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Sunday, October 12, 2014

12th October

I am back from what was a very quiet Isles of Scilly, where bird numbers and species of birds were at the lowest we (Mark and I) have known in the 8 years that we have been visiting the islands. The winds that we needed never materialised as 2 lower pressure systems in the Atlantic stayed virtually all week with winds heading up from the south but not from America or Asia. However it is still a great place to visit but as more birders are heading north to the Scottish Islands it means that birds are possibly going unfound due to the lack of eyes out there looking.

Below are a few photos from the trip.

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This Garganey was seen near Marazion before we flew across

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This is the view from behind the pilot in the 10 seater Skybus. St Martins is seen as we approach the airfield on St Mary’s.

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This very grey but also very poorly Chiffchaff had Marks pulse racing for a second or two.

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Pied and White Wagtails are normally abundant with White’s normally outnumbering Pied Wagtails, this year I only saw a handful of birds.

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While looking at a very approachable Snow Bunting this flock of Snipe flew in and did several circles of Peninnis Head, landing very briefly before heading off. As Snipe numbers were low at the time, with one or 2 birds being seen at the normal sites we were pleased that later in the the day 5 birds were at Lower Moors.  Looking at these I noticed that one of these had characteristics of Wilson’s Snipe, the American equivalent of Common Snipe. I have seen 3 of these birds on the Scilly’s before, though on the last occasion it wasn’t around long enough for the so called experts to see it, others though thought it looked very similar to a bird that was present the year before.

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These are the best views we have had of Jack Snipe on the Scilly’s.

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This Blyth’s Pipit caused a bit of a stir after first being named as a Richard’s Pipit. It does show certain field marks reminiscent of that species. It however was hear calling particularly several days later when it was flushed from long grass and heard to call. 

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Birders waiting for the pipit to be seen/flushed.

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This male was regularly seen hunting over the island, on one occasion it was seen catching a Kingfisher.

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On a couple afternoons Mark and I (me top) spent some time sea watching from under Pulpit Rock. We did manage to connect with 2 Great Shearwaters, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, over 30  Balearic Shearwaters, 50 Manx Shearwaters and good numbers of Gannets.

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We flew out on the small islander and returned on the larger one below. The alternative is to use the Scillonian but that takes almost 3 hours, longer if the sea is rough.

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