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A new Iceland Gull

30th November 2020

I know it’s another pic of an Iceland Gull, but it’s a new juvenile that I had off Pentle Bay, Tresco and that now makes the total of this species this autunm so far to 6 or 7 birds

This morning, it started off with ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull, begging at my window. It was calm, the sun was coming through and at 08.30 I was in my kayak heading east towards the Easten Isles. An hour later, I was pulling the kayak up onto one of the isles and out south at sea nearby, there was a mad feeding frenzy of 200 Gannet and 30 Fulmar. It wasn’t long until I was rowing past the west side of St Martins and passed the Slavonian Grebe that’s been around for a week or so and 5 Great Northern Diver. One of the divers was looning for a good ten minutes and I managed to get some good recording of it. The tide was out and amoung the small numbers of gulls was a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull. I continued to row towards Tean, then returned along the east side of Tresco before getting off at Pentle Bay and for my effort of all that rowing, I added another 7 Great Northern Diver to the total.

It was warm and sunny throughout the morning Looking towards Watermill, St Mary’s from the kayak

looking over towards Tean and Round Island from the Eastern Isles

The Fulmers were active on the cliffs of the Eastern Isles

Good numbers of Shag hanging out

Herring Gull taking of with a starfish

I just got onto this Yellow-legged Gull off St Martins before continueing on towards St Mary’s

Two of 12 Great Northern Diver that I passed while in my kayak

Bar Point, St Mary’s in the distance from the Eastern Isles

My plan was to row onto Samson but Tresco has been good to me on every visit I’ve made this year and I was itching to have a brief look at the pools and area. It started off well, scanning through some 100 gulls feeding close to the shore off Pentle Bay where I parked up. And with them was a new juvenile Iceland Gull that showed well before moving on NE out of sight. This would make it 6 or 7 Iceland Gulls for Scilly this autunm and it’s not even December yet! I carried on and by the time I had walked Pool Road, I had notched up 5 Yellow-browed Warbler, 5 Siberian CHiffchaff, the Great Spotted Woodpecker, 20 Goldcrest, 15 Chiffchaff and in with the cows, the 4 Cattle Egret. On the board walk towards the David Hunt hide, the Dusky Warbler was very vocal just below me to my left but could I see the bloody thing? Nothin on the Abbey Pool of note and the Great Pool held the same stuff as when I was here last, four days ago except there was now 7 Wigeon and a male Shoveler were all new in. I didn’t have time to stop off to take a photo of the 3 Common Scoter, that were seen earlier in the day by other observers off Carn Marvel, as it was too rough returning home to St Mary’s.

I got a little surprise when I discovered this new juvenile Iceland Gull off Pentle Bay thinking, with my naked eye of seeing the gull, that it was goin to be the pale-headed individual from St Mary’s.

The Cattle Egret were back to four after only seeing the two birds on my last visit.

One of the 5 Siberian Chiffchaff and Yellow-browed Warbler along Pool Road and by now, the light had turned dull and the breeze was picking up

Yesterday afternoon, I kaked over to Samson without visiting Tresco. Large numbers of gulls were resting on the sand banks and on the east shore of Samson. These included 350-400 Greater and 50+Lesser Black-backed, 250+Herring, 15 Common, 120 Black-headed and only 3 Mediterranean Gull. The only waders were some 70 Turnstone and a walk on the island could only produce 8 Redwing. On Green Island were the 4 pale-bellied Brent Geese and the 3 Spoonbill. Before this, I had 3 Black Redstart, 2 Swallow and a single Kingfisher at Little Porth back on St Mary’s.

Part of the 350-400 Great Black-backed Gull hanging out on Samson with the odd Lesser Black-backed Gull among them

The 3 Spoonbill flying towards samson

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2 Dusky Warbler on Tresco

26th November 2020

I came across this Dusky Warbler at the Abbey Pool with another vocal idividual near to the David Hunt Hide.

