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Saturday, 21 October 2017

Storm Brain hits Scilly!!

Storm Brian brings in 2 Leaches Petrel including this individual close to Rat Island.

  Brian was howling overnight and this morning Graham and I battled our ways just to get to me wagon. We thought we would try out Porth Hellick first thing and got the American Golden Plover on the beach and the putative WILSON'S SNIPE was on the pool with 9 Snipe and 2 Redwing were overhead. At higher Moors there was a smart Siberian Chiffchaff with 2 Chiffchaff. At Pelistry we thought that it might be more sheltered but the pines were blown all over the shop. However, there was a Hawfinch keeping low.
  Graham did the Garrison and made my ways up north only to turn around and make my ways to the quay as a Leaches Petrel came over the radio off the Mermaid carpark. Two leaches in a week but this one was a lot closer just west of Rat Island before flying north towards Tresco where we lost it. At the same time there was another Leaches Petrel between the Garrison and St Agnes.

American Golden Plover at Porth Hellick

I've only see three Leaches Petrel on Scilly and two of them have been in the space of five days both in The Roads!

  The possible Siberian Oystercatcher has not been seen on Porthloo for the last two days. So like yesterday, I was scanning the 35+Oystercatchers from the shelter of me wagon. Martin Goodey called from the otherside of the beach to tell me that he thought he had the sibe and put me on it. Sure enough that was it and between us, in the forty minutes I was there, we dug it out when we lost it among the Oystercatchers it was feeding with.
  Later in afternoon I got a call from Joe Pender of a Snow Bunting he had just found at Deep Point. We got out of the wagon only to jump back in when the heavens opened. In that time we did get a Skylark.


Possible Siberian Oystercatcher (longipes) at Porthloo. After a while the sibe could easily be picked out from the Oystercatchers from a distance by it's more slender appearance and more white in the wing when the brown upperparts were not easily seen in certain light.

This 1st winter Mediterranean Gull was also on the beach

A quick at Little Porth and got Pied Flycatcher, Black Redstart and 2 Wheatear showing very well

Great great band!! Warning a lot of bad words. The Drive-By Truckers are an alternative country/Southern rock band based in Athens, Georgia, though two of five current members (Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley) are originally from The Shoals region of northern Alabama, and the band strongly identifies with Alabama.[1] The band currently consists of Mike Cooley (lead vocals, guitar, banjo), Patterson Hood (lead vocals, guitar), Brad Morgan (drums), Jay Gonzalez (keys, guitar, accordion, backing vocals), and Matt Patton (bass guitar, backing vocals).[2] Like many alternative country acts, the Drive-By Truckers record in analog (using 2 inch, 16-track open-reel tape recorders).[2] The band's constant touring has developed its dedicated following.[3] 

Friday, 20 October 2017


Unfortunately most of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo that arrive on Scilly are found moribund like this one on St Agnes today that was blown in with Storm Brian. Pic taken by 'Rocky' Robin Mawer

 First thing this morning I met Steve Williams and family off the plane before they moved on to St Agnes for their ten day stay. Nearly an hour later, Steve called me from St Agnes to tell me that he had just come off boat from St Mary's when Martin Finch (Orphean Warbler main man with the Wright brothers) was beckoning him over with his arms to show him that he had just found a YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO!! It was in bad shape but still got it's eyes open on the lawn of Grinlinton Farmhouse!! I had to work but immediately relayed the news out on the radio so every birder on St Mary's could make it time for the 10.15 boat.
  As almost every birder on Scilly were on St Agnes a Marsh Warbler was at the Fruit Cage, a Northern Willow Warbler at Lowertown Farm, the Little Bunting was giving crippling Views at Porth Killier and the ORPHEAN WARBLER sp was relocated in the same hedge from the lane between Coast Guard Cottage and the church. Later this afternoon, it is believed that the cuckoo was taken into care.

  So, St Agnes this autumn does it again with now Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Ophean Warbler sp, Cedar Waxwing, 2 Red-eyed Vireo and now Yellow-billed Cuckoo!!

In 1985, up to 4 Yellow-billed Cuckoo turned up on Scilly and included a single Black-billed Cuckoo! All pics by 'Rocky' Robin Mawer.

This warbler was found by Anna Hughes in the Fruit Cage. However, it was only later when Graham Gordon looked at the images on the back of Micheal Johnson's camera that he identified it as a Marsh Warbler

  Back on St Mary's of note I had a Pied Flycatcher and Merlin at work and a single Brambling was at Rose Hill.. Elsewhere on St Mary's, the American Golden Plover was at Porth Hellick and the Corncrake was at Carn Legh.

Pied Flycatcher at Star Castle

Pied Wagtails

Rock Pipit

While searching for the possible Siberian Oystercatcher at Porthloo I came across this individual showing brown upperparts! 

