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4 species of geese on Tresco

27th February 2021

This included the 2 Canada, single Russian White-fronted and Siberian Greylag and at New Grimsby, this pale-bellied Brent Goose

Fed ‘Ralf’ the Glaucous Gull on the bird table, cycled past ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull at Tregs car park, single Black Redstart at Little Porth and Porthloo and then I got in my kayak and arrived at Rushy Bay, Bryher, just after mid-day. Like yesterday, the island was very slow working although there was a very small increase in chiffchaff from one to five today. There were also 2 Blackcap, 15 Meadow Pipit, a migrant Linnet and approaching Rushy Bay in my kayak on the south end of the island, a Sparrowhawk arrived high in off the sea from the south. The highlight was my second February record of Painted Lady at Samson Hill.

There were up to 15 Meadow Pipit at Rushy Bay

Scattered around the island I counted 13 Great Tit Last week I had a total of 16 birds

From only a singing individual yesterday to 5 Chiffchaff today

Looking from the SW side towards Shipheads Down

For the last three days, the warm sunny calm weather has been ideal for kayaking and each of those days I’ve visited Tresco. However, it’s been the same old species on every visit that have been around for most of the winter. This included the 4 Cattle Egret, single Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Russian White Front, Siberian Greylag and 2 Canada Geese, the female Great Spotted Woodpecker and wherever I ventured, I could hear the Jackdaw but never saw it. The usual wildfowl were also present on the Great Pool with the male Pintail, female Tufted Duck and Wigeon and 6 Pochard. Today in the SW corner, there were 7 Redshank and 4 Greenshank but while arriving in the kayak at South Beach, I observed a Stock Dove fly out south towards St Mary’s. At the Abbey Crossroads there were only 2 Firecrest down from the four I had yesterday in the same area and there were 3 White Wagtail at New Grimsby. For 65th day, the Humpback whale was still being sighted south from the Garrison towards Deep Point and back again. If I wasn’t on Bryher at the time, I would of made the effort to join it in the kayak while it was off the Garrison.

This male Firecrest was in full song at the Abbey Crossroads where I had four birds yesterday

The pale-bellied Brent Goose was showing well at New Grimbsy

However, the Russian White-fronted and Siberian Greylag Goose were botyh a long ways off in the Church Fields

And the 2 noisy Canada Geese were at the Great Pool

The 4 Cattle Egret were spending most of the time in the cattle fields north of New Grimsby

And making the odd visit to Simpsons Field

The Eider was still off Skirt Island as I returned back to St Mary’s

Yesterday, this Pipistrelle Bat was flying around next to the church in the middle of the day!

Just before the weather conditions turned to blue skies, four days ago, all 3 Iceland Gull were together at Porthloo and the new individual that arrived last week, is indeed the Tresco/Samson bird.

On the same day, this partially albino Lesser Black-backed Gull moved west off The Stevel, Garrison.

And ‘Billy’ flying from a few days ago first thing in the morning outside my window with ‘Ralf’

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Painted Lady’s arrive on Scilly

22nd February 2021

This Painted Lady at Sharks Pit was part of a very small influx on Scilly today with a total of four. Also a single was in Cornwall and it was my first February record

With the sunny still conditions, another day of kayaking was on the cards but it was cut short due to the wind increasing. Before I was out on the water, it was white-wingers in the first few hours of the morning starting off with ‘Ralf’ the Glaucous Gull on the bird table. At Porthloo, the 2 Iceland Gull were joined by what appeared to be the juvenile that I had in January and at the beginning of this month on Samson and Scott had it also on Tresco over a week ago. I was loaded with my gear to put in the kayak and walking past the front garden of Avalon, Sharks Pit, was a migrant Painted Lady. I thought that maybe it was the first UK record for this year. I put the news out on the Scilly wildlife WhatsApp group to see that Darren Heart had just beat me to it with a single at Watermill! Later in the day, a single was on St Martins but news came on after on the group of a pic of a Painted Lady from yesterday at Pilots Retreat! Other firsts of the year out enjoying the warmth of the sun, seen on Scilly by other observers included resident butterfly species, 3 Peacock, 2 Red Admiral and a single Small Tortoiseshell.

