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Friday, 12 July 2013

New species of starling!

And this is what all the fuss is about. At work guests are coming up to me and asking what species of starling has the orangey/yellow head? I've never seen one like it before. I can't find them in my book. Therefore they must be rare? in fact there were two! I thought, they must being breeding then!? 

And here's a juvenile. Proof that they are breeding on the islands!

And when I told them that they were Starlings, they wouldn't have it! As you see from the above images, pollen is gathered on the Starlings as they reach deep into the flower of New Zealand Flax to feed. They are pretty impressive with or without the pollen.
Two days ago before mid-day, I was at Sallyport and all the Herring Gulls got up making a hell of noise just above me. This happens a lot, but on this occasion they were alarming at maybe a passing Osprey, I thought? I scanned the skies and could see nothing and continued into town. Higgo called 'raptor above the Dutchy Office!' I looked behind 'I can see it' I could clearly see that it wasn't an Osprey, but I could also see that it wasn't one of the local Buzzards. With my groin strain, that I got from canoeing, I ginglery moved as fast as I could and returned to me wagon. The light was perfect and with me bins, as it banked, I could see a dark, shallow forked tail and pale panels on the wings. I called Higgo and told him that it was a BLACK KITE! I grabbed me camera out of the bag and I pointed to where the bird was circling, always moving west. I wasn't quick enough and it disappeared behind Ren's house. Shite! I drove like the devil up to Star Castle and then onto the football field on the Garrison. However there was no sign of it and I had to return to work.

This male Blackbird was sunbathing in the heat of the sun

This family of Swallow have also kept me entertained at work

In the last week there have been clouds and clouds of Red-necked Footman on St Mary's. Also I've seen a few Clouded Yellows.


Male House sparrow, Pheasant, Collard Dove and there first returning 6 Chiffchaff were at the Garrison

In over an hour, Jim trapped 7 Storm Petrel at Deep Point. The first one he pulled out of the net was this French ringed individual!
The second time in two weeks, I've have observed a rat run across in front of me only to see a Herring Gull sweep down and kill it!
In similar circumstances, I was on top of Porth Hellick Down observing a noisy male Blackbird jumping around, while at the same time it would repeatedly stab at something on the ground. I was too far to see what it was, but when the blackbird tossed the object up in the air, I could see that it was a shrew! I tried to get closer and the Blackbird flew off. The Lesser White-toothed Shrew was still alive when I found it, but it soon died. The Blackbird did try to return to the shrew while I was there. Did it kill it because it thought the shrew was a threat? Has anyone else observed thrushes killing shrews? 

The late John peel thought Nina Nastasia was someone that everyone should listen to! I'll second that. She was born in Hollywood, California and is of Calabrian and Irish descent. She began writing songs in 1993, and released her first album, Dogs, in 2000. Only 1,500 copies of the album were initially pressed, with Nastasia putting together the album packaging herself in her apartment. Nastasia sold them at her shows, quickly selling all of them. By the end of the year 2000, the album was out of print. Famed DJ John Peel took notice of the album (calling it "astonishing") after having been given a copy by Steve Albini. Peel began playing songs from it constantly on his radio show on BBC Radio 1. The album, as well as Nastasia, subsequently gained a cult following.


  1. I remember David Hunt saying that he had observed the Starlings, on Tresco, piercing the bases of some of the exotic species of flower and drinking the nectar - who needs Hummingbirds?

    Did Higgo get the BK?

    Laurie -

    1. Yes, you see them every year with pollen on them and you get the same questions from visitors who have never seen them before.

  2. As things on your blog have been quiet for a while I thought you must have gone in search of pastures new.

    1. No, I ain't going nowhere. It's just two very quiet months and not much to write up about. August is just around the corner and stuff will be on the move and give me somethi to write up about.