Thursday, 31 October 2013

A day of "surprises" !

Birding, running or household jobs.......a dilemma I'm faced with each morning !!
This morning I opted to start my day with a run along the Brampton Valley Way and I soon became aware of the alarm/mobbing calls of blackbirds and chaffinches in the hedge . I stopped and stuck my head into the hedge and I honestly do not know who was more surprised, me or it....a very bemused Long Eared Owl, which flew off in the direction of Brixworth.
Then it was time to walk the dogs and we took a leisurely walk around the big side of Pitsford Reservoir.  I nearly missed the first good bird, a Ring Ouzel, perched on a lone bush in the field next to the causeway car park. I confess to nearly not bothering to raise my binoculars to it!!.  There were 3 Great White Egrets together on the shoreline infront of the gorse bushes. Quite a sight, although they were rather nervous and as I watched 2 flew onto the small side and I saw them later in the Scaldwell Bay, whilst 1 remained at the gorse bushes.  I lost count of the number of Little Egrets, easily in double figures.  
As it was bright and breezy it wasn't long before the raptors were up and about, with a female Peregrine chasing the lapwings and a Red Kite causing some panic amongst the wildfowl.
The area below the dam looks quite interesting at the moment as it is soggy grass fields with horses grazing.  A Black Redstart was a surprise find, but the "local" robin was a nuisance as it kept chasing it around.  A Green Sandpiper was also present.
On the small side [scaldwell bay] were 3 Dunlin, a Redshank and 10 Red Crested Pochard.
Neil's token effort was a Grey Wagtail and Yellow Legged Gull from the dam at Pitsford Reservoir.

Regards Eleanor

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Dip day!


Eleanor popped over to Woodford Halse this morning but the Hoopoe didn't show and is presumed now gone?  A walk around Borough Hill Country Park at Daventry thereafter didn't find any birds of note.  And continuing the theme, Eleanor walked around Sywell Country Park this afternoon and still can't think of anything noteworthy to report!  Ah well that's how it goes sometimes!

I spent 90 minutes this afternoon on a short walk around Ecton Sewage Works but only saw three Chiffchaffs, a Siskin, a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail.


Neil M

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Housework versus Birding !!!!!

Today was earmarked for housework and jobs, ha ha !! But on such a bright and breezy day I felt compelled to visit Harrington, Pitsford and Blueberry.........exercising the dogs of course, with a bit of birdwatching thrown in !!!

At Harrington Airfield the male Merlin whizzed low over the fields causing chaos with the Skylarks. There were at least 2 or 3 Red Kites and numerous Common Buzzard enjoying the breeze. For some reason the bushes near the "shooting wall" seem to be attractive to at least 2 Bramblings who sit very quietly watching the world go by.

I had been at Harrington for at least an hour before I saw the Great Grey Shrike around the last bunker. It really was a case of blink and you will miss it, as it literally hopped up onto a bush and dropped off out of view.

My mission at Pitsford was to find a "storm" driven bird !, but I failed.  Although it looks very good there and has potential I didn't find anything new.  On the big side there was a Peregrine Falcon, 2 Green Sandpipers and 3 Lesser Redpoll.  On the small side there were again 3 Great White Egret and at least 7 Little Egret.  The 10 Red-crested Pochard were in the Walgrave Bay and the males looked stunning in the Autumn sunshine. There were also several Pintail and Goldeneye.

My final walk was at the southern most end of the Blueberry complex, but it was quiet, apart from a pair of Stonechat.

Tomorrow is forecast to be another nice day.........

Regards Eleanor

Monday, 28 October 2013

Not a lot!


This afternoon a walk around Blueberry Farm, Maidwell provided views of 2 Barn Owls, a pair of Stonechat, 12 Bramblings and 2 redpoll sp in flight.  The gull roost at Pitsford Res only yielded 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls.


