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Monday 28 May 2018

Great Reed Warbler at Porth Hellick

I would have swapped in finding this 11th Great Reed Warbler for Scilly for Shrewsbury to win against Rotherham to put them into the Championships League on the same day!! Photo by Scott Reid.

  Two days ago at 19.00, just before I was goin to watch the Liverpool game against Real Madrid at the club, I was at Porth Hellick in the rain observing a very high number of over 200 House and 3 Sand Martin and 100+swallow! The following morning, the idea was to get down early to Porth Hellick to search for a Red-rumped Swallow in with the 300 huirundines.
  It was past 09.00 in the fog and SE breeze when I got down to Porth Hellick and there were only 40+ House and 4 Sand Martin, 20+Swallow and 2 Swift. Reaching the beach I could see hirundines hawking low over the bay. As I lifted me bins 'Great Reed Warbler!' I could hear it singing to my right and I made out that it was coming from the ferns that borders the coastal path and beach. I could also see a dog walker passing to where I could hear the warbler but it carried on croaking. As I approached the bird, I started recording it singing on me mobile and could see movement in the ferns. I put the news out and stood back only for it to fly off strongly towards Carn Friars. At the same time that I could see Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson coming my ways, the warbler gave a burst of song at the entrance of the ringing station. However, after two hours of looking and listening, there was no sign of it.
 Later on it was not til 18.30 when I got out again. Feeling very frustrated after watching my home town Shrewsbury lose 2-1 to Rotherham in the club! It was the shrews chance to get into the Championships League and they blew it!! I joined Higgo at Porth Hellick and as we entered the seaward hide, we heard the Great Reed Warbler briefly to our right. We informed the others but it had shut up by the time they turned up. 30 minutes later, Scott and I relocated it by sub-song back at the entrance of the ringing station. However, I had to go and left the site as it carried on singing. While I was gone, the other birders managed to catch sight of it briefly.

Also seen were 3 Golden Oriole on St Agnes

The Great Reed Warbler singing at Porth Hellick

Swallow having a stretch

Pair of Stonechat


  Unfortunately, the warbler turned out to be a one day bird as there was no sign of it today. Those that did get up early at Porth Hellick,got a few late migrants including, Lesser Whitethroat, Tree Pipit and as expected, Spotted Flycatcher. 

Photo by Robin Mawer

On the 21st, single Short-toed Lark were on St Agnes and St Martins and Higgo and Wayne Collison discovered this stunning male Red-throated Pipit at Popplestone, Bryher. joe Pender also had a Honey Buzzard east over Kittidown and single Osprey were on St Martins and Porth Hellick. Photo by Pete Ewer 

Photo by Alick Simmons

On the 22nd May this Bee-eater was performing in the heat haze at Lower Moors from the Hilda Quick hide. At the same time we observed a male Golden Oriole in the same bush! The Bee-eater soon moved over to St Agnes where it is still present. Bottom photo taken by Sue Clayson

A pelagic out to Pole bank on the 25th produced this Yellow-legged Gull and the highlight, Leather-back Turtle. Also seen were 2 sunfish, single Arctic Tern, 30-40 storm Petrel and 100+Manx Shearwater. Both photos by Scott Reid

Sunday 20 May 2018

Red-backed Shrike at Porth Hellick

Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson found this cracking male Red-backed Shrike at Porth Hellick

  Yesterday afternoon Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson found a male Red-backed Shrike in the field behind the two hides at Porth Hellick. By the time I had got there after work, most had already seen it but after seeing John Headon's Wood Sandpiper on the pool, Martin Goodey and I had brief but good views of the shrike in the bramble patches. It was last seen flying possibly towards Carn Friars shortly afterwards.

This Wood Sandpiper kept it's distance

While the Common Sandpiper showed very well

The resident pair of Shelduck at Porth Hellick were causing havoc on the pool chasing ducklings
  This morning at Porth Hellick, with others, I had a quick look for the shrike but there was no sign of it or the Wood Sandpiper. Instead I got my first Garden Warbler of the year singing next to the seaward hide and a single Cuckoo. On the Garrison there was another Cuckoo and a single Spotted Flycatcher and some 40 Swallow and 15+House and 2 Sand Martin moved through.

  With the ESE continuing from yesterday I decided to try Bryher with 'Dazzler' Dawson. Bryher can be hit or miss and with no sign of the Dotterel from a few days ago and nothing of note elsewhere on the island, we made the short crossing to Tresco at 13.30. On the latter island we split and ten minutes later I saw my bird of the day, a stunning summer plumage Grey Plover with 17 Whimbrel at Great Rock. Both pools were very quiet but there was an obvious arrival of hirundines all over the island with 70+House and 6 Sand Martin, 50+Swallow and 2 Swift. After three hours, all I had seen were 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Cuckoo, 3 Wheatear, the Buzzard and Gimble Porth, a male Pintail. 'Dazzler' Dawson also had a summer plumage Great Northern Diver

This is the first Grey Plover I've seen on Scilly in summer plumage. The only other birds in this plumage I've observed were both in Salop, Whixall Moss and Woodlane over 25 year ago!

