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Wednesday 31 August 2011

ORTOLAN BUNTING at the Golf Course

1st winter ORTOLAN BUNTING  

  Another good day and it all started on the Garrison early this morning. In the strong eastlies I had only seen 3 Blackcap and 1 Chiffchaff. However, when I arrived at Morning Point, there was a cracking juvenile Yellow-legged gull on the water. No doubt one of the five that Gray has seen on St Agnes in the last few weeks. After a few minutes it flew off into Porthcressa Bay with 2 juv/1st winter Mediteranean Gull.

Juvenile yellow-legged Gull at morning point 

  Mid-morning and had half an hour to spare. I checked Porthloo and found 2 different juv/1st winter Mediterranean Gull with the 2nd winter at Porthloo. 2 Dunlin and 15+Pied Wagtail were also on the beach. I could not find one White Wagtail, but on the Golf Course, there were 2 White Wagtail with a single Wheatear and a Swift flew south. I scanned through a small group of Linnets on the 7th fairway and feeding with them was a smart ORTOLAN BUNTING! It was then flushed by a local golfer and I lost it. With in minutes, Robin, Ritchie and Martin started help me seach for it. After ten minutes I had to make a move and headed towards me wagon parked in the car park. In my path I spotted the bunting and beckoned the others over.


1st winter ORTOLAN BUNTING at the Golf Course 

2nd winter Mediterranean Gull at Porthloo  

  In the afternoon while doing taxi's, a Yellow Wagtail flew over Porth Hellick Crossroads and a Tree Pipit was on wires at Parting Carn. While dropping some folks off at the vets, I could see the juvenile WOODCHAT SHRIKE on a post at a distant. At 19.00 I was watching the BEE-EATER at very close range on telephone wires at Maypole and the resident Buzzard and male Peregrine flew overhead with 2 Raven.

We are so lucky to see and hear this little beauty on an almost daily basis  

The Buzzard ruddying it's tail over Maypole 

  Gray also had a good day on St Agnes. First he had a female type ORTOLAN BUNTING briefly on the cricket pitch mid-morning and it flew off at 10.30. So it could of easily flew to St Mary's as I found the GC bird at 11.45. He also found a 1st winter CITRINE WAGTAIL this evening on the Big Pool and talking to him, and as we suspected, it proved to be a different individual to that I discovered on Tresco over a week ago, 21/8.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

3rd PALLID HARRIER for Scilly


  Yesterday morning I had a call from Robin who told me that he had just seen a ring-tailed harrier, very briefly over Gugh, flying away from him. I told him to quickly call Gray as he lives on St Agnes. Mid-afternoon and I was in the seaward hide listening to the BEE-EATER nearby. On the pool there were 2 Snipe, 3 Dunlin, 2 Kingfisher and 11 Greenshank. I left and made my way back to work when Martin called to say that he had just had the ring-tailed harrier take a Greenfinch over the fields of Salakee and then fly off. I called Higgo and told him that as it took a Greenfinch, it could be possibly a Montogu's or even Pallied Harrier. He agreed and made his way to Salakee. Feeding the ducks at Newford with Gayna, a call to tell me that it was a Monty, changed two minutes later to a JUVENILE PALLID HARRIER! Higgo had nailed it and well done to Robin for first seeing it. With others, we made our way to the site, but there was no sign of the harrier by dark.

Cracking shots by Martin Goodey of the JUVENILE PALLID HARRIER hunting in the Salakee fields 

  This morning my first taxi was before 07.00. So there was no point in me trying for the harrier until later. I dropped the folks off at the airport and then started to scan from the top of the control tower. I had only been there a few minutes when Tony called to say that him and Chris had it on a post at Salakee. I rushed up there as fast as could, at the same time calling Martin, Joe and Smoothy, and the first sighting of the harrier, was it flying towards me heading straight towards the finch field. It put the finches up and caught, what looked like, a Linnet. As it twisted to catch the bird, you could see the dark secondaries and orangey underparts and flying side on, you could see the neck collar. With the bird in talons, it came down in the next field and out of sight. Very happy with what I had observed, I ran off as I had another taxi to do.

