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Marsh Warbler on St Agnes

25th June 2021

At last, the Old Town Rose-coloured Starling was pinned down feeding on New Zealand Flax in the back garden of Nowhere today, where it showed superbly at very close range

Yesterday morning, I got a call from Tony telling me that he had the Red-footed Falcon on the Golf Course the evening before. Just after 10.00, I relocated it in the east pine belt and perched on nearby poles on the course. Again it showed well in the foggy conditions but I had to return back to work. Throughout the morning, I could see if ‘Wally’ the Walrus was still dozing in the rib that he got into the day before, viewed from Star Castle, just off Rat Island. While in the garden, ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull would be only meters away from my window. It was in the early evening on my way to a delayed flight, I stopped to chat to John Headon at Old Town Cafe when I noticed the Rose-coloured Starling with a small flock of Starling fly onto the roof of the cafe. And this afternoon, the pink stinker showed off feeding on New Zealand Flax flowers in the back garden of Nowhere in the ten minutes that I had before continuing onto the airport to meet a flight.

After goin missing for a few days, Tony relocated the Red-footed Falcon back on the Golf Course where I caught up with it in the fog, yesterday morning.

Two days ago, ‘Wally’ the Walrus was discovered in a rib in the harbour. As a result, he was towed out and moored just west of Rat Island and on view from work throughout the day where I took these photos from.

This Grey Heron was keeping a close eye on the first venture of these ducklings at Porth Hellick

OK, how many images do you need of a Rose-coloured Starling? As many as you can get on when they look ansome like this cracker.

Three days ago, after work, I kayaked twitched Will Wagstaff’s singing Blyth’s Reed Warbler on St Agnes. Battling through the choppy conditions, I arrived at the Gugh Bar shortly after 18.00 and made the two-second walk to where the warbler was heard. I could hear it on arrival and put the news out that it was still present. It went quiet for a while and then kicked off again and I was beginning to think that it sounded more like a Marsh Warbler. After last year in finding a Reed Warbler, that Higgo heard mimic 14 species and he still believes is a Marsh Warbler and then I did go and find a singing Marsh Warbler a week later. This spring, I spent some time listening to recordings of the two species, Marsh and Blyth’s Reed Warbler. So if I came across one of the two acros singing, I would know which species it is. That’s the idea anyway. In the two hours that I spent with the Agnes individual, it only sang a few times, always in cover, I was happy that it was a Marsh Warbler. I was able to get recordings on my mobile before my battery died on me, having only 18% left. The warbler gave good flight views when flying into or out of a crop field and I managed to see it twice, very briefly out in the open. Kayaking back to St Mary’s, I got cracking flight views of Manx Shearwater, between Gugh and the Garrison and was back home at 22.00. The following morning I sent the recordings to James Lidster and he and others agreed that it’s a Marsh Warbler.

Marsh Warbler singing on St Agnes

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Another Rose-coloured Starling in the garden!

19th June 2021

This 1st summer male/female Rose-coloured Starling showed well on the south slopes of the Garrison just below the Woolpack accommodation

This morning, George Kershaw contacted me and asked what starling has a white back? He told me that he had it on the center path down to the Woolpack Battery and shortly afterwards, I had relocated it with a small flock of Starling in the gorse on the south slope just below the Woolpack accommodation. It showed very well and then I had to return back to work. Later on in the afternoon, I looked out of the window to see 4 Starling only a few meters away on the deck. I wanted to attract that pink stinker into the garden and opened the window to throw out some scraps. Like two weeks ago, big mistake! Up got 5 Starling and a Rose-coloured Starling! But this was clearly not the dull 1st summer or female individual I had earlier. Immediately I could see that this was an adult as I observed it fly off into the pine belt with now over 50 Starling. But could I find it in the pines? I had to get to the airport and later on after finishing work, I kicked the paddocks nearby where I had over 100 Starling but not a pink one in sight.

St Agnes in the distance



Also had my first Meadow Brown of the year on the Garrison

‘Billy’ in the horse paddock

In the paddocks, Instead, ‘Billy’ the Iceland Gull was relaxing out in one of the horse paddocks before spending over twenty minutes on the bird table later on. By far the longest time he’s hung around less than a meter from the window. When he made the short hop down on the deck, I quickly filled the table again, trying hard to hopefully get that Rose-coloured Starling back again. It was only some 30 Starling that got the scraps down their necks before dark.

Before spending over twenty minutes on the bird table Got to clean those windows

And then staying in the garden until almost dark

It appears as though the starlings have had a good breeding season with juveniles all over the shop including in the garden, what looks like a juvenile from a second brood (top image)

Reed Warbler at Porth Hellick from a few days ago

The Moorhen were ganging up on this Coot

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‘Wally’ the WALRUS is now on Scilly!