E & N

Post-storm birds


A walk at Harrington Airfield this morning proved the Great Grey Shrike was still in residence and still very mobile (still present at 10.30am).  Other birds included a Red Kite, 2-3 Ravens, a Siskin, a redpoll sp and 2 Bramblings.

A scan from the causeway at Pitsford Res confirmed now three Great White Egrets in residence, all on view at the same time with at least five Little Egrets (12.40pm).


E & N

Great Grey Shrike

An autumn charm
of Goldfinches set
in a hawthorn bush
full of berries

Sunday, 27 October 2013



This morning and a visit to Pitsford Res provided views of birds north of the causeway which included 2 Great White Egrets, at least 4 Little Egrets, 10 Red-crested Pochards, 12 Pintail, 3 Green Sandpipers and a redpoll sp.

Found today between Woodford Halse and Eydon in the west of the county was a very unexpected but welcome item of avian exotica in the shape of a Hoopoe!  This bird was feeding in a car park to a small fishery between the villages and because everyone kept their distance the Hoopoe fed unconcernedly and reasonably close.

On the way back we called in at Borough Hill Country Park where Bazra enjoyed a good game - the only bird of note was a Chiffchaff.

We finished at Ravensthorpe Reservoir which provided views of a male Peregrine and a Pintail.


Neil H and Neil M

Great White Egret
Pitsford Res

Even Hoopoes are
allowed a little stretch
and yawn!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Airfield adventures


Well I spent much of the day cleaning and disinfecting bird feeders and making preparations to again start a number of wild bird feeding stations as well as maintaining the couple that we run all year.  With such mild conditions it is important to realise that bacteria and disease will potentially fester in bird feeders and spread much more quickly that in cold and frosty weather.  We are hoping to maintain ten sites this winter which will require plenty of food and time to ensure that the local and transient birds have something to fall back on.

This afternoon we ventured out to Harrington Airfield where the Great Grey Shrike showed well, and was seen to catch and consume a Bumble-bee.  The best way to see this bird continuously is to walk along the concrete track and scan towards the old airstrip.  It has favoured locations and it is better to watch these from a distance with a telescope rather than walking around the bushes and obtaining brief views.  Observers today were spending a great deal of time searching for the bird and continually flushing it without seeing it, such is the poor viewing conditions amongst the bushes and around the bunkers.  There is no general permitted access around the airstrip and bunkers, the only footpath is along the concrete track and it is likely that although the landowner has few concerns about a few people walking the rough areas, a large number of people may cause a change of view to the point where no-one is permitted access to the old airstrip and bunkers.

A number of common raptors were on the wing at Harrington Airfield this afternoon, and a first year male Merlin 'beat up' the top fields and rape field next to the firing range wall in pursuit of Skylarks (3.50pm).  Other birds included at least 42 Golden Plovers and 2 Bramblings.


Neil M

Merlin in
virtual silhouette

Breezy Blueberry!


Eleanor's excursion to Blueberry Farm, Maidwell in breezy conditions this morning provided views of a Short-eared Owl, 2 Red Kites and 2 Stonechats, all birds towards the southern end of the complex.


Neil M

Friday, 25 October 2013

Catching up with the birds!


First thing this morning and Eleanor revisited Harrington Airfield and kept to the concrete track.  She saw the first year Ring Ouzel which flew towards the third bunker.

Mid-morning saw two Ravens present at Hanging Houghton.

This afternoon and I found time to have a wander at Harrington Airfield.  Thanks to Alan Coles I saw the Great Grey Shrike perched on a small isolated bunker between the concrete track and the old airstrip (1.15pm) - thanks Alan!

After a quick wander around the copse further on, I returned to scan the fields and this time the Ring Ouzel was pointed out to me, this bird on the same concrete bunker that had hosted the shrike.  The Ring Ouzel was then watched for quite a time gently plucking and consuming the last of the elderberries (still present at 2.20pm).

A Peregrine chased some corvids around in the strong breeze and plenty of raptors on view included at least one Red Kite.  About seventy Golden Plover were present but mobile.