This Painted Lady feeding in the warm sun at Sharks Pit has probably just arrived from the south and possibly North Africa

While the long staying pale-headed Iceland Gull was flying around with ‘Billy’ at close range at Porthloo, what appears to be the Samson/Tresco juvenile Iceland Gull was distant on the rocks of Taylors Island at the same time looking very similar to the pale-headed individual.

There were also 3 Common Gull present

Just after 11.00, I was parking up on Pentle Beach, Tresco after passing the Eider off Skirt Island. As I approached the Abbey Pool, I could see that the Little Gull was still present with the 6 Pochard. 4 Linnet and 10 Meadow Pipit were on the Heliport. A quick skirt around the Great pool produced a single pale-bellied Brent Goose with the 2 Canada Geese. Scott first had the Brent Goose last week. No sign of the Tufted Duck but there were now 2 male Shoveler. Goldcrest were in full song on both sides of the pool and I could hear the Jackdaw on and off. My first spring migrants were 2 White Wagtail at New Grimsby. Later on, Robin had 8 at Longstones back on St Mary’s. As predicted, the wind was picking up early afternoon and after struggling in the choppy conditions into the fresh SSW in my kayak, I was back at Sharks Pit at 14.45 to find ‘Ralf’ waiting for me back at home.

I passed a small number of Kittiwake on my ways to Tresco

The light was spot on but like yesterday, the Little Gull continude to favour the center of the Abbey Pool and record shots were all I could manage

Hopefully the 3 pairs of Pochard on Tresco will successfully breed this year

The pale-bellied Brent Goose that was found last week by Scott was still on show at Simpsons Field

There were 2 White Wagtail with 2 Pied Wagtail on the beach south of New Grimsby



This Chaffinch was in the dunes next to my kayak

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Little Gull at the Abbey Pool

21st February 2021

I kayaked to Tresco this morning and on the Abbey Pool was a 1st winter Little Gull. This is hot on the heels of seeing my first Little Gull in maybe 12 years on Scilly that was over two weeks ago at Porthloo.

For over two weeks, the windy conditions have stopped me from getting out in the kayaking until today. After feeding ‘Ralf’ the Glaucous Gull on the bird table first thing this morning, I arrived at Tresco just before 10.00. There was nothin of note on the Great Pool except the usual crowd including the single Shoveler, Tufted Duck and only a female Wigeon. Ren had a hirundine sp late yesterday afternoon very briefly over the Duchy Office and as I was approaching the Abbey Pool, I was thinking Sand Martin maybe. Instead I got another Little Gull after an individual I had over two weeks ago at Porthloo, St Mary’s. I spent nearly an hour with it but it continued to feed more or less in the center of the pool. Very briefly it preened on the water before it was back on the wing hawking over the water. The 2 Canada Geese were also present with 6 Pochard and off Skirt Island there was a distant Common Scoter. It proved to be a new bird as at the same time, Robin was watching the 3 Common Scoter off the Eastern Isles. At Rosefields Crossroads, there was the Great Spotted Woodpecker, Firecrest and I could hear the Jackdaw nearby. Altogether on part of the island that I covered, I also had 10 Goldcrest, 12 Chiffchaff, 30 Teal and a single Redwing.

