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October 2007

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007 ; July 2007 ; August 2007 ; September 2007

 

Tuesday 30th October

Found some Pink-feet south of Brancaster at lunchtime, although by the time I'd got there I didn't have long left to look through them carefully. However 2 Barnacle Geese were there and the hybrid that's presumed to be Ross's Goose x Pink-footed Goose was there too, back for its fifth winter. Also 2 Buzzards overhead.

Barnacle Goose, S of Brancaster, 30-Oct-07 Barnacle Goose, S of Brancaster, 30-Oct-07

Barnacle Goose, south of Brancaster, 30th October 2007

 

Buzzard, S of Brancaster, 30-Oct-07 Buzzard, S of Brancaster, 30-Oct-07

Buzzard, south of Brancaster, 30th October 2007

 

Pheasant, Docking, 30-Oct-07 Pheasant, Docking, 30-Oct-07

Pheasants, Docking, 30th October 2007

 

Lapwing, Choseley, 30-Oct-07  

Lapwing, Choseley, 30th October 2007

 

 

Sunday 28th October

Today we had New Jersey birder Anita Gould and her husband with us. It's Anita's first trip to the UK so most species would be new for her so a variety of habitats was more important than finding specialities. We started off with a quick look round Swanton Morley where the Cetti's Warbler continued to sing but the wind unfortunately made it hard work getting views of most things. Given the calm, dry weather we've been experiencing recently it was a shame that it took a turn for the worse on the one day that Anita and Rick were visiting, but at least it didn't rain quite as much as the forecast suggested it would.

After breakfast we all headed up to Holkham where the highlight from my point of view was a Great White Egret flying through. The Lesser White-fronted Goose was also still present, but preferring the company of feral Greylags over the tens of thousands of Pink-footed Geese, I should think this bird is almost certainly an escapee.

A very late Spotted Flycatcher is being reported as showing the characteristics of the eastern race neumanni. According to both Svensson and BWP, neumanni differs from our nominate striata in having paler grey upperparts, paler forehead and whiter underparts. These differences are all apparent on the sole photo I've managed to find of a bird which was possibly photographed within range of neumanni (or at least at the eastern extreme of striata) but I struggled to make out any of those features on the Holkham bird. Additionally Svensson mentions that most show wider pale fringes to the wing-coverts and tertials. The pale fringes were indeed wide, but with the possible exception of the median coverts I'm not convinced that they were any wider than striata can often be when fresh - this bird has not yet completed it's moult from juvenile to first-winter plumage.

Finally, a Juniper Carpet was a moth I'd not seen before. Apparently these had a pretty localised distribution in the UK until the 1960s but have since become quite widespread as junipers have become more popular amongst gardeners.

Spotted Flycatcher, Holkham, 28-Oct-07 Juniper Carpet, Bawdeswell, 28-Oct-07

Spotted Flycatcher, Holkham, 28th October 2007

Juniper Carpet, Bawdeswell, 28th October 2007

 

Saturday 27th October

Lots of winter passerines in at Swanton Morley this morning including over 100 Redwings, 80 Fieldfares, Brambling, 6 Siskins and 2 Redpolls. Also the Cetti's Warbler was again vocal and again allowed a few glimpses, with a couple of Water Rails calling from the same area. Another hybrid goose was perplexing, but seems most likely to be Barnacle Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose.

Once again the Cetti's Warbler avoided the camera, but it couldn't escape the RememBird: click here to hear it:

Cetti's Warbler

 

Bullfinch, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07 Redwing, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07

male Bullfinch and Redwing showing its only slightly red wing, Swanton Morley, 27th October 2007

 

Redwing, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07 Redwing, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07

Redwing, Swanton Morley, 27th October 2007 - the same birds as above. Two frames taken seconds apart with the same colour but two completely differently toned outputs (even after brightening the dull one in Photoshop)

 

Barnacle Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07 Barnacle Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07

presumed hybrid Barnacle Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose, Swanton Morley, 27th October 2007

 

Mute Swan, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07 Barnacle Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07

juvenile Mute Swan (left) and presumed hybrid Barnacle Goose x Lesser White-fronted Goose (right), Swanton Morley, 27th October 2007

 

Coot, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07 Greylag Goose, Swanton Morley, 27-Oct-07

Coot (left) and Greylag Geese (right), Swanton Morley, 27th October 2007

 

Thursday 25th October

No sign of the Barred Warbler at Thornham in a very brief lunchtime search, but plenty of Golden Plovers along the road at Ringstead. Loads of thrushes along the hedgerows in the area too.

