Notes on birds & wildlife from an east coast birder, wildlife enthusiast & photographer
Monday, 22 October 2012
Last Days on Scilly 2012: Days 7 & 8
The last couple of days, included on day 7, Friday 19th October, the Red- breasted Flycatcher was in the same spot near the Dump clump woods in the tall trees at the back of the former Pumpkin field. A walk back along the lane of Oldtown Churchyard, briefly revealed a confiding Redwing on a bush, which only flew when I stooped down to retrieve the camera. On Tresco, a Herring Gull sat and posed on the picturesque rock! Looking across the Great Pool from the plush Swarovski hide, revealed the 6 Whooper Swans, mostly asleep on the far side of the water by another fence. 2 Mute Swans were with them and from time to time the Swans would wake up and swim left for a while.
many c120 Gadwall, 2 Teal and 1 Redshank were seen on the Pool near the Abbey. Goldcrest seen and Brambling heard only. Just down from the Abbey there along the lane we saw and heard 2 Yellow- browed Warblers, one posed nicely on an exposed perch for around 20 seconds. Walking back along the road, 100 yards past the Abbey, by an area of Rhodadendron bushes, I spied a gorgeous male Golden Pheasant on the track ahead and it was running towards us! A fantastic riot of colour of red, yellow and gold, it looked like a pet fit for a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt especially as it sported a yellow head dress not dissimilar to the ones for kings of Egypt wore!
It kept running towards us and right up to us looking for food, to say it was confiding was an understatement and Tim and I had to walk half way back up the road to take pictures and we took full advantage, albeit in very poor light. The bird took a particular liking to Roy's rolls. John wasn't happy the bird was this confiding but it is as wild as you get here, there is a small breeding population on Tresco around the Abbey woods and this bird has taken advantage of the possible feeding opportunities given up by the passing tourists. Another stunning male Golden Pheasant was seen further up the road and quickly darted into cover of the bushes on the right. Stunning birds which I always enjoyed seeing at Wayland Woods and when the Rhodedendrons were cut back there by the NWT it led to the demise of the Golden Pheasants there.
Finally, male and female Stonechat seen on the walk up to the other quay.
Saturday 20th October was our last day on scilly this year, i went to Lower Moors and seeing 3 Snipe and a Grey heron from ISBG hide, I went to Phyllis hide saw little and met John & Roy back at the ISBG, from the right, I spotted a Jack Snipe fly across and I called it as it landed on the left side of the lagoon, going into some reeds then running right and away into an area of thicker cover. Again, 2 Grey wagtails heard only as they flew over.
On the boat trip back, little seen initially apart from 3 smart kittiwakes, but we encountered flocks of Gannets (30, 40, 120), we had a superb Balearic Shearwater fly along just off the starboard side of the ship banking showing its brown plumage above and smudgy white underparts as it flew right. later, a Gull was harried by 2 Bonxies and an Arctic Skua flew right just off the stern of the ship continuing to fly right. The best was saved to last in fading light I had just come back onto deck following a comfort stop, and saw people peering over the starboard side of the ship, I looked over and saw a super group of 20 Common Dolphin, diving and even breeching out of water right by the side, their white striped sides could be seen clearly at close range albeit in fading light. The Dolphins swam underneath the ship, a really spectacular site that elicited several whoops of joy from the ladies present and big grins on evryones face. Finally the Dolphins were seen behind the ship, a couple still breeching putting on a superlative display.