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Friday 30 September 2011

1st PALE-LEMMON SALLOW for Scilly!

PALE-LEMMON SALLOW trapped at Pelistry Farm The colour is offdue to the tungstenlightingin the flatThe moth was paler in natual light.

 This morning I found there was 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Blackcap and Chiffchaff, 2 Kestrel, 1 Goldcrest, new in 3 Stonechat, the Firecrest and 1 Humming-bird Hawkmoth along the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison. As I returned to the main entrance of Star Castle in me wagon, above me in the fog, was the BLACK KITE! It hung around just overhead, also being watched by two guest, before flying over the quay. Everyone managed to see it after me announcing it on the radio. It was funny, driving the two guest down town immediately afterwards and passing birders on the side of the road. They all put there thumbs up and shouted thanks as I passed by. Big Al called out 'I've got it on my house list!' And then a short drive up the road, reaching the dairy, and there was Ritchie, Tony and Chris, also with there thumbs up and happy faces. The guest commented on 'Have all the locals got these CB type things, like yours?'

The BLACK KITE over Star Castle before being lost in the fog flying towards Lower Moors

  At Newford Duckpond there were 2 Pied and 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler and a female Sparrowhawk. Just before dark before dark, The fog covered the airfield and from the control tower I heard the AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER call. Just before dark, I walked across the airfield with Tony and a Star Castle guest called John, who wanted to see the buffies. We found the 4 juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER eaisly, but there was no sign of the AGP. Tony headed off towards Salakee and as John and I were returning to me wagon, the SHORT-TOED LARK, that was found here this morning, got up in front of us calling and came down somewhere nearby. We couldn't see where it landed because it was to dark. Just after hearing the lark, Ralph called and said that he had a first for Scilly! I was thinking, what the hell is it?! It was the first Scilly record of a PALE-LEMMON SALLOW that he trapped overnight at Pelistry Farm where he and Nit are staying for the next month! He continued 'If you come now, then you can have chili with us' Even though I had just had a roast at work, I wasn't going to miss out on Nit's cooking and dropped John off and raced to Pelistry. Martin was also there and I had two plates of chiliI. We all had a very good evening.

3 different varations of Vestal. Top shot, yellow with a dark line, I found today on the Garrison. The other two shots, were taken two days ago, trapped in Martins garden, Holy Vale. Pinkish with pink line and pale with a redish line.  

Been listening to The Smiths tonight.

Thursday 29 September 2011


The second juvenile PALLID HARRIER to grace Scilly in a month!

  A day for large raptors. The morning started off well with a Tree Pipit flying over me house first thing this morning. Ralf and Nit had arrived by 08.30, where I caught up with them at the airport watching the 4 juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER from the car park. A walk along the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison, produced the female GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, my first Firecrest of the autunm, 6 Skylark, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and Chiffchaff and 22 Blue Tit. The woodpecker was found yesterday by Niel Glen and I would of thought that it was a different bird to the one that was on St Mary's for two days in August.

The 4 juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER were still at the airfield. I took this from the control tower

  Late this morning I was driving down the slope, just before Porth Hellick, when I could see 2 large raptors circling over Holy Vale. The one I could make out was yesterdays BLACK KITE from Tresco, and when I stopped and got me bins on the other raptor, it turned out to be the resident Buzzard. The other two Black Kites that have been seen this year, I have only seen as dots in the distance. This individual however, showed superbly overhead for a good half an hour, before landing out of sight in the line of large pines at Higher Moors. I returned later with Bryan and this time we relocated it in the Elms bordering Holy Vale and Higher Moors. Another 30 minutes was enjoyed as it flew around the area.

A very tatty looking BLACK KITE over Holy Vale

The resident Buzzard joined the kite on occasions

The BLACK KITE getting some jip from a Carrion Crow

  This morning it came out on the radio that there was a Hen Harrier on St Agnes. This soon changed to a possible Pallid Harrier! It wasn't until Terry on St Mary's observed it fly over my bloody house and towards Maypole and postively identified it as a juvenile PALLID HARRIER! Shortly afterwards, whilist driving past Parting Carn, the harrier flew past in front of me wagon and in the brief view I had, I could see that it was the Pallid Harrier. It carried on towards Lower Moors, but I had to get to the airport. From here Higgo called me and 20 minutes later there were a crowd of birders in me wagon making our way to Pungies Lane. Higgo walked ahead down the road, while we scanned the fields. He then walked through a gateway into a long grass field and flushed the harrier. 'Here, Here, Here' he cryed, but we all thought the shout was coming from behind us, because it didn't sound like the usual deep voice of the ex-England manager, Lawrie Mcmenemy, but weak, like a girls vioce, so wetook no notice. That was until someone picked it up slowly lifting out of the field. For the next 20 minutes, we all got cracking views of the harrier hunting over the fields at very close range. I was shounting down the radio 'Get your asses up to Pungies Lane, the Pallid Harrier is showing beautifully!' It then departed high over towards Bar Point and was last seen by Will, who was on Tresco, flying over The Roads towards Bryher.
  The magic moment was over and we all went to see the Black Kite from Porth Hellick crossroads. A male Sparrowhawk, followed by a Kestrel, were also in the area and then the kite flew up from Holy Vale and out of sight over Longstone. From the Garrison, Ralf and Nit picked it up and watched it perch in the pines off Sandy Lanes.

