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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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