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Friday, 19 June 2015

1st CEDAR WAXWING for Scilly

This CEDAR WAXWING performed briefly in a back garden at Trench Lane

  11.45 I was driving to airport when Nigel Hudson called to tell me that Maggie Tucker has got, by her description, either a Waxwing or Cedar Waxwing in her back garden! I wasn't expecting to hear that. I thought it was more than likely going to be the latter and called everyone to get down there. After dropping the folks off at the airport, I rushed down to Trench Lane and went into the back garden with Nigel. Immediately I said, there it is and got my bins on it and calmly said, 'it's a CEDAR WAXWING! Within seconds it flew off with a quiet shill, into some Willows. Nigel ran off and I heard Martin fly past on his quad. I ran out to where he was and beckoned both him and Robin into the garden. This time Martin picked it up and it showed a lot better, but as more locals arrived, it moved deeper into the apple tree and only parts of the bird could be seen, now and then. I could of continued to observe it, but I went to get Higgo, dropped him off and then returned to the airport. He missed it by seconds and for the rest of the day it was never seen again.

I guess this is the same bird that was seen at Rose Hill 17 days ago.

  The only other bird of interest seen today was the long staying sub-adult COMMON CRANE on Annet. On Bryher, there has not been any records of Slow Worm for some years until today when Bob Dawson found one.
  Yesterday the 3 Bee-eater were at lower Town Farm, St Agnes and the adult Purple Heron was at Porth Hellick.

Sedge Warbler with a Clouded Border at Porth Hellick

Powerful stuff by these great guys. 'I like to knock his fxxxx teeth out' 'Neil Young can stick it up his ass' Reaction from his fans when he sang this song in Texas. Half of them walked out. This was just like when I went to see Kris Kristofferon in the 80's and 1000's walked out when he started singing powerful polictical songs against the British and American governments. It turned out to be one of the best gigs that I've been to and as a result of folks walking out, we all got a front seat!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


Cuckoo at Deep Point

  Fog had stopped flying all day and at 15.30, Higgo called to tell me that he had just seen the adult Purple Heron fly away from Porth Hellick. As I was just passing Lower Moors, I thought I would give it a look to see if it had come in there. Also the 3 Bee-eater that were on Bryher this morning, were later seen in the Lower Moors area. By now the sun was coming through and just after 16.00, I was next to the Standing Stones Field when I picked up a falcon low over the scrape heading my way. Immediately, I could see that it was no Peregrine or Hobby and this was by the chocolate brown on the upperparts. As the bird was 60ft away, I could see that the underwing and underparts were dark, particular the contrast with the underwing coverts being black. I was aware that there was a Hobby in the area and I saw it yesterday, but this was clearly no Hobby and I said to myself, ELEONORA'S FALCON!! Even though there was nothing to compare it to, it was noticeably larger, longer-winged and tailed than Hobby. It was going at some great speed and the Swallows were alarming, followed by doves being spooked and scattered all over the shop. The falcon continued east towards the airfield, where I lost it. The light was very good and from the first sighting to it disappearing, try as I might, I could not see any pale/white on any parts of the bird. I was looking for a mustache and on the underparts, streaking, but it was all dark. If there was white on the cheeks or the underwing, then I would of seen it as clear as day. What really struck me was the contrast with the underwing and underwing coverts. All of this makes it an adult dark morph Eleonora's Falcon.
  I called everyone and told them exactly what I've written above and then got Higgo and we both went to Deep Point. An hour after seeing the falcon, we were at Giants Castle and here we saw the 2nd summer Hobby. The fog was closing in and the light was poor. However, you could still see the mustache and white cheeks, underwing and on the underparts, streaking. The upperparts were dark with brown fringing. Everyone was looking elsewhere, but as the fog stopped play and there was no sign of it anywhere. It was only when I returned home that I looked at a book. I didn't know that dark morph don't show a mustache or any streaking or pale/white on any parts. If accepted this would be first for Scilly.
  The sub-adult COMMON CRANE was still on Annet and on St Agnes in the last week, a staggering 3 Striped Hawkmoth have been trapped. Yesterday the second Plain Golden Y for the island was also trapped.