A quick look at Pitsford Res this afternoon provided views of a Great White Egret, nine Red-crested Pochard and six Pintail in the Scaldwell Bay and at least four Little Egrets scattered about the reserve.  There was an adult Yellow-legged Gull north of the causeway and subsequently a different bird off the dam.

Some scanning over parts of Blueberry Farm (Maidwell) late afternoon drew a blank but a Grey Partridge was heard again.  A 'ringtail' Hen Harrier was reported for yesterday afternoon.


Neil M

Red Kite

Common Buzzard

Golden Plover

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Harrington Hey Day!

Harrington Airfield was certainly the place to be today, and for those birders lucky enough to visit and experience the "magic" of Harrington, a truly memorable experience of witnessing this site at its best.

Over the course of the day, beginning at 07.30hrs and ending at 18.00 some amazing birds were seen, although not by any one person.   Here is my account of my Harrington experience:-

I arrived at 07.30hrs and the first bird I saw was a male Merlin disappearing over the fields chasing the Skylarks, so I thought "that's a good start".  Anyway as I walked up the road to access the rough area I was aware of buntings, larks and finches flying over, a good indication of visible passage happening. It wasn't long before I had notched up a flock of 8 redpoll sp, 2 Crossbills, several Siskins, Tree Sparrows and at least 6 Brambling.   At the very end bunker I disturbed a Short-eared Owl sitting in the morning sunshine. There were large numbers of Skylark, Yellowhammers, Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches, as well as Red Kite, Common Buzzard and a flock of 50 Golden Plovers.

I really didn't want to leave but I needed to be back home by 9 o' clock for an appointment, so it really was a very quick circuit, birding and walking one of our dogs, and I just know that I was missing things and hadn't done Harrington justice.

Following my appointment I felt the desire to go for a run and even whilst running around the Cottesbrooke area could hear Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.  There were 2 Ravens near Cottesbrooke village.

One of our dogs is on restricted walking due to her operations and I take her out in a buggy, especially for dogs....mad I know !!! So as soon as I returned from my run I took both dogs out for a walk, or rather one walking and pushing the other, along the Brampton Valley below Hanging Houghton. Again there were big numbers of Skylark, Yellowhammers and Tree Sparrows, and being bright and breezy no shortage of Common Buzzard and Red Kite.

Whilst walking along I received a message informing me of a 'Great Grey Shrike at Harrington'!!!  I wasn't at all surprised, but disappointed that I hadn't found it. Anyway we did a quick about turn and I called in the house for my 'scope and camera and off we went to Harrington.

When I dispatched Bazra, my old collie out of the car his face was incredulous as he looked at me as if to say " but I've already walked along here this morning !" Anyway the G G Shrike was soon located around the middle bunkers and although distant showed well. It then became quite mobile whizzing around the bunkers and bushes, where it appeared to catch a large butterfly amongst other things.   It was never difficult to relocate as the Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Robin, Dunnocks etc didn't like it and were mobbing it continually.

On leaving the shrike I drove further down the road and parked at the main entrance and extracted the buggy and Bobbie and took her for a walk along the main track. Poor Bazra really thought I'd lost the plot and overdosed on Harrington, he couldn't believe it.

Anyway I pushed her slowly along the track, again aware of the sheer numbers of passerines present. As I neared the bunker and straw bales on the track I saw at least 6 Bramblings on the field edge, some of which were in bright orange plumage. The G G Shrike then appeared on the bushes nearby and also frequented the bales of straw.  There were quite a few Chaffinch, Yellowhammer etc around the straw and again they did not like the shrike alone and were constantly mobbing it.

At one point it felt like "bird overload" as whilst I was watching the shrike I could hear the familiar cronk of the Ravens and harsh call of the Bramblings.

There were also numerous Common Buzzard and at least 3 Red Kites in the area.