Golden Plover, Ringstead, 25-Oct-07  

Golden Plover, Ringstead, 25th October 2007

 

Tuesday 23rd October

I shall probably be paying my first visit to Africa next year. I wonder if I will witness drama as exciting as this... Click here for a remarkable video I stumbled across on YouTube this evening.

Nothing to report from yesterday or today other than Buzzards at Holkham and Burnham Market.

 

Sunday 21st October

Being a bit snowed at the moment I wasn't able to enjoy the glorious weather we're experiencing at the moment and today was a bird-free zone. However, yesterday for quickness I wrote up my notes from Bintree Woods from memory and today I went through my dictated notes to make sure I'd not missed anything. How I could have completely forgotten the only decent bird of the day I don't know, but I did: it was a new species for the patch (and one I always thought Bintree Woods held the best hope for) - a Crossbill heard flying over.

 

Saturday 20th October

Not a great deal of avian activity at Bintree Woods this morning but it was a fine sunny morning with the first frost that I've been awake enough to notice. One or two Bramblings were heard but it was pretty much run-of-the-mill things and not many of those.

Also unearthed the scrap of paper on which I wrote down the neck-collar letters when watching Pink-footed Geese near work a couple of weeks ago. One of the birds (FVD) was the same individual I saw near Brancaster three years ago.

Barn Owl, Bintree Wood, 20-Oct-07 Barn Owl, Bintree Wood, 20-Oct-07
Barn Owl, Bintree Wood, 20-Oct-07

Barn Owl, Bintree Woods, 20th October 2007

 

Coal Tit, Bintree Wood, 20-Oct-07 Barn Owl, Bintree Wood, 20-Oct-07

Coal Tit (left) and Sparrowhawk (right), Bintree Woods, 20th October 2007

 

 

Thursday 18th October

Grey Partridge, Shernborne, 18-Oct-07 Grey Partridge, Shernborne, 18-Oct-07
Grey Partridge, Shernborne, 18-Oct-07 Grey Partridge, Shernborne, 18-Oct-07

Grey Partridges, Shernborne, 18th October 2007

 

November Moth, Bawdeswell, 18-Oct-07 November Moth, Bawdeswell, 18-Oct-07

November Moths, Bawdeswell, 18th October 2007

 

 

Tuesday 16th October

Brancaster Staithe again at lunchtime for some more snaps:

Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Oct-07 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Oct-07

Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Brancaster Staithe, 16th October 2007

 

Redshank, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Oct-07 Redshank, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Oct-07

Redshanks, Brancaster Staithe, 16th October 2007

 

Ringed Plover, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Oct-07 Turnstone, Brancaster Staithe, 16-Oct-07

Ringed Plover (left) and Turnstone (right), Brancaster Staithe, 16th October 2007. Still trying out the new camera - on birds that are way too far off.

 

 

Sunday 14th October

There was at least one Cetti's Warbler singing at Swanton Morley again today - the first time I'd heard one here since the spring. There were up to 3 singing there for over a month in March/April but then they went quiet. Unusually for a Cetti's Warbler, this one even showed itself for a while (though I didn't manage any piccies). There were also 3 Water Rails calling from the reeds round Holkham Lake - I assume they're returning wintering birds, although the possibility that they've been there all summer un-noticed isn't particularly remote.

Little Grebe, Swanton Morley, 14-Oct-07 Common Gull, Swanton Morley, 14-Oct-07

Greylag Goose (left) and first-winter Common Gull (right), Swanton Morley, 14th October 2007

 

Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 14-Oct-07 Little Grebe, Swanton Morley, 14-Oct-07

Great Crested Grebe (left) and Little Grebe (right), Swanton Morley, 14th October 2007

 

Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 14-Oct-07 Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 14-Oct-07

albinistic Great Crested Grebe, Swanton Morley, 14th October 2007 - Great Spotted Grebe?

 

 

Saturday 13th October

At Sparham Pools first thing there were 11 Teal, at least 35 Cormorants and a couple of Marsh Tits. Then I headed up to Cley with the monthly birdwatching group I help out. Around the reserve were a pair of Bearded Tits, at least 5 Stonechats, Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Little Stints and a Bar-headed Goose. Flying over were several large skeins of Pink-footed Geese, a single White-fronted Goose and six Grey Herons circling together, most likely having just come in off the sea. On the sea there was a party of 5 Velvet Scoters.

