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Booted Warbler at Higher Moors

28th August 2022

I wasn’t expecting to bump into this Booted Warbler down at Higher Moors this morning

From a NE yesterday to blustery SEE overnight, it felt promising this morning when I got out later than I wanted. The first two sites I tried and not a single migrant. However, at 09.20, I was entering Higher Moors from the road and Willow and Reed Warblers, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps, were active in the Sallows and Willows with single Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher. I caught, what I thought was a phyllosc, fly up into a large isolated Willow. It was when I got my bins on it, I calmly said out loud ‘Shit! Booted Warbler‘ Only to see it drop deep into the vegetation below out of sight. It’s a Booted Warbler, it will be out in the open on top showing off. The next 30 seconds, it just did that before flying off strongly over the track and into cover. There was a few of us searching but not a sniff and I moved on. An hour later, I was at Carn Friars when a Red-backed Shrike popped up in front of me. Ideal! The shrike proved very mobile and only glimpsed by others when they arrived but they had all seen the Booted Warbler well. Other than the shrike, there was nothin much else goin on except for 2 Common Sandpiper on the pool. I returned to the Higher Moors to find a small crowd but there had been no sign of the Booted warbler but the Great Spotted Woodpecker was still in the area that I thought I discovered a few days ago. However, speaking to Doug Page today, he told me that he had the woodpecker on St Agnes on the 14th August.

I wasn’t expecting to find this Booted Warbler this morning and it turned out to be the first record on Scilly since Keith Pellows individual at Peninnis Head some twelve years ago!

This Pied Flycatcher was at the top end of Higher Moors

Less than 10 Willow Warbler in the area

Reed Warbler

This Blue Tit appears to have three tails!!

After an hour of finding the Booted Warbler, I went and discovered this Red-backed Shrike at Carn Friars

I spent the rest of the afternoon with Richie Aston and species of note included at Salkee, 2 Tree Pipit and a single Whinchat. The Dead Pine Walk could only produce 2 Spotted Flycatcher and a single Pied Flycatcher. Finally news came out that the Booted Warbler was back again at Higher Moors.It was late in the evening that I was walking the fields at Telegraph and after three days of no sign, that I flushed the Hoopoe with no idea it was there. It flew into the pines where I guess it would of roosted. Yet again, another cracking day and I was thinking of so close to goin kayaking instead.

My first Whinchat of the autumn was at Salkee

Meadow Pipit

A recently fledged Swallow


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4th ANANIA VERBASCALIS Moth for Scilly

24th August 2022

Chris Lewis trapped this 4th Scilly record of ANANIA VERBASCALIS MOTH overnight at Watermill

On his first night of moth trapping, Chris Lewis trapped a Striped Hawkmoth overnight at his digs at Peaceheaven, Watermill. Two nights later, he only went and trapped the forth ANANIA VERBASCALIS for Scilly! Just after 21.00 this evening after kayaking from Tresco, it was while I was chatting to Chris at Peaceheaven that a vocal Wood Sandpiper flew SSW. Graham Cunsdale had the the third Scilly record of Anania verbascalis at Trenowth only last moth! However, on St Agnes, Mike Hicks caught a single, 19/8/95, new to Scilly and Cornwall at the time and another 22/7/96.


This is only my fifth Scilly Striped Hawkmoth

And it’s been a few years since I ‘ve seen one of my favourite moth, Peach Blossom

Before I twitched the mega moth, it turned out to be an awesome day. Mid-morning and I got a pleasant surprise when I heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker at Porth Hellick and located it very briefly in the pines before flying off. Later in the afternoon, I came across a Hoopoe in fields at Telegraph just before you the bungolows on your right coming from the Porthloo junction. There were also up to 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Whitethroat, 5 Blackcap and small numbers of Willow Warbler in the area.

It’s been over two years since the last Great Spotted Woodpecker was on Scilly. So I was kinda of pleased when I turned up this individual at Porth Hellick and just managed to get a record shot before it disappeared

A few hours later, I came across this Hoopoe at Telegraph and was my first autumn discovery as all the others I’ve found have been spring jobs.

