Saturday, 12 October 2013

Scillies Day 12 (9th Oct)


Much cooler on this day with a north-west wind strengthening as the day went on.  The weather remained dry but mostly dull and cloudy.  These conditions really seemed to have thinned out the 'summer' migrants.

This was another day when I went on a pelagic trip for most of the day and Eleanor remained on St Mary's.  Eleanor's day list included the long-staying Purple Heron, three Yellow-browed Warblers, a Wryneck, a showy Red-breasted Flycatcher, three Lapland Buntings, a Jack Snipe, a Common Scoter and two Mediterranean Gulls.  The supporting cast included Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtails, a few Wheatears, many Water Rails, common coastal waders and resident passerines.

The pelagic trip was over prescribed with sixty or more observers on the Sapphire battling the elements to remain upright as we headed to the north of the islands.  There were more birds than last time but it was a tad tricky seeing everything such was the number of observers on the boat.  By way of example a Grey Phalarope flew up alongside the boat on two occasions and I failed to connect because there were just too many bodies in the way!  Thankfully I enjoyed more success with the other species which included a Sooty Shearwater, at least 3 Balearic Shearwaters, four or so Manx Shearwaters, other distant unidentified shearwaters and about 10 Bonxies which were regularly attacking the gulls behind the boat.  For the second trip running we failed to see a Fulmar and notched up just the one Kittiwake.  Auks included Puffin, Guillemot and Razorbill and again migrant Meadow Pipit flocks were seen flying low over the waves.  Up to four distant smaller skuas remained unidentified but moved liked Poms.  The constant array of gulls attracted to the fish thrown from the rear of the boat included a Yellow-legged Gull for a short time.

Other birds seen included a moulting adult Red-necked Grebe, a summer plumage Great Northern Diver, Mediterranean Gull, Common Scoters and Common and Sandwich Terns.  Plenty of Gannets came in to have a look at us and pods of Common Dolphins did likewise.


Neil M

Great Black-backed Gulls


Lesser Black-backed Gull

Sooty Shearwater

Great Skua or Bonxie

Yellow-legged Gull

Grey Seals

Grey Wagtail
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