Finally what was meant to be a quick stop off at Kelling on the way home but ended up taking a bit longer was successful, with uncharacteristically good views of the Barred Warbler. The Red-necked Phalarope also showed well, at least 1 Lapland Bunting flew over (though I missed the Richard's Pipit) and a juvenile Spotted Redshank was present.

Barred Warbler, Kelling, 13-Oct-07 Barred Warbler, Kelling, 13-Oct-07
Barred Warbler, Kelling, 13-Oct-07 Barred Warbler, Kelling, 13-Oct-07
Barred Warbler, Kelling, 13-Oct-07 Red-necked Phalarope, Kelling, 13-Oct-07

Barred Warbler (top, middle, bottom left) and Red-necked Phalarope (bottom right, with Redshank), Kelling, 13th October 2007

 

Wigeon, Cley, 13-Oct-07 Shelduck, Cley, 13-Oct-07

male Wigeon (left) and Shelduck (right), Cley, 13th October 2007

 

Bearded Tit, Cley, 13-Oct-07 Bearded Tit, Cley, 13-Oct-07

male Bearded Tit, Cley, 13th October 2007

 

Little Egret, Cley, 13-Oct-07 Stonechat, Cley, 13-Oct-07

Little Egret (left) and Stonechat (right), Cley, 13th October 2007

 

Grey Heron, Cley, 13-Oct-07 Grey Heron, Cley, 13-Oct-07
Grey Heron, Cley, 13-Oct-07 Grey Heron, Cley, 13-Oct-07

Grey Herons, Cley, 13th October 2007

 

Marsh Harrier, Cley, 13-Oct-07 Little Grebe, Cley, 13-Oct-07

Marsh Harrier (left) and Little Grebe (right), Cley, 13th October 2007

 

Lapwing, Kelling, 13-Oct-07 Shoveler, Cley, 13-Oct-07

Lapwing (left) and Shoveler (right), Kelling, 13th October 2007

 

Spotted Redshank, Kelling, 13-Oct-07  

Spotted Redshank, Kelling, 13th October 2007

 

 

Tuesday 9th October

Driving around in the rain at lunch I came across a couple of flocks of Bramblings along the road between Burnham Market and Ringstead. There were at least 60 just west of Burnham Market and a smaller number with Chaffinches just west of Choseley.

 

Monday 8th October

There must have been a breakout from a local collection - a Red-breasted Goose was reported at Swanton Morley today. There was no sign when I got down this evening though, nor of yesterday's Rosybill (but the long-escaped Blue-winged Goose was still there).

 

Sunday 7th October

Took a call this evening from a local birder who'd found an interesting duck at Swanton Morley which he thought might possibly be a Ferruginous Duck. By the time I got there light was fading but I found the bird in question just where I'd been told. It didn't seem right for Ferruginous Duck, but was interesting. After a while I became convinced that for a number of reasons it wasn't right for pure Ferruginous Duck and considered the possibility of it being a hybrid. However the finder sent me his photos (much better than mine) and in these a feature was visible that I'd not noticed in the field, and the true identity eventually dawned on me. It was in fact an escaped female Rosybill - a South American species of which I've only seen captive males previously. An educational bird - thanks for the call David.

Rosybill, Swanton Morley, 7-Oct-07 Rosybill, Swanton Morley, 7-Oct-07

escaped female Rosybill, Swanton Morley, 7th October 2007

 

 

Saturday 6th October

Took the helicopter back to Penzance in order to leave plenty of time for the drive back. Along the way stopped off at Marazion for the Spotted Crake and Davidstow Airfield where there was no sign of either Dotterel or Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Davidstow, 6-Oct-07 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Davidstow, 6-Oct-07

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Davidstow Airfield, 6th October 2007

 

Spotted Crake, Marazion, 6-Oct-07 Spotted Crake, Marazion, 6-Oct-07
Spotted Crake, Marazion, 6-Oct-07 Spotted Crake, Marazion, 6-Oct-07

Spotted Crake, Marazion, 6th October 2007

 

Peregrine, Marazion, 6-Oct-07  

Peregrine, Marazion, 6th October 2007

 

 

Friday 5th October

Walked up the west side of the island this morning, seeing very few birds in the process. A Mediterranean Gull was on the rocks at Porthloo Beach, a Siskin flew over Bar Point and there was a Pied Flycatcher at Jac-o-ba. Had another look at the Woodchat Shrike at Carn Vean with a view to getting better photos, but it disappeared too quickly and my efforts were no better than yesterday's.