17th June 2021

Kayaking with a Humpbacked Whale on Christmas Day! Only a few days ago, an Egyptian Vulture and this afternoon ‘Wally’ the WALRUS has turned up in Porthcressa Bay!!! Insane stuff!!!

Just before 16.30, Joe Pender put news out on the Scilly Wildlife News WhatsApp group, that a ‘visitor has reported a Walrus in Porthcressa trying to climb in a boat’ Shit!! I was gone and a few minutes later I was at the east end of Porthcressa scanning the bay and picked it up after Will Wagstaff putting the news out that it was following a yacht. As soon as I saw it through the bins, even though it was distant, I couldn’t believe the size of it as it swam between the yachts, causing havoc trying to climb aboard on some of them. This is crazy! I’m watching ‘Wally’ the WALRUS on Scilly after only a few days ago I was observing an Egyptian Vulture over The Roads!!! Someone asked me what I was looking at and when I replied ‘A Walrus!’ that caused havoc in itself Everyone nearby that overhead started asking me ‘Did you say Walrus?’ Before I knew it, there was ten to twenty folk surrounding me shouting ‘I can see it!’ And ‘There it is!’ Some had bins but you could clearly see it with your naked eye. Shortly afterward the first of the local birders arrived and for the next three hours, I spent my time in awe with the Walrus at Porthcressa. In the last hour, I walked over to the west end of the bay and made my ways over the rocks towards Morning Point. From here, the light was better, with the sun behind me, and the beast showed at a lot closer range still trying to get on the bathing platforms at the stern of the yachts. At the same time, the owners were trying desperately to push it off with awes and brooms. I even heard a loud horn blowing to scare the Arctic wanderer off. It never gave up and swam from one vessel to another but getting nowhere. The last time I saw the Walrus, was resting very briefly on the rocks, in the center of the bay, before returning to the water where it was lost. Hopefully, it found somewhere to relax for the night.

‘Wally’ trying desperately to find a yacht to rest on after arriving all the way from North Spain where it was last seen. Before this, it was first spotted in SW Ireland, then Pembrokeshire, Wales, at sea off Cornwall and then France. And now the first WALRUS for Scilly is at Porthcressa Bay!!!

When he did find a rock to rest, it was only very briefly before he was back in the cold water

The small rib damaged by ‘Wally’

Part of the crowd enjoying ‘Wally’ out in the bay

After just taking it in after watching the Walrus, I spent the last twenty minutes with the Red-footed Falcon on the golf course with the quay in the background

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Red-footed Falcon at the golf course

16th June 2021

This Red-footed Falcon was first found by Barry Reed early this afternoon at Giants Castle/south end of airfield. Later on in the evening, Tony Gilbert relocated it at the golf course.

Fog with my work, just don’t mi and can be a pain in the butt! Barry Reed put the news out that he had found a Red-footed Falcon at Giants Castle, shortly after 14.00 before it moved to rocks in the Blue Carn area, east of Porth Minnick. It was here that I caught up with it some five hours later. I had been there for only ten minutes, getting some good views of it perched on Blue Carn, when it flew off towards the airfield. After a brief search with others on the latter sight, there was sign of it. However, a call from Tony Gilbert got me up to the golf course as he had relocated it perched on poles on the third fairway of the golf course. Here it showed superbly as it switched from one pole to the other and spent a lot of time hovering just above me. Although the light was shite, I spent a good hour with it as it showed off at very close range. After, I made my ways home, set my scope up in the garden and picked the falcon out quite easily sat on the same pole that I last saw it on the golf course. Ideal!

I had only been at Blue Carn for ten minutes, when the Red-footed Falcon decided to fly off towards the airfield.

It appeared to being feeding well on the golf course getting beetles and worms down it’s neck

I do love Red-footed falcons and they appear to be turning up more regular on Scilly including the last one only two years ago at Porth Hellick Down

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14th June 2021

And also the first EYGPIAN VULTURE in Britain in over 150 years!!! First seen and photographed over Peninnis Head by a non birder, Jennie Trevithick this morning and then some three hours later, Will Wagstaff had it fly over his head on Tresco where it perched up in a pine on the north side of Pool Road. Photo by Ken Fox