Nearby, I had up to 4 Spotted Flycatcher

And 5 Blackcap

And including Porth Hellick, up to 20 Willow Warbler

With smaller numbers of Chiffchaff

Later on in the garden there was this fresh Coma Butterfly

Holly Blue

And a Mother of Pearl

As both the Red-backed Shrike from yesterday and Pectoral Sandpiper from two days ago, were still present on Tresco, I kayaked across after work and just before 19.00 I had connected with both species. The Pectoral Sandpiper in front of the Swarovski hide with 3 Wood Sandpiper and a few minutes later after seeing the pec, the Red-backed Shrike distantly in the fields opposite to the entrance to the hide. Not much time to look elsewhere before I returned home but the Abbey Pool still held up to 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Green and 4 Common Sandpiper and only 12 Dunlin compared to the 56 I had on Sunday.

The Pectoral Sandpiper showed well in front of the hide until a very noisy Redshank spooked it and flew further away to continue feeding.

Out of the 3 Wood Sandpiper on the Great Pool only two them showed off in front of the Swarovski hide

But the Red-backed Shrike in fields opposite to the entrance of the hide stayed distant and I just got this record shot before it disappeared.

Last week on the 18th, I spotted the Icterine Warbler in the east pines again from my window and was able to get these images after dashing across the field to get a little closer to the warbler.

The following day, as thought, I had 2 Spotted Crake on Tresco Great Pool. This individual at the SE end….

and this individual very briefly distantly feeding to the west on the opposite side of the David Hunt hide

Some 5 Sedge Warbler performed well at Lower Moors in the week

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Icterine Warbler in my garden!

16th August 2022

Well almost…Discovered this Icterine Warbler from my window in the east pine belt opposite the garden just after mid-day.

With NNE, the first rainfall in over two weeks fell overnight and as expected a few goodies turned up as a result. A look out from the window first thing and there were 2 Spotted Flycatcher in the east pine belt. I had an early start at work but during a short break, I checked out a few sights and at the end of the pine belt opposite Bishop View from the road, I observed single Pied and Spotted Flycatcher and only my second Wood Warbler of the year. My third look out of the window back home and I spotted a distant hippo warbler on the edge of the east pine belt. I shot out and ran towards the pines and was rewarded with some awesome views of an Icterine Warbler. After finding a Melodious Warbler only four days ago, the last thing on my mind was finding another hippo warbler and from my window! Unfortunately, I could only spend less than ten minutes with it as I had to return to work. After this, work got in the way and no time to try and relocate it. However, driving past at Telegraph, there was a field with some 30 gulls in it. A quick scan and spotted a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull.

It’s been a few years since I’ve seen an Icterine Warbler and in the very short time I observed it, it showed pretty well.

Also had Spotted Flycatcher and Blackcap in the same pines

Spotted this smart Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at Telegraph

This Sedge Warbler appears to be checking me out

Kingfisher at Lower Moors

Earlier on there was a NE breeze but now it was 17.00 and it was gusting up to 28 mph. However, this didn’t stop me getting out on the kayak in the dull conditions and at 17.30 I was scanning the Abbey Pool. 3 Wood, 10 Green and 6 Common Sandpiper and now 4 Black-tailed Godwit. Of course there were up to 3 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull also. Next door at the SE end of the Great Pool, the Spotted Crake was still showing distantly but had moved up towards the east end of the pool from where I had it two days ago. There were only 2 Wood and 7 Green Sandpiper also present. It was from the Swarovski hide that there were 5 Green Sandpiper, single Little Grebe and Shovelr and my personal Scilly record of 21 Black-tailed Godwit. As time wasn’t on my side, I had been running from one sight to another and while catching my breath back in the David Hunt Hide, there was the Spotted Crake feeding on the mud just below me. Or was it a different individual from the SE end of the Great Pool? No time to check the SE end as it was now 20.00 and light was disappearing fast. Along the South Beach were over 200 Sanderling and 35 Dunlin before I took on the waves towards St Mary’s reaching the safety of Sharks Pit twenty five minutes later.

8 Green Sandpiper feeding with 3 Redshank on the Abbey Pool

A single Common Sandpiper stuck in the middle with 2 Wood Sandpiper

17 of the 21 Black-tailed Godwit on the Great Pool with another four present on the Abbey Pool. A personal Scilly record of 25 Black-tailed Godwit.

With 12 Curlew at Pentle Bay was this individual that was yellow flagged with 26 on them

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Spotted Crake on Tresco

14th August 2022

Kayaked this afternoon to Tresco to have a look around and connected with this Spotted Crake that was found yesterday in front of the David Hunt Hide on the Great Pool.

The long staying Wood Sandpiper was still at Porth Hellick this morning along with 6 Green and Common Sandpiper and a single Kingfisher. There was a notble fall in the area with up to 30 Sedge, 40 Willow Warbler, 10 Blackcap, single Whitethroat with smaller numbers of Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff. 5 Swift were hawking with the Swallows.

