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28th April 2020

This cracking male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER at Porth Hellick was only my second record for Scilly The other individual, was at the time, the first for Scilly nearly twenty years ago and was also a male found by Doug Page on St Agnes.

I was ready to get out and cover the Garrison but for some unknown reason my mobile didn’t charge overnight. The Pied Wagtail was back in the garden and then the overnight rain had finally stopped just before 09.00 And getting wet was the real reason why I didn’t want to venture out. I left my mobile behind to charge up as I firstly hit the horse paddocks and the first thing I hear is Red-throated Pipit as it flys towards me from the middle of the field and shows surpurbly. A Tree Pipit flew north and as I continued on, it became clear that there had been a small arrival of migrants with 1 Reed and 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat and I got some brief but crippling views of a Grasshopper Warbler on the lower branches of the pines bordering the campsite.

Pied Wagtail in the garden

For the third day, this Red-throated Pipit has been hanging out in the horse paddocks on the Garrison

Also on the Gasrrison were 3 Chiffchaff

5 Willow Warbler, including this individual singing

And 2 Whitethroat

Higgo had found an adult Purple Heron at Porth Hellick koop trail and I left the house with my mobile charged up on 16% only. Would I survive? I found both Higgo and Ren still on the loop trail when I arrived at Porth Hellick where the male Golden Oroile from yesterday had just showed well. Everyone split up as the heron had gone missing and it was last seen heaing towards Sallkee. So I thought I would kick the fields in that area. For my effort I saw the LESSER KESTREL distantly on the airport lights at the east end of the airfield and the first Spotted Flycatycher of the year on Salkee Lane. It was at the latter site where I could Will Wagstaff looking into the brambles behind the hides. It didn’t take long to find out what it was that he was searching for as the whatsApp buzzed off with ‘Subalp Warbler, prob Eastern’ I rushed down and had to make do with a Whitethroat. However, when Scott arrived some twenty minutes later that he relocated it. The male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER showed on and off for the next hour and briefly gave a burst of song. Very happy with the views, I left and got a climpse of the male Golden Oriole on the loop trail and then joined Ren who had refound the Purple Heron in the iris field by the road. I only saw the heron in flight as it flew overhead towards Carn Friars. I managed to also get a record shot of the Wood Warbler nearby that was found yesterday. A brief look at Lower Moors on the wat home produced a single Yellow Wagtail and Snipe.

The adult male LESSER KESTREL was still favouring the easten end of the airfield

The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was at Salkee Lane

The male EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER feeding behind the hides in the brambles at Porth Hellick showed well when out in the open but was also too far away for the camera

Just missed out on the adult Purple Heron in the iris field and insteasd got into in flight

This Wood Warbler showed well but a record shot is the best that I could do

Chief cooked an awsome dinner and then it was back in the field. A quick walk atround the Garrison and there was the male Pied Flycatcher still at the Woolpack Fort with now 3 Whitethroat. At the goldf course fields, I got a surprise stumbing across a Hooded Crow with 24 Carrion Crow. They flew off to the east of the golf course where I saw them later on. Only 4 Wheatear also on the course and at Trenowth there was a male Kestrel and from yesterday, the 4 Tree Pipit were still present. I finished the day at Bar Point fields and here there were single Whitethroat, female Merlin and I flushed out a female ‘type’ Golden Oriole from a hedge. Today, I saw top notch birds that, if your lucky, you wouod expect to see in a week on Scilly!

Once again, the male Pied Flycatcher showed off for me at Woolpack Fort

This Hooded Crow showed well in the golf course fields before flying off to the east end of the course

There were still 4 Tree Pipit at Trenowth

Yesterday evening, while talking to Martin Goodey on FB, as usual I had the window wide open and heard a sound that I could not make out. It sounded as though it was north from me over the harbour. I immediately pressed record and it called faintly three times in a few seconds. I listened to the recording and thought it sounded good for Purple Heron. Onto the internet and although not a great recording, it was a good match. I told Martin ‘I think it’s a Purple Heron! However, I lost the recording on my mobile when I went back to listen to it! Whose gonna believe that I heard a possible Purple Heron overnight from my bedroom window without a recording. This morning I spent another hour searching for it my mobile and found it in a file in 2019!! If is a Purple Heron, it could easily be a different bird to the individual that Higgo found today at Porth Hellick. It kicks off after 12 seconds and calls altogether three times. What does anyone else think?

