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Sunday, 29 April 2018

Spotted Crake singing at Porth Hellick!

This Red-rumped Swallow was first seen flying through St Agnes by Graham Gordon and a few hours later I picked it up at Porth Hellick with some 150+Sand Martin

  By far the best news of today was Amber Rudd resigning as Home Secretary from the Tories after the Windrush scandal!!

  With Northerlies in the air this morning, I wasn't expecting to see much today on my day off. With a Whitethroat in me garden that encouraged me to get out and do an hour or two in the field. I checked Lower Moors for yesterdays Grasshopper Warbler and 2 Whinchat but it was dead. It wasn't so good at Porth Hellick either although 3 Tufted Duck were new in. I was scanning through some 30 hirundines from the seaward hide, when I heard a Spotted Crake to my right. It only gave two burst in succession and therefore I thought that I would leave it as it's probably something else. However, I heard it again and in two minutes it sang on and off. After ten minutes I never heard again and I informed other birders. It was thirty minutes later that it was heard again by a single observer. We waited around but nothing and twenty minutes later I was at Trewince. I could see immediatly that there was a movement of hirundines moving through with a single Siskin and in the fields there were 2 Whitethroat. 

Single Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Siskin, 2 Whitethroat and moving through good numbers of hirundines at Trewince

This female and 2 male Tufted Duck at Porth Hellick were new in

Coot and Moorhen

  I had lunch at Juliets with Martin, Ren and family when Graham let me know he had a Red-rumped Swallow move through over the Big Pool, St Agnes. Shortly afterwards, news came on about the male Pied Flycaycher was still at Carreg Dhu Gardens, a Lesser Whitethroat was singing at Porth Hellick and on St Martins the 1st winter Laughing Gull was still on the cricket pitch. With the light so good I thought I would go and look at the flycatcher. On the way I picked up the juvenile Iceland Gull at Porthloo. At the gardens Robin joined me and there we discovered that there were 2 male Flycatcher in the garden! House Martin and Swallow were moving through with my first Swift of the year.

This adult male Pied Flycatcher has been in Carreg Dhu Gardens for the last five days.


Today this 1st summer male Pied Flycatcher joined the male in the gardens. Both birds showed superbly in the bright sun light

There were also Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap in the garden

Collard Dove

  When a Red-rumped Swallow disappears from St Agnes we know where it will be seen next and just before 18.00, while talking to Turtle, I picked the Red-Rumped Swallow out of the 150+Sand Martin hawking over the pool! Shortly afterwards there was a small crowd and after some time everyone saw it only for it to disappear again. As there were 30+Swallow and 25+House Martin at Salkee that I checked out before visiting Porth Hellick, I thought that maybe the swallow might have joined them up there. I was talking to Wayne Collins on me mobile only to cut him off as the first bird I see fly past at very close range, is the Red-rumped Swallow. Here it gave me crippling flight views and it might be possible that there are 2 Red-rumps around but we couldn't be 100% sure. Maybe tomorrow will change that. I thought that I would check Lower Moors to see how many hirundines were there. 10 House Martin and 14 Swallow. Flying around together were 6 Snipe. Just after 21.00, Scott Reid and I made our ways to Porth Hellick, hoping to hear the Spotted Crake and in the bright moon light, all we could hear were Snipe.

I only saw 3 Wheatear today including this male

Meadow Pipit


There is possibly 2 Red-rumped Swallow with the 250+hirundines at Porth Hellick this evening


Last week Chas Wood had 2 Hawfinch in his garden including this female at Higher Lanes

Mark Collier found this male Pied Flycatcher at Carreg Dhu Gardens a week ago

While searching for the Pied Flycatcher I picked this male Firecrest on song but it only stuck around for two days

Yesterday I had this male Redstart at Salkee Farm

This is to Amber Rudd and May who should also resign after the Windrush scandal!!! Great short remix of Dylan's 'Masters of War'

Sunday, 22 April 2018


This afternoon I made my ways to St Martins to twitch Viv Jackson's 1st winter Laughing Gull that he found 

