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Friday 14 June 2019

Jack Snipe at Porth Hellick!!

Yesterday, Three of us observed a summer plumage Jack Snipe in June on Scilly!! How bizarre is that??

  At 08.00 this morning, Jo and I twitched a singing Golden Oriole in Mick Scott garden at Longstones that he heard shortly before. We did hear it call twice close by but could we see the bloody thing? In the afternoon we had no luck in searching for yesterdays Hoopoe in the Rocky Hill area but later on at 19.15, we did hear, with Robin, the Golden Oriole singing at the north entrance of Holy Vale that Graham Cundale found yesterday. As Longstones is only a field away from where we were, could this be the same male commuting with the two sights?

  Yesterday I got a message from Graham Cundale saying he had a Jack Snipe at Porth Hellick!! I had to read it twice to take in what I just read. Jack Snipe in June on Scilly!? I put the news out and we rushed down there to find a Jack Snipe feeding among the sleeping Mallards! We were there for a good hour and got cracking views as it performed at close range just below the Sussex Hide and the only one to come and see it, was Robin. We also had a single Sand Martin and female Cuckoo.

Amazingly, this is the second June record on Scilly of Jack Snipe when an individual was seen back on the 20th June 2003!

This Sicus ferrugineus Fly at Pelistry was only the second record on St Mary's after the first sighting was last year. Today we had another single at Sunnyside.

The Golden Plover returned to the airfield for one day on the 9th after spending three days on Samson.  

Southern Marsh Orchid at Lower Moors

Hand Habits - can't calm down from the album placeholder

Saturday 8 June 2019

Another Great Reed Warbler at Porth Hellick??

This 1st summer Common Rosefinch only stayed for two days and was last seen on the 4th singing at Porth Hellick next to the seaward hide 

  Earlier today at 14.20, a few of us heard the Melodious Warbler, for it's fifth day, at the southern entrance of Lower Moors but could we see it? I had an hour to kill before my last flight of the day that I was meeting at 17.30. Jo and I poked around Porth Hellick and had one more look in the Sussex Hide before returning to me wagon. It was deja vu for us both as a thrush sized warbler flew low across the water at close range from right to left before crashing into the reeds. 'Great Reed Warbler!' It's been nine days since the individual that spent two days at Porth Hellick was last seen. Was it the same bird or a new arrival? Right now we couldn't see this individual until I played a recording of a GRW and immediately it responded and flew to the top of the reeds at the right side of the hide. It flew closer into the Sallows and all we got were glimpses as it moved to the top of the bush. By now I could hear the plane in the distance coming in that I was meeting and we had to make a dash for it but not before I put the news out of the warbler.

This was all I could get of the Great Reed Warbler as it crashed through the Sallows

  Just before 19.00, Jo and I had a quick look at the airfield to see if the Short-toed Lark was still present that I found 5 days ago. It was and showed very well but there was no sign of the Golden Plover from two days ago. We also had a Hobby at Trenowth but returning to Porth Hellick later in the evening and there was no sign of the Great Reed Warbler but we did hear the Cetti's Warbler.

This Short-toed Lark has favoured the airfield for the last five days now

This stunning Golden Plover spent two days on the airfield, 5-6th, and showed superbly 

I took this photo of Common Rosefinch at Porth Hellick on it's last day, 4th, when Jo and I also had a 1st summer male Golden Oriole that we first observed in flight at Green Farm and shortly afterwards heard it singing at nearby Watermill.

Two evenings ago, Jo and I observed our first funnel cloud ever looking NNW from Porth Hellick for over two minutes before fading away. Quite impressive! 

This from their LP 'Controlling Crowds/

Monday 3 June 2019

Common Rosefinch at Porth Hellick

This Melodious Warbler was singing at Standing Stones Field at Lower Moors

  It wasn't until nearly 13.00 that the first message of the day came on the Scilly Bird News Group with a singing Melodious Warbler at Trench Lane found by Scott Ried. However, it wasn't until 14.30 that Jo and I made it down there to see the warbler and after a few minutesn of being there, I could hear it nearby in the Standing Stones Field. Here it showed well before disappearing deeper into the hedge that borders the field. We had to get to the airport but returned again over an hour later as Richie Aston heard a Golden Oriole singing in the west Elms of the field but there was no sign of it when we got there.