First thing this morning, I was in my kayak in the calm NE, with no idea where to go. After the pale headed Iceland Gull flew over me heading towards Porthloo, I found myeslf heading towards Samson. The tide was low and waders were in good numbers as they swirled around together, catching the light from the rising sun. These included over 120 Sandling, 80 Turnstone, 100 Ringed Plover, 41 Curlew and 6 Bar-tailed Godwit. Up to 19 Shelduck, 4 Common and 17 Lesser-black backed Gull and 5 Little Egret were feeding on the shore. Nearby off Green Island were the family of 4 pale-bellied Brent Geese but no sign of yesterdays 3 Spoonbill.

Looking over from Samson towards St Mary’s just as the sun was rising from the east

The family of pale-bellied Brent Geese were off Green Island

There were up to 4 Common Gull off Samson

And 6 Bar-tailed Godwit were very approachable as I slowly drifted towards them in my kayak

There were also over 80 Turnstone

Leaving Samson, again I had no idea where I was goin but some 20 minutes later, I was getting out of the kayak on Pentle Bay, Tresco. With 3 Dusky Warbler still present on St Mary’s, there had to be one hiding on Tresco. It had gone 10.00 and there was a notable presence of less numbers of Chiffchaff as I was half way west down Pool Road. Although I did get 2 each of Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff and to the north of the road, just the 2 Cattle Egret instead of the four from a few days ago when I was here last. A scan at the Great Pool produced 10 Redshank, 5 Redshank, 5 Wigeon, 5 Pochard and now 2 Tufted Duck and a Jackdaw flew west. I guess this is the same bird that’s knocking around the islands at the moment.

There were only 2 Cattle Egret from the four that have been present on Tresco since from they first arrived at the beginning of the month

Out the 5 Yellow-browed Warbler that I had on Tresco, this individual was the only one that showed off

Some 11 Redwing performed well feeding in the Pool Road fields with a single Fiedfare

On the Abbey Pool there was only the male Pintail hanging out with the Mallard and Teal. It was while listening to a Yellow-browed Warbler, that I caught a single call from a Dusky Warbler while standing to the west of the pool. It came from the scrubby area bordering the water and I ventured in. It was a good twenty minutes before I heard it again and it showed very briefly in a Tammisk Tree. There was also 2 Siberian Chiffchaff calling nearby and in the Abbey Wood I found 2 Yellow-browed Warbler in the Sallows together. As usual, time wasn’t on my side and like always during my November visits on Tresco, I returned to the Pool Road. As I was approaching the David Hunt Hide, I could hear a vocal Dusky Warbler to my right. However, this individual was playing hard to get and I had to do with obscured record shots as it moved along at almost ground level in the lower branches. At the south end of the Abbey Pool, the fifth Yellow-browed Warbler of the day was feeding with 2 Chiffchaff in the SallowsBack at Pentle Beach to return home and next to my kayak was a Lapwing feeding on the shore. I paseed 6 Great Northern Diver as rowed to St Mary’s and as I came into Porthloo, still present were the pale headed Iceland Gull and ‘Billy’. I missed ‘Billy’ in the garden this morning as I left home just as it getting light.

This was all I could get on the Dusky Warbler just west of the David Hunt Hide and was the third I’ve found on Tresco this November. I also discovered another individual at Porth Hellick on the 5th November and it still appears to still be present in the same area.

And the last Yellow-browed Warbler of the day was in Sallows south of the Abbey Pool

Altogether in total, there were 25 Chiffchaff and 35 Goldcrest Other totals included, 2 Dusky, 5 Yellow-browed and 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 Firecrest

Both ‘Billy’ at the front and the pale headed Iceland Gull were still present at Porthloo as I came in the bay returning from Tresco in my kayak. All images below were taken yesterday at the same sight

This pale-headed Iceland Gull arrived over a week ago

unfortunately, it got caught out by a large wave and as you can see from the image above, it damaged it’s primaries on it’s left wing.