  Today, I started and ended with Mediterranean species with a yank in the middle! Yesterday, Graham Gordon found a flava wagtail that showed characteristics of male SPANISH WAGTAIL at Costella, St Agnes. All though I saw a male with Higgo and Bryan Thomas on the same day that Nigel 'scopless' Wheatly found a Spotted Sandpiper on the Tresco Abbey Pool at the end of May 100 year ago! Higgo also had a male on Bryher two year ago. After work I was on the supper boat to stay over night at Graham's. However, we had no luck with the wagtail that evening. There were some 30 Wheatear, 6 Willow Warbler, 14 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and a single Sedge Warbler on the SWW side of the island. No sign of the male Woodchat Shrike.
  This morning we were up and out before 07.00 and at Costella in the dull light, I relocated the wagtail and was immediately struck by the extent of the white throat. To me it looked like the Spanish Wagtails that I saw in southern Spain. The call was spot on as well. Not your typical Yellow Wagtail but more rasping sometimes sounding like an eastern 'type' flava. Graham joined me shortly afterwards and told me that he had it earlier on the campsite beach. In the twenty minutes that we observed it, it proved to be mobile commuting with the two sites with a White Wagtail.
  At Periglis beach a new arrival was a male Redstart but the Lesser Whitethroat at Broweth was the same bird that Graham had yesterday. An immature male Merlin we saw on many occasion and even observed chasing a Snipe.The flava wagtail looked good to both of us as a Spanish Wagtail and a few birders twitched it from St Mary's on the 10.15 boat.

The call and and features make this flava wagtail a good candidate for a male SPANISH WAGTAIL but it will only be accepted if we had got a recording of the call and we didn't.

Male Redstart on Periglis Beach

6 Willow Warbler and the odd Chiffchaff were feeding on Pereglis Beach

Over 30 Wheatear were on the SSW side of St Agnes

14 Whimbrel were on the island

Bishop Lighthouse looking from Horse Point

  The boat that dropped the birders off on St Agnes was the same one that I returned to St Mary's on and at 14.00 I was off to another island, St Martins. As my last Laughing Gull I saw on Scilly was during that amazing 2005 influx when there were maybe six birds on St Mary's. Two of them were feeding in the veg pit in the garden! Anyways, it's a long time ago since I've seen one and I decided to twitch Viv Jackson's 1st winter that he found on the 17th. On arrival at Higher Town quay, Jim Askin who was just coming off the island, put me on it walking along Par Beach! Over a period of an hour the Laughing Gull gave crippling views picking up sand hoppers at the high tide line. It made the occasional short flight to the flooded cricket pitch where it would drink and preen only to return back to the beach. Well worth making the trip over!


This crazy Laughing Gull was walking all over me! It wouldn't leave me alone!!

A very obliging 1st winter Laughing Gull commuting with Par Beach and the flooded cricket pitch


  Back on St Mary's, Higgo had one of the 2 Golden Orioles this evening at Giants Castle that Tony Gilbet had early this morning on the east side of the runway at the airfield. I was there with in twenty minutes and saw a cracking male give good flights views from the gorse into the belt of Salkee pines. I also had my first whitethroat of the year and at Porth Hellick also my first Reed Warbler of the year. I also had 70+Swallow, 2 Kestrel and my latest  Sparrowhawk in the same area. Before all this I had one of the Iceland Gull at the golf course.


  The Belted Kingfisher was a one day bird. However, two days later on the 20th, Higgo went and found a WHITE-BILLED DIVER off Stinky Porth, Bryher. If accepted this will be only the second Scilly record after one was seen off Samson in the 80's. Unfortunately there was no other sign of it after Higgo observed it moving out of the bay.

  On the morning of the 20th, Jim Askin had an adult Night Heron at Porth Hellick while the night before Robin had a juvenile Night Heron over Porthloo duckpong towards Porthloo Beach. A Hawfinch was also on Tresco and the first 2 Swift of the year were at Watermill

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