In the last few years there have been increasing spring sightings of Melodious Warbler on Scilly

  Shortly after 19.00, I had a quick look on the airfield and like yesterday, Jo stayed in the wagon. Also like yesterday, when I had the Quail on the airfield, Jo was scrambling out the wagon again as I found a Short-toed Lark on the eastern runway. It proved very mobile, due to a guy working on the runway lights, but when others arrived to see the lark, we had distant views of it on the south runway.

Short-toed Lark proved mobile on the airfield

This Fulmar flew over the lark

Male Stonechat

Meadow Pipit

    At 07.30 this morning, Paul Dukes heard a bird singing next to the Seaward Hide at Porth Hellick but couldn't put a name to it. As his mobile is still in the stoneage, he didn't call me until late morning to let me know what he had heard. I alerted others but Higgo was the only other birder to hear it, though very briefly, he also didn't know what it was. So at 20.30, Jo and I decided to finish our dinner in the Seaward Hide hoping that we might hear it. We had only been in there for a few minutes when I heard the bird in question. Common Rosefinch! I recorded it quickly singing in the same willows as last weeks Great Reed Warbler but I didn't have to worry as we observed a drab 1st summer male perched very briefly out in the open at very close range. The only one to twitch it was Robin and we all had good views on and off and it was still singing when we left just after 21.00.

Can you make it out? No niether can I! This was my first spring sighting of Common Rosefinch

This is my first Common Rosefinch I've ever heard singing and maybe I didn't even get a record shot of the finch but at least I got a good recording of it singing at Porth Hellick.

Sunday 2 June 2019

2 Spoonbill at Porth Hellick

These 2 Spoonbill were performing well in front of the Sussex hide at Porth Hellick this morning. 

  Shortly after 10.00 this morning, I was coming out of the COOP with the shopping for work, when news came out on the Scilly Bird News WhatsApp group that Higgo had 2 Spoonbill at Porth Hellick Pool. No longer a rare bird like it used to be over ten years ago but it's very unusual to have them on the pool. Normally they are seen on Green Island in the distance when they arrive in the autunm. I threw the shopping in me wagon and a few minutes later I was with Higgo enjoying some cracking views of the 2 Spoonbill feeding at close range. Jo wanted to see them and when I returned with Jo, nearly an hour later, we were just in time to see them fly off east. Nearby the Cetti's Warbler was heard and there was a Pied Wagtail near the beach.

A bit of bonding goin on now and then

The 2 Spoonbill flying off east after spending nearly two hours at Porth Hellick

Pied Wagtail

  Shortly afterwards leaving Porth Hellick. Jo and I arrived at the airfield but she stayed in the wagon and as a result missed out on a Quail that I flushed on the east runway. I saw where it had ditched and Jo was soon out of the wagon when I called her but with Robin, there was no sign when we kicked the area where it had come down. Robin went home and as we had Turtle Dove and the female Merlin yesterday at Trenoweth, we thought we would have are lunch there. Nothing of note at Trenoweth but a walk in the Pelistry fields turned up a female Red-backed Shrike. We only saw it very distant and brief but later it was relocated and despite being very mobile, everyone that twitched the shrike connected with it.
  At 18.15 we were just about to get out of me wagon to go home when Nick Jenkins pulled up and asked if we get Quail on Scilly? He was sure he had flushed one only a stones away from our digs. He took Jo and I to the area where he saw it fly to and his dog put it up and sure enough, Jo got her Quail as we all observed it fly off pretty fast towards the Dead Pine Walk and out of sight.

This Red-backed Shrike was a long ways off when I first picked it up at Pelistry

When Martin Goodey arrived he did a lot better with the shrike


My second Quail of the day was on the Garrison and only the sixth I've seen on Scilly altogether

The Great Reed Warbler was last seen on the morning of the 30th and this was all I get on it as it spent most of it;s time on the far side of Porth Hellick Pool. The following day I had a female 'type' Golden Oriole fly into Carreg Dhu Gardens from sunnyside