I duno what it is with Iceland Gulls but ‘Billy’ also had a fall. It was sound when it was back up on it’s feet as he proved, struttng around the beach

The top image of ‘Billy’ was taken from the window yesterday back home

And here’s me returning from Tresco and rowing off into the sunset Taken by Robin Mawer from Porthloo

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2 Dusky Warbler at Lower Moors

23rd November 2020

One of the 2 Dusky Warbler that were feeding together at Lower Moors

‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull was already in front of the window this morning when I opened the curtains with the Grey Wagtail. For the first time in nearly three weeks, it was still and sunny. It was 10.00 when I got out after work and within being at the Rose Hill end of Lower Moors, I had heard firecrest, Siberian Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed and Cetti’s Warbler, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Dusky Warbler. It was the latter species that continued to be vocal in front of Graham and I, as we stood on the side of the road trying to work out where it was goin to appear next so we could see it. Ten minutes later, it gave itself up but we were looking directly into the sun when it took to the higher branches. Graham moved on while I stayed on the Dusky Warbler and it wasn’t too long until I realised that there were the 2 Dusky Warbler feeding together in the same Sallow. The two warblers were discovered together three days ago in the same area. I observed them both at close range before one returned to the wood and the other flew off towards the Black and White Wood. At the Old Town end of Lower Moors there were a single Firecrest, Siberian Chiffchaff, Yellow-browef Warbler, Siskin and Kingfisher and om the pool, 3 Teal.

‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull was already in the garden when I opened the curtains this morning first thing it was just getting light when I took this pic from my window.

Note that the supercilliam is broken towards the the base of the bill on this Dusky Warbler

While on this individual, the supercillium is not broken and touches the base of the bill

Although the 2 Dusky Warbler performed well, getting a pic was hard work with so many branches obscure in the field of view making it also differicult to auto-focus. Later in the day, other birders observed the two birds feeding back together near the Shooters Pool.

There were 2 Yellow-browed Warbler at each end of Lower Moors

The area also held some 15 Goldcrest

and up to 20 Chiffchaff

Nearby to Lower Moors at Rose Hill there were a single Siberian CHiffchaff and while goin through a flock of 60 Chaffinch, the Jackdaw flew over south towards Porth Mellon. Ten minutes later I was watching 4 Black Redstart and 4 Pied Wagtail in the warm sun at Porthloo where there were also 46 Sanderling and a single Little Egret on the shore. Returning home Ihad a quick look at Little Porth and next to the bench there was a single Siberian Chiffchaff showing very well. On the beach there were also 2 Black Redstart

There were 4 Black Redstart at Porthloo including this male

also 6 Rock Pipit on the beach

This Carrion Crow was taking a casual walk on the veach

This Siberian Chiffchaff at Little Porth was my forth of the day

It was almost dark when I returned home and this Starling was deciding whether to come inside or not

Yesterday morning, I kayaked over to Tresco and covered both the Abbey and Great Pool and Pool Road before returning back to St Mary’s. Dull and drizzle thoughout the day and it turned out as not productive as my last few visits but I did get a fly over Great white Egret while I had just got into my kayak at Pettle Beach to set off back home. Presumbly the individual that was on St Martins last week. The highlights were all on Pool road included a single Firecrest, Willow Warbler, 3 Yellow-browed Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff and the female Great Spotted Woodpecker. Although I did possibly hear two birds at the same time on one occasion. Both the Goldcrest and Chiffchaff were down in numbers from five days ago with a total of thirty of eachI caught sight of a Cattle Egret fling over when a shoot began. As I was under Sallows on Pool Road at the time when the egret was overhead, it’s possible that the other 3 Cattle Egrets were also flying with it. On the pools of note there were a pair of Pintail, 5 Pochard, the female Tufted Duck, 42 Teal and now 5 Wigeon. The ducks were also flushed by the gunshoot and later I found the Pintail and Wigeon with Mallard at Pentle Bay as I returned to my kayak. There were also the Hooded Crow, 2 Common Gull and 8 Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the shore. Just out of the bay, I got very close to 4 Great Northern Diver .