‘Ralf’ the Glaucous Gull stuffing it’s face off the bird table this morning

Heavily cropped shots of the Little Gull hawking over the Abbey Pool

This Tufted Duck was still present on the Great Pool

I hoped over to Bryher and it was pretty quiet with only 6 Redwing and the highlight was a migrant Rusty Dot Pearl Moth on Shipmans Head Down. At 16.00, after seeing the 3 Spoonbill feeding off the East Beach of Samson, I beached myself on Samson Flats. I sat there and the usual happened with 100s of waders feeding at very close range each side of the kayak. This included 150 Sanderling, 200 Ringed Plover, 60 Turnstone, 12 Grey Plover, 15 Curlew, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Redshank, 7 Dunlin and 11 Purple Sandpiper. I also counted 24 Common and 2 Mediterranean Gull and as I had just left the flats off back home, I got onto a pale Iceland Gull overhead flying from east to west towards Samson. I only got the bins on it for a few seconds but I could clearly see it had a pale greenish bill with a black tip ruling out ‘Billy’ the juvenile Iceland Gull back home and this individual was possibly a 2nd winter bird. Returning to St Mary’s, I was entrained by some 50 Razorbill before I reached Sharks Pit just before 18.00.

This migrant Rusty Dot Pearl Moth was the highlight on Bryher

There were up to 12 Grey Plover on Samson

This Purple Sandpiper is less than a meter from the nose of my kayak

The 3 Spoonbill still hanging out off Samson

Yesterday during the storm, we had a wreck of Boarfish only on Little Porth and Porthcressa. I saw well over 250 but Ren counted 307 in total. The two pics above of the wreck were taken by Ren Hathway

The gulls took advantage of this and from the spines, this Herring Gull was struggling to swallow one of them but after five minutes it disappeared down it’s neck

I observed many Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls flying off out of the bay with Boarfish Later on, a Herring Gull passed me off the Stevel out to Samson still holding a fish on it’s bill

Even the crows into the act I came across the odd dead fish in the streets dropped from the gulls flying overhead.

By 16.00, the wind had subsided a little and while the sun was out, there were 22 Bar-tailed Godwit roosting on Porthloo.

The 15th got me a window tick in the shape of this Mistle Thrush in the far corner of the horse paddock before very briefly perching at the top of the pine belt and then flying off NE. The following day, I heard the Jackdaw from Tresco fly over the garden also NE.

In the last week, I’ve had to 3 Yellow-legged Gull off the Garrison including this adult passing straight through off The stevel

The pale headed Iceland Gull is spending all it’s time also at Porthloo

While ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull has been visiting Morning Point

And most days in the garden Here with ‘Ralf’

The bird table is on it’s last legs

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Returning Kumlien’s Gull on Scilly

8th February 2021

It appears that this is the returning adult Kumlien’s Gull from Jan 2018, when it was discovered by Andy Holden and the winter of 2019. After that It hasn’t been seen until this afternoon when I came across it at Morning Point

Early afternoon, in between work, I made my ways towards Morning Point in the bitter cold NE wind. Where I was positioned, facing south, I was sheltered from the wind and almost immediately I saw ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull flying with an adult white-winger. The light was shite, looking into the sun. I moved pretty fast to get in a better ideal spot away from the sun in my eyes, always thinking that this could be a Kumlien’s Gull. I relocated it and sure enough it turned out to be an adult Kumlien’s Gull! The other thing that was on my mind was that is this the adult returning for a third winter? It was first discovered by Andy Holden in January, 2018 and returned the following winter. After that there was no sign of it until now. 11 Mediterranean and 4 Common Gull moved straight through with small numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gull. A male Merlin spooked the gulls as it flew low over the top of them before I returned back to work. As I made my ways back, I Scanned the north side of the Garrison and picked out 3 Great Northern Diver and 100+Razorbill spread out on the water.

Scott Reid was the only one to twitch the Kumlien’s Gull later on and I was just getting out of me wagon, after finishing work, when he called to let me know that it was indeed Andy Holden’s individual from 2018

The pale-headed Iceland Gull at Morning Point

Out of the 17 Mediterranean Gull that passed through east, this was the only individual that hung around

There were a few Black-headed Gulls almost in summer plumage including this individual

I’ve got 2 Robin battling it out on the bird table

‘Ralf’ was on the table first thing this morning and yesterday, he was relaxing on Porthcressa Beach

And ‘Ralf’ on the bird table

Two days ago, I kayaked to Tresco where I quickly walked around the two pools before returning back to St Mary’s. New in were 2 Canada Geese on the Great Pool and a single Lesser Redpoll was on Pool Road. Other birds of note were the single Shoveler, Tufted Duck, male Pintail, 6 Pochard and 12 Redshank. The Jackdaw, Great Spotted woodpecker, Buzzard and a Siberian Chiffchaff were all vocal on the north side of the Great Pool and I also kicked 2 Woodcock nearby.

