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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

All quiet on Tresco

As we left St Mary's harbour, the 1st winter male Eider came to say hello!

  A day on Tresco proved out to be hard work. Except for wildfowl, everything else were in lower numbers than when I visited here nearly two weeks ago. It was dull and very windy and the highlights were, 2 1st winter Mediterranean Gull, 2 Black Redstart, 'eastern' type Chiffchaff and a vocal Yellow-browed Warbler along Pool Road. However, the rarest out of the lot was a Little Grebe just off shore at New Grimbsy.

At least 10 Gannets were in The Roads. These were taken from the Garrison


1 Little Grebe
1 Yellow-browed Warbler
2 Black Redstart
2 Mediterranean Gull
1 'eastern' type Chiffchaff
3 Woodcock
Pair of Tufted Duck
Male Shoveler
21 Little Egret
22 Redshank
3 Greenshank

Little Grebe was the rarest bird of the day

'Eastern' type Chiffchaff at Pool Road

With in seconds of arriving at the Great Pool, these 21 Little Egret flew off towards the channel

A spectacular scene off Castle Down. Gannets were streaming past off here and just in a few minutes over 100 passsed SW

  Before I went to Tresco, I had a quick look at Lower Moors. As soon as I stepped out of me wagon, I could hear a Yellow-browed Warbler at Rose Hill. When I went to have a closer look, one of the DUSKY WARBLERS was calling nearby. Towards the hides there was a Siberian Chiffchaff and another Yellow-browed Warbler. At the hides, the second DUSKY WARBLER was in the Sallows, showing on and off, calling all the time. Maybe I should of stayed on St Mary's?

When we returned from Tresco, who was there waiting for us?

'Beautiful Crazy' from Space Raiders. Good stuff!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

BLUE-WINGED TEAL at Porth Hellick

1st winter/adult female BLUE-WINGED TEAL

  All day yesterday it blew a hooley from the SW and as a result a BLUE-WINGED TEAL turned up at Porth Hellick. Tean and I were returning from town, after doing some shopping, and as I not been out for the last three days, we decided to give it ten minutes down at Porth Hellick. This turned out to be a little longer than exspected. From the Sussex hide, I could see a small duck on the far side, swimming away from us. It turned it's head and I thought that it looked good for a Blue-winged Teal! I ran like the devil to the seaward hide and just got on to the duck before it disappeared into the reeds. That was good enough for me. I had no credit and called on Martin on the way home and then put the news out. 925 told me that it was a new bird for him. So with in a few minutes I picked him up and he succesfully twitched it. This is only the 8th Scilly record and is hot on the heels after the very tame 1st winter male at Newford Duc duckpond in late September just gone. There were also 2 Firecrest and a single Siberian Chiffchaff at the crossroads.

1st winter/adult female BLUE-WINGED TEAL keeping it's distance. You can just make out the yellow legs.

A ten minute look at Lower Moors on the 25th, could only produce a Grey Wagtail and only my second Jack Snipe of the year. Also heard the DUSKY WARBLER and Yellow-browed Warbler.

Love the intro to this song 'Contrary to Ordinary' by the man who wrote 'Mr Bojangles. The great Jerry Jeff Walker.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011


A great shot of the 1st winter WILSON'S SNIPE showing off those axillary feathers Will Wagstaff

  This morning, I only had ten minutes to have a look at Lower Moors. In that time, walking from the Rose Hill end, I heard the Yellow-browed Warbler near the hides. In front of the ISBG hide was the 1st winter WILSON'S SNIPE and a Grey Wagtail. Returning, I could hear 2 very vocal DUSKY WARBLER, one of them showed well, and at the same time, there was a Siberian Chiffchaff singing. Also, very small numbers of Redwing, Fieldfare and Chaffinch were moving SSW overhead and nearby there were 25+Linnet. Is there any other sites in the UK where you can see so many good birds like I observed, in ten minutes?

1st winter WILSON'S SNIPE (top photo Will Wagstaff)

  There was only one bird at Newford Duckpond. Except for the Yellow-browed Warbler, everything else seemed to have cleared out. Late in the afternoon, I had a stroll around the Garrison. From approaching the bend at Lower Broom, I could hear a RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER just ahead of me on the seaward side. Then it flicked up in front of me before darting into cover. I put the news out and it was not until ten minutes later that I saw it again. It was flycatching, silhouetted, staying at the back, calling on and off. Then there was no sight or sound and after a twenty minute wait, I gave up and continued on towards Morning Point. This could be the bird from the Dump Clump as it was only seen this morning.
2 Rusty-dot Pearl were attracted to the outside light at home overnight.