On Pool Road there were 3 Yellow-browed Warbler

With an equal number of Siberian Chiffchaff

There were a pair of Pintail on the Great Pool but only the male showed well

returning to my kayak in heavy drizzle at Pentle Bay, there were 2 Common Gull, 8 Bar-tailed Godwit and the Hooded Crow

The light was so bad, as I pulled away from Pentle Bay, making it difficult to focus on this close up Great Northern Diver as I passed by in the kayak

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Kumlien’s Gull in the garden!

20th November 2020

I really wasn’t expecting to see the Kumlien’s Gull directly in front of my window this morning hanging out with ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull

Like every morning, from the window, I scattered the bread out into the garden. The Grey Wagtail flew off to be immediately replaced by ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull. Shortly afterwards the Kumlien’s Gull flew past. I just wanted it to touch down with all the Herring Gulls already on the deck. I observed it flying low, back and forth, while I was fractionally throwing out the loaf. It was now a race between the pigs getting to the bread before the Kumlien’s Gull. Pigs can move fast when they smell grub but on this occasion, the Kumlien’s got stuck in when it finally touched the ground. It settled down and hung out with ‘Billy’ for a good ten minutes until all the gulls took flight and flew out south.

If the Kumlien’s Gull hangs out with ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull, then hopefully it will be a regular visitor each morning from now on.

I’ve now had 3 Iceland, including this Kumlien’s Gull, and 3 Yellow-legged Gull in the garden and I’ve got a feeling that it might not be long until I get a Glaucous Gull on the garden list. When we had the Laughing Gull invasion, back in 2005, in my other garden, just a stone’s throw away, there were 2 Laughing Gull most mornings and on one occasion, an Iceland Gull joined them, searching for pickings in the compost heap.

The local Carrion Crows are starting to getting braver. Normally they would fly off if I came near the window but on this occasion, it stuck around allowing me to get a decent photo of it.

So after seeing gulls from my window, what did I go and do next? I also went south down to Morning Point to see the very same gulls that were in the garden earlier on. This was confirmed when ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull turned up at the outflow but there was no sign of the Kumlien’s Gull.

There were also 3 Medittanean Gull

Only 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull

And 2 Great Black-backed Gull

At mid-day I was at the Dump Clump where there were a single Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, Woodcock, 2 Firecrest, 7 Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrest. A short walk to the old town end of Lower Moors and for the first time, I got to see the Great Spotted Woodpecker after only hearing it call on most days when out. There were also 4 Swallow hawking over the houses. Returning home, I had a quick look at Little Porth where there were 4 Black Redstart, 4 Mediterranean Gull, and a stranded Grey Seal pup. Although the pup seemed content snoozing on the beach in the warm sun. I informed the Wildlife Trust and then let it be.

Siberian Chiffchaff at the Dump Clump

Up to 4 black Redstart were at Little Porth

Where there was also this Rock Pipit

On the water there were 4 Medittanean Gull

When I walked away from this sleeping Grey Seal pup, folks on the beach walked close by and didn’t even notice it. I informed the local Wildlife Trust about the pup.

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Late Garden Warbler at Porthloo

19th November 2020

This Garden Warbler at Porthloo wasn’t my latest record. I had an individual at Pelistry on the 22nd November, 2006

‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull was back in the garden this morning where there were also a single White and 2 Grey Wagtail feeding around the pool area. Late morning at Morning Point, there was no sign of any white-wingers but as soon as I threw out the bread, with in seconds ‘Billy’ appeared from nowhere along with a large number of Herrind and only 5 Lesser-black backed Gull. There were also 3 Mediterranean Gull and in Porthcressa Bay, a very distant adult Common Gull. No sign of the Kumlien’s Gull but it was seen later on in the day by other observers.

There were 2 Grey and this White Wagtail in the garden

‘Billy’the Iceland Gull was in the garden when I left as I made my ways to Morning Point. As soon as the first slices of bread touched the water, from nowhere, there was Billy!