This evening sky from St Mary’s towards Samson

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Red-throated Pipit on the Garrison

26th April 2020

After only hearing this Red-throated Pipit over the garden this afternoon, I really was not expecting to relocate it shortly afterwards in the nearby horse paddocks

For the last two nights into the early hours of the morning, I’ve been hanging my head out of the bedroom window listening to the waders moving through over my garden, Garrison. Scott alerted me at mid-night of the waders over town and I opened the window wide to find it was bloody freezing! Immediately I could hear small flocks of Whimbrel, Dunlin and Turnstone followed by a single Grey Plover. Scott and I continued to commmunacate with each other for the next hour and there was a constant sound of waders in the evening sky. I added Bar-tailed Godwit and the highlight being a Spotted Redshank that called three times above the garden. The latter two species Scott didn’t get as he was senbly tucked up in bed. The following night it kicked off again after 22.00 with the sound of Whimbrel, Dunlin and this time small flocked of Bar-tailed Godwit. Both nights, I could also hear Manx Shearwater nearby. While I’m writing this, I’m sat next to the window, that’s wide open, it’s nearly 24.00 and so far I’ve heard so Whimbrel, Dunlin, Bar-tailed Godwit and to add to the other garden ticks of waders, small flocks of Sanderling. A Collared Dove briefly joined in as well and Scott has also had Little-ringed Plover and Water Rail. No matter how much I leaned out the window to listen, I could not hear the latter two species when Scott imediatly alerted me.

As a result of all the activty keeping me awake until 01-02.00, I couldn’t get up this morning when the alarm went of at 08.00. Window still open, I could hear a Sedge Warbler singing and lept out the bed but couldn’t see it. At 09.30, I decided to get up and it was mid-day when I spotted the 3 Black Swan out in The Roads. The only birds of note when I returned home an hour later, after walking the Garrison, were 9 Great Northern Diver. Even though I had just eaten, I needed to get some crub down my neck. I was in Kitchen and was just about to put some music on when I stoped in my tracks in what I was doin. I had just heard a Red-throated Pipit go through and ran to the window to see if I could see it. It sounded as though it was goin south and within seconds I was out of the door and scanning the football field just around the corner from my digs. I could hear the Sedge Warbler giving it welly while searching through the horse paddocks on the west slope of the Garrison. All the time I was thinking that the pipit was long gone and I’m never gona see it again. However, when I got to the last paddock of the three, I could see a pipit on the fence and strongly suspected it to be the Meadow Pipit that I’ve heard in the last ten minutes. It was back on and all I could see were promiment white tram lines. I couldn’t believe that I had relocated the Red-throated Pipit and as I took a record shot, it turned it’s head around to show a buffy/orange supercillium. I immediatly put the news out and for the next hour everyone got cracking views as it was on view for most of the time and occasionally at close range.

The image above is the record shot of when I first saw Red-throated Pipit further down the field, back on with it’s head turned away from me. This is also only my third spring sighting on scilly

There were 2 Meadow Pipit feeding in the same paddock

And also this male White Wagtail

Ren filled his boots with the pipit, went around the corner and bumped into a male Pied Flycatcher! There was only Higgo and I still observing the pipit and we both joined Ren to find the Pied Flycatcher showing very well as it fed activly doin a circult around the Woolpack Fort. The pipit was still in the same area and when I returned home there was male Greenland Wheatear just outside the bedroom window. I got stuck into a vegertian roost that the cheif had made and it was spot on! With my belly half full, I made my ways to golf course where Johnny Bird had seen a Hoopoe for the last two days. No sign of it but there was a single Golden Plover with the Lapwing and 20 Wheatear. At Trenowth there were a single Whitethroat and 4 Tree Pipit and I ended the day with a single Black Redstart, Common Sandpiper and 7 Whimbrel at Porthloo.