There were 7 Skylark and 3 Meadow Pipit at Content

Looking from the Garrison towards St Agnes and Samson

Ed Harcourt singing 'The Birds will Sing for Us'

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH finally gives itself up!

NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH at Lower Moors. Bloody twigs!

  The boss gave me some time off and at mid-day, Mick and Will were coming out of the Dump Clump after seeing the RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER thats been in the area for the last two days. However, when I ventured in, there was no sign of it. 8-10 Chiffchaffs, Kingfisher and one of DUSKY WARBLERS was calling, that I saw very briefly,  before flying off towards the hides at Lower Moors.
  At the latter site, I met Higgo stumbling out of the Black and White Wood. I asked him 'What yo doin in there?' 'Lookin for pot holes' 'Oh, did yo find any?' We walked towards the hides and bumped into Ian Ellis, a visiting birder from Cambridge. Higgo had over 40 Chiffchaff and 2 Willow Warbler in the Black and White Wood. Very Good! Ian had NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, WILSON'S SNIPE, 2 DUSKY WARBLER, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler and 2 Jack Snipe. Yes well, and that was all seen from the main path, except for the snipe. Is Higgo to busy with his head down, wiping off all the mud off his boots, when he's done his pot holes in the wood or after he goes through a puddle? It was my turn to go into the Black and White Wood. It was very queit, with the odd Chiffchaff and I was beginning to think, is Higgo any good at counting? I had a good scout in the wood and saw 45-50 Chiffchaff, 1 maybe 3 Siberian Chiffchaff (only one called) 1 Willow Warbler and Yellow-browed Warbler and 3 Blackcap.

All the Chiffchaffs were enjoying the sun

The left leg on this Chiffchaff was broken. However, it seemed to be feeding alright

Up to 2 Willow Warbler were at Lower Moors and Jim trapped another one yesterday at Porth Hellick

Maybe 3 Siberian Chiffchaff were at Lower Moors. Only one of them gave itself away by calling.

  Returning towards the Shooters Pool, at eye level, I saw a movement and raised me bins up. Shite! It was NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH!! Less than a few meters in front of me!! I observed it preening, after having a bath, and it put on a good show before dropping to the deck where I lost it.

After well over a month, it was so good to see the NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH again. Chris also saw it well by the Shooters Pool. It looks like it might be set to winter in this area.

  At 15.30, I was driving up airport Lane, when a swift sp bombed it across the runway and went behind the terminal building and I never saw it again. Although I saw it very briefly, the light was good and it looked very dark. I couldn't see any contrast and how much I would of liked it to be a Pallid Swift, although my latest sighting, I believe that it was just a SWIFT. Will Wagstaff was the only one to see it after me and he too thought that it was just a Swift.

Sunset looking from the health center.

Jim White with a great song 'Static on the Radio' They say he's like Jerry Jeff Walker. I don't think so. He's got his own style. I'll be playing some Jerry Jeff in the next few days.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

2 DUSKY WARBLERS feeding together!

A single Swallow was at Porthloo Duckpond
  Walking along the main path at Lower Moors from the Rose Hill end, the Yellow-browed Warbler could be heard with 3-4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap and 2 Woodcock flew out. As I approached the hides, there was a very vocal DUSKY WARBLER. This bird performed very well and while filming it, I could hear the other bird close by. Both birds were observed feeding and calling together and this continued for the next ten minutes that they were on view, before they flew off towards the loop trail. At the same time, there were 2 male Siberian Chiffchaff singing. One was next to the path, while at the same time, I could hear the other male singing in the Black and White Wood. A Swallow was flying around Porthloo Duckpond.

Not great footage, but you can hear both birds together! If you turn it right up, you can just make out one of the Siberian Chiffchaff singing.

This is for those who couldn't hear the Sibe on the Dusky video. As soon as I stopped filming, one of the Dusky Warbler started calling just below the Sibe!

Another Red Admiral was seen enjoying the afternoon sun and there was a Common Marbled Carpet at Lower Moors.. Also got 4 Silver Y and 4 Rusty-dot Pearl were attracted to the outside light at home.

A great live performance of  'Essence' by Lucinda William.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

DUSKY WARBLER trapped at Porth Hellick

Up to a total of 3 DUSKY WARBLERS were seen today on St Mary's including this one that was ringed at Porth Hellick. How many others are hiding away on the other islands?