  At 08.45 I picked up Gray and Ren in town and made my second visit to the finch field. As we walked passed the Porth Hellick hides, Ren got a call from Martin to say that it had flown off towards the hangers. We made our way to the beach and as I came through the gate, there it was to our left at very close range. It was hunting low following the path up to Porth Hellick down and then over the brow of the hill. Five minutes later, Martin observed it flying into the Salakee fields and when we got there, it was on the deck, three fields away. There it stayed back on and was still there preening when I left twenty minutes later. Returning again later and Nigel, a regular visiting birder Tony and I , saw the BEE-EATER fly overhead calling all the time flying towards Salakee where there was no sign of the harrier. It was last seen over Lower Moors by Smoothy and circling up high in the blue skies, until it was a dot.

  This is the third Pallid Harrier for Scilly and guess who found the first one? Higgo!

BEE-EATER at Porth Hellick/Salakee 

Once again Porth Hellick Crossroads becomes a car park 

If that's not enough for one day, at 17.50, while doing a taxi, a HONEY BUZZRD flew over Telegraph Road flying NE and over my bloody house. It carried on in a straight line and could of possibly gone out to sea. Also 2 juvenile Ruff were on the airfield. 


2 juvenile Ruff on the airfield, but this adult male Peregrine spooked them 

  The first MADEIRAN STORM PETREL for Britain has only just been accepted and Higgo also played a very big part in this one as well. Higgo told me that on the 28/7/07, a Storm Petrel was picked up flying towards the birders on the MV Sapphire and as it came over the first wave, it was claimed as a Wilson's Petrel. Higgo said 'it's was too big'. As it came over the second wave, it was again shouted as a Wilson's. Again Higgo said 'it's too bloody big!'. Higgo knew it was either a Leaches, Swinhoes or Madeiran, but out of all three, he had only seen Leaches. it turned side on and Higgo said, 'there's no feet projecting' and then it was correctly shouted out as a 'MADEIRAN STORM PETREL!!' First for Britain!!    
MADEIRAN STORM PETREL, taken by Joe, skipper of the MV Sapphire, 7 miles SE of Scilly 

Monday 29 August 2011

WOODCHAT at Porth Minnick

Never mind the Woodchat, look the blood flooding down my face after Chuffer's elbow took a dislike to my nose!

More evidence of blood on my gloves

More of the story tomorrow. No time tonight

Here is the juvenile WOODCHAT SHIKE taken in the disappearing light this evening at Porth Minnick

Sunset this evening



Wednesday 24 August 2011

Gropper at Green Farm

Male Blackcap, Trenowth
  At Lower Moors a Wood Sandpiper flew over calling, SW and at Green Farm I flushed a Grasshopper warbler. Except for the odd bits and ends, most of the stuff had cleared out. There were only 30+Swallow at Porth Hellick compared to the 210+yesterday. A single Little Egret was also at Porth Hellick.

Whitethroat at Star Castle

Pied and Spotted Flycatcher at Trenowth

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Red Underwing Moth

Red Underwing tapped overnight in Martin's garden at Holy Vale  

  On the Garrison this morning, 5 Tree pipit flew high, SE. Also there were 1 Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Goldcrest,  1 Wheatear,  2 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap and a Dunlin flew overhead, NW.
1 of the 5 Tree pipit flying SE  

 Reed Warbler and 10+Willow Warbler were at Higher Moors along with 5 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap , 1 Sotted flycatcher, 3 Water Rail and 210+Swallow 

Common Sandpiper, Whitethroat and 5 Warbler Warbler were at lower moors. There were also 1 Pied and Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Water Rail and 2 Blackcap 

Scilly Speckled Wood in me garden 

Monday 22 August 2011


Pied Flycatcher at Green Farm 

  On the way to work this morning I stopped off at Lower Moors. Walking along the main path towards Shooters Pool I thought I heard a GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER distantly. The next thing I know, it's in a Elm making a racket just above my head. I try to see it, but all I see is a silhouetted woodpecker flying off towards Rose Hill. Here on Scilly this is a lot rarer than both Bonelli's Warbler and Citrine Wagtail, but in the last five years it has become annual with an individual present throughout last winter and early spring.

  At the Garrison most of the birds had moved out and there were only two of everything. 2 Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest and a single Dunlin flew over east.     

