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8th September 2019

6th TAWNY OWL for Scilly

Mega find by Ritchie Aston in finding this TAWNY OWL at Carn Friars and I just happened to be standing next to him when he first laid eyes on it!!!

The plan this morning was to have a rare lye in as I had a late night. However, that all changed when work called me just before 08.00 to do a taxi. As a result, I found myself on the airport shortly afterwards and heard a Lapland Bunting south over the airfield. I thought it was probably the individual from peninnis that’s been around for nearly week and was seen earlier on this morning but as singles were at Lower Moors and St Agnes later in the day, I guess this was also a new bird. Ritchie Aston called me to say he’s had very brief view of a shrike at Carn Friars and strongly suspected it was a Red-backed. For the next hour all we had were 2 Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher and 7 Blackcap.  Scanning the middle fields, Ritchie said ‘I’ve got an owl!’ I looked to where he was pointing ‘TAWNY OWL!!!! Shite!!’ But as soon as I said what it was, I calmed down as I thought that it’s probably escaped from Griffs farm just up road where he keeps owls. The bird was at close range out in the open, perched on top of a post in the middle of the field and wasn’t concerned about us chanting while leaning on a gate. Surely it had to be an escapee just like Griffs Barn Owl we all twitched a few year back at Innisidgen. I was eager to find this shrike and as I walked away from the owl, Ritchie observed the owl fly off north and then put the news out of both the shrike and owl. A few minutes later while in the bottom fields, we could hear the Blackbirds goin crazy and worked out that the owl was in the large Elms nearby.

While searching for the shrike, I called Griff and he told me that he had 4 Tawny Owl but only saw two when he fed them this morning but they can easily hind away in the pen. He was sure that there was no way that they could escape but he would check tomorrow. Even so, I really believed that this owl was one of Griffs. Shortly after 16.00, Griff contacted me ‘I’ve still got four Tawny Owl!!!’ I was totally shocked and quickly informed Ritchie to tell him that he had found the 6th Tawny Owl for scilly!!

I really never thought I was goin to see a Tawny Owl on Scilly. Not like this individual out in the open. Maybe it had just arrived and was exhausted and also appears to be that of the grey form. 

  Back at home, there was a Pied Flychatcher in the garden and a single Migrant Hawker and 5 Painted Lady. Later on in the afternoon, news came out that the shrike was still at Carn Friars. With Ren, we saw the shrike but we were always both on the wrong side of the sun. Also in the area we had, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, 3 Whinchat, 8 Sand Martin, 2 Swift and heard a Green Sandpiper at Porth Hellick. Later on,  Jo and I were at the airfield just before dark and observed 23 White Wagtail and 15 Meadow Pipit fly off north.

This 1st winter Red-backed Shrike at Carn Friars was my third this year after finding singles at Pelistry in the spring….

and only last week, this juvenile at Trewince which stuck around for five days.

There were up to 3 Whinchat at Carn Friars

Today, three Lapland Bunting arrived on Scilly with a single on St Agnes and two birds on St Mary’s including my individual south over the airfield.

Last week I found a tiny pupa of a ladybird at the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison and took it home knowing it was goin to be a rare species. A few days later it hatched and turned out to be the third and first breeding record of HEATHER LADYBIRD for scilly after Jo finding the second for Scilly in June this year also on the Dead Pine Walk.

Also found this Privat Hawkmoth caterpillar feeding on Privet in my garden So far this autumn, up to 6 Deaths-head Hawkmoth caterpillar have been discovered on St Mary’s with four in the town/Lower Garrison area and a two at Old Town

On the 29th August, Mick Scott trapped some mega moths, including a second for Britain, at his Longstone garden and a few of us gathered to see them, where else but outside the Porthcressa toilets.

This tiny DIALECTICA SCALARIELLA was the second British record!

And this Ethmia bipunctella was only the firth Scilly record!

While this GREAT DART was the second Scilly record and 46 British record!

Also had this Great Green Bush Cricket at the airport

The third week of August there was a small influx of Pied and Spotted Flycatcher on the islands. I manged to see 4 Pied Flycatcher, including this individual, at the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison

..and this Spotted Flycatcher spent three day in the garden

Mid August and 2 Ruff (top two) and this Black-tailed Godwit were at Porth Hellick

9th August 2019

Yellow-legged Gull at Porthloo

Took the ducklings for their daily visit to Porthloo and they ended up sharing the beach with this juvenile Yellow-legged Gull

This morning there were up to 7 male Grass Eggers goin crazy searching for the elusive female hidden in the ivy. In the afternoon we took the Ducklings for a walk at Porthloo Beach. A scan before they were released onto beach saw 3 Mediterranean and in the far corner, what looked good for a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull which was just about to be flushed by some folks. I rushed down and when it took off towards Tresco, it showed off the tail pattern of a YLG.

3 of the 7 male Grass Eggers smelling out the female in the garden

The juvenile Yellow-legged Gull allowed me to approach it ahead of the walkers before being flushed out towards Tresco

There were up to 3 juvenile Mediterranean Gull feeding in the surf

And over 60 Black-headed Gull

Later at Lower Moors we had up to 4 Green (top) and a single Common Sandpiper

While watching 5 Mediterranean Gull at Morning Point, this Fulmar flew close inshore

Everyday, we try and take the ducklings to Porthloo Beach because they love to get stuck into the rock pools and dig out the sand hoppers. We also take them for walks to Trenoweth, Rose Hill and the airfield, when it’s closed of course.

To the beach!!

Coal on the left with Graham who we named after Graham Gordon because he spotted the Yellow-legged Gull before me!


Feather was named by some children

And the runt of the four but the very cheeky one and everyone’s favorite, Pablo Jr. He’s named after his father who is as white as snow.

Here they are on an outing on the airfield where Graham Gordon searching for that Buff-breasted Sandpiper.


Author: Kris Webb 10

I love to throw sticks at trees! I also can’t get enough of music! I also blog about my observations on Scilly and wherever I go around the world and what’s sometimes on my mind. I’ve visited over 30 countries and some more times than once. I’ve worked and volunteered in Nepal, USA, Peru, Gambia, Costa Rica, 3x Australia, and refugee camps in Palestine The profile image is one I took while in Palestine of a brave Israeli holding high the Palestinian flag in front of the Israeli Offensive Forces during protests in Belin

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