Like others, due to work, I couldn’t get over to Tresco. However, Ren picked the EGYPTIAN VULTURE perched in the pine while scanning from Star Castle where we managed to tick off this mega. Bobby ‘Dazzler’ Dawson, who twitched the vulture on Tresco, kept us all informed of it’s movements on the latter island on the Scilly Bird News whatsApp group. It was dead on 14.00 when he put the news out that it was off Carn Near. I dropped everything, ran like the devil from out of the Castle garden to the front and grabbed my bins out of me wagon. I scanned like crazy in the direction of Carn Near but could I see the bloody thing? Surely a large bird like this should be easy to spot off Tresco? I calmed down and started scanning all over the shop in the direction of Tresco and then! I picked it up circling reasonably high over The Roads before it started drifting towards the north end of St Mary’s. It felt like I was back in Tarifa, Spain, observing an Egyptian Vulture coming across the Gibraltar Straits, in off the sea from Morocco. But this was Scilly and I just couldn’t take it in that there was this large impressive raptor flying around on the islands and I was now watching it from my work! For the next hour, it was being reported all over the shop just down road but I was so busy at work that it would have to fly over the castle for me to have any chance of seeing it. That it didn’t and it was last seen at 14.30 heading high towards St Matins. Besides Spain, the only other counties that I’ve seen Egyptian Vulture is in Nepal and I found the 17th record for Gambia two years ago at Tanji Bird Reserve.

Although I didn’t see the vulture at close range like others on Tresco, my observation of it over The roads flying into St Mary’s was truly amazing experience and felt like I was back in Tarifa with raptors coming in off the sea from Morocco.

The EGYPTIAN VULTURE perched in the pine north of Pool road, Tresco where a few of us first ticked it off viewed from Star Castle all the way from on St Mary’s!! Crazy!! All photos taken by Ken Fox

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Rose-coloured Starling in garden

13th June 2021

In the very hot calm conditions, I Kayaked some 17 miles today and a great surprise was when I came across 30-40 Common Tern off Great Crebawethan, Western Rocks

Four days ago, 9th June, as usual, with my naked eye, I scanned the 60 Starling feeding in front of the Castle obs window hoping to see a Rose-coloured Starling with them. Nothin there and I opened the window to throw some scraps out out. Big mistake! As all the Starling got up, with them flew off a bloody Rose-coloured Starling. With 2 other Starling, I watched it fly off 100 mile down road towards Trinty Cottages/Christmas House! I went in search of it but never saw it again after that. So pleased that I saw it in front of the obs window but cursing now that I didn’t spot it when it was on the deck.

This morning I set off from St Mary’s just before 08.oo in my kayak and Some 40 minutes later, I was rounding the east side of Annet where I saw my first of 40 to 50 Puffin of the day. I continued south towards the Western Rock’s and one by one I slowly took my time passing them, now heading NW. More Puffin and good numbers of both Razorbill and Guillemot were all over the shop. It was when I reached the last island, Great Grebwithen, that I came across 4 Common Tern feeding at close range. Last year only 6 pairs bred on Rosevean nearby. So when 30+ Common Tern came off Grebwithen, I was kinda taken back. Some were carrying fish but were they all breeding? I left them in peace and as rowed out north towards Gunners Rock as more Common Tern were coming in to join the other terns. Near to the Bishop and Wolf lighthouse, a single Swallow flew south and while I was 3miles west of Samson, a vocal Siskin flew east. I stopped off briefly at the latter island with nothin of note before moving onto to Tresco.

First of the Western Rocks, Gorragan rocks looking from Annet

Between Annet and Nundeeps there were up to 40-50 Puffin

Both Razorbill, above, and Guillemot were in very good numbers, particular around the Western Rocks

A great sight was up to 30-40 Common Tern were present on Great Grebwithen

Only a handful of Fulmar wree on the water

There was a large swell as I passed the Bishop Rock lighthouse to the south

On Tresco, I spent enough time to cover the two pools and the South Beach. 2 Black-tailed Godwit were on the Great Pool . Hawking above were some 30 Swift and 20 House Martin, including a presumed SwallowxHouse Martin hybrid. The highlight on the Abbey Pool were 3 female Pochards with 7 ducklings. Also 8 Grey Heron and the pale-headed Iceland Gull. The beah produced 35 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling and single Dunlin and White Wagtail.

Hopefully these Pochard will make it to flying stage

Up to 30 Swift hawking over the Great Pool

This presumed SwallowxHouse Martin hybrid, always stayed high above the Great Pool

White Wagtail

Meadow Pipit



This single Dunlin was feeding with 3 Sanderling

Part of the flock of 35 Turnstone on the South Beach

Before I left home this morning, ‘Billy’ was in front of the Castle obs window and I returned home 12 hours later, to find it still in the garden.

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Rose-coloured Starling at Porthloo and Bryher

8th June 2021

Got in the kayak after work this afternoon with no idea where to go until Pete Frazer found this cracking Rose-coloured Starling on Bryher

Late afternoon, I arrived at Rushy Bay, Bryher in the warm sun and parked the kayak high on the bank. Pete Frazer had the Rose-coloured Starling just two minutes walk away in the old pig fields on the NW side of Samson Hill. I spent a good hour in the area and after goin through very small groups of Starling, there was no sign. I wondered off further afield in search of more Starlings but gave up with no sign after another hour. I stated returning back to Rushy Bay. Just before goin through the dunes to my kayak, andI gave it one more scan across the open area, west of Samson Hill and bingo! There it was flying away from me in the distants before pitching down on top of brambles. Here it showed pretty well. However, not as well as when it was in Pittosporum Bushes bordering the old pig fields. I was only a few meters away from the stunner as he had a nap in the evening sun. I observed it for a good ten minutes before getting in my kayak and made my ways towards Tresco.