Finally I had to draw myself away but that didn't stop me birding as over the garden whilst I was mowing or rather chopping up the wet lawn I had Red Kite, 2 redpolls, 2 or 3 Brambling, 2 Grey Wagtails and Nuthatch.

Subsequent visits by other birders at Harrington Airfield this afternoon located quality passage migrants in the shape of a Black Redstart and a Ring Ouzel.

Neil only managed to get out briefly this evening (shame!) and popped down to Blueberry Farm where he saw 2 Barn Owls, a Stonechat and heard Grey Partridge.

Regards Eleanor

Great Grey Shrike

Red Kite

Bobbie's mobile hide
and 'scope carrying

Pitsford ringing


Dave Francis managed a short ringing session in the Scaldwell Bay at Pitsford Res this morning.  This produced 31 new birds and good numbers of re-trapped residents which included a fine female Sparrowhawk, which was first caught and ringed at the main feeding station in January 2012.  New birds included 5 Goldcrests, 2 Redwings and a Kingfisher.

My thanks to Dave for this information and continued effort on-site.


Neil M

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Blustery birds


The first part of today was spent at Ditchford GP which was initially wet and blustery, and then it became sunny and blustery!

Two Egyptian Geese were present west of Ditchford Lane and at least one Peregrine was coasting around on the strong breeze.  Other bird sightings were modest but included 4-5 Little Egrets, 4 Cetti's Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Grey Wagtails and 4 Kingfishers.  Insects remained busy in the mild conditions with still reasonable numbers of Migrant Hawker and Common Darter whizzing about and several species of butterfly too.

A Brambling was seen at Hanging Houghton first thing this morning and a visit to Ravensthorpe Res this afternoon yielded a first winter Mediterranean Gull, a Green Sandpiper and a Kingfisher.

A late afternoon wander around Blueberry Farm, Maidwell provided a brief view of the adult male Hen Harrier again, with a 'ringtail' Hen Harrier being seen twice by another birder before this.  As the light began to diminish, 2-3 Barn Owls emerged to hunt and two Ring Ouzels flew in to roost in a field hedge near to the southern end of the complex.


Eleanor and Neil McMahon

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Wet and windy


Out birding today in mild but wet and wild conditions produced some birds of interest.

This morning a walk at Blueberry Farm, Maidwell provided a hunting adult male Hen Harrier, a Peregrine, a Red Kite, a Chiffchaff and some winter thrushes.  A Grey Wagtail was present at Hanging Houghton.

At Harrington Airfield this afternoon birds were a little sparse with two Ravens and seventy Golden Plovers on-site.

The gull roost at Pitsford Res this evening produced an adult Caspian Gull, an adult Yellow-legged Gull and a Grey Wagtail.


Eleanor and Neil

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Stortons Bird Ringing


John Woollett and other members of the Northants Ringing Group spent time at Stortons GP today catching and ringing 60 migrant and resident birds.  Highlights included a new Cetti's Warbler, a Chiffchaff and a Redwing.


Neil M

A little 'wet' Cornish birding


Birding in some violent storms with hail and thunder and lightening was interesting this morning as we paid The Hayle Estuary a visit!

A fishing Osprey braved the conditions at high tide, dealing with the heavy rain far better than us!  When the heavy weather passed, scanning the estuarine birds revealed a Garganey, three Pintail, a couple of Brent Geese, up to ten Mediterranean Gulls and a variety of common waders.

A visit to Long Rock sands produced more common coastal birds plus a couple of views of a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling visiting gardens with Starlings.

Then time for the long journey back home to 'sunny' Northants...


Eleanor and Neil

Mediterranean Gull


Little Egret

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Last day on Scillies


Our last day on the Isles of Scilly today.  The anticipated rain arrived at dawn but then unexpectedly cleared up after about two hours and it quickly became very warm and sunny with extensive blue skies. 

The strong southerly wind produced plenty of new butterflies to the islands with a small invasion of Painted Ladies joining the still plentiful Red Admirals, Clouded Yellows and others.  A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was probably associated with the same movement.  It seemed that Chiffchaffs had also increased in number with small flocks in lots of places on St Mary's.