There were over Herring Gull

And from 40 odd yesterday to only 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull

Only 3 Mediterreanan Gull came in including this adult

This Redwing came in off the sea and landed on a carn with the gulls

A few hours later I was at Porthloo observing a Garden Warbler on the rocks at the west side of the beach. I wasn’t expecting that and it showed well, enjoying the sun, before returning to the large Tammisrisk bush. There were also 5 Black Redstart, 3 Pied Wagtail and 2 Chiffchaff on the beach. at Watermill there were more Chiffchaff and on the beach, 3 Black Redstart. There was another 3 Black Redstart at Little Porth with a single vocal Firecrest nearby.

I wasn’t expecting to come across a Garden Warbler today at Porthloo Beach. Like the ewarbler, as you can see from the above image, the flies were out in enjoying the warmth of the sun

There were up to 3 Pied Wagtail on the beach

At Watermill there were 5 Chiffchaff

The sun brought out 2 Red Adminal also at Watermill

I had up to 11 Black Redstart on three different beaches including this individual at Litlle Porth

The kumlien’s Gull showed off at Morning Point late yesterday afternoon with ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull

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Kumlien’s Gull at Morning Point

17th November 2020

This Kumlien’s Gull at Morning Point was the forth I’ve found on St Mary’s out of the six I’ve observed on Scilly

Got out late today and while listening to 2 vocal Yellowbrowed Warbler at Porthloo Lane, a report of 2 Dusky Warbler came on from RBA at the Porth Hellick loop trail. after seeing a single Firecrest, I arrived within ten minutes of the news goin out at Porth Hellick. Standing around for a while on the boardwalk with Will at the loop trail, all we got were a single Siberian Chiffchaff and Firecrest and for the first time, I got to see the Dusky Warbler, since finding it twelve days ago on call. Later on, after we left, more birders arrived but they also only came across the one Dusky Warbler.

Siberian Chiffchaff

As the winds were ideal for bringing in Iceland Gulls, yesterday from 15.00 onwards, I was off Morning Point and managed to get a distant immature straight through but hanging around, was the juvenile that visit’s the garden, ‘Billy’. I choose the wrong site as Scott was watching 2 new juveniles at Porthloo. However, there was a trickle of Lesser Black-backed Gull moving from east to west off the point with a very good total for this time of year of 81 and with them was a sub-adult Yellow-legged Gull and 2 kittiwake.

A few of the 81 Lesser Black-backed Gull that moved through off Morning Point yesterday

One of the 2 Kittiwake

So again this afternoon, I was deciding to do Porthloo or Morning Point. I found myself walking down the slope towards the latter sight just after 15.00 and a long ways off, I could see 2 Iceland Gull. A few minutes later when I got to the outflow to where they both were, there was only ‘Billy’ still present. It was some twenty minutes later that, prusembly the other Iceland Gull, came into join the feeding frenzy of gulls. I put my bins on the new white-winger and immediatly identified it as juvenile Kumlien’s Gull by the wing tips, rump and tail! Ideal! Quickly, I took some record shots and then put the news out. Only Dick Filby twitched the gull and we both observed it in the dull light before we both left the sight at 16.40 while the Kumlin’s was still present.

‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull, has not visited my garden in the last few days

The Kumlien’s Gull performed well off the outflow but light was shite and the weather is not all that better tomorrow!

The 2 Iceland Gull together with the Kumlin’s on the right

Totals included 2 Iceland Gull, including the Kumlien’s, 4 Mediterranean Gull, 70+Black-headed Gull, 40+Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gull

In three groups, over 270 Oystercatcher, west out of Porthcressa.