This 1st summer male Pied Flycatcher gave crippling views as it spent most of it’s time feeding in the gorse doin a circult around Woolpack Fort

This male Greenland Wheatear was waiting for me just outside the bedroom window when I returned home

On the night of the 24th into the early hours of the 25th, Scott alerted everyone that he could hear a lot of Whimbrel, sizeable flocks of Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper over town at mid-night. This was shortly followed afterwards by a single Grey Plover.Scott alerted everyone that wasthere was a constant passage of waders over St Mary’s involving up to six species of wader. Small flocks were heard over the garden on the Garrison of Dunlin, Turnstone and Whimbrel with single Bar-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover and the highlight, heard to call three times,Spotted Redshank. It’s difficult to say whether the flocks were birds circling the island or new birds arriving in off the sea. It was Scott who alerted everyone that he could hear a lot of Whimbrel, sizeable flocks of Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper over town at mid-night. This was shortly followed afterwards by a single Grey Plover. On the first message I had my head out of window listening carefully. Immediately I could hear good numbers of Whimbrel, Dunlin and a small flock of Turnstone move through from the south. There was so much activity going on up in the night sky and it wasn’t long until I heard the Grey Plover. After this, we stopped putting the news out and continued communicating between each other privately, as everyone else it seemed had gone to sleep. While this was all goin on, there was low cloud visibility difficult for the waders

This Golden Plover was feeding with the Lapwing on the golf course

At Trenowth I had up to 4 Tree Pipit including this individual

There were up to 7 Whimbrel on Porthloo Beach

I also had this yellow legged/footed Great black-backed Gull on the beach

The LESSER KESTREL was dstill present today at the east end of the airfield but the last time I saw it was three days ago where I took this record shot at Salkee.

Serin at Trenowth

20th April 2020

You can just make out that this is a Serin that I had at Trenoweth and I had no idea that I had got anythin on it at all when I took the shot. I just pointed the lens to where I thought the bird was, as I couldn’t find it the viewfinder as it was a long ways off, and this is the result.

This Kestrel was a garden tick after the Lesser Kestrel that I ticked off also from the garden last week!

This afternoon I had no idea where to go but ended up at Porth Hellick Very quiet and the only birds of note were single Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Redwing, Common Sandpiper, White Wagtail, 6 Sedge and 4 Reed Warbler and Water Rail. At the same time news was coming out that the LESSER KESTREL was showing very well at Giants Castle. I was almost tempted to make the short walk up but thought that there has got to be somethin new in with the last few days of easterlies.

Up to 6 Sedge Warbler were at Porth Hellick

Grey Heron

This Little Egret was feeding in a ploughed field at Pelistry with the gulls

I entered the second field at Trenoweth where there was a male Brambling. It was while taking photos of it feeding on the deck that I could see another bird in the same viewfinder. It was back on with it’s head down and the only colour that I could see was a greyish brown ‘It’s looks like a Serin’ I said to myself. I changed from my camera to my bins and waited for it to turn around. Serin! Ideal! But could I find the bloody thing in the viewfinder. I was a long ways off from the finch and I took the chance of just pointing the camera to where I thought it was. I looked at the back screen on the camera to see if I had got somethin on it and could not see it on there. While messing around with the camera, 3 Wood Pigeon and 2 Stock Dove got up from the field and spooked everything. I had no idea that they were even in the field and also discovered that there were 2 male Brambling as they flew off 100 miles away. Also small numbers of Linnet, Gold and Greenfinch. A few minutes later everythin returned except for the Serin. An hour later Higgo joined in the search but no sign and we had to make do with the 2 Brambling, a single Tree Pipit and a male Merlin. At Porthloo the Bar-tailed Godwit was still present with 2 Great Northern Diver close inshore at Porth Mellon.

This is all I could get on the Serin before it flew off after being flushed by pigeons and doves to never be seen again.

However, the 2 male Brambling showed a lot better in the same field

There were a few Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, including this individual, also in the field



House Sparrow

As Higgo and I approached Porth Mellon Beach, we observed this Great Northern Diver with 2 fish!! Seconds later a pair of Herring Gull forced the diver to give up it’s catch and they flew to the shore to swallow them whole.