This is the 2nd summer Hobby that I saw yesterday at Porth Hellick and the same bird we had today at Giants Castle.

This female Cuckoo was causing alarm for the breeding Rock Pipits

Male Stonechat

  Yesterday, a possible male Common Rosefinch flew over the pair of American Wigeon,  that are still present today, on Tresco Great Pool. Also, the adult Night Heron was seen to fly from Lower Moors to Porthloo.

Sad news, Rocky, the one with the white ring around his neck, passed away overnight. Everyone was very upset and he was buried with singing and a stone and flowers were put above his grave. R.I.P Rocky.

"Out to Sea" conjures up images of a different sort of location: an imagined, windswept place where the day always seems to hover around sundown, the townspeople speak in low whispers and Chris Isaak battles Mazzy Star for space on the jukebox. They've also used her music in 'True Detective' season 2.
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Monday, 15 June 2015

Purple Heron on Higgo's Pool

Adult Purple Heron flying towards Higgo's Pool

  Were well into June and everyone is saying that this year could turn out to be one, if not the best spring, on Scilly! Today, Higgo called to tell me that the adult Purple Heron, that Robin had yesterday evening at the same site, Porth Hellick, has flown towards Lower Moors. I informed everyone and I had only just got into the ISBG hide when the heron flew up out of the reeds right in front of me. We observed it come down at Higgo's Pool and ten minutes later we all got scope views of the heron from Pilots Retreat looking down onto  his Pool. The third Jackdaw of the year was also on the airfield.

I got Higgo from Porth Hellick so he could tick the Purple Heron off on his pool, that him and Chesney dug out with their bare hands! It's thought that this adult is the bird that has been on St Martins for the last six weeks and at last we've all caught up with it.

  The birds keep on coming and today 2 Bee-eater turned up on Tresco by the Blockhouse. However, on the same island yesterday, Dave Flumm found a pair of American Wigeon on the Great Pool. A few of us twitched them, but the only way you could see them was on the opposite side of Simpson's Field, distantly, from the Swarovski hide. Here they spent most of their time asleep. There was also a Wheatear on Castle Down.
  last week on the 9th, an adult Little Bittern was found freshly dead below the wire meshing next to the hard sports court. It had a broken neck and has more than likely hit the 20ft wire mesh during the night. Is this the Rose Hill individual that was last seen at the end of May or is a new bird?

Could this be the pair American wigeon returning from October last year? Robin mawer

Early yesterday evening, Robin also had these 100+ Common Dolphin off Peninnis Robin Mawer

Shortly after Robin letting me know about the Dolphins, I was just about to take my first bite into a steak burger at a BBG with Chesney and his missus, Loopy Lucy, when he butted in with news that he had just had this adult Purple Heron at Porth Hellick! We went for it, after I finished my burger and the other two after that, and not surprising, we all dipped! Perhaps I should of just had the one burger.

Got 2 Spotted Flycatcher at St Martins after dipping on the Greenish Warbler at Lawrence Bay, (11th)

also 2 Chiffchaff were in the same area as the flycatcher

Last week there were still over 60 each of Swallow and House Martin and single Sand Martin at Porth Hellick

This Little Egret was having a good ole preen just before dark at Lower Moors

The ducklings are growing up fast. Peter is the one stretching his wings with white Pablo and Captain looking on and Rocky you can just see in the bin lid.

Acoustic Junction founder Reed Foehl, is making a serious return to music with his upcoming album Lost In the West.  The record features co-writes with Gregory Alan Isakov and Paper Bird’s Esme Patterson and guest vocals from Anaïs Mitchell. Reed Foehl is largely known for his lyrical ability as an artist. He possesses a talent, and voice that is very seldom seen (or heard). 

Monday, 8 June 2015

30 Red Kite a Scilly record!

12 Bee-eater on St Agnes equaling the Scilly record and is the second highest number to be observed in the UK after 18 in Oxfordshire and I've forgot what year that was. 

