Notes on birds & wildlife from an east coast birder, wildlife enthusiast & photographer
Monday, 22 October 2012
Arrival of the Americans: Scilly 2012, days 3 & 4
On Scilly today, Monday 15th October, we went back to Bryher, in the hope of seeing the elusive Blackpoll. Back at Veronica's farm, after spending ann hour and a half staring at where the Blackpoll had been, we saw a Robin, Chiff- Chaff, a male Blackcap and a female Sparrowhawk flying over. We also heard Coal Tit calls, and moving right 50 yards we saw first one then 2 excellent Irish Coal Tits, perch in the isolated bush in the clearing then fly to the Pines to the right where we had seen one before. A shout went up that the Blackpoll had been seeen slong bushes to the track to tquay barely 500 yards away. We arrived and a group of 40 people awaited the Blackpoll, that didn't disappoint as it worked its well to the top of the bush and showed briefly, a superb Blackpoll Warbler, Tim and I then went round the back to get some shots but this was a mistake and we went back to the track, specifically the corner where the Blackpoll was making its way towards and it showed well on occasions in a large bush here before it flew someway left. 2 female Sparrowhawk flew over our heads, whilst from the quay we saw a hybrid Hooded Crow, initially it looked good as it fed on a sandy island in the bay, but when it flew it showed black and not light grey undertail coverts, a crucial feature needed for a pure Hoodie. On the journey back on the boat, I saw 2 Grey Plover on an island, on Green island, amongst the middle of the Gulls, I could clearly see a Spoonbill and shouted it out and most people got onto it, fortunately. On the far left of this island, amongst 15 Curlew on the extreme right was a Whimbrel and groups of 5 and 15 Sanderling.
Finally on the sea, an impressive feeding flock of 27 Shag were seen.
On Tuesday 16th October, a quick look on the garrison end of Porthcressa beach revealed the usual Rock Pipits and very black looking Pied Wagtail. I then wandered along to the Dump Clump woods, where a gathering of people eventually revealed a very close Hume's Leaf Warbler, calling a distinct and ID clinching "chee- wee" call and looking very similar to a YBW completely lacking the grey and mucky tones we usually associate with this bird back home. It popped out of the ivy and in the foliage of the tree directly in front of us giving brief neck breaking views at times. A walk around Old town churchyard revealed little, with Oldtown Bay revealing Greenshank, 3 Oystercatcher and a heard only Oystercatcher. The usual very tame Song Thrush, Blackbird and House Sparrows posed a little too well for the camera, too close. This must be the best spot in Britain to photo Song Thrush. Albeit you'll only need a 100mm lens! No sooner had we left there than we returned to watch from the churchyard looking over the trees lining the lane, a Red- breasted Flycatcher that eluded us earlier. The bird flitted about and posed quite well on occasion for the gathering crowd. Back at the Dump Clump woods, the Hume's Leaf Warbler showed briefly again in the same area, but this time it was calling its chee-wee call more frequently. By the very tall trees aat the back of the ex- Pumpkin field nearby, a Spotted Flycatcher showed well on occasion in the trees here. Hearing on the CB that the Solitary Sandpiperwas seen in a field off the road leading out of Old Town towards the Airport, by an Artists studio. I went along and saw the bird walking around a distant puddle, together with 2 Grey Wagtails. Opposite the entrance to the Airport in scrub here, I heard a Yellow- browed Warbler call several times but it eluded me. At Peninnis, it was very quite with Stonechat and Greenfinch, the only birds seen. The Garrison was also quiet and just 2 Meadow Pipits and another Stonechat seen. Again on the CB, we heard 3 RND's were on the sea just off Porth Melon Beach and we rushed down to the Pottery to see if we could view that section of the bay and sure enough, we could we see, very distantly, but with the 50X turned up on our scope, we could ID them as 3 Ring- necked Ducks (1 immature male and 2 females). They initially sat and bobbed up and down the sea swimming towards the beach there and then they flew over Hughtown and appeared to drop down onto Lower Moors. We dashed down there hopeful of some excellent photography, if we could get into the hide, no sooner had we stepped on the boardwalk, merely 50 metres from the hide, than the 3 Ring- necked Ducks flew very close directly overhead and appeared to fly north.