There was a single Black Redstart and 2 Blackcap at Littile Porth and a single Swallow

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Blyth’s Reed Warbler on Tresco

13th November 2020

I kayaked over to Tresco today and it paid off in finding a Pallas’s and this Blyth’s Reed Warbler which will be the 9th Scilly record if accepted

I got in my Kayak at Little Porth early this morning and as I pulled away in the dull, choppy conditions, I still had not decided which island to visit. I thought about St Agnes but I found myself goin north towards Tresco. At the Abbey Pool, there were some 20 Chiffchaff moving through and a vocal Reed Bunting nearby. I made my way towards Simpon’s Field on the Great pool and from here of note there were 4 Greenshank, 9 Redshank, 3 Wigeon, 5 Pochard and 56 Coot.

My first Reed Bunting of the year was vocal at the south end of the Abbey Pool

Some 20 Chiffchaff were feeding in just a single large Sallow in the sun next to the Abbey Pool

It was not until I got onto the west end of Pool Road that I started coming across small groups of Chiffchaff and Goldcrests again and mixed in with them, were the odd Yellow-browed Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff. I took my time and gave it a good two hours as I walked towards Rowesfields Crossroads. Towards Borough Farm, the 4 Cattle Egret were feeding in the Rowesfields. At the farm itself and the nearby area, there wasn’t much goin on. So, instead of continuing on up to Castle Down as planned, I thought, as it was alive with warblers and crests, it might just be worth returning to Pool Road starting from the north end. At 15.00, I was making my way back from the south end, when I heard a single note that at first, I thought maybe Hume’s Warbler. That soon changed to Pallas’s Warbler when shortly afterward, it continued to call deep inside the cover. It was some ten minutes later that the warbler decided to show itself but very brief hidden at the back behind the Sallow leaves before dropping back out of sight again and after another few minutes I gave up. How much I wanted to see the Pallas’s but time was not on my side and I had to give up. however, I did get a recording of it. when it was calling. For the last hour, the Great Spotted Woodpecker was very noisy on the other side of the pool. By the green shed, there was a lot of activity with Chiffs, crests and a single Siberian Chiffchaff. My forth of the latter species so far. Immediately, I picked up an acro warbler at the far back of the Sallows. It was mostly dark in where it was feeding and I went in to hopefully see it a lot better. From inside, under the Sallows, I could see the acro moving through and what I could see appeared to be good for a Blyth’s Reed Warbler. I needed to get a record shot at least and after observing the warbler for ten minutes, I was happy that it was a Blyth’s Reed Warbler and put the news out. The bird was always feeding at the top of the canopy and rarely came down and when it did, it was always obscured by twigs, leaves etc. The dull light didn’t help the situation either and it was now 16.15. It was time I was moving on. Where I had parked my kayak at Pentle Bay, there were over 250 Oystercatcher, 34 Curlew, 7 Little Egret and also on the beach, 50+Carrion Crow.

One of the 4 Cattle Egret at Rowesfields

No chance of getting a record shot of the elusive Pallas’s Warbler and although the Blyth’s Reed Warbler showed a lot better, mostly favouring the top canopy, the light let me down

Over 50 Carrion Crow were on Pentle Beach

So, there you go. Even though I spent some time birding Pool road, it was on the second visit that it was a lot more productive. Totals included in the Pool Road area, included Blyth’s Reed and Pallas’s Warbler, 1 Firecrest, 2 Yellow-browd Warbler, 4 Siberian Chiffchaff, 70+Chiffchaff, 50+Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 5 Woodcock. What else was on the rest of Tresco or the other islands that are not covered? On St Mary’s, two new Dusky Warbler turned up. Mick Scott had a single in his garden at Longstone’s and at the same time, Dick Filby had another at Holy Vale. The individual that I discovered at Porth Hellick over a week ago, was still present but no sign of the individual I had five days ago along Pool Road.

And what do they say about Friday 13th?

Yesterday at the Mermaid car park, there were 5 Black Redstart including a cracking male.

And a pair of Stonechat

I also had this Whinchat at Pelestry three days ago where I also had 2 Brambling, 120 Chaffinch and 12 Linnet.

And here’s ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull hanging out with one of the pigs. This is what I wake up to every morning when I open my curtains. Great start to the day!