A final wander up to Borough Farm was worth it with one small field there holding four Black Redstarts, what was probably the same long-staying Wryneck and plenty of Meadow Pipits, White Wagtails and Redwings.  Nearby Newford Duck Pond continued to host a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers plus several Chiffchaffs and at least one late Willow Warbler.  Watermill Cove hosted more common warblers and a hunting Merlin.  Small numbers of late Swallows and a couple of House Martins had arrived by early afternoon.

Carrying on our birding circuit we looked in at Content Farm, the wooded track still attracting a Yellow-browed Warbler and more common migrants.  Our final venue was Lower Moors which still held two Yellow-browed Warblers in the ancient sallows.

Then it was time to board the Scillonian III and we left Hugh Town at the early time of 3pm in a successful bid to beat a ferocious weather storm coming in from the south-west.  Plenty of Gannets were fishing the waters between the isles and Land's End but other birds were restricted to a couple of Bonxies and small numbers of Razorbill, Guillemot and Kittiwake.  Never mind, the frequent pods of Common Dolphins on intercept mode with the Scillonian III delighted the passengers!


Eleanor and Neil

Common Dolphin


Friday, 18 October 2013

Scillies Day 21 (Friday 18th Oct)


A rather wet day today with some heavy showers and strong southerly winds.  Remarkably mild though.  Another day on St Marys, and the wettest day of the trip to date.

The birds were mostly repeats of previous days with three Firecrests, five Yellow-browed Warblers and singles of Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Jack Snipe and Peregrine.  A couple of Ravens put in an appearance in the afternoon and the high tide at Porthellick provided counts of ten Greenshanks and ten Snipe.  A Little Grebe was a local rarity for the island!  One or two Kingfisher(s) added some colour to the day.


E & N

Scillies Day 20 (Thursday 17th Oct)


We aimed to visit the island of Bryher today but the tides didn't permit an early boat.  So after a few hours birding on St Mary's, we travelled over to the private island of Tresco on the 10.15am boat and then caught a boat from there at 12.30pm to make landfall on the small island of Bryher.

A Yellow-browed Warbler called continually again around our chalet first thing.  A quick walk around the Great Pool at Tresco yielded another Yellow-browed Warbler, this time showing itself well in Sycamores, a Jack Snipe was flushed from the track and other birds included Stonechat, Wheatear, an apparent migrant flock of 9 Blue Tits, Reed Warbler and common waders and wildfowl.

On to Bryher and a good walk around the north-west end of the island produced a couple of Ring Ouzels, half a dozen Wheatears and a Black Redstart.  Plenty of Rock Pipits inhabited the beaches and a small flock of waders included a rather oddly-plumaged Little Stint.  A further wander around other areas of the island provided a Whinchat and another Black Redstart but not much else.

Scanning the waters and island just off Bryher provided plenty of gulls including a Mediterranean, common waders, plenty of Little Egrets and the usual Grey Seals.  The very warm conditions and strong sunshine made we wish I hadn't bothered with a coat!

On our return to St Mary's we walked around the Garrison and saw a stunning adult male Back Redstart, which interestingly was ringed on its right leg.

After a fish and chip supper on Porthcressa Beach it was time to retire to our chalet and bed down two very tired collies!

Neil M

Beware!  Female birder
and Bazra the collie
on Bryher!

Bryn - still full of
energy as always!

Little Stint

Scillies Day 19 (Wednesday 16th Oct)


Today saw a shift in the wind to a strong south-westerly, the typical wind direction for this part of the world.  Wall to wall sunshine ensured there were many insects on the wing and the butterflies still included Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White, Clouded Yellow, Speckled Wood, Comma and Small Copper.

I tried an early morning sea-watch session from Peninnis Head but apart from plenty of  Gannets, a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a hunting Merlin didn't see much of note.  I then took yet more photos of the long-staying Snow and Lapland Buntings and wandered in to Old Town Churchyard to yet again not see the Grey-cheeked Thrush!