These 2 Canada Geese were new in on the Great Pool. The last sightings of this species two years ago on Scilly

The Teal were spending most of their time hidden in the reeds making it difficult to count them

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Little Gull at Porthloo

4th February 2021

I first found this Little Gull very briefly at Porthcressa and 30 minutes later I relocated it at Porthloo Even though the light was bad, unfortunately, I had the camera on the wrong settings at the time

Up early, open the curtains and there is ‘Ralf’ the Glaucous Gull, I can’t shout Gloria anymore from out the window, waiting for me to top up the bird table. That I did and ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull arrives. I leave them to stuff their faces and passing Porthcressa in the rain, on my ways to my kayak, I just catch a Little Gull flying out north over town. Shite! This is a very scarce bird here and i can’t even remember the last one I saw on Scilly. I went in search of it and half an hour later, I relocated it at Porthloo with the 2 Iceland Gull. Only Robin and Scott connected with the gull before it flew west out of the bay. Great start to the day!

‘Ralf’ waiting for me to top up the bird table so he can feast himself

While ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull waits on the deck

I worked out that the last Little Gull I saw was at Trench Pool, Salop, also in February, some four years ago. The last one on Scilly was the 12 birds with 2 Common and a single Black Tern and a Grey Phalarope at Little Porth at the end of October, somethin like twelve years ago.

The rain had stopped, the sun was out and I was rowing towards Samson. I had a good walk on the latter island and as a result, all I could muster were a male Merlin, 3 Snipe, 9 Meadow Pipit, 2 Linnet and a vocal Water Rail. The highlight was coming across a coconut washed up on the West Beach all the way from the Caribbean! The tide was just turning when I was back in my kayak and there were hundreds of waders on the flats. I beached myself and got crippling views as some 150+Ringed Plover and Turnstone, 200+Sanderling, 4 Dunlin, a single Grey Plover, 40+Curlew and 19 Purple Sandpiper passed within an arm’s length from me sat in my kayak. Of the latter species, 19 is probably the highest number in over ten years on Scilly. There were also 16 Common and 2 Mediterranean Gull and 4 Great Northern Diver nearby. I made my first visit of the year to Bryher and parked at Church Quay. After speaking to one of the locals, Neil, I did the circuit of the island and of note I came across 7 Chiffchaff, 34 Meadow Pipit and another vocal Water Rail. 12 Great Tit I thought might have been a high count for Bryher? The sun was still warm on my face as I returned home but in a few days time it’s turning bitter cold and the wind is increasing. I don’t think I’ll be out in the kayak for awhile maybe.

Still 2 Linnet hanging out on the small island

There were also up to 9 Meadow Pipit

But the highlight was coming across this coconut, all the way from the Caribbean, washed up from the recent storms on the West Beach

There was a very high number of 19 Purple Sandpiper on the Samson Flats

Also 150+Turnstone and Ringed Plover

Only 4 Dunlin

And some 200 Sanderling

Spot the Purple Sandpipers?

At the moment I’ve got 2 vocal Firecrest in the trees above the house and up to 3 Chiffchaff regularly feeding in the hedge immediately right of the window where I took these pics

Any ideas what’s goin on here with this Starling? It appears to be feeding and getting around alright spending a lot of time at the bird table. That is when it’s not pushed off by ‘Ralf’

Made a visit down to Morning Point a few day ago and guess who was there showing off his flying techniques

Large number of Herring Gull alsol

but only the odd Lesser Black-backed Gull

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