Willow Warbler getting stuck into Gorse 

  In the afternoon I made a brief visit to Higher Moors and here found that there were a lot of migrants around including 5 Sedge, 15+Willow Warbler, 10+Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap.

Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler at Higher Moors 

 After work I went to see Martin at Holy Vale as he had a Pied Flycatcher showing well and heard the Bee-eater. I finished watching 3 Mediterranean Gull showing very well for ten minutes over Sandy Banks catching flies with over 40 Black-headed gull. As soon as I got out of me wagon at Martin's, I could hear the bloody thing. I ran to Martin's and both of us leaned on the gate looking over Holy Vale. With in minutes the Pied Flycatcher landed right in front of us. Then with my naked eye i could see the BEE-EATER high in the sky, heading towards us. It flew overhead towards Borough Farm, briefly being mobbed by a swallow. Martin told me that he had 4 Pied flycatcher at the back of his house. It was obvious that birds had arrived during the day and with that in mind i set off to Green Farm. Here there was a single on the main track. This was followed by another with a Spotted Flycatcher at Salakee.

BEE-EATER over Martin's house at Holy Vale 

Female Four-spotted Footman trapped overnight in Martin's garden. Martin has trapped over 30 males and only 3 females. 

There were at least 4 Eels trapped in the evaporating pool at Holy Vale  

Sunday 21 August 2011

CITRINE WAGTAIL, Abbey Pool, Tresco

1ST Winter CITRINE WAGTAIL performed well at the Abbey Pool, Tresco  
   Want a day! It started off with a Wood Sandpiper at Lower Moors. At 08.00 I was at the Garrison and located the WRYNECK on the main track down to the Randi'c. I then made my way up towards the pig field and caught the back end of a large warbler fly into the brambles. After a short wait, it popped up briefly and proved to be the MELODIOUS WARBLER that been here since last Wednesday. There were also 3 Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 1 Blackcap in the area.

Wood Sandpiper, Moorhen and Grey Heron, Lower Moors

Want a stunning bird This WRYNECK showed very well near the Woolpack 
MELODIOUS WARBLER, pig fields, Garrison 
  At 10.00 the overcast skies gave away to a very hot day and I was on the boat to Tresco. Tony joined me and and after looking at the Great Pool we were pretty disappointed. The juvenile Ruff was still present from last week, but there were 1 Green and 5 Common Sandpiper, 18 Greenshank,11 Redshankand 1 Teal. In fact there was hardly no ducks present on the pool. Up to 4 Swift and 7 Willow Warbler were around the pool.
  Was the Abbey Pool going to save us? We scanned from the side and all we could see was a single Common Sandpiper. Then we heard the call of a flava wagtail and watched it fly away from us. I told Tony to keep on it as I strongly suspected it was going to be a Citrine Wagtail, although it did sound a little different to other Citrine I've heard before. It came down and I quickly got the scope on it and calmly said, 'CITRINE WAGTAIL'! This bird proved to be very mobile and over the next hour we only saw it very briefly and distant. It was feeding with a juvenile Pied Wagtail and despite us searching, we could not find any of the wagtails. Tony had to go and join his family while I decided to look at the south shore and return later. At the latter site there were an adult Knot, 8 Dunlin, 10+Turnstone, 45+Ringed Plover and 80+Sanderling. When I returned to Abbey Pool, I found Higgo also looking for it and it was not for another hour until we relocated it. Higgo reminded me of the dog from the Churchill advert when he remarked "Oh Yes' and then his voice goes deeper like the ex-manager of Southampton, then England, back to Southampton and then to Northern Ireland, Lawrie McMenemy 'I can confirm that this is indeed a 1st winter Citrine Wagtail. I can also confirm that I have the deepest voice in the world. Oh yes' Yes well. By this time Viv Stratten had joined us and the Citrine was showing very well on the east shore of the Abbey Pool. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull also passed through. This is only my 4th Citrine Wagtail that I've seen. The first one I found myself in September '97 with the Tree Swallow finder, Jeremy Hickman.  


1st winter CITRINE WAGTAIL Top two taken by Robin Mawer
A adult male and juvenile Peregrine were on view on and off over the Great Pool  
One of the resident Buzzards