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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.

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