Carreg Dhu Gardens were pleasant enough, but the Yellow-browed Warbler stopped showing when I got there. It did call a few times and I got a brief glimpse of it in flight. A Firecrest was slightly more obliging and the Hobby performed well overhead. Finally one of the Jack Snipes was still showing well at Lower Moors where 3 Water Rails were seen with at least 2 more calling.

Greenshank, Lower Moors, 5-Oct-07 Greenshank, Lower Moors, 5-Oct-07

Greenshank, Lower Moors (St Mary's), 5th October 2007

 

Starling, Carn Vean, 5-Oct-07 Woodchat Shrike, Carn Vean, 5-Oct-07

first-winter Starling (left) and juvenile Woodchat Shrike (right), Carn Vean (St Mary's), 5th October 2007

 

Hobby, Carreg Dhu, 5-Oct-07 Hobby, Carreg Dhu, 5-Oct-07
Hobby, Carreg Dhu, 5-Oct-07 Hobby, Carreg Dhu, 5-Oct-07

Hobby, Carreg Dhu (St Mary's), 5th October 2007

 

Great Black-backed Gull, Bar Point, 5-Oct-07  

Great Black-backed Gull, Bar Point (St Mary's), 5th October 2007

 

Thursday 4th October

A pre-breakfast stroll round the Garrison produced nothing more interesting than an albinistic Blackbird. I hoped that the island of St Agnes would fair better but migrants were in short supply here as elsewhere. The Red-breasted Flycatcher showed itself in the Parsonage garden but other than that the highlights were just a couple of Spotted Flycatchers. A Kingfisher at Cove Vean was a surprise, but apparently they are seen regularly in the area.

We returned to St Mary's just too late to see the Ring-necked Duck that had spent the morning on the duckpond at Porthloo. Typically, it flew off just before we got there, so I headed up to Longstone instead. Here the cafe owner had caught some very rare migrant moths and showed them to me: a Blair's Mocha, a Porter's Rustic, 3 Clancy's Rustics and 2 Dewick's Plusias. Most of these were rarer than most of the best birds I saw all week, the Clancy's Rustics especially. The first British record of Clancy's Rustic was as recently as 2002 and these three represented the 1st, 2nd and 3rd records for Scilly Isles.

A Firecrest showed briefly along the Higher Moors trail and at Porth Hellick pool the Jack Snipe came so close to the hide that you couldn't see it without sticking your head out of the flaps. Then news of a Woodchat Shrike at Carn Vean sent me scurrying up to see it in the fading light before I headed back for fish and chips.

Clouded Yellow, Longstone, 4-Oct-07 Clouded Yellow, Longstone, 4-Oct-07

Clouded Yellow, Longstone (St Mary's), 4th October 2007. Clouded Yellows don't keep their wings open long enough to see them like this, but the high-speed continuous shooting capabilities of the new camera can capture things that happen too quickly for the eye to see.

 

Snipe, Porth Hellick, 4-Oct-07 Jack Snipe, Porth Hellick, 4-Oct-07

Snipe (left) and Jack Snipe (right), Porth Hellick (St Mary's), 4th October 2007

 

Woodchat Shrike, Carn Vean, 4-Oct-07 Red-breasted Flycatcher, Parsonage, 4-Oct-07

juvenile Woodchat Shrike, Carn Vean (St Mary's), 4th October 2007

 

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Parsonage (St Agnes), 4th October 2007

 

albinistic Blackbird, Garrison, 4-Oct-07 Gannet, St Mary's - St Agnes, 4-Oct-07

albinistic Blackbird, The Garrison (St Mary's), 4th October 2007

 

Gannet, St Mary's to St Agnes crossing, 4th October 2007

 

Shag, Garrison, 4-Oct-07 Shag, Garrison, 4-Oct-07

Shags, off The Garrison (St Mary's), 4th October 2007

 

Gugh, 4-Oct-07 Brown Rat, Lower Moors, 4-Oct-07

Gugh (from St Agnes), 4th October 2007

 

Brown Rat, Lower Moors (St Mary's), 4th October 2007

 