There were up to 17 Whimbrel at Great Bay with the plover

Good numbers of pairs of Stonechat on both Bryher and Tresco

This Meadow Pipit was breeding on Castle Down, Tresco

Male House Sparrow

Up to 3 Wheatear were on Tresco

The Israeli Terrorist State killed 60 Palestinians on the day of the US embassy moving to Jerusalem and recognise it as the capital of Israel! And they blamed it on Hamas! Really!?? Altogether in the last month over 100 Palestinians have been killed, including children and a 8 month old baby, by the IOF!! Every day the Israeli Government commits war crimes against the Palestinians!

Brilliant remix of Bob Dylan - Masters of War (The Avener Rework) by Ultra Music

Sunday 13 May 2018


For the last four days, a male grey harrier has been seen on and off briefly on St Mary's and was thought to be a Hen or Montagu's Harrier. It was yesterday in the evening that it showed well at Lower Moors and was re-identified as an adult male NORTHERN HARRIER!!

  Yesterday and like the last four days, myself and others have being trying to see a male grey harrier that Robert Hurrell first had fly straight through Lower Moors four days ago, 9th May. It was two days later that it was seen again, first at the airport and was thought to be a Montagu's Harrier and then Trewince where Joe Pender thought it was a Hen Harrier while driving his wagon!. The following day it flew through Lower Moors again and shortly afterwards was on St Martins. Now it was thought to be a Montagu's Harrier and Lower Moors seemed the place to be. At the latter site it was seen high above but it was not until that evening that it showed better and was re-identified as an adult male NORTHERN HARRIER!
  I was scanning from the airport lane looking down on Lower Moors at the time it was there but did not see it. It was only later when Scott Reid joined me and a call from Bobby 'Dazzler' Dawson, put us on the harrier as we observed it go to roost to the south of Higgo's project pool. we were a long ways off and would never be happy with those brief distant views.

  Just after 05.00 the following morning, Scott and I were at the side of the Dump Clump looking north. However. ten minutes later we found ourselves on top of the ISBG hide looking NW to catch the harrier leaving it's roost site. Being higher above the reeds and it payed off. At 05.55, Scott picked it up heading low east towards Longstones. We quickly put Bobby 'Dazzler' and Wayne Coingham on it as the bird flew a little higher over the trees. Out of sight, we decided to go and search for it but nearly two hours later the only birds of note were 5 Wheatear and 3 Whimbrel on the golf course.

Adult male NORTHERN HARRIER leaving it's roost at Lower Moors

From 15 a few days ago to only 4 Whimbrel on the golf course

  It was 09.20 while at home when Ren called me to say he had the harrier at Porth Hellick loop trail!! I called Higgo but no reply. As he had not seen it I went to his digs and got him out of bed! It was some ten minutes later that we got to Porth Hellick, as I picked more birders on our ways but we thought that it would be a better advantage looking from airport lane looking over Porth Hellick. Gathered in a line, we scanned and then I picked it up over the loop trail and everyone had finally seen it! It performed very well but nothing like when Higgo, Tim and I observed it over Salkee Down as it was hunting low over the heather showing very well before flying over high towards Porth Hellick Down. It was here while on the down that Ritchie and I observed it on thermals and circle high into the blue skies. Still high above us it drifted NNE towards Pelisty where we lost it. At mid-day it was picked up on St Martins. Later Ren had it over Twince and while cycling to Porth Hellick, the harrier flew in front of me at very close range towards Longstones! Early evening It came into Lower Moors and then it was observed flying high NE towards St Martins. There was no sign of it at the roost at Lower Moors later in the evening.

  Viv Jackson also heard a Bee-eater and saw the Marsh Harrier over Lower Town, St Martins this afternoon and great news on Tresco where Pochard having bred with 6 young!