Meeting up with Eleanor and the two collies for brunch at the Old Town Café; Eleanor had managed to see a couple of Black Redstarts on her travels.

We then meandered around St Mary's and managed to notch up at least five Yellow-browed Warblers, a Jack Snipe, a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a Peregrine, 3-4 Grey Wagtails, 10 Greenshank, a Whimbrel, another Black Redstart, a Siskin, a Kingfisher and still a few Swallows and a House Martin.  Small numbers of Wheatear, Chiffchaff and Blackcap persisted.


Neil M

Another 'headstone'

Song Thrushes.  The first
bird was consuming 
Palm Tree flowers/buds.

Adult male of the
local Scillonian race of
Blackbird (minor plumage
and vocal differences to
the mainland birds).

First year male

Yummy Blackberries.
Just need some apple
crumble to add to the

Scillies Day 18 (Tuesday 15th Oct)


Another full day on the island of St Mary's down here on the Scilly Isles.  A strong easterly wind persisted all day but luckily the rain concluded at dawn.  Nevertheless the day remained grey and photography was challenging.

Two Yellow-browed Warblers were vocal around our chalet first thing but proved difficult to spot.  A couple more at Lower Moors proved a little easier.  A Wryneck showed briefly but well near Buzza and a long-staying and very confiding Snow Bunting continued to pull in many admirers.  For those that wandered around Pulpit Rock on Peninnis Head, a Lapland Bunting was similarly allowing close approach.  A wandering juvenile Rose-coloured Starling finally gave itself up, after touring St Agnes and Bryher on its travels.  Moving around with Starlings it is probably now learning to identify and consume the broad range of food that its common companions eat here on The Scillies.  Here they consume Blackberries with relish, then probe for leatherjackets, then tour the beaches picking off sand-hoppers as well as fitting in some garden feeders and taking the nectar from the Palm Tree flowers, probably the only place in the UK where resident and migrant birds regularly do this!

Repeats from previous days' sightings included a couple of Jack Snipe, Merlin, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Terns, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and a good local record of 16 Skylarks together.


Eleanor and Neil

Wryneck.  Stunning birds and
a typical bird of the Scillies
scene in the autumn.

Rock Pipit

A very good autumn
for Jack Snipe on the
islands this autumn.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Scillies Day 17 (Monday 14th Oct)


An early morning start today in an effort to try and see the Grey-cheeked Thrush at first light.  Two and a half hours later and Eleanor had managed a fleeting glimpse as the bird flew through Old Town churchyard just after 9am.  Despite two more visitations during the day, we failed to connect with the bird as did the majority of waiting birders!

Jack Snipe continue to pop up at Lower Moors, probably six birds being present today.  Several Yellow-browed Warblers adorn elms and sycamores around the island, their far-carrying 'sueeet' call often the first indication of their presence.  Good numbers of Goldcrests again today and winter thrushes continue to roam the islands in pursuit of autumn fruit and invertebrates.  Wheatears and Swallows are still present in reasonable numbers and there was a small increase in Stonechats today with a couple of Black Redstarts to add to the mix.  Merlin, Peregrine, Short-eared Owl and Ring Ouzel continued the theme and the hedges and trees still support good numbers of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.


Eleanor and Neil


Old Town Churchyard

A more typical view
of a Jack Snipe, and if
you are lucky the sight
you see just before
flushing one up!

I know it's only
a Starling but I
couldn't resist those
colours and markings!

Scillies Day 16 (Sunday 13th Oct)


Another full day on St Mary's which was quite dull and cloudy in the morning but feeling warm and almost sultry.  Broken sunshine in the afternoon made it even warmer.

Eleanor started the day with another lengthy run all around the coastal track of the island, seeing a Wryneck, two Lapland Buntings, a Snow Bunting, two Ring Ouzels and two Yellow-browed Warblers as she went!  I did some ringing and caught a few migrants in the shape of Meadow Pipit and Chiffchaff as well as some resident birds which I doubt will ever leave the islands during their short lives.

