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Thursday, 18 April 2019

First spring EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL for Britain!

Scott Reid did a great job in finding and identifying the 5th Scilly and first spring record for Britain  of EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL at Lower Moors two days ago.  

  After gale force winds from the east over the weekend it was no surprise that some good birds turned up and it started off two days ago on the 16th  when Scott Reid found an interesting flava wagtail with a raspy call in a reedy/marshy area north of the board walk after the hides at Lower Moors. Scott called me to ask me to try and relocate it as it had gone missing and he had to go. An hour later I found it in the same spot where Scott last saw it by it calling like a Yellow Wagtail very quietly in the reeds out of sight. It then flew up into the near willows, it gave a alarm call that didn't sound raspy but maybe more like alba wagtail. Sat in the willows it looked like a female type Blue-headed Wagtail. Scott appeared and asked what I thought of the bird and I really had no idea. We observed it for a good few minutes before it flew across in front of us, calling, and landed out of sight in some willows. Both of us had our mobiles on record and got that 'buzzy' call. However, as I had a flave wagtail with a similar call last year in September and shared the recording with others, it was thought to just be a Yellow Wagtail. So I thought that it was a Yellow Wagtail with a sore throat. To me it didn't sound like the Eastern Yellow Wagtails from last year or any 'eastern' type flava wagtails of heard in the past. How wrong was I when later on from the recording on sonogram proved it to be an EASTERN YELLOW WAGTAIL. Also we had photos of a long hind claw and what appears to be a pale base to the bill/

Note long hind claw and what appears to be a pale base to the bill


   Scott put the news out immediately of the wagtail when he first saw it and while Robin was searching for it after it had gone missing, he observed an adult Night Heron fly into the Standing Stones field and land in the SE end. A few of us arrived and watched it fly off to Old Town Bay. Here it was quickly relocated and made a short flight towards Tolmans point. Later that evening it was seen over Porth Hellick by other birders. Satisfied with good flight views, Joanne and I went to finish our dinner at Porthloo where we got a pair of Black Redstart.
  Later on there was a report of a Hoopoe, 30 minutes after the sighting when it was almost dark, on the airfield! A Wood Sandpiper was also on Tresco.

The lack of white plumes on this adult Night Heron identified it as a different individual from last week

The small crowd gathered for the Night Heron. John getting his breathe back after cycling on a child's bike all the way from Jacksons Hill!

There were a pair Black Redstart at Porthloo just before dark

   Yesterday morning I picked up a dead probable Western Subalpine Warbler off Paul St Pierre that he brought over from St Agnes after his children found it on a track towards the campsite and then I passed it onto Ren. Shortly afterwards the adult Night Heron was relocated roosting in sallows in the SE end of the Standing Stones Field. However, it was mid afternoon when Rob and Lucy Lambert observed it land in a hedge out in the open opposite the boatyard at the west end of Old Town Bay that I got to see it. It was soon on the deck on the edge of the small field where it showed superbly at close range for the small crowd present for the next two hours.
  A search for the reported Hoopoe on the airfield later, as expected, proved a waste of time but an unusual sight was a flyover Canada Goose.

The adult Night Heron showing off for all present

Probable Western Subalpine Warbler found dead on St Agnes. If DNA proves it to be a Western, it would be the first confirmed record fr Scilly out of the 70+records of Subalpine Warbler. 

Today this 1st male Pied Flycatcher turned up in the north pine belt of the golf course. Other birds seen today included Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Turtle Dove, all at Longstones and Will Scott found a female Subalpine Warbler sp nearby in fields behind Carreg Dhu Gardens. Also there was an Osprey on Bryher and the 2 Cattle Egret were still on Tresco.

This 4th year Yellow-legged Gull was sheltering from the gale force easterlies on the Garrison football field on the 13th

As this 1st summer Mediterranean Gull on the same day at Old Town Bay

Last week this male Ring Ouzel showed very well on the golf course but it was almost dark. Also had a female Redstart near by.

Sunset from the golf course

And Bants Carn

No photo description available.
700 MILLION raised in a day for a building for people to pray to an invisible god in!! It seems like most people in the world believe that a building is more important than peoples lives!! Just think how many lives could of been saved from 700 MILLION!