This Kestrel at the golf course yesterday was the same individual over the garden this morning

The male Ring Ouzel was still at Carn Morvel yesterday and was still present today

Also the Lapwing was still on the golf course

I also had 3 Ring Ouzel with the LESSER KESTREL at Giants Castle

And nearby, Richie and I relocated the Turtle Dove in the south fields of the golf course

Chris Packham on Coronavirus Crisis “This crisis exposes the fact that the nation’s baby, the greatest institution we’ve got in the UK, has been left very, very vulnerable”

Male Pied Flycatcher at Parting Carn

18th April 2020

There was a small arrival of spring migrants today and with them was this male Pied Flycatcher at Parting Carn

I was just about to turn and roll over and go back to sleep in bed when I could hear the sweet song of a Willow Warbler outside my window. It was 07.30 and after I got somethin down my neck, I arrived at Lower Moors an hour and half later. 4 Reed Warbler in song were new in but the male Ring Ouzel at Giants Castle has been present in the area for two days now. As I approached Porth Hellick from Salkee, at the same time as watching the first Whinchat of the year, I could also hear my first Whitethroat of the year. A walk around on the boardwalk produced 6-7 Reed and 2 Sedge Warbler singing. A female Teal was on the pool with 30+Swallow, 6 Sand and 5 House Martin on the wires. The adult male LESSER KESTREL was still hanging out at Porth Hellick Down where I also had 3 female Ring Ouzel.

Altogether I had 3 Whitethroat today including this individual at Porth Hellick

Swallow were tinkling through in off the sea

As usual a pair of Shelduck have arrived at Porth Hellick

The LESSER KESTREL made a couple of flybys at Porth Hellick Down in the dull light, after flushing it at very close range without knowing it was there, before it flew towards the airfield where it was seen later on

While watching the 2 female Riing Ouzel also on the down, I could hear another nearby. I turned aeound to see this female come in off the sea.

This singing male Linnet was on territory also on the down


It was not until mid-afternoon that I was at Parting Carn where I could see the Jackdaw flying NW towards Lower Moors. Shortly afterwards it was picked up back on the golf course by Robin. I took the trail up to the airfield and was rewarded with a single Whitethroat and a cracking male Pied Flycatcher. Swallows were hawking over the airfield and on the north side was my second Whinchat of the day. Higgo appeared from nowhere and after spending some time with the chat, we made our ways home and found with the Turnstone flock at Porth Mellon the Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwit. After dinner I had a poke around the Garrison and out in the calm waters were a single Black-headed Gull, 2 Sandwich Tern, 6 Great Northern Diver and between Gugh and Samson some 400 Manx Shearwater.

So pleased to stumble upon to this 1st summer male Pied Flycatcher at Parting Carn. However, by the time others arrived it had moved on.

I had 2 Whinchat including this female at the airfield

1st summer Black-headed Gull

Including 20 in the garden I saw up to 50 Linnet today

Also 10 Goldfinch

There were only 11 Wheatear altogether

With 20 Chiffchaff

And 25 Willow Warbler. There was also an arrival of 35 Blackcap.

Yesterday morning, my third Grasshopper Warbler of the spring was reeling in the pig field on the Garrison. Later in the afternnon in the drizzle while working in the vines at Trenowth. I took a look over a low hedge into the next field and flushed a stonking male Brambling. Fortunately when Joe Pender arrived, we relocated it and got this time I got better flight views. After work, in the drizzle, I got a cracking but a very flighty male Black Redstart and I heard my first Cuckoo of the year south of Carreg Dhu Gardens after being informed that it has be there for the last two days. A look at the golf course produced the Lapwing, Jackdaw, Common Gull, 2 Whimbrel, 8 Wheatear and at the entrance of the golf club, the first Turtle Dove of the year.

The Lapwing at the golf course

Record shots of the Turtle Dove before being spooked by Wood Pigeons and flying off south

When I returned home it was almost dark but there were still some 50 Herring Gull just in front of the bedroom window

“We revealed that the Conservative Party gets over £130 million from this tiny group of donors called The Leaders Group”

Keir Starmer received £50,000 donation from pro-Israel lobbyist in leadership bid

17th April 2020

This from the…

The Canary

Image Getty

Recently published data shows Labour leader Keir Starmer received a £50,000 donation from pro-Israel lobbyist Trevor Chinn – information which was not disclosed until after polls had closed in the leadership election.

Donor transparency

Throughout the Labour leadership election, Starmer consistently refused to name the full list of those who donated to his campaign.