What a stunner!!

I reached Tresco a little too late and only had half an hour before returning back to St Mary’s. Walking the South Beach in that time, produced 32 Turnstone, 3 Whimbrel and single White Wagtail, Sanderling, Dunlin and a summer plumage Knot. A ten minute scan of the Abbey Pool and the pair of Pochard had 4 ducklings while two pairs of Shelduck had a single and 7 ducklings while a Cuckoo was heard nearby. Earlier in the morning, ‘Billy’ was in the garden with over 50 Starling. Surely they will attract a Rose-coloured Starling before the week end?

White Wagtail

I think this only my second Knot I’ve ever seen in summer plumage

There were up to 3 Whimbrel on the South Shore

and also 32 Turnstone

Hopefully these 4 Pochard ducklings will survive



On the morning of the 3rd June, I went in search of a Rose Coloured Starling and two minutes later after leaving home, I found one!! It was while driving passed Porthloo Duckpond that I spotted this individual high up in the Elms. It was all too brief and in a few seconds I managed to get this record shot before it flew off never to be seen again until the following day when it was at Carn Friars.

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3rd LITTLE SWIFT for Scilly!

2nd June 2021

A heavily cropped pic of the LITTLE SWIFT I had late this evening at Porth Hellick before it disappeared with hirundines, NW towards Longstones

It’s funny the way things go. Earlier today, Trevor Clayson found a pair of Garganey on St Agnes and I ain’t seen a male Garganey since the 16 I had in Palestine three year ago. My plan was to kayak twitch the ducks but Bob winn, who is staying on St Agnes, let me know that there was no sign of them before I was just about to depart St Mary’s. So instead, I did what all the other birders have been doin on St Mary’s. Try and find a Rose-coloured Starling after the three turning up two days ago on Scilly and many more across the British Isles. This included today of an amazing flock of 13 on Alderney and Jamie Partridge had 5 in off the sea at South Foreland lighthouse, Kent!

Read Jamie’s account here of the event on his blog But read mine first before you go there

At the moment, I’ve got over 50 Starling visiting the garden but elsewhere that I looked around St Mary’s, they were in smaller numbers and nothin was with them. At Green Farm, there was a Turtle Dove and I thought I would check Porth Hellick to see if maybe the Garganey were there. It had gone 21.00 when I left the hides to return back to me wagon. I was looking up to the overcast skies scanning for hirundines with my naked eye when I got onto a swift overhead. Even though it was pretty high up, I could see that this was somethin different and when I got my bins onto it, As I thought, LITTLE SWIFT! It continued to fly south until I lost it. I couldn’t believe what had just happened and so quick and I didn’t get a pic of it. No ones goin to believe me. I mean, me misidentifying a male Red-backed Shrike from a female or misidentifying a summer plumage Great White Egret for a Little Egret! Now come on!? Even though I saw the swift very briefly, in bad light and distant and didn’t see the white rump, I was very happy in what I had just observed and i let others know about it. A few minutes later, a flock of 50-60 Swallow and some 10 House Martin were above me and I frantically went through them with my bins, but nothin. Instead I switched to my naked eye and bingo, I got onto it immediately. What a relief it was when I picked up the swift with them. I quickly fired off some shots before the flock, including the swift, flew off NW towards Longstones only to see Robin arrive with others close behind. Everyone present, had the idea that the hirundines would return to roost at Porth Hellick and hopefully the swift would be with them and maybe roost on a nearby cliff. After forty five minutes, not a single Swallow came back and we could only guess that they roosted at Lower Moors or even Tresco and maybe the swift decided to roost on a building in town. Who knows but hopefully the swift will be relocated tomorrow with a Rose-coloured Starling or two. And if those Garganey were still on St Agnes this evening after I finished work……

Just before work, I had a quick look on the Dead Pine walk, Garrison and came across this Peregrine perched on one of the tall dead pines

There is a family of Great Tit and above, this juvenile Robin in the garden at the moment

‘Billy’ here at Porthloo this evening but still coming to the garden every day, with the odd visit to the bird table

Grey Heron

And I finished the day off with two very brief fly through of the LITTLE SWIFT at Porth Hellick. It was hard work trying to focus on the swift with the camera with the dull light and it being high up. Above are four of the six record shots, heavily cropped, that I managed to get before it disappeared.

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