suggesting a 2nd year bird. The rest of the bird was pale. The underparts were white and the wing coverts were pale with brownish markings. (less markings on the shoulder) The mantle down to the tip of the tail were brown. Beside the European Shag, it did look slightly smaller with a shorter neck, as you can see from the shots below. At the time, I didn't get anything on the bareparts. 
  Although this shag showed many features of Mediterranean Shag it will never be proven. I let everyone know about the bird when I got to St Mary's, but there has been no more sightings of it.

 Any comments welcome

 Note the size difference and slightly longer neck on the European Shag to the left.

The greater coverts are dark centered, forming an obvious narrow dark line, with broad pale fringing. The rest of the coverts look pale, but that could be to do with the light.

I have never observed a European Shag as pale as this one. Extensive white underparts and pale wing coverts contrasting with dark head, neck, tertials, secondaries and primaries.  

Friday, 27 May 2011

2 Turtle Dove at Salakee

The 2 Turtle Dove were distant at Salakee 

  A call from Tony early this evening, got me down to Parting Carn where he had seen the 2 Turtle Dove. When I arrived, my mate Mac from Tyneside who found the Red-flanked Bluetail on St Martins last year, saw the two birds ten minutes ago. We searched around for twenty minutes and, we didn't see them. Damn, I've seen a lot f Turtle Dove this year, but not on the deck. Mac left me to it and I went looking elsewhere and found them feeding in a field at Salakee. I continued on towards the airfield and there were still at least 15+Wheatear present. A look out to sea for ten minutes saw over 50 Manx Shearwater feeding close in shore.

Sitticus pubescens, a jumping spider was at Star Castle. A small but sprightly jumping spider with a large and quite angular head. This spider is usually found around human habitations, sometimes under stones and sometimes in houses.

Lots of Rush Veneers around at the moment. This was 1 of 5 in my house  

Male House Sparrow having a good ole dust bath at work 

Juveniles everywhere!

 3 fledgling Blackcap were at Holy Vale 

There were 2 juvenile Stock Dove at Maypole 

families of Blackbird and Song Thrush are everywhere on the islands at the moment 

Fledgling Dunnock at Parting Carn 

Moorhen bred succesfully at Porthloo Duck Pond and there were 4 broods of Mallard type things!  

In the last week, I have also seen families of Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Young Starlings are just starting to appear, good numbers of juvenile Robins and Dunnocks and wherever you go, you can't help but trip over Blackbirds and Song Thrushes. While on St Martins last week, 2 juvenile Raven were observed.    

3 1st summer Black-headed Gull was a record at Porth Hellick Pool this evening. Before this I have only seen singles. 

Only 20+House Martin and 30+Swallow came into roost at Porth Hellick and a walk from Holy Vale to Porth Hellick produced 3 male Blackcap and 4 male Chiffchaff singing.  

Porth Hellick yesterday  

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


This picture is on my bedroom wall.
Stateside Tour, '74 with The Band. Note, Levon Helm on the drums, Gareth Hudson on the keyboard behind and to the left you can just see the head of the guitar played by Robie Robertson. 

  When I was out today, I hoped that myself and no one else would find anything today of interest. The reason, so this page was for one man only, BOB DYLAN! 
  He's 70 today!

  I've been listening to 'Blood on the Tracks' and 'Oh Mercy' CD'S in the wagon while I've been driving today. But I listen to Dylan almost daily.

  Here are a few videos from the man and others. Youtube have blocked a lot of Dylan's songs and therefore there's a lot of songs that I can't play like, Highway 61, Watch the River Flow, Stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, Hurricane and the list goes on....

Heres a very brief video of his amazing life!

Two great artists recording together. They wrote and recorded a lot of songs together and in '69, did a whole album. Non of the songs were released except for 'GIRL FROM THE NORTH COUNTRY' on Dylan's, 'NASHVILLE SKYLINE' As they were both driving into Nashville, it was Cash who suggested the title of the LP.

I like this cover a lot.

I couldn't find Dylan singing this song from his album, 'OH MERCEY'
so I put this cover on instead.

I had to play this song. He wrote it for the movie, 'Pat Garret and Billy the Kid'

  Martin Sheen was on Desert Island Discs on R4 a few weeks back, and this was one of his all time favorite songs. Sheen went on to say that, when he spent some time with Kristofferson, Kris told him that Peckinpah, the director of the film, wanted him to do the music for the film. Kris told Peckinpah to get Dylan instead! Thank god he did and the song is used in the dying scene with Slim Picken. The music in the film, fits in perfectly and as Dylan didn't have a band, the muscians that you can hear are Kristofferson's band, 'The Borderlords' with Roger Mcguinn of 'The Birds'. Dylan, who was Alias in the film, did a very good job for his first movie.

This is funny! I put this in to show the reaction of Dylan's face when this dancer comes on. As you can see, the dancer is pulled off the stage. You can see that Bob disproves, but he just keeps on playing. His face is a picture!  Very funny!

Recording at New York's Columbia Studios in '65.
I also have this picture on my wall next to Hendrix. Hendrix's hero was Bob Dylan and he wanted to be like him. Hendrix even went so far to copy Dylan's hairstyle. 

Well, it was such a calm sunny evening that I just had to go out. At Holy Vale I met Ritchie and while looking from the top of the vine field for yesterdays Turtle Dove, Ritchie caught a glimpse of an immature male/fem GOLDEN ORIOLE fly across into the Elms. At Porth Hellick crossroads, there was Martin looking for the RED-RUMPED SWALLOW that was seen earlier over PH House. No sign, so we all made our way to the pool. Entering the seaward hide and found Mark and Robin watching a tern! I quickly got onto it and saw a cracking ARCTIC TERN only to see it fly off over the pines, ESE towards Deep Point. This is my first spring Scilly Artic Tern and could prove to be the only one I see this year. The only other tern that I've seen on the pool is a Black Tern in May, '98! There was also a late Snipe and the same number of hirundines as yesterday evening. Ritchie and I went to look for the other Turtle Dove at Salakee, but no joy. On my own, I moved on to the airfield where there was a good count, for this time of the year, of 16 Wheatear.  

The ARCTIC TERN stayed for a few seconds at Porth Hellick before flying off ESE. This late Snipe was also present. Martin Goodey 

Monday, 23 May 2011

R-R SWALLOW still knocking around!

RED-RUMPED SWALLOW came into roost with over 40 House Martin and Swallow at Porth Hellick  

  As I was returning from work to go home, I saw Smoothy at the junction of Rose Hill. 'RED-RUMPED SWALLOW!' I pulled over and for the next twenty minutes we had cracking views of it at close range feeding with 10+House Martin and 4 Swallow.

  At Holy Vale there was a Turtle Dove and a quick scan off Porth Hellick produced at least 20 Manx Shearwater going west. On the pool there were 40+each of House Martin and Swallow and the half an hour before dark, the RED-RUMPED SWALLOW came into roost with the rest of the hirundines.

Araniella opisthographa Spider in the garden 

Xysticus cristatus Crab Spider in the garden  

Juvenile Blackbird at Porth Hellick 

Swallows roosting at Porth Hellick