Saturday, 13 April 2019




  The glimpse of Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorean embassy in London is an emblem of the times. Might against right. Muscle against the law. Indecency against courage. Six policemen manhandled a sick journalist, his eyes wincing against his first natural light in  almost seven years.

That this outrage happened in the heart of London, in the land of Magna Carta, ought to shame and anger all who fear for "democratic" societies. Assange is a political refugee protected by international law, the recipient of asylum under a strict covenant to which Britain is a signatory. The United Nations made this clear in the legal ruling of its Working Party on Arbitrary Detention.

But to hell with that. Let the thugs go in. Directed by the quasi fascists in Trump's Washington, in league with Ecuador's Lenin Moreno, a Latin American Judas and liar seeking to disguise his rancid regime, the British elite abandoned its last imperial myth: that of fairness and justice.

Imagine Tony Blair dragged from his multi-million pound Georgian home in Connaught Square, London, in handcuffs, for onward dispatch to the dock in The Hague. By the standard of Nuremberg, Blair's "paramount crime" is the deaths of a million Iraqis. Assange's crime is journalism: holding the rapacious to account, exposing their lies and empowering people all over the world with truth.

The shocking arrest of Assange carries a warning for all who, as Oscar Wilde wrote, "sew the seeds of discontent [without which] there would be no advance towards civilisation". The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to the founder and editor of WikiLeaks can happen to you on a newspaper, you in a TV studio, you on radio, you running a podcast.

Assange's principal media tormentor, the Guardian, a collaborator with the secret state, displayed its nervousness this week with an editorial that scaled new weasel heights. The Guardian has exploited the work of Assange and WikiLeaks in what its previous editor called "the greatest scoop of the last 30 years". The paper creamed off WikiLeaks' revelations and claimed the accolades and riches that came with them.

With not a penny going to Julian Assange or to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie. The book's authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, turned on their source, abused him and disclosed the secret password Assange had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing leaked US embassy cables.

With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding joined the police outside and gloated on his blog that "Scotland Yard may get the last laugh". The Guardian has since published a series of falsehoods about Assange, not least a discredited claim that a group of Russians and Trump's man, Paul Manafort, had visited Assange in the embassy. The meetings never happened; it was fake.

But the tone has now changed. "The Assange case is a morally tangled web," the paper opined. "He (Assange) believes in publishing things that should not be published.... But he has always shone a light on things that should never have been hidden."

These "things" are the truth about the homicidal way America conducts its colonial wars, the lies of the British Foreign Office in its denial of rights to vulnerable people, such as the Chagos Islanders, the expose of Hillary Clinton as a backer and beneficiary of jihadism in the Middle East, the detailed description of American ambassadors of how the governments in Syria and Venezuela might be overthrown, and much more. It all available on the WikiLeaks site.

The Guardian is understandably nervous. Secret policemen have already visited the newspaper and demanded and got the ritual destruction of a hard drive.  On this, the paper has form. In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian was showered with praise.

When a court order demanded to know the source, instead of the editor going to prison on a fundamental principle of protecting a source, Tisdall was betrayed, prosecuted and served six months.

If Assange is extradited to America for publishing what the Guardian calls truthful "things", what is to stop the current editor, Katherine Viner, following him, or the previous editor, Alan Rusbridger, or the prolific propagandist Luke Harding?

What is to stop the editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post, who also published morsels of the truth that originated with WikiLeaks, and the editor of El Pais in Spain, and Der Spiegel in Germany and the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia. The list is long.

David McCraw, lead lawyer of the New York Times, wrote: "I think the prosecution [of Assange] would be a very, very bad precedent for publishers... from everything I know, he's sort of in a classic publisher's position and the law would have a very hard time distinguishing between the New York Times and WilLeaks."

Even if journalists who published WikiLeaks' leaks are not summoned by an American grand jury, the intimidation of Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning will be enough. Real journalism is being criminalised by thugs in plain sight. Dissent has become an indulgence.

