Today was dominated by strong northerly winds which seemingly affected the whole of the UK. However it was sunny and dry and 10 species of butterfly were still on the wing in sheltered areas.
An initial walk around St Mary's failed to find a great deal and we went to the island of Tresco for the day.
After a bit of an effort we managed to see the Sora Rail which had been found on the Great Pool the day before. With no appropriate recent appropriate weather conditions, it is likely this bird first arrived from the USA sea-board a couple of weeks ago at a time when there were direct westerlies and other American birds were located in Scotland and Ireland. Surprisingly this bird sported a good deal of black around the base of the bill and around the eye, albeit that the overall plumage indicated that it was a juvenile. The Great Pool also hosted a variety of waterfowl and a good flock of 20+ Greenshank as well as plenty of Water Rails which seemed to enjoy bullying the Sora.
A wander to the café at Tresco Abbey was worthwhile as we espied the recently-released Red Squirrels. Apparently the first ten were released in March and further animals have been released since and seem to be doing okay. There are no Grey Squirrels on the islands and no Badgers, Foxes or any mustelid species (just plenty of rats), so they should hopefully flourish.
Other birds noted included a couple of Common Scoter, lots of Little Egrets, a female Merlin, Siskin, a local scarcity in the shape of an adult Common Gull, Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear and common waders.
We took a stroll to Old Grimsby and located a Yellow-browed Warbler in the elms at St Nicholas church which was the pre-cursor to then finding a juvenile Red-backed Shrike near to the Old Blockhouse. It was then a brisk walk to Carn Near to catch our boat back to St Mary's and encouraging our shattered Collies to play just a few more games on beaches before they arrived back at our chalet at dusk. Before that they had to endure a walk around another section of St Mary's which yielded a Wryneck and another Merlin.
Eleanor and Neil