Starmer’s lack of transparency was challenged by fellow candidates. In February, Rebecca Long-Bailey published a full donor list of those who offered more than £1,500 to her campaign. Starmer, the front-runner, did not follow suit. When challenged by Andrew Neil over his donations, Starmer stated he was following “Labour Party process” and that:

‘I’ve got a compliance team in place who are checking every donation is in accordance with the rules. Once they’ve done that they pass it to the Parliamentary authorities for them to publish it. So two lots have gone up, another lot is with the Parliamentary authorities as of today, I’m following the rules

Trevor Chinn

Data published on the Register of Members’ Interests now shows that Starmer received a £50,000 donation from Trevor Chinn, a member of the executive committee of the British Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).

According to Electronic Intifada, BICOM is a “British pro-Israel lobby group”. The Guardian reported on BICOM in 2009, saying:

Britain’s most active pro-Israeli lobbying organisation – which flies journalists [including Guardian staff] to Israel on fact-finding trips and organises access to senior government figures – has received nearly £1.4m in two years from a billionaire donor whose father made a fortune manufacturing arms in Israel.

In 2009, the London-Palestine Solidarity group said BICOM had a key role in “laying the groundwork for Israel’s public justifications for the onslaught [on Gaza]”.

As Open Democracy reported in 2009, moreover, BICOM officials were among those involved in planning to pressure the Guardian to retract comparisons it made of Israel with apartheid South Africa. The report in Open Democracy continued:

Two months after the end of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, BICOM sent half a dozen journalists on a free trip to Tel Aviv to talk to Israeli defence analysts. The message BICOM wanted to get across was that they should pay more attention to Iran than to the Palestinians…

While BICOM’s work is entirely legitimate, it is by no means transparent. They never declare, for example, which journalists go on trips and who they meet. In the United States, AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] must register as a lobby and declare its activities. Over here, BICOM is simply a company registered at Companies House, and doesn’t make its work public.

Journalist Simon Childs, who went on one of such trips in 2017, concurred that “BICOM ‘simply dispenses with international legal principles as an explanatory framework’”. The only Palestinian refugee camp that featured on this BICOM tour was seen by Childs as a “speck on the horizon as we looked from Israel into Gaza – abstracted to the point of near-invisibility”.

Chinn has also previously donated to former Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) chair Joan Ryan and former Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.

As The Canary recently reported, Chinn has similarly donated to shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy on numerous occasions.


There is also significant overlap between those who donated to opponents of Corbyn and those who donated to Starmer.

During 2016, the year that Owen Smith MP launched a leadership challenge to Jeremy Corbyn, Chinn donated to Smith on 14 separate occasions. The donations totalled £104,000.

There is also overlap between Starmer’s donors and those who funded the break-away group of Independent MPs in 2019, including Paul Myners. As far back as 2015, when Starmer was first elected MP, Myners was already calling on him to run for leader.

Staggered donations

Starmer received business person Waheed Alli’s donation of £100,000 on 24 February, and accepted the donation on 23 March. Similarly, Starmer received Chinn’s donation on 26 February, and accepted the donation on 23 March.

According to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests Code of Conduct, “MPs must register within 28 days any interest which someone might reasonably consider to influence their actions or words as an MP”.

In accepting the donations in late March, Starmer was not required to register his interests until after the polls closed on 2 April. The Register of Members’ Interests shows that Chinn’s donation was registered on 9 April.

Long-Bailey, in comparison, generally accepted each donation on the day it was received.

John McEvoy

John McEvoy  
17th April 2020

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Curlew Sandpiper at Porth Mellon

16th April 2020

This is only my second spring Curlew Sandpiper on Scilly. The other record was in ’98 at Shooters pool. A brick red individual side by side with a stunning summer plumage Spotted Redshank!

While at work this afternoon, a Curlew Sandpiper turned up at Porth Mellon. By the time I got to the beach, 16.30, everyone had seen it and moved moved on. I picked out the wader from the 49 Turnstone that it was loosely feeding with and a single Dunlin. I had a good twenty minutes hanging out in the warm sun with the Curlew Sandpiper before goin home for dinner.

