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Higgo needs Help!!!

20th September 2020

In the last few days there have been up to 12 Wryneck on Scilly and today I had three birds including this individual that I stumbled upon while on St Agnes

This morning, it was like a mill pond out there and I set off towards St Agnes in my kayak, passing 30 Sandwich Tern in the harbour, and thirty minutes later I was pulling into near the Turks Head. I started off by walking clockwise around the island and immediately I could see that there was an obvious arrival of new birds in as in ten minutes I had seen single Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and Merlin. It wasn’t until I got to Wingletang that I picked up a Short-eared Owl arriving from the NW in off the sea and over my head at close range before disappearing further inland. My plan was to spend all day on St Agnes finishing off on Gugh. However, it was cut short when Ren called. ‘Higgo needs help! Really? You don’t say? ‘ And I thought that I was the only one that thought he needed help. well, I’m pleased that you said that. Do you think anyone else has noticed that he might need help Ren? I mean, the other day I saw him looking down with his hands in his ‘No no Spider, he needs help in booting the GREAT SNIPE on Bryher that he flushed off Shipmans Head Down and your the only one that can get there in your kayak as the tide is too low for any boats to pass through the Tresco Channel. But yes your right, he does need help’ What! ‘Are you kidding me Ren? You want me to kayak from St Agnes to Bryher? Have you got any idea how far that is from St Agnes?’ Even though this was a mega bird for Scilly with the last record 1000 years ago and it would be a new species for me, I really didn’t want to go. I wasn’t all that bothered and it felt good birding on the island that I was hoping to stay on for a lot longer than a few hours. After finding a Wryneck on the campsite beach and seen up to 5 Whitethroat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Siskin, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Whinchat, 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap, I found myself heading north across the sea towards Bryher to see if, Higgo needs help.

This Short-eared Owl I observed coming in off the sea as it continued to go further inland where I lost it

So pleased when this Wryneck popped up on the boulders on the beach below the campsite. I’ve got a feeling that I might have found another one or two if I had stuck on St Agnes instead of the crazy decision to kayak to Bryher.

There were also 2 Spotted Flycatcher

5 Whitethroat

6 willow Warbler

And 4 Chiffchaff on St Agnes

While Kayaking towards Bryher, I was thinking that there is no chance of Higgo and I relocating his Great Snipe and what am I missing on the island I just left? On St Mary’s, I know I was missing out on a Honey Buzzard and Marsh Harrier over my garden from all the calls that I was getting!! 30 minutes after leaving St Agnes, I hit Samson and Ren called me ‘Higgo has had a Red-backed Shrike ‘type’ at the pony paddock’ If this turns out to be an Issy Shrike then it be well worth kayaking the four miles. To cut it short, as expected, nothing on the snipe and the shrike turned out to be a Red-backed Shrike that I saw for a few seconds before disappearing never to be seen again. Before I arrived to meet Higgo, he had already had 2 Wryneck and it was while we were walking in the Popplestone area that I kicked a Wryneck in the fields to the west of Popplestone Beach. At the same time, Higgo shouted to say that he had one on the beach itself just below to where we were standing! Higgo had to catch the boat back to St Mary’s while I continued birding until about 19.00 when I made the short hop to Samson. Off Green Island, there were the 2 Spoonbill and up to 25 Mediterranean Gull were feeding with some 70 Black-headed Gull off Samson arriving back at St Mary’s just before dark.

This was all I could get of the Red-backed Shrike as it simply vanished after I had taken this distant record shot

These 2 Wrynecks we observed in the space of a few seconds of each other as they were both in the Popplestones area. This is the third time that I’ve seen 3 Wrynecks on Scilly in a day and Higgo had seen 4 today on Bryher. How many Wrynecks might I’d found if I had stayed on St Agnes?

There were at least 100 Swallow with 10 House and 2 Sand Martin on the island

I also had on Bryher, 15 Wheatear

6 Spotted Flycatcher

1 Pied Flycatcher

6 Reed Warbler

And this Kestrel in the evening light More totals included 12 Whinchat, 2 Redstart, 6 Whitethroat, 10 Chiffchaff and 8 Willow Warbler

One of the 2 Spoonbill roosting on Green Island as I pissed nearby in my kayak

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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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