In Australia, the current America-besotted government is prosecuting two whistle-blowers who revealed that Canberra's spooks bugged the cabinet meetings of the new government of East Timor for the express purpose of cheating the tiny, impoverished nation out of its proper share of the oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Their trial will be held in secret. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, is infamous for his part in setting up concentration camps for refugees on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus, where children self harm and suicide. In 2014, Morrison proposed mass detention camps for 30,000 people.

Real journalism is the enemy of these disgraces. A decade ago, the Ministry of Defence in London produced a secret document which described the "principal threats" to public order as threefold: terrorists, Russian spies and investigative journalists. The latter was designated the major threat.

The document was duly leaked to WikiLeaks, which published it. "We had no choice," Assange told me. "It's very simple. People have a right to know and a right to question and challenge power. That's true democracy."

What if Assange and Manning and others in their wake - if there are others - are silenced and "the right to know and question and challenge" is taken away?

In the 1970s, I met Leni Reifenstahl, close friend of Adolf Hitler, whose films helped cast the Nazi spell over Germany.

She told me that the message in her films, the propaganda, was dependent not on "orders from above" but on what she called the "submissive void" of the public.

"Did this submissive void include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?" I asked her.

"Of course," she said, "especially the intelligentsia.... When people no longer ask serious questions, they are submissive and malleable. Anything can happen."

And did.

The rest, she might have added, is history.

The arrest of Assange today

Legendary journalist and film-maker John Pilger who discusses the arrest of Julian Assange after his asylum status was revoked by Lenin Moreno of Ecuador and subsequent removal from the Ecuadorian Embassy. He discusses the importance of Wikileaks’ work, why it is a threat to the United States, the danger the arrest poses to journalists everywhere and the possibility of extradition to the US.
Follow John Pilger on twitter @johnpilger

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Avocet on Bryher

Tise 37th Avocet and only my second record for Scilly, graced the Bryher Pool for four days after first being sited on St Agnes.

  Sunday morning just gone, 30th March, found me observing a superb Avocet on the Bryher pool. It was first found by Graham Gordon at Pereglis, St Agnes, three days before, briefly seen at Porth Hellick the next evening and then Higgo relocated on Bryher yesterday. As I had only seen a single on Scilly before that Ren found 22 years ago in June on the Tresco Abbey Pool, I thought I would make an effort to see this individual. While the Avocet was feeding, 29 Snd Martin and 4 Swallow moved through north, 3 Black-headed Gull dropped in and the immature male Marsh Harrier that I first saw on the 29th at Lower Moors flew south. 2 Wheatear were nearby and at the campsite there were the first 2 male Ring Ouzel of the year. A few minutes later  I could hear more ouzels and observed 2 more males join the other two on the short grass on the campsite. There were also over 20 Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcap on the island

The first sighting of the Avocet from a distance was asleep in the center of the pool

22 years ago in June on Tresco Abbey Pool was the only other Avocet I've seen on Scilly!

This immature male Marsh Harrier over Bryher Pool was the same bird I first had at Lower Moors, 27th March

Up to 4 male Ring Ouzel were on the campsite but wouldn't allow me to approach them

3 Black-headed Gull dropped into the pool

A pair of Wheatear were nearby

Over 20 Chiffchaff were also on Bryher

Good numbers of Stonechat on Bryher

  At 16.00 I made the short crossing to Tresco where I joined Robin who had seen nothin of note rally except for the same birds I saw later on the Great Pool. This included 40+Sand Martin and single Swallow and House Martin. 3 male and 2 female Pochard was a good sign of more breeding hopefully, 6 Teal and a male Pintail showed off in front of the hide.  

Male Pintail

Male Gadwall

  The 1st April I had a cracking male Black Redstart at the airport with 4 female Black Redstart, 3 male White Wagtail and 2 Wheatear at Porthloo Beach. On the 29th March, Scott Reid picked up an Osprey flying over Porthcressa towards the golf course where I managed to pick it up. It stuck around for a few days and the Cattle Egret on Tresco were still present and today the Rough-legged Buzzard was hovering over St Martins.

Male Redstart at the airport

Osprey over the Golf course before disappearing into the clouds

Mark Lanegan with Soulsavers doin a cover of Gene Clark 'Some Misunderstanding'