  Almost a month to this day we were all were watching a juvenile Pallid Harrier at Salakee, that Robin found the day before on Gugh.
Higgo was the one to find the first Scilly record of Pallid Harrier

2004 10-14th September During this time, a juvenile visiting all islands
2005 16th September Juvenile, St Mary's and St Martins
2011 29th-31st August juvenile, Gugh, then moved to Salakee St Mary's

A bit shaky footage, but this is because I've just run up road to get it. It gives you an idea of how well this bird showed.

The 4th PALLID HARRIER for Scilly!

Everyone scanning around at Pungies Lane, hoping to connect with the harrier. Note that Higgo is just about to go through the gateway, on the left of the road, before scaring the living daylights out of the harrier, by just showing his face! We have to put up with seeing it every day!

There was an all day pelagic today with skipper Joe Pender on MV Sapphire, Higgo, Robin and a few others. All together they saw 2 juvenile Sabine's Gull, 2 Pomarine Skua, 4 Black Tern, 10 Grey Phalarope, 2 Balearic Shearwater and 100+Common Dolphin

Cracking shots of an adult pale phase Pomarine Skua taken by Robin Mawer

Looking from Star Castle towards the quay. The fog gave way to let the raptors shine through!

Looking from Porthloo this evening Robin Mawer

I was listening to a great version of Dave Matthews 'Gravedigger' by Willie Nelson while doing the blog. Have a listen, You will like it.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

ORTOLAN BUNTING just down me road

Looking from me garden first thing this morning. The telephone wires leading down to Maypole Triangle, that you can only just see because of the fog, is where the Ortolan Bunting was perched on.
  Just before I set off to work, the first bird I see, as I pull out of the drive, is the ORTOLAN BUNTING on the wires above the road that Niel Glenn found yesterday. On the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison, there were 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Backcap and Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest and  8 Chaffinch flew NW. A flock of 20+Blue and 4 Great Tit moved through the pines pretty quick.

This cute little fellow was in me garden getting stuck into the blackberries. Seeing this picture might make you think twice before putting that blackberrie in your month that you've just picked. I carried on and helped myself to the berries as well that the rat was feeding on and they tasted bloody good! 

There were 2 Silver Y around Star Castle

I came across this Collard Dove at work and picked it up. I couldn't work out what was wrong with it until I saw the otherside of the bird. I took it to the vets and she reckoned a cat had attacked it.

  Just after 14.00, I was driving down from the work garden, when I saw a large raptor flying away from me over The Roads. I got me bins on it and could see that it was the HONEY BUZZARD, that Paul found two days ago on Tresco.  It circled a few times and then made it's way towards Bryher, before turning towards Tresco.

 There were 9 Mediterranean Gull at Porthloo this evening. At 18.15 and I took the short cut across the fields to Martins house to see what moths he had trapped overnight. Through one of the fields, I flushed the ORTOLAN BUNTING and got a good flight view before it settled on a Bracken hedge out of sight. As the fog started to cover the island again, a male and female Sparrowhawk flew out from Holy Vale, a single Snipe flew over and the 4 local Raven were very vocal.

Black Rustic is a very common moth on Scilly

Martin trapped 2 Vestal which was a new species for me

Does any one what species of larva this is that I found in me garden?

This Shag, superb shot taken by Martin Goody, was fishing in the shallows off Porthloo this evening

Andy Gardener watched the third BLACK KITE of the year fly over Hell Bay, Bryher,  before being seen later over the Tresco Great Pool and Graham did it again by finding his third AQUATIC WARBLER this september at the Big Pool, St Agnes. The AGP returned to St Martins. 

These photos of a Minke Whale were taken on the 15th September, between St Agnes and Gugh, by Nick Tomalin. The bottom shot shows St Agnes in the front and Gugh in the back, and you can just make out the whale in between to give an idea of how far up the channel it was.

I was listening to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers from the album The Live Anthology (Deluxe Edition) while doing the blog. I prefer the version  from the 1999 album, Echo.

Tuesday 27 September 2011


Juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER at the airfield. Can you make it out in the fog?

   Graham stayed overnight and cooked roasted veg with pizza. I've got a feeling that people are going to start talking about us, after me spending the night at his place the day before.
  First thing this morning a Tree Pipit flew NW over work and there was a Wheatear on the lawn. Later on, it was the turn of one of the juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPERS to feed next to the juvenile LESSER YELLOWLEGS on Higgo's project. Both waders performed at very close range in front of Graham and myself.

PEC and LESSERLEGS together on Higgo's project

  A look from the control tower found the 1st summer WOODCHAT SHRIKE on the posts at the north end of the airfield. Just below the windsock were the 4 juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER and at about 14.00, I got a call from Bryan to tell me that the juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER from St Martins, was on the airfield. So when the airport shut, Ritchie, Robin and I went looking for it, if we could find the airport! You could not see in front of your face, because of the dense fog and as result of not getting lost, while walking across the airfield, we held hands. People are going to start talking again. Nearing the runway we could see 2 silhouetted plovers feeding on the edge. You could easily make out which one was the yank from the European. Both birds ran across to the otherside of the runway and after ten minutes, we left them alone. Now we had to find our way back.

Juvenile AMERICAN and Golden Plover taken in the fog

We only just saw the 4 Juvenile BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER on the return back, while trying to find me van! 

The quay looking very busy this afternoon