And for comparison is the possible Siberian Oystercatcher from yesterday that I took. Note that there is more white in the wing and the brown extends onto the wing coverts. Also the bill is a deeper orange and appears slightly longer and narrow at the base. 

Two of greatest guitarist that ever lived. Reed wrote and played the song 'Guitar Man' for Elvis Presley and also starred and sang in all the 'Smokey and the Bandit' movies.

Thursday, 19 October 2017


I know diddly-squat about Siberian Oystercatcher but I've never seen an ostycatcher like this individual that Richard Stonier came across yesterday on Porthloo Beach. 

  Mid-morning and I was looking at the possible Siberian Oystercatcher feeding with some 35 Oystercatcher. It was on the shore at low tide but even at a distance it could easily be picked out from the others with it's brown upperparts in contrast with it's dark head. I had never heard of a Siberian Oystercatcher before a possible turned up on Shetland a few weeks ago. I guess the Scilly individual will stick around for a bit. There were also 2 Mediterranean Gull on the beach.

The possible sibe was always distant in the driving rain

  The rain was still falling when I picked up Tim Vaughn to go and have a look at the putative WILSON'S SNIPE that's been at Porth Hellick for nine days that I ain't seen yet. I arrived at the Sussex hide some five minutes after Tim and as I approached the hide door, I could hear Whooper Swan! I rushed into the hide to see 3 Whooper Swan touch down in front of the hide. Other birders were in the hide already and told me that they had got a Jack Snipe on the far side. One of them told me 'It's in the scope if you want to have a look!' My reply was 'Wouldn't it be a good idea if you let it free out of the scope!?' I had good scope views of the Jack Snipe and then I made my ways to the seaward hide to find Tim and Dick Filby who put me on the Wilson's Snipe that was showing well at close range. In the first ten minutes of observing it, I heard it, it showed off it's under and upperwing before hiding away into the reeds.
  I got a call from Martin Goodey telling me that the Corncrake that was found yesterday in fields at Carn Legh was showing well in the open. Then Higgo called to tell me that he had just heard a probable Dusky Warbler at Shooters Pool, Lower Moors. Everyone piled into me wagon and ten minutes later we were watching the crake in a grass field where it was showing very well feeding out in the open for a good twenty minutes that I was there. The last time I observed a Corncrake out in the open was back in 1994, just around the corner at Old Town Church. That individual was at very close range for the large admiring crowd! Today there were just over ten birders looking at the Carn Legh crake!

  It was still raining when I returned to Porth Hellick and in the east corner of the beach at High tide was the long staying American Golden Plover and the Water Pipit that was found yesterday. Also a Swallow flew through.

Looking very good for Wilson's Snipe!

Below are four images to compare features of both the putative Wilson's Snipe, one and three images with a Common Snipe, two and four images.

Common Snipe showing off it's tail

This was part of the family of 5 Whooper Swan that were at Watermill this morning. After twenty minutes of checking out Porth Hellick, they flew off and later all five swans were together again seen at Watermill. 

Corncrake at Carn Legh

I ain't seen me American Golden Plover in two weeks that it has been on Porth Hellick beach until today where it was feeding along side a Water Pipit.

I worked for the first two hours in this morning, then the planes stopped flying. It was not until gone 17.00 that two planes came into land in the gale force SW.

   Yesterday afternoon while the sun was shinning I went to kick the Salkee Fields and had over 40 Siskin and a Crimson Speckled Moth! I had to return to work and gave directions of where the moth was in the field to Will Scott as he wanted to twitch it. He got it along with 2 Vestal Moth.

Even though this is a very rare moth in the UK, including this one, 3 Crimson Speckled Moth were found in the last two days on Scilly! This was my forth for Scilly.

 Male and female Siskin with over 40 Siskin at Salkee

A single Wheatear and 2 Whimbrel were at Giants Castle

Current Swell’s roots lie on the west coast of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia, on Vancouver Island. The band’s members consist of Scott Stanton, Dave Lang, Louis Sadava and Chris Petersen.[2] Originally a group of friends hanging out and making music, the band began performing in backyards and on beaches, and has gained popularity through the likes of its online presence and dedicated Internet fan base. The band has been noted for its authenticity and for remaining true to its upbeat folk roots.
Current Swell sold out the very first show they played as a band. The band had released a short, five song ep on the internet that teenagers enrolled in a high school up island got a hold of. The band had booked a show at a local coffee shop in hopes of playing in front of two, or three people but ended up playing in front of a packed audience.
The band credits much of their success to their fans, particularly the online community. Their song Young and Able (2009) became an Internet hit through its popularization on YouTube. The Internet has contributed significantly to the Canadian west coast band's large following in South America, particularly Brazil, where it headlined in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in 2012.
Current Swell has opened for bands like The Beach BoysXavier RuddDispatchBedouin Soundclash and The Beautiful Girls, and has made appearances at the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Ottawa Blues Festival.[3]