Thursday, 3 October 2013

Scillies Day 1


Apologies for the lack of blog reports recently!  Apparently there is no such thing as a wireless Internet connection on The Scillies.

On Saturday 28th September we boarded the Scillonian III passenger ferry at Penzance and sailed to the Isles of Scilly.  Birds at Penzance included 3 Grey Wagtails, Rock Pipit, Sparrowhawk, Shag and an unruly mob of Turnstones flapped good-bye to us as we manoeuvred out of the harbour.

This was the first time we could remember sailing in a strong south-easterly wind and the conditions were exceptionally mild.  Passerine migrants included plenty of Swallows taking a look at us as they flitted southwards, together with smaller numbers of House Martins and Meadow Pipits.  Hundreds of Gannets were no surprise and I'll never tire of watching them plunge-diving in to the waves.  Surprisingly though no skua species at all and just small numbers of Kittiwakes.  Shearwaters were well represented with at least half a dozen Balearics showing well, three Manxies and a lone Sooty.  A couple of Yellow-legged Gulls followed the vessel for much of the journey providing good views.  Unfortunately the conditions were so murky and grey that all images were just that, grey and murky!

Wherever there was a concentration of Gannets, sure enough there was a pod of Common Dolphins crashing around below them, some four pods being seen.

Just under three hours of sailing and we made landfall, but it was a misty and dank looking nest of islands that greeted us!  After walking up to our accommodation and after a cup of tea though the weather began to improve.  The south-easterlies had done their stuff and there were migrants everywhere.  Around our chalet we espied a couple each of Spotted and Pied Flycatcher plus a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

The afternoon was spent visiting favourite places and we connected with a male Bluethroat at Lower Moors.  Large numbers of White Wagtails on the beaches and open grass areas were a treat and we notched up plenty of Wheatears, Whinchats, common warblers, Meadow Pipits and three Turtle Doves, all no doubt the result of the weather conditions.  Additional species before dusk included Sandwich Tern, two Jack Snipe, Water Rail, Whimbrel, Greenshank and other common waders.

Home from home, a Hedgehog fed outside our chalet in the evening!


Neil M
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