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Red-backed Shrike at Watermill

6th November 2020

I had to go and have a better look at the Red-flanked Bluetail at Porth Hellick this afternoon after the brief and obscured views from yesterday

I woke to dull skies and SE winds and ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull, as I opened the window. I was working up at Holy Vale and it was not until gone 10.00 that I got out in the field. As I was already in the east end of the island, I made my ways towards Pelistry where I had Firecrest, Lesser Redpoll, Woodcock, 80+Chaffinch and a Glaucous Gull flew south stright through. Next to Borough Farm, I was on the mobile to Graham when I almost trod on a Lapland Bunting on the same track where a Sparrowhawk took one in October. I also kicked another Woodcock and Redwings were in small numbers feeding in the fields nearby.

‘Billy’ was closely watching me at my window

This Lesser Redpoll was at Pelstry

My first Glaucous Gull of the year was this juvenile over Pelistry

On the mobile to Graham and I almost put my foot on this Lapland Bunting at Borough Farm

I had 2 Sparrowhawk today including this individual that was nearby to the where the Lapland Bunting was

A scan from the track down to Watermill Cove, at the bramble hedges in the north sloping fields and I got onto a distant silhouetted shrike. It’s the first week of November, SE winds and therefore, surely it’s goin to turn out to be a Brown Shrike! It wasn’t long until it came into better light and a little closer that I immediatly could see that it was in fact a Red-backed Shrike. For the next ten minutes, the shrike performed well in catching wasps and bees. It was now 14.00 and from mid-day onwards, news was coming out, that yesterdays Red-flanked Bluetail was showing very well at Porth Hellick. I was torn in what to do. Shall I continue in searching for my own bluetail or should I go and have a look at the bueaty that’s already present? An hour later and I was observing the bluetail on the Porth Hellick Loop Trial at close range with Robin and Dick. For a good ten minutes, the bluetail was always on view as it showed off in front of us before being chased off Robin to other side of the boardwalk. At Holy Vale, I flushed 2 Woodcock, some 25 Goldcrest moved through and after goin missing for a few days, the Greylag and Russian White-fronted Goose were back in the field south of the stables. I finished the day off at Little Porth and got a single Black Redstart with ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull, out on the rocks near to Pilchard Pool. Shortly afterwards just before dark, Robin saw ‘Billy’ back in the pig field. Probably waiting for me to throw some scraps out from the window. I was in the COOP mate!

This Red-backed Shrike at Watermill, was the third I’ve found this year after two birds in the spring including a cracking male

Although the Red-flanked Bluetail performed well at the loop trail, the light was unfortunately pretty dark inside where it was feeding

Both the Greylag and Russian White-fronted Geeese were back in the fields just south of the stables

Out of the 50 Goldcrest I saw today, including a flock of 25 birds in Holy Vale, this was the only pic I could get of one. Graham also had a flock of 23 feeding in the grass at the campsite. Also, there were good numbers of Robin in and scattered around on my walkabouts, there was a total of 70-80 birds and not one Yellow-browed Warbler.

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Red-flanked Bluetail at Porth Hellick

5th November 2020

I went in search of a Dusky Warbler this moening, I found one at Porth Hellick. Graham Gordon went a step higher in search of his dream find, Red-flacked Bluetail and guess what? He found one at Porth Hellick and I managed to get this record shot

‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull was waiting at the window first thing this morning. I had twenty minutes off inbetween doin taxis to the airport and didn’t know where to go. Dusky Warbler was on my mind and within twenty minutes of arriving at Porth Hellick, I had a single Brambling and Firecrest, 2 Yellow-browed Warbler and on the loop trail, a vocal Dusky Warbler! Ideal! However, I had to get back to work and as usual, it was a typical Dusky Warbler in not seeing the bird. However, if it was not seen again, I did get a recording as it moved low out of sight towards the Sussex hide.

