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Monday, 22 July 2013

4th GREY ARCHES MOTH for Scilly

This GREY ARCHES MOTH was the third for Scilly trapped overnight at Longstones by Mick Scott, 14/7. Only a few days later, the forth record was discovered in the dairy in Hugh Town! Mick Scott

My first Comma Butterfly of the year was at Holy Vale 


After seeing over 15+ Crossbill on Tresco last week, it's only been singles on St Mary's including this male in Holy Vale that always favoured the tops of the Elms.
Wood Pigeon
Male linnet

This female House Sparrow was attempting to catch Meadow Browns

A pair of wrens have built a nest above the entrance to Star Castle and are now busy feeding the chicks.


An evening walk in overcast skies on the Garrison and I came across this brood of Swallow.

David Ryan Adams (born November 5, 1974) is an American singer-songwriter, from Jacksonville, North Carolina. Adams left the group Whiskeytown and released his first solo album Heartbreaker in 2000. The album was nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize and Adams released six additional solo albums, including the UK certified-gold Gold. He released five albums with the rock band The Cardinals and in 2009 Adams married singer-songwriter and actress Mandy Moore. Adams left The Cardinals and announced that he was taking a break from music. He resumed performing in October 2010 and released his thirteenth studio album, Ashes & Fire, on October 11, 2011. The album peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard 200.
Adams has also produced albums for Jesse Malin and Willie Nelson and collaborated with Counting Crows, Weezer, Norah Jones, America, Minnie Driver, Cowboy Junkies, Leona Naess, Toots & the Maytals, Beth Orton and Krista Polvere.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Shag resembling Mediterranean race (P.a.desmarestii)

Possible juvenile Mediterranean Shag at the Eastern Isles Max Rowe

  Yesterday, I got up early to kayak to hopefully all the islands. However, dense fog stopped play and it was not until 09.30 that I set off from Porthloo as the fog was lifting and gave way to the calm, hot conditions that Scilly has been basking in for over two weeks now. Twenty minutes later and I had reached South Beach, Tresco. I had a stroll around the two pools and got myself a pasty and a mint chunky kitkat. All of note that I saw were 7 Greenshank and a single Common Sandpiper. Returning to the beach, 15+Crossbill flew over Abbey Drive.

This Coot was having fun chasing off the Mallards
Tresco Great Pool
The Kayak on South Beach with a misty Eastern Isles

Myself with the Eastern Isles in the distance Max Rowe

From Tresco looking towards Bar Point, St Mary's

  From Tresco I rowed the one and half miles to the Eastern Isles. This is where Max joined me and on our ways there, we ploughed into good numbers of both Common Moon and Bluefire Jellyfish. As we moved deeper into the uninhabited isles, I saw 3 Shag fishing in the water to my right. Although the light was crap, one of them looked notably paler than the others. I got Max attention and told him to get on it as it might be a possible Mediterranean Shag! we slowly drifted closer towards them. Now this is the beauty of being in a Kayak, the animal life just sit there and only move when you almost touch them! All 3 birds got on top of rock, close to the water, and started to dry off. Max got his camera out and fired off some shots, until we got a little too close and they all dived into the water and just vanished!

You can't see it in this pic, but the bird did have large pale panels in the wings

The bright yellow bill and paleness overall in compassion to the Shag beside it on the right

Note the gleaming white underparts on all the pics above. Max Rowe Two years ago, I came across a Shag also showing features of the Mediterranean race, P.a.desmarestii off Bants Carns. Last October another was seen by birders off Bryher.

Any opinions are welcome on this interesting Shag
Our Kayaks on Great Ganilly

The fog rolling in looking down from Great Ganilly
  The last time I visited the Eastern Isles was 14 years ago when that mega first for Britain turned up in the amazing month of October '99. Everyone who was here then, will remember the SHORT-TOED EAGLE gracefully drifting between St Martins and Mary's. I though, remember it for a different reason. Mark Groves does a lot of work for BBC South West. They asked him to get some footage of the eagle to show on the news and Mark asked me to join him.The eagle was mainly hunting around Martins and the Eastern Isles. It was overcast and in his rib we set off from Mary's into a cold breeze. We got wind that it was on White Island. It was high tide, so Mark thought, and he got me to climb the rocks to the top to see if it was still there. Climb the rocks!? Bloody 'el! It was steep and dangerous and many times I slipped while trying to find somewhere to put my foot in. When I finally reached the top, the eagle glided over my head and we both watched it head towards the Eastern Isles. For all my effort, I did flush 2 Snow Bunting.
  Mark beached the rib on Great Ganilly where the eagle was hovering. As we raced up the hill to get closer, we flushed an amazing 24 Snow Bunting from the beach! The eagle was just above our heads when a ring-tailed Hen Harrier came from nowhere and tried to take it out! The harrier headed off towards Martins while the eagle continued to hunt. For the next two hours, Mark got what he wanted and I probably got the best views of the eagle during it's stay.
  We returned to the rib to find that it had gone! No, it was there! The tide had come in and the rib was 10 miles out at sea! Well only a few meters really. One of us had to swim out and lift the anchor up and pull the rib in. I drew the short straw and found myself stripping off to my boxer shorts that had pictures of Thomas The Tank Engine on. Very fashionable then. I liked them anyway. I liked them so much that I had 10 pairs! I would of had more, but I was told that I brought the last pair. It didn't matter, I got 5 pairs of Paddington Bear instead. Anyways, that's enough of my boxer shorts.
  So here I am testing how cold the water was with my little toe. It was bloody freezing! After ten minutes I had got as far as my ankles. I was getting there as Mark was egging me on. 'Go on, it's only a bit of cold water. It wont hurt you' An hour later I finally pushed myself and now the water was up to my knees. I swam out and dived under and got the anchor and pulled the rib to the shore. On the beach I stood there shivering all over. 'You'll have to put some cloths on Kris or you will die from the cold' I couldn't move. However, this soon changed. From the corner of my eye I could see the Seahorse approaching us. Right at the front was George Reszeter with his monster lens and behind him were some 50 birders! Shite! What were they thinking? Here's me naked, except for my Thomas The Tank Engine boxers, on a secluded beach with an old man looking and telling me that I'm going to catch my death. You don't have to worry about that anymore Mark, I thought. I have never moved so fast in all my life! Those cloths were on in seconds. Some were back to front and inside out and my boots were on the wrong feet. I didn't care about that. The question is, did they see me naked? I pray to god they didn't see my boxer shorts!