The Curlew Sandpiper spent most of it’s time feeding with a single Dunlin


There were up to 49 Turnstone also on the beach

For the third day this Bar-tailed Godwit has been at Porthloo

Later on, I cycled to the golf course, taking a quick look at the Bar-tailed Godwit at Porthloo on the way, and to the right of the club house was the Jackdaw that’s been around for a few days on the island. There were also the 2 male Ring Ouzel that I had yesterday plus a single Whimbrel, Merlin, Common Gull and 20+Wheatear. Robin successfully twitched the Jackdaw and we both observed the Lapwing that’s been at the airfield in the last two days, circling above us before returning to the latter site.

I finally connected with the Jackdaw at the golf course after arriving on St Mary’s a few days ago

This morning I had this female Merlin on the Garrison and this evening she posed for me on north fairway

This Lapwing that’s been on the airfield in the last two days, it stretched it’s wings over the golf course before returning back to the airfield

The 2 Ring Ouzel from yesterday were still present at the west end of the golf course

Today I only counted 20+Wheatear on the golf course but yesterday I had over 50

In the last few days there have been small numbers of Continental Song Thrush around including this individual at the campsite.

Male Stonechat

This male Wheatear was a garden tick and was taken from the bedroom window yesterday

Herring Gull

Great black-backed Gull

Mega garden tick! LESSER KESTREL!!

13th April 2020

I returned home, looked out the window that was already wide open and there was the adult male LESSER KESTREL over mt garden!!

Set off this morning with Ren, keeping our distances from each other, in the strong easterly wind. We had no idea where we were goin but ended up at the Dump Clump. Here we got cracking brief views of the Cetti’s Warbler singing on the edge of the allotments. At Porth Minnick, we had our first Common Sandpiper of the year and a scan out into the rough seas produced good numbers of mixed auks, 100s of Manx Shearwater and 7 Whimbrel came in off the sea. We decided to get out of the wind and observed the adult male LESSER KESTREL fly off towards Porth Hellick from the airfield. At Salkee there were a single Yellow and White Wagtail and 8 Redwing.

7 Whimbrel arriving from the south in off the sea

This Shag succesfully caught a flat fish. Great black-backed Gulls don’t miss a thing and two brutes came sweeping down on it and forced it to give up it’s prize.

Standing at the end of the east runway and we observed the LESSER KESTREL heading off towards Porth Hellick

A single White and this Yellow Wagtail were never far from the cows at Salkee.

Nothing going at Porth Hellick except 3 Sand Martin but at the top paddocks of Kittidown we flushed the Hoopoe not knowing it was there. On the north side of the island, it was pretty warm sheltered out of the wind. At Bants Carn, the Hooded Crow that was seen on St Martins a few days ago, flew past us towards the golf course where we relocated it again. There were also the Common Gull and on the coastal path, 11 Wheatear. Down the hill at Porthloo there was a stunning brick red Bar-tailed Godwit with a single Common Sandpiper.

A record shot of the Hooded Crow flying towards the golf course over Bants Carn

This 1st summer Common Gull seems to be favouring the golf course in the last four days

The only Wheatear that saw were 11 along the coastal path below the golf course

A stunning brick red summer plumage Bar-tailed Godwit at Porthloo

An hour later I returned home. I dropped everyhin and then looked out of the window to see if yesterdays 2 Ring Ouzel might have returned. No sign but I spotted a kestrel battling against the wind back on. I lifted my bins up and could see it was a male and thought, it looks like the Lesser Kestrel from below. I then realised that I was in fact looking at the adult male LESSER KESTREL from my bedroom window!! Shite!! Where’s my camera? I quickly rattled off some shots with the falcon still back on slowly moving north all the time until it headed off NE towards the harbor where I lost it as it dipped down behind the pines. I immediately called Ren, so he could hopefully get it from his window but unfortunly he didn’t see it. With Lesser Kestrel on my garden list, after dinner I went for a look on the Garrison in the last hour of light. Nothin of note but at Morning Point there was a 2nd summer Yellow-legged Gull hanging out with 60-70 Herring Gull.

After seeing sharks, whales and 100+Common Dolphin from the bedroom window yesterday, I really wasn’t expecting to see this. a mega window tick, the adult male LESSER KESTREL, over the garden! It’s the first time it has been seen away from the SSE of the island in the six weeks it has been present. Unfortunately it was always facing into the wind, back on.