A fall of some 30 Sedge Warbler were at Porth Hellick

Up to 6 Green Sandpiper were on the pool

Early afternoon and I arrived at the South Beach of Tresco in my kayak. As I approached the Abbey Pool, I could hear Green Sandpiper and counted 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Teal, 27 Grey Heron, 2 Wood, 5 Common and 7 Green Sandpiper. But it was when I reached the south-east of the Great Pool a few minutes after leaving the Abbey Pool that there was a very high number of 16 Green Sandpiper. A kinda of surprise was a Spotted Crake on the edge of the pool with 2 Water Rail. I assume it’s the same individual that was found yesterday in front of the David Hunt Hide nearby. A bit of field craft and ten minutes later, I was on top of the crake as it fed only a few meters away from me out in the open for a good ten minutes. Ideal! In the top of the canopy at the crossroads of Well Cover, was a single Pied Flycatcher.

This Spotted Crake showed superbly out in the open at the SE end of the Great Pool

Where there were also 2 Water Rail on the same patch of mud as the crake

As there was no sign of the Spotted Crake below the David Hunt Hide, I guess it’s the same one that I had earlier just down road. From the Swarovski hide there were more Green Sandpiper with up to 11 individuals. Also present were up to 5 Wood Sandpiper, a single Lapwing and over half an hour later, the Lesser Yellowlegs flew in with 6 Redshank.

It was good to see this Lapwing on the Great Pool

One of the 5 Wood Sandpiper feeding together in front of the Swarovski hide. Including the two individuals ion the Abbey Pool, 7 Wood Sandpiper is the largest number I’ve seen in the UK. Before this it was 4 in Shropshire. A September day I’ll never forget as I also had 3 Spotted Redshank, 3 Turnstone, 4 Little stint, 9 Curlew Sandpiper, 16 Ruff, 3 Common Tern, small flocks of Dunlin and Ringed Plover and a Red-breasted Mergenser!!! Mire Lake at it’s best! Unfortunately the sight has gone!!

And the Lesser Yellowlegs showed well in front the hide and has been present now for just over two weeks

Little Egret off Skirt Island

My first Common Darter of the year was basking in the sun at Well Cover. I also had singles of Migrant Hawker and another Black-tailed Skimmer.

Also had this brute of a hoverfly, Volucella zonaria

Returning back to St Mary’s, I passed 3 Sandwich Tern hanging around in the harbour

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Melodious Warbler at Higher Moors

12th August 2022

I thought I had discovered an Icterine Warbler late this afternoon at Higher Moors. It was when I attached pics on the WhatsApp group that a few birders started questioning the ID and it was reidentified as a Melodious Warbler

Five days ago on the 7th, I observed from the Swarovski hide, Tresco, a very high flying Honey Buzzard flying in from the east before continuing south. Also on that day there were 8 Green, 4 Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, first Water Rail of the autumn and a minimum of 7 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and the Lesser Yellowlegs. The following day I had the first Spotted Flycatcher of the autumn followed by the first Pied Flycatcher two days later. Both were in the east pine belt opposite the garden. Usually a fly over but a Green Sandpiper on the wader scrape/pig waterhole, that I dug out just in front of the window, was a new species for the garden.

This Honey Buzzard was pretty high over the Great Pool and was my second of the year

Two of the 7 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull I came across on Tresco. Took these two from my kayak on the South Beach

Also there were up to 20 Mediterranean Gull

The first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn was in the east pine belt opposite the garden, 10th

Today there was an obvious arrival and started off early this afternoon with 2 vocal Crossbill very briefly in the east pines opposite the garden before flying off north. Shortly afterwards, I flushed a Wryneck with my wagon off the corner at the junction of Parting Carn. However it was after work that I found the highlight of the day with what I first thought was a Icterine Warbler turned out to be a Melodious Warbler. It showed well in the willows and Sallows on the track at Higher Moors with some 15 willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff and half a dozen Blackcap. Then I got a call to return back to work where there were up to 30 Swift over the garden.

Pleased to turn up this Melodious Warbler at Higher Moors. If only I knew what I was looking at

There were also up to 10 Chiffchaff

And 15 Willow Warbler

Good numbers of Reed Warbler in the area as well

At Porth Hellick, the Wood Sandpiper was still present with this Green Sandpiper

This Snipe was at Lower Moors a few days ago

This Moorhen trying to balance itself in the Willows

Volucella zonaria Hoverfly on the Garrison

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