Search This Blog

Monday, October 10, 2011

10th October

I am back slightly the worse for wear after a very enjoyable week on the Isles of Scilly. Hours spent walking and looking for birds at a time of year when you don’t expect to see that many species or large numbers of birds on passage, though on occasions certain species ie pipits can be present in their hundreds. Prior to our visit there had been several passerines from America present, unfortunately the only one left was a cracking Nothern Waterthrush. To see this bird you had to spend time in a mosquito infested swamp at Lower Moors waiting for it to appear. Amazingly it was caught and ringed a mile away at Porthellick, which led to can we get there in fifteen minutes, as the bird was going to be released then. We had to call a taxi, this arrived in 5 mins, the drive was about 6 minutes. We got to a point on the road and set off towards the beach at least 5 minutes away. Then after not going to far a line of smiling birders came towards us, the bird had been released and had disappeared into bracken. We soon arrived at the area and was told the bird was about 10 metres away. The day was misty as it had been for the previous day and would be a bit for the next few days, affecting flights to and from the islands. A call went up and the bird appeared briefly on top of some bracken, before departing over the ridge and back into cover. We had a further 2 frustratingly short views of the bird before it disappeared. Amazingly it returned to its favoured patch at Lower Moors 2 days later, we would get another chance later in the week to catch up with it, without any of us getting bitten by mosquitos.

The rest of the week turned out to be very rewarding particularly for my friends, they added 5 new species to their UK lists. I only manged the one, though it was the best one. I also had the luck in finding a female Subalpine Warbler, only my second ever sighting and also a brief sighting of a Scandinavian Rock Pipit. This is a rare bird on the islands and this was the first sighting since 1996.

Below are a few snaps.


Pallid Harrier juvenile at Lower Moors



Pectoral Sandpiper


Buff-breasted Sandpiper





Lesser Yellowlegs





Lesser Yellowlegs and Wilsons Snipe


Wilsons Snipe


Wilsons’ Snipe can be told from Common Snipe by the number of tail feathers and black and white barred underwing. This bird fanned its tail if it felt threatened.


It is also greyer toned on it’s upperparts than the brown of the Common Snipe (seen below).




Short-toed Lark




Subalpine Warbler female on The Garrison



Black Kite being mobbed by a Raven and a Carrion Crow







Mediterranean Gulls at Porthloo Beach




Northern Wheatear




Eurasian Linnets can be found in good numbers feeding in the small weedy fields. It pays to spend time checking through them in case a goody is hiding away.


It is not often that you get a photo of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth that has its wings in focus.


Birders watch the Buff Breasts doing a circuit of the airfield unaware that the Short-toed Lark has landed fairly close to them.


View across Lower Moors towards The Garrison

Park news

The winds while I was away were not in a favourable direction for bringing migrants to the park. It was with some relief that reading through the diary the only decent birds that I missed were 8 Crossbills 4th.


Redwing: 5 birds flew north at 11.25am.

Meadow Pipit: one flew SW

Chiffchaff: 2 birds were in area 32.


Michael said...

really great photos, Tony. The Harrier is especially beautiful!
I've never seen a Crossbill - whereabout in the park were they spotted?
best wishes

glen said...

Great to have back RPB's... I need my fix.
I love the Pallid Harrier, now added to my must see list. (with the rest)
Buff Belly and Wilsons snipe wonderful birds.
Fantastic photos as usual Tony

Good to here you had a good time and no mosquito's.
Cheers Glen

Tony Duckett said...

Hi Michael,
The Harrier was trully a beautiful bird and seen in excellent conditions. Normally all the Crossbill sightings involve birds flying over. They are recorded annually, but only a couple of times a year. The best way of finding birds is to visit areas such as the Breckland or New Forest especially the arboretums, after first getting their call in to your head.

Tony Duckett said...

Hi Glen.

I am glad to be able to put something interesting on the site. Hopefully if the weather forecasters are correct and the wind is going to swing around to the SE we should get some visible migration ie Redwings, Finches, Larks, Finches, Fieldfares? or even better. If fancy joining me on my rounds pop down at the usual time.