While Max and I were climbing Great Ganilly, I told him the story of me naked on the beach with Mark. Then Mark came past in his rib!

  In the misty conditions, Max and I made the ten minute paddle to St Martins and landed at Higher Town Beach. We had a refreshing drink and I had lemon curd icecream, at Polreath Tea Room. After half an hour, Tean was our next island. As we left Martins, the fog rolled in and it was decided that we can't go on any further. Max returned to Tresco and I made the trip back to Mary's. The fog descended all around me and I was caught out and gave it a very eerie feeling being alone out there. When I saw Bar Point ahead of me, I felt safe and followed the shore until I was at Porthloo. Just as was coming in, the fog cleared to bright hot sunshine. I could of continued to do all the islands while making to Tean, but we had no idea how long the fog would linger and therefore it was too dangerous to continue. Try again another time.

Kayaks on Higher Town Beach, St Martins. Note the fog coming in

This dead Dogfish sp was also on the beach as well as lots of washed up jellyfish 

I love all the material that Willard Grant Conspiracy do. Very haunting,beautiful and disturbing. Willard Grant Conspiracy (WGC) is an alt-country band based near Palmdale, California, USA. Originally formed by Robert Fisher and Paul Austin in 1995 in Boston, Massachusetts, the band operates as a collective, with vocalist Fisher the only permanent member. Up to thirty other musicians occasionally contribute to the band, both in the studio and during live performances. WGC is currently signed to the independent Glitterhouse Records label, having previously released on Rykodisc and Kimchee Records

Friday, 12 July 2013

New species of starling!

And this is what all the fuss is about. At work guests are coming up to me and asking what species of starling has the orangey/yellow head? I've never seen one like it before. I can't find them in my book. Therefore they must be rare? in fact there were two! I thought, they must being breeding then!? 

And here's a juvenile. Proof that they are breeding on the islands!

And when I told them that they were Starlings, they wouldn't have it! As you see from the above images, pollen is gathered on the Starlings as they reach deep into the flower of New Zealand Flax to feed. They are pretty impressive with or without the pollen.
Two days ago before mid-day, I was at Sallyport and all the Herring Gulls got up making a hell of noise just above me. This happens a lot, but on this occasion they were alarming at maybe a passing Osprey, I thought? I scanned the skies and could see nothing and continued into town. Higgo called 'raptor above the Dutchy Office!' I looked behind 'I can see it' I could clearly see that it wasn't an Osprey, but I could also see that it wasn't one of the local Buzzards. With my groin strain, that I got from canoeing, I ginglery moved as fast as I could and returned to me wagon. The light was perfect and with me bins, as it banked, I could see a dark, shallow forked tail and pale panels on the wings. I called Higgo and told him that it was a BLACK KITE! I grabbed me camera out of the bag and I pointed to where the bird was circling, always moving west. I wasn't quick enough and it disappeared behind Ren's house. Shite! I drove like the devil up to Star Castle and then onto the football field on the Garrison. However there was no sign of it and I had to return to work.

This male Blackbird was sunbathing in the heat of the sun

This family of Swallow have also kept me entertained at work

In the last week there have been clouds and clouds of Red-necked Footman on St Mary's. Also I've seen a few Clouded Yellows.


Male House sparrow, Pheasant, Collard Dove and there first returning 6 Chiffchaff were at the Garrison

In over an hour, Jim trapped 7 Storm Petrel at Deep Point. The first one he pulled out of the net was this French ringed individual!
The second time in two weeks, I've have observed a rat run across in front of me only to see a Herring Gull sweep down and kill it!
In similar circumstances, I was on top of Porth Hellick Down observing a noisy male Blackbird jumping around, while at the same time it would repeatedly stab at something on the ground. I was too far to see what it was, but when the blackbird tossed the object up in the air, I could see that it was a shrew! I tried to get closer and the Blackbird flew off. The Lesser White-toothed Shrew was still alive when I found it, but it soon died. The Blackbird did try to return to the shrew while I was there. Did it kill it because it thought the shrew was a threat? Has anyone else observed thrushes killing shrews? 

The late John peel thought Nina Nastasia was someone that everyone should listen to! I'll second that. She was born in Hollywood, California and is of Calabrian and Irish descent. She began writing songs in 1993, and released her first album, Dogs, in 2000. Only 1,500 copies of the album were initially pressed, with Nastasia putting together the album packaging herself in her apartment. Nastasia sold them at her shows, quickly selling all of them. By the end of the year 2000, the album was out of print. Famed DJ John Peel took notice of the album (calling it "astonishing") after having been given a copy by Steve Albini. Peel began playing songs from it constantly on his radio show on BBC Radio 1. The album, as well as Nastasia, subsequently gained a cult following.