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Tuesday, 26 April 2016


I had to make another visit to Bryher to see the male SNOWY OWL 
  They gave me half a day off work and at 12.15 I was on my ways to Tresco to see the 3rd IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF for Scilly. In the morning a male Marsh Harrier was present, Passing Well Cover I came across Steve Brayshaw and Adrain Colston who told me that heard it earlier, but no sign for the last hour. We decided to go to Pool Road where it was originally found and within seconds of arriving, we could could hear it in full song. For the next 45 minutes the warbler showed very well and moved around a tight circuit in the Elms.

This IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was always in full song and could easily be relocated as it moved around

  As it the tide was to low for boats to cross the channel to from tresco to Bryher, I had arranged to catch a punt to take me across at 14.15. Fifteen minutes later I joined Higgo and Elliot Mudd who were observing the male SNOWY OWL being harassed by a Raven. However, the owl was pushed off by 3 Carrion Crow but as usual it only went a short distance up road. The return boat to St Mary's was picking us up at 16.30. so Elliot and I made the best with the time we had before it was flushed by visitors. As expected all the migrants that were here two days ago had cleared out. The short walk to quay produced only 4 Whimbrel4 Blackcap and Willow Warbler.
  The male Montague's Harrier that was observed flying over the owl yesterday on Castle Down, Tresco, was seen again on the same island at Carn Near by steve and adrian.

Snowy Owl looking to the Albatross 


Looking like a large cat on the down


Going for walk abouts

Keeping a watchful eye on bees

No heat haze today and we got cracking views before being flushed by dog walkers. This is the 8th record for Scilly and my second after the female in Oct '08 before moving over to cornwall.

   Back on St Mary's Elliot and I went up to the golf course for the 2 juvenile Iceland Gulls. As usual they both performed superbly at close range sitting close to  each other enjoying the late afternoon sun. We made the short walk to the Trewince fields, where yesterday I saw a male Redstart and Whitethroat, but there was nothing of note when we got there.


Both juvenile Iceland Gulls showed very well

Also good numbers of Lesser-black backed and Herring Gulls

The immature male Merlin was still around hanging out at Porth Hellick

Some 50 hirundines also at Porth Hellick

I had my first Cuckoo of the year at Bants Carn followed by a bird singing at Holy Vale, 21st

What a song!! Covered by Calexico and a 16 minutes cover by Acetone.

Monday, 25 April 2016

SNOWY OWL on Bryher

The last few days have seen a large fall of spring migrants to the islands and today I saw 18 Whitethroat on Bryher including this individual 

  However, yesterdays highlight was successfully twitching the male SNOWY OWL by a few of us that Higgo and Cliff Smith relocated yesterday on Shipmans Head, Bryher, after going missing for 6 days when it was last seen on Tresco/Bryher.
  We all first saw the owl sat on the highest point of Bryher like a white beacon as we approached New Grimbsy, Tresco. Shortly afterwards we were a lot closer and for the next three hours the bird was first flushed by a low flying helicopter and then by walkers. Fortunately the bird only made brief flights to aniother part of the down. I guess it didn't help by it always trying to settle next to the paths. It was odd observing a Snowy Owl while Wheatear fed close by and Swallow flew overhead!

Trying to get good pics was hard work with the heat haze causing problems 

both gulls and crows were giving it some jip


Hopefully it will stick around for a while and make a visit to St Mary's

Chris Ridgard went to put this on his tripod until someone told him that it was a coffee flask! I said, how do you know it's a coffee flask? He could have tea or soup in it!

This is Martin Goodey's third Snowy Owl for Scilly

And here's the main man, Mr Nigel Wheatley,  who first saw the Snowy Owl from his house at St Just, Cornwall. The day before he found a Gyr Falcon in the same area!!

  There was no sign of the Hoopoe and Nightingale that Higgo found yesterday on the Bryher and we had to make do with the good selection of migrants. I only covered part of the island but managed to see 2 Garden, 15+Willow, 2 Sedge Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 15+Blackcap, 60+wheatear, 18 Whitethroat, 3 Redstart, 5 Whimbrel and singles of Lesser Whitethroat and Golden Plover. I dipped on the juvenile Iceland Gull and Spotted Flycatcher. Bob Dawson had a ring-tailed harrier thought to be Hen Harrier over Samson looking from Bryher.

I got 2 Garden Warbler

I had up to 18 Whitethroat including 3 birds feeding together with 2 Blackcap and 3 Willow Warbler on the ground. 

15 Blackcap

3 female Redstart

Over 60 Wheatear

Meadow Pipit

  While on Bryher A male Montague's Harrier was seen in north end of St Mary's by Darren Mason and Will Wagstaff. So when I returned to home, Seth and I went looking for it. No joy but we did get male Merlin2 Restart and at Trewince my first Pied Flycatcher of the year. Finished the day off with one of the juvenile Iceland Gulls on the golf course.

My first Pied Flycatcher of the year was at Trewince and showed off a large primary patch than usual 

Male Merlin at Content

The 2 juvenile Iceland gull were still on the golf course but we only saw one.

  Before heading to Bryher I made my ways to Porth Hellick and immediately got a Lesser Whitethroat. I saw a single out of the 3 that Ritchie found together at Porth Hellick Down, 21st where I also got 2 Redstart. I carried on and there were still a lot of Blackcap and Willow Warbler in the area that arrived a few days ago during the strong easterlies. Up to 6 Sedge Warblers and my first 3 Reed Warblers of the year could be heard around the pool. I found a field full of warblers and included 2 Whitethroat, 10+Chiffchaff, 30+Willow Warbler and 20+Blackcap. Overhead I had a Siskin and Cuckoo.

I had over 35 Blackcap and 50 Willow Warbler at Porth Hellick

With only 15+Chiffchaff 

The first Hobby of the year was at Normandy, 21st but I caught up with it two days later over Pelistry.

This Lesser Whitethroat was my first of the year, 22nd and was one of the three that Ritchie found on Porth Helliick Pine belt feeding together. So far there have been at 10 individual seen on Scilly and could prove to be one of the best years on the islands for this species.

On the 21st I had my first Ring Ouzels of the year including a single male at the golf course and 2 males at Salkee.

  It's been the best year for Nightingale with a fall of 6 birds from the 21st-23rd including singles at Deep Point, Old Town, Buzza, Mount Todden (maybe the Deep Point individual) Rose Hill, St Agnes and Bryher. Up to 4 Little Tern were of St Martins, 23rd and the IBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF was still in song on Tresco.

Sunset from last week looking towards Samson from Bants Carn

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