Dewick's Plusia, Longstone, 4-Oct-07 Blair's Mocha, Longstone, 4-Oct-07
Porter's Rustic, Longstone, 4-Oct-07 Clancy's Rustic, Longstone, 4-Oct-07

4 rare moths: Dewick's Plusia (top left), Blair's Mocha (top right), Porter's Rustic (bottom left) and Clancy's Rustic (bottom right), Longstone cafe (St Mary's), 4th October 2007

 

White-speck, Carn Thomas, 4-Oct-07 Rusty Dot Pearl, Carn Thomas, 4-Oct-07

White-speck (left) and Rusty Dot Pearl (right), Carn Thomas (St Mary's), 4th October 2007. Thanks to Tristan for sorting out the ID of the latter.

 

 

Wednesday 3rd October

News of a Melodious Warbler saw me nip up to Porthloo Duckpond after breakfast, but sadly all that was on offer was a Reed Warbler and a Garden Warbler. A juvenile Little Stint was on Porthmellon Beach and then I headed off to have a look round Penninis Head where Ring Ouzel and Lapland Bunting were supposed to be present. Couldn't find either but a Yellow Wagtail flew in and a Merlin flew around.

The next bird not to be seen was a reported "probable House Martin x Swallow hybrid" - something I'd love to see but there was no sign of any hirundines at all. By the end of the week this report had upgraded to possible Cliff Swallow, a North American species that I've not seen in the UK. Whatever it was I didn't see it.

Lower Moors did hold a couple of Jack Snipe and then after a quick bite of lunch (two of the least impressive sandwiches we've ever tasted cost a whacking £7.20 at a cafe in Old Town) we headed over to the path below the golf-course where a Red-throated Pipit had been found. On the way we stopped to watch a Hobby hunting over Lower Moors but eventually we reached the Red-throated Pipit which turned out to be a gorgeous summer plumaged bird. I've seen a few of these and Scillies in October is probably the best bet for one, but this was a particularly fine individual for an autumn bird. Following the Old Town cafe sandwich experience we settled for a much more satisfying, if no less expensive, tea at Juliet's cafe.

Finally back to Penninis where a probable Isabelline Wheatear had been reported. Unfortunately it wasn't one, but it was a peculiar-looking thing and I can understand the confusion. The pale (greyish) plumage was odd, but despite the unaccountably short tail and long legs, it didn't really work for an Isabelline.

Red-throated Pipit, below St Mary's golf-course, 3-Oct-07 Red-throated Pipit, below St Mary's golf-course, 3-Oct-07

Red-throated Pipit, below the golf-course (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007

Red-throated Pipit Click here to hear its call

 

Jack Snipe, Lower Moors, 3-Oct-07 Jack Snipe, Lower Moors, 3-Oct-07

Jack Snipe, Lower Moors (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007

 

Hobby, Lower Moors, 3-Oct-07 Hobby, Lower Moors, 3-Oct-07

Hobby, Lower Moors (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007

 

Wheatear, Penninis, 3-Oct-07 Wheatear, Penninis, 3-Oct-07
Wheatear, Penninis, 3-Oct-07 Wheatear, Penninis, 3-Oct-07
Wheatear, Penninis, 3-Oct-07 Wheatear, Penninis, 3-Oct-07

Wheatears, Penninis (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007. The broad tail bar of the bird in flight might recall Isabelline Wheatear, but it looked like a typical Northern Wheatear in every other respect. Coincidentally a possible Isabelline Wheatear was reported there later in the day - the bird shown in the bottom left photo (it did look more promising before it had a bath, but not promising enough unfortunately).

 

Little Stint, Porthmellon, 3-Oct-07 House Sparrow, Incinerator, 3-Oct-07

juvenile Little Stint, Porthmellon Beach (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007

 

House Sparrow, Incinerator (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007

 

House Sparrow, Juliet's cafe, 3-Oct-07 House Sparrow, Juliet's cafe, 3-Oct-07
House Sparrow, Juliet's cafe, 3-Oct-07 House Sparrow, Juliet's cafe, 3-Oct-07

House Sparrows, Juliet's cafe (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007. You know things are desperate when you start resorting to photographing sparrows.