  This morning, St Agnes awoke to sound of Bee-eaters around the lighthouse. However, when the birds were spotted, there wasn't 7 that were seen yesterday evening, but 12 Bee-eaters! Mid-morning and Ren called to say that the gulls were going crazy above town. I rushed out from the castle and saw my first Hobby of the year, but that wasn't what was putting the gulls up. We soon discovered why when Higgo called to say that he was on Bryher when he could hear the gulls mobbing something. He looked up and spotted a Red Kite coming in off the sea with a flock of gulls following the kite. A closer look at the gulls turned out to be a flock of 30 Red Kite! There has only been over 10 records on Scilly. We continued to scan the skies when Bob Dawson text to say that, from St Agnes he saw them the kites pitch down on Annet and joined the sub-adult COMMON CRANE.  We were all hoping they would make there ways over to Mary's and shortly afterwards I got one low over Lower Moors. For the next hour I was getting calls and text from everyone with maybe up to 8 Red Kite seen on Mary's. I caught up with 3 at Rose Hill and at Pelistry, I got 5 Red Kite Afterwards, the birds just disappeared into thin air and no more were seen.
  Things were only just beginning when contacts from Cornwall told us that the Black Stork that has been in the SW of Cornwall since yesterday was observed leaving Porthgwarra and heading in our direction. Again all eyes were to the skies and an hour later both Ren and Will Scott picked the stork up flying from the ESE low over Lower Moors and out towards Morning Point where it was lost to view. Later we discovered that a local flushed it at close range on the SE slope of the Garrison and fly off towards Peninnis. Shortly afterwards, Doug Page observed it come in off the sea from the SW at Troy Town, St Agnes. Luckily I've seen two already on Scilly, but how much I would of liked to see this one. Maybe it might reappear tomorrow back in Cornwall where all our Red Kite have come from. Of the latter species, over 180 were seen at St Just airport, Cornwall with smaller numbers in the area.

3 Red Kite over pelistry

  Higgo and Robin had twitched the Bee-eater on st Agnes and were hoping to catch the Black Stork maybe. I finished work at 17,53 and just made it for the super boat to Agnes. I got 5 Bee-eater in the post office area, but for the next hour, that was all I saw. I followed these five wherever they went, when I realized that there were 6 then 7 and they continued to increase and were getting very vocal until there were 12 Bee-eater hawking in the air together! They all came down and perched in a Tamarsik and showed very well in the bright sun. It couldn't get better than this, but it did when I just caught 2 Night Heron flying away from me in the direction of Gugh. They were back on, but they looked like one adult and an immature bird. Later, Bob Dawson told me that some visitors had two heron come into the Big Pool at 22.30 last night. Obliviously the same birds. The Bee-eater, on occasions, got up to hawk together and I started counting, 1,2,7,9,13! 13? I counted again and got 12. once more up they got . 1,6,10,13,16,19! Only joking, but I got 13 again. So difficult to get it right when there dancing around and there dipping behind hedges.
  I left the Bee-eater and I could still hear them and glimpsed 5 birds while talking to Doug at the post office just before I caught the boat back home. What an amazing day!

Bee-eaters with St Agnes lighthouse

10 Bee-eater

12 Bee-eater

10 Bee-eater

8 Bee-eater

I spent a lot of time with these amazing birds and this and the forst photo are two of my favorite images

  Yesterday morning I Kayaked over to St Martins and in the hot sun and walked the coastal path hopping to see the adult Purple Heron that was last seen on the 3rd. The only birds of note were singles of Whitethroat, Swift, Wheatear and Sanderling. I also had up to 6 Painted Lady's and 2 Rush Veneer. Back home in the Star Castle garden there were 8 Humming-bird Hawkmoth feeding on the flowers with singles also seen in town

  While observing the 4 Bee-eater at Pungies Lane two days ago, a text came through from Paul St Peere telling me that he had just watched 2 Bee-eater leaving Porthgwarra, SW. This morning the 4 Bee-eater from yesterday on St Agnes had rose to 6 Bee-eater! Are two of the birds the Porthgwarra individuals? Later in the evening there were 7! Who expected that this morning they that there would be 12 Bee-eater!

Rush Veneer at the Daymark

  It seems that the 1st summer Squacco Heron has left us and the last time it was seen (3rd) was when I had it in front of the ISBG hide and as you will hear from this video, it was very vocal.

I've got 4 Mallard type things over a month old from down the road, because the lady had too many. Chesney's girlfriend, Loopy Lucy and myself dug out a pond and they love it!