  I had a few minutes at Lower Moors just before work. Walking towards the Shooters Pool, I could hear a BULLFINCH calling! The light was crap, but there it was at the top of the Sallows. It was silhouetted and it was only when it made a short flight to another Sallow, that I caught some colour and thought that it might of been a male. This was only my sixth record and I had no credit to call anyone. Higgo came to rescue and made the contacts, but he was the only one who saw it after I left. I also got 2 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, Brambling heard, and one of Yellow-browed Warblers called.
  Later Higgo told me that Jim had just trapped the DUSKY WARBLER at Porth Hellick. God, I was tired up with work, but the boss let me go, as long as I made it for the plane that was coming in 15 minutes time. Would I make it? Everyone were already present when I arrived and got to see the Dusky face to face, no twigs in the way this time, and I made it in good time for the plane. That's because it was 10 minutes late and while I was waiting, a Lapwing flew south.

This morning looking east from Porthloo

The only other sighting this year is one that Graham had on St Agnes over 3 weeks ago


You can also hear it call a few times.

  Later I got another call from Higgo to tell me that there were now 2 DUSKY WARBLERS at Lower Moors! That's 4 different birds in four days! It's more than likely been the best year for records in the British Isles, but has there ever been a record of this many Dusky Warblers together in the UK? There becoming like Yellow-browed Warblers over here.
  I was told I could have the afternoon off and went to Porth Hellick. At the time I was watching a Firecrest, after seeing 3 other birds at Higher Moors, Big Al called to say that himself and Tony had the DUSKY WARBLER calling just further up the path from where I was. As I approached to where they were, I found number 5 Firecrest, then I heard the Dusky Warbler nearby. With 2 discovered at Lower Moors earlier on, who's to say that this could be a different bird to the one that was trapped this morning. It was right next to me, calling on and off, but could I see the bloody thing. All I wanted to see was it's legs, however, the only sighting I got, was it flying away from me. In the same area, there were also the 2 Siberian Chiffchaff, the Yellow-browed Warbler and over 20 Chiffchaff.
  At the quay, there were 2 Black Redstart, including the male, with another 3 at Porthllo. Just after 16.00, I was at Newford Duckpond watching 4 Goldcrest, 10+Chiffchaff and the 2 Yellow-browed Warbler. .

There were up to 5 Firecrest between Porth Hellick and Higher Moors

I also I had this Red Admiral and 2 Silver Y Moths at Content, where there was also a male Stonechat and at Star Castle, a Rusty-dot Pearl

Dave Grohl leading the Foo Fighters with 'Over and Out' My daughter and I played this over two years ago in the Old Town Inn.

Friday, 18 November 2011


My latest RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER that I've ever seen was at Porth Hellick

  Late this morning at Porthloo there were 5 Black Redstart, the Whimbrel, 2 Pied Wagtail,  1st winter Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Gull with over 70 Black-headed Gull. The 2 Yellow-browed Warbler were still at Newford Duckpond with 2 Goldcrest and 4 Chiffchaff.

1st winter Mediterranean Gull and Black-headed Gulls at Porthloo

  Early afternoon and I bumped into Dominic Mitchell (founder and Managing Editor of Birdwatch Magazine) at Porth Hellick. He had come over to see the Wilson's Snipe and hopefully the Northern Waterthrush. All morning he had been at Lower Moors and just got 3 Snipe altogether. He was just leaving Porth Hellick, thinking the Wilson's might of been on the pool, to return to Lower Moors. Ten minutes later, it came on the pager that the Wilson's Snipe was in front of the ISBG hide. I hope he connecting with it.
  I had an hour to kill and in that time I got 2 calling Siberian Chiffchaff, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Firecrest and after over 30 minutes of listening to the DUSKY WARBLER, I finally saw it very briefly. A bird in top of the Sallows caught my attention. All I got was a breaf second as it dived into cover. 'RBFly' I said to myself. Five minutes later it came out and I for the first time, got me bins on it. It was very mobile but I could clearly see that it was my latest RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER that I've seen. There were also 10 Snipe on the pool.

RED-BREASTED FLYCATCHER was very mobile, but everyone managed to see it

Damn twigs!

2 Siberian Chaffchaff were heard on and off, but nowhere near as vocal as the DUSKY WARBLER

There were a pair of Stonechat and 1 Black Redstart on the beach

'Summer 78' from the album Goodbye Lenin! Amazing music by Yann Tiersen. I could not find the version on Youtube with Clare Pichet singing on it.