Notes on birds & wildlife from an east coast birder, wildlife enthusiast & photographer
Monday, 22 October 2012
Soggy Scilly: Scilly 2012 days 1 & 2
A crack team of birders, John H, Tim H, Roy H and also myself visited the Isles of Scilly this October in search of rare birds and good photography. Happily we achieved both, but both John & failed to add any new birds to o
ur life or UK lists.
On Saturday 13th October, the boat trip on the Scillonian 3 was relatively uneventful with 25 Guillemots, in one's, two's or three's 3 Razorbills, a Red- throated Diver, many Gannets and 7 Kittiwakes (2,3 & 2) seen.
At Hughtown, our accommodation was the upstairs flat "All Winds" the location was at Sally Port, just round the corner from the town centre, 2 minutes from Porthcressa beach and 3 minutes from the Garrison, perfect!
A calling Grey Wagtail flew over Hughtown calling, as we boarded a boat for the Bryer, paying the hefty fee of £8.20 for the return trip!
We walked straight to view a manure dump by a farm, close to Hell Bay hotel. On the heap were several brown hens, a Starling, a Dunnock and the object of our quest, a superb Solitary Sandpiper, feeding really well rather incongrously amongst the Hens, on the insects crawling around there! Only the second Solitary I have ever seen, our first was also the first bird seen on the trip on our initial trip to Scilly in 2000. Carrying onto Veronica Farm, no sign of the very elusive Blackpoll, but further along a shout went up and in a Pine tree was a superb Irish Coal Tit, distinctive in being a little larger than our Coal Tit with yellowish cheeks and yellowish wash on the breast and flanks. The Irish Coal Tit flitted around the top of the Pine and was even hanging upside down at one stage.
On Sunday 14th October, a Grey Wagtail flying over Hugh Town again.
In Old Town Bay, we saw Greenshank, Curlew, Oystercarcher and 3 Rock Pipit. At Giant's Castle, I saw 2 single Wheatears tussocky grassy turf near the edge. In Porthellick Bay, 2 Greenshank were seen. By a hill overlooking the leeward side of Porthellick Pool and the loop trail. We saw Tim who had secreted himself under a Pine in the hope of photographing the RCS. A female Sparrowhawk flew over and right over Tim's head. With that S'phawk gone it was the green light for the really strikingly pale immature Rose- coloured Starlingto appear.It, first flew right and dropped down into a bush, then flew left and back and settled on the line of bramble bushes showing really well our side, feeding on the berries, albeit at some distance but giving good views through the scope.
Turning around and scanning the beach we could the grey looking American Golden Plover sitting on the beach by the stream of water coming out of an outflow pipe next to a rock. At Porthellick Pool, it was almost like spring, with a male Mallard with homicidal tendencies trying to drown and hold the head underwater of a potential rival, an unfortunate fellow male Mallard. Fortunately the other male escaped. The female Mallard looked distinctly unimpressed! At Higher Moors by the road between Porthellick/ Holy Vale trail we looked way across into the distance to some trees and saw a Scilly mega! Walking back we saw a Wryneck fly out to rocks by the beach, I scrambled onto rocks further back and saw the excellent Wryneck perched on the edge of a rock, eventually it flew onto a path and fed on the grassy banks either side sometimes dropping onto the path. Until a walker walked past and spitefully flushed the bird into a bush because the path was blocked by birders. From here it flew onto a stone wall right in front of me and I managed a few shots here. Before birders coming down the path flushed it over. It was a female Great- spotted woodpecker coming in and out of a hole. At Lower Moors, from ISBG hide, 3 Snipe, a Grey Heron and a sleepy Greenshank were seen. I raced up to the Garrison to the Pig field area , where in the far hedge, a fine male Ring Ouzel was seen perched on the bushes and eating blackberries. At Lower Broome Platform, 2 Goldcrest seen around the bushes finally a Kestrel seen flying over the accommodation.