This 2nd summer Yellow-legged Gull arrived to join the 60-70 gulls already present at Morning Point just before dark

Lesser black-backed Gull

Herring Gull

Also seen today were 3 Ring Ouzel and the first Golden Oriole of the year on Peninnis, The Ring Ouzel at the golf course was still present where there was also a Cuckoo. A possible Subalpine Warbler was at Trinty Cottages.

Last week, the fog came rolling in and covered Samson and Bryher. This awesome image was taken by Marillia Laukkanen from Star Castle on the Garrison. I was on the otherside of the island at the time and my photos that I took didn’t give it the effect that this shot does

Hoopoe at Kittidown

12th April 2020

This Hoopoe that I had at Kittidown is more than likely the individual that was last seen three days ago a few fields away at Carn Friars

A cracking day started off at 09.00 when I was getting good views of the adult male LESSER KESTREL at Porth Hellick Down before it flew off towards the airfield. At Porth Hellick there were 5 Snipe, 3 Teal, 10 Redwing, 7 Sand Martin, 5 Swallow, 5 Willow Warbler and the first of the year, 2 Reed Warbler singing. While walking up the slope of Kittidown, I was chatting to Ren on the mobile who was telling me that Viv Jackson had found a Hoopoe on St Martins. As he almost said Hoopoe to me, I shouted at him ‘Hoopoe!!’ He didn’t say anythin as I think he went deaf for a few seconds and was banging his ears with his hands trying to hear agai.. ‘Yes, Viv had a Hoopoe on the Plains’ I interrupted ‘No, I just flushed one off the deck in front of me. I went in search of it and found it in the Lunnan Farm fields where I can’t reasonbly close to it. It returned to the paddock where I first flushed it and left there for other birders to see it.

The adult ma;e LESSER KESTREL performed well briefly at Porth Hellick Down before flying off to the airfield

This Hoopoe was more approachable than when it was at Carn Friars

Last year this mother duck lost all her ducklings last year at Porth Hellick. They only just hatched, but hopefully a few of them will survive

It wasn’t until I got to the golf course that I saw anythin of note in the form of a single Common Gull and White Wagtail, 5 Redwing and the male Ring Ouzel on the SE side. Throughout the day there were a Basking Shark, Minke Whale and stretching from Deep Point to St Agnes, over 200 Common Dolphin on the south side of St Mary’s. I was always on the otherside of the island. When I returned home at 16.15, I immediately erected the scope up in front of the window. ‘Nothin!’ I scanned for a good ten minutes and gave up. I looked again and the only thing moving out there moving was the Minke Whale. It wasn’t long until a steam of Manx Shearwater and pods of Common Dolphin appeared. The conditions were perfect with the light and it being so calm out there and as a result, much further out, there was a dark phase Arctic Skua taking on a raft of 100 Manx Shearwater. Ren just lives below me, a little down the hill from me, at Sallyport and we were now communicating to each other on our mobiles pointing out to what was out there. He got onto the skua that was a lot closer lingering off Pennnis now. I started making dinner and then returned to the scope and in the viewfinder was the Basking Shark! I called Ren immediately as he had never seen one from his window but only Scott Reid connected with it from Porthcressa. I was desperately trying to relocate the shark for Ren when I could smell burning ‘Shite!’ It was my dinner but I just managed to save it. I got my dinner down my neck, scrapping the burnt bits aside, as I couldn’t wait to see what else was out at sea. I was getting addicted to scanning out SSW of Peninnis from the window in the comfort of my home. Even the next-door neighbour was now getting involved in looking at some 100 Common Dolphin. With in two hours I had observed 550+Manx Shearwater, 30+Guillemot, 20+Kittiwake, 20+Gannet, single Sandwich Tern and Sand Martin and Arctic Skua. And not forgetting single Basking Shark and Minke Whale and over 100 Common Dolphin.

altogether I had 15 Redwing scattered around

The male Ring Ouzel was still on the golf course

As well as this Common Gull

As there was a single Chiffchaff in the garden with a Swallow flying around, I decided that I do the Garrison in the last hour of light. I counted a total of 28 Great Northern Diver scanning from Carn Near, Tresco to Gugh including a flock of 10 birds together. However, there was nothin else sighted until I returned home. I kicked a Water Rail over the house and in front of the window was a single Snipe and a pair of Ring Ouzel. All garden ticks. It was almost dark but Ren successfully twitched the ouzels.

