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18th November 2019

At 10.20 this morning, I got a call from Graham Gordon ‘Spider, I’ve Just found a HERMIT THRUSH near the Pumping Station!!’ I replied ‘Oh, OK, I’ll put the news out and let the others know. well done mate!’ Then I turned to Jo and shouted ‘Bloody ell!! Put Pablo Jr, Graham Gordon, Coal and thingymajic down. We’ve got to go! Graham’s got thrush! I mean, Graham’s got a Hermit Thrush!!’ I thought I cut off Graham before I shouted but he was still on the end of the line and he told me that he was now deaf in one ear from me shouting so loud. As you can see, the thrush showed damn well!

First thing and there was no wind, no rain and it didn’t feel cold. It was calm and sunny and at Little Porth we got 2 Black Redstart and very briefly, the Scandinavian Rock Pipit. There was only a single Black Redstart at Porthloo and then we made the short walk to Porthloo Duckpond to see our ducks. Martin Goodey called me to ask if I would to put the news out of the 2 CHOUGH still at Peninnis. At the same time as Martin was chatting to me, on my screen I could see that someone was trying to call me on a number that I did not recognise. As soon as Martin had gone, I swiped the mobile to hear Graham Gordon on the end of my mobile. ‘ Spider, I’ve Just found a HERMIT THRUSH near the Pumping Station!!’ I replied ‘Oh really. Very good. OK. Were see you there’ then I turned to Jo and shouted ‘No way!! Stop stroking Graham Gordon, Pablo Jr, Thinkymajic and Coal. We’ve got to go! Graham’s got Herpes! I mean, Graham’s just found a HERMIT THRUSH!! I duno why I shouted as Jo and the ducks were right next to my side. I was kinda excited at the time. Graham hasn’t really got herpes. I just wanted to clear that.

Like yesterday, I only saw the Scandinavian Rock Pipit for a few seconds at Little Porth. Also like yesterday, Jo managed to get a record shot of it.

Jo also took this Rock Pipit at the same beach



We made a quick walk in the direction of the Hermit Thrush. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the start of the Kittidown Trail, thanks to Richie Aston for the lift, at the Porth Hellick end from the pumping station. Mick Scott and Martin Goodey were near the top of the trail looking into the first horse paddock on the left. I scanned from the bottom of the trail and my first view of thrush was the upper half front on. I got Jo on it and then gave Graham a big hug who was ecstatic about the find but more of my hug. And it was a man hug. Just wanted to clear that. I’ve lost count how many hugs I given Graham and all of them are bird related. I think!

This image taken by Jo was our first view of the HERMIT THRUSH

Gradually it came closer

And closer

It would be making it’s ways towards you when a bloody Robin or Song Thrush would give it some jip and it would disappear into cover and reappear a hundred mile up road.

Hermit Thrush watchers

Anyways, in the next hour, the small crowd gathered enjoyed the Catharus that was on view for most of the time until a pesky Robin or Song Thrush pushed it off into cover. A few minutes later it would return to the paddock and continue working the fence line at the opposite end of the paddock from us on the trail. Nigel Bray joined us after dipping out on the 2 Chough at Peninnis. However, there was no way of dipping the thrush and I said if you stay here long enough, you might get them over here. Only five minutes later we could all hear the 2 CHOUGH over Porth Hellick. Jo and I went to enjoy the sun at the latter sight and we bumped into another bird that Graham also found. The Dusky Warbler was vocal just before the Sussex Hide. I called Higgo to let him know and he told me that the thrush was 20 foot in front of Martin. Jo continued to the beach and I returned to pumping station to find the thrush in the paddock to the right of the trail where Graham originally found the bird. Again it showed off but nothing like when it made the short hop over the wall onto the trail itself. Here, it slowly made its ways down the slope on the side of the trail towards us until it was only less than ten meters in front only to turn around and make it’s way back up the slope again.

All top three images were taken by Jo and note the size comparison with the Song Thrush

The Hermit Thrush gave crippling views on the trail but was also in the shade from the wall

Besides in the US, where I’ve seen good numbers of Hermit Thrush, the first one I ever saw was in the monument area, Tresco, 26 years ago in ’93 It took a few hours to connect with but it did show well on occasions. And here is a drawing I did at the time. OK, I’m no artist ora Ren and I’ve gone over the top with the number of flight feathers.

While observing the Hermit Thrush, these 2 Song Thrush were in full battle.

An hour later, I was back on the Porth Hellick trail and I could hear the Dusky Warbler again in the same area as before. I heard the Yellow-browed Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff and 3 Firecrest showed superbly in the sun. Next to the Sussex hide was a Northern ‘type’ Willow Warbler and the Lapland Bunting was feeding on the path between the end of the boardwalk and the beach.

I had 3 Firecrest to choose from as they fed out in the sun giving me fan-dabby-dosy views at Porth Hellick. I couldn’t decide which image to leave out. So I didn’t!


Unfortunately the Northern ‘type’ Willow Warbler didn’t show as well as the Firecrest being brief and in the shade.

This Lapland Bunting gave some cracking views between the beach and the gate through onto the boardwalk.

I was just about to settle down with Jo on the beach when I got another unrecognised number coming through on my mobile. It was Graham and I asked him to stop stealing people’s mobile. No, his credit had run out before he had even found the Hermit Thrush but Graham used his noodle. He got the nearest person and asked if he could use their mobile as he had just found another rarity! Once, in the late 90’s, I found two Little-ringed Plover at Porthloo, a Scilly rarity, and guess what I did? I grabbed someone and demanded to use their mobile and a few minutes later, local birders started arriving. I duno why I did this as I had a mobile with credit at the time in my pocket! Anyways, the rarity this time was the only Olive-backed Pipit this year so far, but he had lost it in the field where he last saw it. It wasn’t long until Jo and I arrived and I went straight to work and started kicking the field. Over 40 Meadow Pipit flew over and in with them I heard a Red-throated Pipit that I caught on my recorder. I also caught the Olive-backed Pipit call on the recorder as I flushed it into Carn Vean Tea Gardens. We whizzed around and relocated it back in the original field. It was later on, while under the pines that it landed only a few meters in front of me before dropping to the ground out of sight and that was the last of it being seen as Graham returned to the Hermit Thrush that was still showing and after a cracking day in both weather and birds, Nigel Bray gave us a lift home as far as Old Town. We walked through the Standing Stones Field and finished the day off with 2 Siberian Chiffchaff in the last hour before the sun disappeared.

Darren Mason had a shrike sp on Bryher this afternoon and a few of us are goin over tomorrow hoping that it will turn out to be a Brown Shrike

Graham moved on from the Hermit Thrush towards Pelistry and went and found this Olive-backed Pipit! While we were trying to relocate the pipit, I heard a Red-throated Pipit overhead and managed to get it’s call on the recorder.

Graham has now found two major Yanks at Porth Hellick . the Hermit Thrush and Cliff Swallow. (Although the swallow was a co-find with me tee-hee. He’s been complaining about the weather every day for the past month and has only stayed on Scilly this late because of the promise of easterlies this week. I bet he would never of thought in his wildest dreams that he would come across this thrush by staying longer on Scilly than usual.

This is for you Graham and thanks for the mega find today!


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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