Sunday, 9 October 2011

Scillies - 1+2.10.11

The Northern Waterthrush, Buff-Breasted Sandpiper, Black Kite (about a mile away!) amd my Pied Flycatcher.

At the end of my last post I mentioned that I was about to have a week on the Isles of Scilly and if I had internet connection i'd update my blog as much as I could. That never happened as I was just too busy birding!

Saturday the 1st arrived and myself and my missus Barbara packed up the car and set off for Penzance. We left at 5.10am as we had to be at the heliport for 11.15am to check in for our 12.05pm flight. As it was we arrived at 9.50am so we had a wait to check in. The wait in the end turned out to be horrendous as even though we were basking in sunshine the islands were shrouded in fog with visibility down to 50 yards! Our 12.05 flight finally left at 5.20pm!! We arrived at our hotel, dumped the bags in the room then went down to "Higgo's Pool" near the dump clump. Here along with a handful of other birders we waited for potentially my first lifer of the trip but the bird didn't play ball although my first Lesser Yellowlegs of the year did show very well so not too bad a start. It was only when we got back to the room that we realised we had been bitten by mozzies! I'd received 4 bites but Barbara beat me with 17 to her legs!

Sunday morning and I was up at 6am for another crack down at the pool. I got there just before 7am and joined around 6 other birders and waited. A fly over Raven and the Lesser Yellowlegs kept boredom away. The birds favoured appearance time was around 7.30am but that came and went and just before 8am I was about to pick up my scope and leave when a small bird dropped in at the back of the pool. It was it! For the next 20 minutes or so I was totally engrossed in watching my first ever North American warbler. A cracking NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. After managing to grab a record shot of the bird I headed off for breakfast.

After breakfast I showed Barbara around the island starting off at Porthcressa where 3 Wheatears and a Clouded Yellow butterfly were seen. Next stop was the airport where I joined other birders on the airfield itself. The next 20 minutes showed why Scilly can be amazing. In those 20 minutes I managed to see 4 juv Buff-Breasted Sandpipers (my 2nd-5th) and also my 200th species for the year, a Little Bunting (my 3rd), a Short-Toed Lark (my 2nd) and my first ever proper BLACK KITE (i'd seen the Black-Eared Kite in Lincs a few years ago). 2 more Clouded Yellows flew through and 4 White Wagtails were also seen.

After a long wander going past Lower Moors we stopped off at Porthloo beach where eventually we saw the Common Rosefinch but only as it flew off! While waiting in the hope it'd return someone shouted Wryneck! No sooner as i'd got on it it flew off to the far end of the beach but then showed well on the rocks and cliff face.

Even though it was stupidly hot for October we then walked all the way around the garrison! Pretty much nothing was found apart form my 4th Clouded Yellow of the day but as we approached the pine belt I noticed a bird behaving like a flycatcher. I got the scope on it and it was indeed a flycatcher but not spotted as i'd expected but my first Pied Flycatcher of the year! A 1st winter Mediterranean Gull flew past the Star Castle hotel at the end of the walk. We got back to the room and took off our boots and both sighed with relief!

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