I counted 28 Great Northern Diver between Carn Near, Tresco and Gugh just before dark including this flock of 10 bird off Gugh

This Chiffchaff was in the garden

I had three garden ticks in a few minutes including Water Rail, Snipe and a pair of Ring Ouzel including this female just in front of my window. It was dark almost but Ren made the short walk up the hill and connected with the female. somehow, that don’t sound right.

I had this Merlin through the garden today and yesterday when I took this photo

Dandelion in seed

‘It’s a deep profound insult to the humanistic spirit which is at the core of Judaism” Well worth watching the video below..

Snow Bunting at Holgates Green

10th April 2020

At last I finally connected with the Snow Bunting yesterday that’s been hanging out at Holgates Green for the last week

This morning startled off slow on the Garrison with 5 each of Chiffchaff and Blackcap and a single Willow Warbler It wasn’t until I reached the golf course that things picked up with a single Yellow Wagtail, 2 Swallow, 2 male Ring Ouzel and 7 Wheatear. however, after this it went quiet again as I kicked the north end of the island and as a result i returned home early.

There were 2 male Ring Ouzel at each end of the golf course

This Yellow Wagtail touched down briefly at the Golf Course before flying off SE

There were 7 Wheatear at the golf course

I had a total of 15+Chiffchaff altogether

And some 50 Linnet

House Sparrow

Ringed Plover

Yesterday the Snow Bunting performed well at Holgates Green with the harbour in the background but there was no sign of it today

Also yesterday, I had a single Tree Pipit at Telegraph and this Pied Wagtail was at the campsite

Great black-backed Gull

Herring Gulls

Small fall of Willow Warbler

8th April 2020

Not one but 2 male Redstart that I bumped into today including this individual at Pelistry stables.

Thanks to Angie Greenlaw for again putting news out on the WhatsApp group of 100+Common Dolphin off Peninnis Head and for the second in a week, I managed to see them with good numbers of Manx Shearwater, through my scope from my bedroom window. Also on the group, Mick Scott put out about a fall of Willow Warbler at Longstones. I could hear an individual singing in the garden and a walk around the Garrison produced single Snipe, Redwing, 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, 15+Willow Warbler and reeling by the tennis court, a Grasshopper Warbler. From Porthloo, Robin Mawer counted up to 21 Great Northern Diver out between Annet and Samson. I scanned an hour later from Star Castle and in the calm waters I managed to count 13 Great Northern Diver and a male Common Scoter off Samson.

Up to 15 Willow Warbler were singing on the Garrison including this individual in the garden

Only a single Redwing at the campsite

I’ve got a small number of Starling visiting the garden to drink

Up to 4 Dunnock also visit the garden

At Porthloo there were 5 Willow Warbler and single White Wagtail, Black Redstart and overhead east, Tree Pipit. After this I saw over 15 Willow Warbler at each different site I visited including at the golf course, Trenowth, Newford Duck Pond area and at Porth Hellick there were also 20+Willow Warbler. Also at Trenowth there were 2 Tree Pipit but within 20 minutes I had found 2 male Redstart. A brief sighting at Green Farm and at Pelistry there was astunner in the same paddock with 13 Redwing but there was no sign of Higgo’s Black Redstart that he had earlier.

This Black Redstart was pretty mobile at Porthloo Beach

I managed to see up to 85 Willow Warbler today

This male Redstart was on view all the time at Pelistry paddocks for the 30 minutes I observed it.

on my travels there were small flocks of Linnet adding up to at least 60 to 70 birds

At Porth Hellick I saw my first hirundines of the day including 10 Sand Martin, 9 Swallow and a single House Martin and on the pool there were 3 Snipe. Distantly from Giants Castle, I could see the adult male LESSER KESTREL hanging in the wind over Porth Hellick Down and at Old Town 2 Redwing and a single Yellow Wagtail flew over NW.

The Snow Bunting was still at Holgates Green and there was a Grasshopper Warbler at Watermill

Hirundines at Porth Hellick

The day finished off with this vocal Yellow Wagtail overhead at Old Town

This Short-eared Owl has being knocking around Carn Friars for a while now. I took these record shots two days ago hunting over Porth Hellick Pool

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