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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 

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