 

Merlin, Penninis, 3-Oct-07 Merlin, Penninis, 3-Oct-07

Merlin, Penninis (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007

 

Wood Duck, Porthloo, 3-Oct-07 The World, Scillies, 3-Oct-07

escaped Wood Duck, Porthloo Duckpond (St Mary's), 3rd October 2007. Some people have suggested this may be a wild vagrant from North America, but it isn't.

 

"The World", Scillies, 3rd October 2007. This is the world's largest yacht and its arrival caused quite a stir. Apparently the residents vote on where to go next and had just come from Singapore.

Thinking of moving house? Why not buy an appartment on this little boat? Apparently many of the residents own appartments and live there, but if you prefer a short break why not rent an appartment? They're a snip at between $1300 and $4500 (oh, that's per night by the way). Sounds like a bargain to me...

 

Tuesday 2nd October

Today we gave the island of Tresco a try. New Grimsby is grim but the Great Pool nearby held a few birds including the juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper and a couple of Ruff. A Jack Snipe was occupying some unusual habitat disappearing between rocks on which 39 Greenshank were roosting. I wondered whether or not a Marsh Harrier was a good bird for Scilly - apparently it used to be but there have been birds present here for 2-3 years now.

A tame male Golden Pheasant along the "road" between the Great Pool and the Abbey Gardens was a surprise, but apparently lots have been released here recently. Another ridiculously tame bird was walking around under the occupied tables in the garden tearooms later on. The Abbey Gardens themselves were very expensive and the mediocre food was extortionate. Suppose they have to fund all those pheasant releases somehow.

Had we checked the south end of Pentle Bay more carefully before heading down to catch the boat back to St Mary's we might have seen the Buff-bellied Pipit that was seen there as we were hurrying for the boat. We missed it anyway but there wasn't enough time before the next one to head back to look for the pipit. Rumour has it that they now reckon it was the same bird that I'd seen on St Mary's the day before anyway.

The Scillies are beautiful, but although we didn't head up to the north of the island, we didn't rate Tresco as highly as the others.

Golden Pheasant, Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Golden Pheasant, Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07
Golden Pheasant, Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Golden Pheasant, Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07

Golden Pheasants, Abbey Gardens (Tresco), 2nd October 2007. I presume the yellow forecrown of the bottom right bird indicates that this female-like bird is in fact a juvenile male, but I'd welcome comments on this.

 

Speckled Wood, Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Chaffinch, Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07

Speckled Wood (left) and Chaffinch (right), Abbey Gardens (Tresco), 2nd October 2007. Some of the Speckled Woods seen seemed to be more orangey-spotted than usual, like the southern race aegeria - this one was a typical northern tircis that I'm used to seeing in the UK.

 

Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07
Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07
Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07
Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07 Abbey Gardens, 2-Oct-07

Abbey Gardens (Tresco), 2nd October 2007

 

Jellyfish, Pentle Bay, 2-Oct-07 Pentle Bay, 2-Oct-07

Jellyfish, Pentle Bay (Tresco), 2nd October 2007

 

Pentle Bay (Tresco) looking towards St Martins, 2nd October 2007

 

House Sparrow, Borough Farm, 2-Oct-07 Wheatear, Carn Near, 2-Oct-07

House Sparrow, Borough Farm (Tresco), 2nd October 2007

 

Wheatear, Carn Near (Tresco), 2nd October 2007

 

Song Thrush, Hugh Town, 2-Oct-07 Song Thrush, Hugh Town, 2-Oct-07

Song Thrush, Hugh Town (St Mary's), 2nd October 2007. A common and tame species on the Scillies

 

Monday 1st October

With fantastic conditions all down the east coast and Norfolk drowning itself in rare birds, I chose this week to go to the Scillies. Typical.

We arrived in Penzance early having travelled most of the way down between bouts of diarrhoea the previous afternoon, which continued to afflict me for most of my stay. I've only paid one brief visit to the Scillies before and we went by helicopter that time. This time it was the Scillonian, and we hoped to connect with some of the dozens of dolphins that had been seen during the previous crossings as well as perhaps a few seabirds. Well, despite the calm conditions the only cetaceans seen were a couple of distant Harbour Porpoises. Seabirds consisted of about 4 Great Skuas and 4 Sooty Shearwaters, 1-2 of the latter giving good close views. A surprise appearance at the bow of the ship was a Ruff, following the ship for some time and even landing briefly on the sea. Two other waders remained much more distant and also landed on the sea - they were surely Phalaropes but too far to be certain of the likely ID, Grey Phalaropes.

