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Sunday, 11 October 2015


1st winter RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL at Cove Vean, St Agnes

   With the easterlies continued to push our ways and cloudy skies overnight, this morning felt promising and as I opened my door to go out at first light, I could hear a Firecrest. I walked around the top of The Garrison and already I had over 20 Goldcrest. When I got to the Woolpack Elms, feeding with another 10+Goldcrest in the trees were 2 Yellow-browed Warbler and nearby I could hear a Great-spotted Woodpecker. I said 'a' because a female was also seen yesterday on St Mary's as well as the male I had at Newford. At the campsite garden I could hear another Yellow-browed Warbler and when I pished, a total of 3 birds came out together with possibly another bird flying in to the same hedge!
  A shortcut to Upper  Broom on the east side proved to be a good option. There were a small group of birders scanning the Elms like they had got something. I asked what they had got? They weren't to sure and it was thought to be a Chiffchaff. However, Mark Andrews, who found the bird, knew that it wasn't a Chiffy and thinking that it might be an Arctic Warbler, stuck with it. The light was so bad and it was so hard to get on to the bird as it moved through the Elms. All I had observed was the white underparts and it appeared slightly larger than a chiffy and going by the crap pics I took, I was also happy that it was an Arctic Warbler. However, no one had really seen the bird well enough by it's elusive behavior and it was decided to put it out as possible. While I was on the mobile to everyone telling them to get up ere, it is one, it came on the radio that the possible Arctic is now thought to be a YBW! A? How did that happen? No one is going to come for it now. I quickly put the news out as an Arctic Warbler, but when I returned to have better views of it, a Robin spooked it and for the next hour there was no sign of it. Also while on the mobile, I was telling Graham on St Agnes about the Arctic and he told me that he had found a Red-backed Shrike and Red-breasted Fkycatcher in The Parsonage. Earlier, 2 Little Bunting were in the Standing Stones field with another bird at Porth Hellick and a Red-throated Pipit over the Dump Clump. Will Scott had a Hawfinch over Longstones and a  Serin at the stables. A Firecrest showed well and a Yellow-browed warbler was heard. While Higgo and I were have cracking views of 2 more Firecrest, news broke on the radio that Doug Page had found a RED-FLANKED BLUETAIL at Cove Vean, St Agnes!
  As I made another short cut, this time through the east fields of the Garrison back home, I got 100+Meadow Pipit, 1 Wheatear and my 7th Yellow-browed Warbler of the morning! On the radio news came on of a an Osprey at Porth Hellick heading this way and a few minutes later it flew overhead and was later seen on Tresco
Half an Arctic Warbler at Upper broom, Garrison. 

I saw up to a minimum of 7 Yellow-browed Warbler and 4 Firecrest on the Garrison.

This juvenile Osprey was followed all the way from Porth Hellick to The Garrison and at the latter site is where I caught up with it. This is the 5th Osprey I've seen this year.

  12.15 and a boat load of us were off to twitch the bluetail. Five minutes of being at Cove Vean, the bird was on view in one of the three small bulb fields that it was favouring. In the 90 minutes that I was there it was on show most of time. When not on show, it would nip through the hedge to feed in another field only to return again some 10-15 minutes. So pleased that I went for this one after seeing the Newford bird back in 2006.
  The shrike had moved to Broweth where the 'schmidtiiSmall Copper was still present. I would loved to of seen the butterfly, but with so many new birds turning up all over the shop, another Red-backed Shrike on St Martins, on St Mary's, the Artic Warbler showed again, there was a Short-eared Owl and the Short-toed Lark at the airfield and up to 7 Firecrest were seen on the loop trail with a Yellow-browed Warbler at Porth Hellick. I wanted to get back home and into the field.

  On St Mary's, I was going to drive past the Standing Stones field, but a birder told me that there were now 3 Little Bunting there, I changed my mind. When I arrived at the site, the buntings had not been seen for a while and I was asked if I would walk in and gently push them into the two wood piles in the field. It was a success and after putting up a Jack snipe, 50+Meadow Pipit and 2 Reed Bunting, a Little Bunting flew on top of the wood pile. Everyone saw it and were very happy, everyone except me. The damn thing landed on the otherside of the pile out of sight from me. I could of waited but I wanted to get to Newford. Birds of note at the latter site included, 100+Meadow Pipit, 10 chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler and a different Pied Flycatcher from yesterday. Also no sign of yesterdays 2 Yellow-browed Warbler. Light was fading fast and at the airfield there were 3 Skylark, 1 Wheatear and another 100+Meadow Pipit.

  I was just about to get stuck into my roast when news came out of a Dusky Warbler at Upper Broom, Garrison. By the time I finished my meal with ten spuds, it will be almost dark. Also on St Agnes a different Little Bunting from yesterday, being a brighter individual, was found by the Big Pool and the shrike on St Agnes was taken by a Merlin! In the last two days there has been up to 7 Little Bunting on the islands if you include the Tresco bird!

The bluetail showed very well but was pretty mobile

This is one the bulb fields that the bluetail favoured 

Vandaveer is the Washington, DC-based alt-folk musical project spearheaded by singer-songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger. Vandaveer has released four full-length LPs and one EP since 2007, touring extensively throughout the US and Europe, logging 500+ shows to date.

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