Just after 11.00 I was feeding Billy from the window, when I heard the rattle of a Mistle Thrush and observed it flying south over the garden. At the same time I had a missed called from Graham and when he did get through to me, I already knew from the local WhatsApp group, that he had gone and discovered a Red-flanked Bluetail at Porth Hellick. There was no chance of me seeing that for a while and it was not until gone 15.00 that I finnaly got to see it. Good views through the bins from the loop trail but the light was not so good for the camera. I was also told that the Dusky warbler was still present in the same area where I had it earlier. More folks to take the airport and afterwards just before dark, I was pleased to first hear and then see a Siberian Chiffchaff at the Dead Pine Walk, Gareison.

Not so many Redwing around like yesterday

Also, Chaffinch numbers were well down from yesrerday

The Red-flanked Bluetail showed well on and off but the light inside the small coppice it was favouring was not so good for photography. I also had it on the wrong seetings. This was my fifth bluetail that I have rcorded on Scilly

I had it on the right sttings when I came across this vocal Siberian Chiffchaff at the end of the day on the Dead Pine Walk, Garrison

Earlier in the day I had this fem Wigeon at Lower Moors and when it flew off towards Porth Hellick, it showed off white axillaries. With the flight shot above attached, I put it out on the local bird WhatsApp group as an American Wigeon. It was relocated at Porth Hellick and has been left as a Wigeon sp as the axxillies appear not white enough for American Wigeon . Speaking to other birders later, I would agree that it is probably just a Wifeon.

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2 Iceland Gulls in the garden!

4th November 2020

From a single yesterday to 2 juvenile Iceland Gulls in the garden! Will there be a flock of them tomorrow? If there is, I’m afriad that there will be more pics of white wingers

Opened the curtins this morning and the closen’t bird to the window was the pale juvenile Iceland Gull with some 30 Herring Gull close behund it. 7 Redwing also shot out from the tree next to me and the Grey Wagtail was in the muddy pools. Mid morning at Porth Hellick and another 50 Redwing flew east. Everything else I saw of note were all vocal including 2 Yellow-browed Warbler, the Great Spotted Woodpecker and 3 or 4 Cetti’s Warbler, including an individual at Higher Moors. Returned to work and 2 Brambling flew east over the castle with Chaffinch. A ten minute look at Rose Hill produced 2 Firecrest but it was when I was walking back to my digs that I heard and then saw a Lapland Bunting fly south over the garden. For the next hour, the garden was the place to be and it was while trying to get flight shots of the pale Iceland Gull coming towards me, that I immediatly relised that it was a different bird, being the more typical coffee colour. 2 Iceland Gull were now over the garden with a 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull. I could hear a Firecrest in the Redwing tree to my left and a male Merlin spooked everything, including 50 Chaffinch NW out of the pine belt.

The pale Iceland Gull first thing this morning directly in front of the window

One of the 2 Firecrest at Rose Hill

The coffee coloured juvenile Iceland Gull only briefly touched the ground before flying off high NNW

While the pale juvenile Iceland Gull hung around the garden for most of the day and was still present just before dark.

This 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull circled once and then moved on. As the gulls come closer, sometimes it’s not so easy to take photos from the window as you can see from the image above.

There are also up to 50 Herring Gull in the garden area

I’ve got to leave the garden alone and get out in the field and with Graham letting me know that there was a Yellow-browed Warbler in the campsite garden, I made my ways to Lower Moors. 4 Yellow-browed Warbler and the Great Spotted Woodpecker was all I could muster and at Newford Duckpond with 7 Chiffchaff, was another Yellow-browed Warbler. While watching the Greylag and Russian White-fronted geese in they’re fovoured field, three flocks of Chaffinch, totalling over 200 birds moved east. Some 30 Fieldfare and 40 Redwing also flew over north. Got home just before dark to be greeted by the pale Iceland Gull. If it’s here tomorrow, I’ll have to give it a name

One of the 4 Yellow-browed Warbler that I had at Lower Moors

I must of seen over 100 Redwing today including 40 with 30 Fieldfare above north over the geese

I managed to see over 250 Chaffinch including this flock of 100, east, also over the geese

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