Male NORTHERN HARRIER being observed at Porth Hellick

A single Golden Plover was on the airfield

  Two days ago, I was full on at work from 07.30 to 20.00 and it came out as no surprise when Terry and Paul relocated the St Martins Laughing Gull on St Mary's in the afternoon. It was also no surprise on the location that it was favoring, Porthloo Duckpond. Although Terry and Paul first saw it at Juliet's Garden!! Later on when I got down to the duckpond, the gull had moved on.
  Just before 20.00, I picked up six drunk old men from the winery and started making my ways back to Star Castle. However, a call from Robin found me diverting to the duckpond as the gull had returned. I told the guys in me wagon that were goin to see an American gull! 'American golf!' One shouted from the back. Before I could say anythin another replied 'No, he said American girl!' What!? 'No gull!' Another spoke up 'Yes your right he did say girl' As we pulled into the side next to the duckpond, I could see the American girl on the wall at the side of the road. I pointed to where it was and behind me I heard 'I can't see anyone on the wall' This was crazy! 'You've drunk so much Johnny that you can't see!' Johnny reminded them 'Well we have been bloody drinking all day playing bridge on the train down to Penzance!' One of them got out of me wagon and walked towards the wall to have a closer look at the girl that wasn't even there! This was so stupid and when he understood that I said gull and not girl, not just was he disappointed but he still couldn't see the bird that was almost under his feet!
  He got back in the wagon, I took some pics and then I took the drunks to the hotel as they were eating at 20.00. Even though the drive should of took a minute, we got there at 20.10!!

The 1st winter Laughing Gull turned up at Ploo Duckpond on St Mary's after spending over three weeks on St Martins! It was still present today making a brief visit to St Martins before returning to St Mary's

Chris and Juliet found and took this pic of a Woodchat Shrike at Beady Pool, St Agnes, 4-6th May. Note the ring on right leg! On the 5th there were also 2 Black Redstart and an Osprey in the area. The latter I got to see on St Mary's.

On the 7th May, Bob 'Dazzler' Dawson spotted this Adult Roseate Tern sat out on the Bacon Boy off Rat Island. This was only my sixth Scilly Roseate! All pics by Robin Mawer 

  On the morning of the 30th April, a birder was in the seaward hide at Porth Hellick before first light and heard my Spotted Crake that I heard singing the day before! Also at the latter site, the Red-rumped Swallow was still present showing very well at Kittidown.

I saw my first Spotted Flycatcher at Trenowth, 7th May

The Iceland Gull is still hanging around in the bays of town

While feeding Dave, on the right, look who came down to have a look? This odd plumage 2nd winter Herring Gull I ain't seen since April at Morning Point

While Ren was talking to me last night, Gaza was being attacked by Israeli airstikes! How many Palestinians is the Israeli Terrorest state goin to kill this time and say tat their target was Hamas! I'm against any terrorist group including Hamas and Israel!! How can Israel continue to get away with this as well as shelling Syria!?

Israeli airstrikes hit north Gaza Strip (VIDEO)

Israeli airstrikes hit north Gaza Strip (VIDEO)
The northern Gaza Strip has been hit by a series of Israeli air strikes.
Israeli warplanes reportedly launched eight airstrikes on Beit Hanoun Saturday, and images of fiery explosions and smoke-filled skies were shared on social media. There are no reported injuries from the strikes, according to the Jerusalem Post.

This evening, the IDF destroyed yet another terror tunnel, making this the 9th terror tunnel that the IDF has destroyed in recent months. Using advanced technology, the IDF was able to locate, track, and destroy the .5mi-long terror tunnel
The Israeli Defense Force outlined their targeted attack on a terror tunnel along the strip, “making this the 9th terror tunnel that the IDF has destroyed in recent months”. The IDF said they used advanced technology to “locate, track, and destroy the .5 mile-long” tunnel, adding that the it “did not enter Israel”.

The terror tunnel constituted a serious threat to Israelis & approached Kibbutz Erez & Erez Crossing. The tunnel did not enter Israel & was destroyed within the Gaza Strip
The explosions come soon after the IDF shut down the Gaza border crossing on Saturday after it was damaged by Palestinian demonstrators during a wave of recent Great March of Return protests.
The IDF criticized Palestinian protesters for allegedly making the border unsafe as Israel and “countries around the world provide Gazans with humanitarian aid through crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip”.

The crossing will remain closed until the damages caused by the riots are repaired & will reopen in accordance with a situation assessment. Hamas terror organization is harming the wellbeing of Gazans
On Friday, some 15,000 Palestinian protesters started fires on the Palestinian side of the crossing, damaging gas pipelines leading to the enclave, the IDF said. The Kerem Shalom crossing is used by trucks carrying goods and food supplies between Israel and Gaza.

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Breaking: Israeli warplanes launch eight airstrikes on Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip.
The IDF again used lethal force against the people who they said attempted to harm Israeli troops. One Palestinian was shot dead and at least 170 were injured, some critically, across the Gaza strip on Friday, which brought the number of those killed by Israeli forces during the six-week protest to 44 people.

Due to the destruction of the Kerem Shalom Crossing on the Palestinian side, the Minister of Defense, Mr. Avigdor Liberman, approved the recommendation to close the crossing
The increased tension comes as Israel’s Independence Day approaches, with celebrations set to coincide with a ceremony marking the relocation of the US Embassy, scheduled for Monday, May 14.