First priority once we arrived was the American Buff-bellied Pipit at Porth Hellick. There have only been about 4-5 previous records in the UK, mostly on Scilly. On the way up an Osprey flew over - this bird has been hanging around the Scillies for several weeks and although it's a relatively common species (relative to Buff-bellied Pipit at least), records on Scilly in October are far from common and regular visitors to Scillies in October were getting more excited about seeing this than the Pipit!

Once I'd found the right field, the Buff-bellied Pipit was easily found and provided some good views.

Porth Hellick Pool provided 3 Jack Snipes, Common Sandpiper, Whinchat and Water Rails. Two of the Jack Snipes were showing remarkably well for this usually secretive species, although the rest of the week provided several more opportunities to see this species in full view and at point blank range.

Buff-bellied Pipit, Porth Hellick, 1-Oct-07 Buff-bellied Pipit, Porth Hellick, 1-Oct-07

American Buff-bellied Pipit, Porth Hellick (St Mary's), 1st October 2007

 

Sooty Shearwater, Scillonian, 1-Oct-07 Sooty Shearwater, Scillonian, 1-Oct-07
Sooty Shearwater, Scillonian, 1-Oct-07 Sooty Shearwater, Scillonian, 1-Oct-07

Sooty Shearwater, from the Scillonian (Penzance to Scilly), 1st October 2007

 

Jack Snipe, Porth Hellick, 1-Oct-07 Common Sandpiper, Porth Hellick, 1-Oct-07

Jack Snipe (left) and Common Sandpiper (right), Porth Hellick (St Mary's), 1st October 2007

 

Wren, Higher Moors, 1-Oct-07  

Wren, Higher Moors (St Mary's), 1st October 2007

 

Previous months: January 2007 ; February 2007 ; March 2007 ; April 2007 ; May 2007 ; June 2007 ; July 2007 ; August 2007 ; September 2007

Next month: November 2007

Current month

_______________________________

Should anyone care about my 5 km circle year-list, I've seen (or heard) 120 species within 5 km of my home at Bawdeswell (species marked with an * asterisk are new this month):

  • Mute Swan
  • Greylag Goose
  • Canada Goose
  • Barnacle Goose
  • Egyptian Goose
  • Ruddy Shelduck
  • Shelduck
  • Gadwall
  • Teal
  • Mallard
  • Pintail
  • Shoveler
  • Red-crested Pochard
  • Pochard
  • Tufted Duck
  • Goldeneye
  • Goosander
  • Red-legged Partridge
  • Grey Partridge
  • Pheasant
  • Little Grebe
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Cormorant
  • Shag
  • Little Egret
  • Grey Heron
  • Honey-Buzzard
  • Red Kite
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Buzzard
  • Kestrel
  • Hobby
  • Peregrine
  • Water Rail
  • Moorhen
  • Coot
  • Oystercatcher
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Golden Plover
  • Lapwing
  • Snipe
  • Woodcock
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Whimbrel
  • Greenshank
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Common Gull
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Common Tern
  • Stock Dove
  • Woodpigeon
  • Collared Dove
  • Turtle Dove
  • Cuckoo
  • Barn Owl
  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Swift
  • Kingfisher
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Skylark
  • Sand Martin
  • Swallow
  • House Martin
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Grey Wagtail
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Wren
  • Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Wheatear
  • Ring Ouzel
  • Blackbird
  • Fieldfare
  • Song Thrush
  • Redwing
  • Mistle Thrush
  • Cetti's Warbler
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Reed Warbler
  • Lesser Whitethroat
  • Whitethroat
  • Garden Warbler
  • Blackcap
  • Chiffchaff
  • Willow Warbler
  • Goldcrest
  • Spotted Flycatcher
  • Long-tailed Tit
  • Marsh Tit
  • Willow Tit
  • Coal Tit
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • Nuthatch
  • Treecreeper
  • Jay
  • Magpie
  • Jackdaw
  • Rook
  • Carrion Crow
  • Starling
  • House Sparrow
  • Chaffinch
  • Brambling
  • Greenfinch
  • Goldfinch
  • Siskin
  • Linnet
  • Lesser Redpoll
  • Crossbill *
  • Bullfinch
  • Yellowhammer
  • Reed Bunting

 

Escapes

  • Blue-winged Goose
  • Chiloe Wigeon
  • Rosybill
  • Night Heron