After a lunchtime rendezvous with a café that provide wonderful home-baked Bavarian apple strudel, we explored the north of the island notching up some Siskins, a Firecrest and a couple more Yellow-browed Warblers and a Merlin.  We then sauntered down to Old Town which has hosted a particularly difficult-to-see Grey-cheeked Thrush for some time now.  A couple of hours searching not surprisingly drew a blank in trying to locate this furtive and retiring species.

Other birds seen included four Jack Snipes, Water Rails, plenty of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, a Whimbrel still and Wheatears and 'alba' and Grey Wagtails.


Eleanor and Neil

Scillies Day 15 (Saturday 12th Oct)


On this day we took the early boat to St Martin's and spent the day there.  The award-winning fish and chip shop was opening specially for birders so that was a sufficient lure for us!

A strong and cool northerly wind met us at the quay as we embarked on the Meridian but the gorgeous warm sunshine easily overpowered the cool wind temperature.  Eight Common Scoters, a Razorbill and plenty of Shags and even a couple of in-shore feeding Gannets were seen en-route.

We landed at Higher Town and spent time watching the elms and other vegetation for any avian activity around the cricket pitch, nearby fields and Little Arthurs Farm.  Then the coast walk up to the most northerly part of the island and a zig-zag course back to the fish and chip shop for the all-important 12.30pm rendezvous.  Bits and pieces included a Short-eared Owl, a Snow Bunting, a Pied Flycatcher, a Ring Ouzel, a Merlin, a Raven and a Turtle Dove.

With bellies full and two rather already tired collies we birded the east shore and fields to the east of Middle Town and finished by circumnavigating the southern tip of the island and Lower Town.  Additional birds included a Red-breasted Merganser, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Redstart, possibly another Ring Ouzel, Siskin, common shore-line waders and the usual chats.  The sun still shone and it was yet another particularly pleasant St Martin's memory to add to the archives. 

Plenty of Redwings, Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Goldcrests throughout the island duplicated recent experiences on St Mary's.

Back on St Mary's by late afternoon and another build-up Swallows was evident with a few House Martins and Redwings roosted in good numbers.


Eleanor and Neil

Gannet honing in on
breakfast!  He/she was
successful but I wasn't
quick enough to capture
the contact with the water
and subsequent consumption!

Collared Dove

Probably the last
Redstart I see this

One of many Goldcrests
currently on the islands.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Scillies Day 14 (11th Oct)


A day spent entirely on St Mary's with strong winds which had veered around so that they were originating now from the north-east.  Not surprisingly the bird of the day was Redwing with hundreds arriving during the day, with smaller numbers of Fieldfare and an increase in the numbers of Goldcrests and Blackcaps.  By mid-afternoon a good number of Swallows had also arrived, presumably the last of the birds from Scandanavia and northern Europe.  Chiffchaffs also increased, in all probability exiting countries similar to those of the Swallow.

An hour in the morning with one mist net open was good enough to catch and ring singles of Grey Wagtail and Yellow-browed Warbler.

A walk around the Garrison also provided a Lapland Bunting and very brief views of Wryneck and Ring Ouzel.  Next was Peninnis Head which hosted a confiding Snow Bunting and a couple of Lapland Buntings.  The strong sunshine was incredibly warm out of the wind and yet another totally dry day was enjoyed by all.

The Lower Moors area continues to be good and provided close views of Grey Wagtail and two Jack Snipe.   A wander around to Porthellick increased the day total of Jack Snipe to four plus another Yellow-browed Warbler.  Two Redwings were caught and ringed in the evening.


Eleanor and Neil

Snow Bunting

Kestrel with Scilly Mouse!

Lapland Bunting

Singing Starling

Cock House Sparrow

Jack Snipe
Yellow-browed Warbler