A look back at the birding highlights on the Islands in 2005
December 14th – 31st
The 3 Laughing Gulls were last seen in the Sallyport/Little Porth area on the 14th. Local rarities included:- 2 Lesser Redpolls at Little Porth on the 16th and 17th, with others around Tresco & St. Mary’s, building up to 9 by the end of the month on the Garrison. Up to 2 Rooks on St. Mary’s the week before Christmas. Red-necked Grebe off Innisidgen on the 19th. Also on the 19th a Black-necked Grebe and 4 Slavonian Grebes, 11 Great Northern Divers, a Red-throated Diver, a Black-throated Diver and 2 Long-tailed Ducks were seen between the Islands. The 5 Greenland White-fronted Geese were still on Tresco on 21st , staying into the New Year. On the 24th there were 5 Great Northern Divers in the Roads and 5 Slavonian Grebes off Innisidgen and a female Eider on St. Martin’s Flats. There was a Jack Snipe at Trewince on Christmas day and Boxing Day. Also at the end of December there were 2 Firecrests and 2 Siberian type Chiffchaffs at Lower Moors. On the 27th 2 Spoonbills flew over Hugh town. The year finished on a high with a 2nd winter Ring –billed Gull on 27th December.
November 21st-December 4th
The Laughing Gulls remain as did a very late Swallow seen in the Lower Moors area on the 26th, 27th and 28th. However the cold weather on mainland brought an influx of Greenland White-front Geese on Simpson’s Field and three local rarities, a Rook was found on Porth Hellick beach, with a Reed Bunting and Lesser Redpoll at Carn Friars.
Three Laughing Gulls were still present, two adults and a first winter. This week a juvenile Marsh Harrier was reported on Lower Moors, probably the bird that fledged here this year.
A female Marsh Harrier was seen on Tresco on the 7th along with the Ring-necked Duck and a local rarity, Little Grebe. The Spoonbills were also still present. Some signs of winter were a Waxwing in Hugh Town on the 9th, an Iceland Gull on Tresco and an Eider at New Grimsby. But the remains of summer were still around with a Garden Warbler reported from Tresco.
October 31st-November 6th
Half a dozen Yellow-browed Warblers remained on St Mary’s. A Blyth’s Reed Warbler was discovered on Lower Moors on the 1st and was seen again the next day. This is the 2nd claim for this difficult species this year on Scilly. The (or a new) Chimney Swift was reported from St Agnes on the 2nd.
On the evening of the 2nd a first winter Laughing Gull was seen over the Garrison. Little did we know this would be the start of a major influx to Britain. The next day 3 birds were seen together at Porthmellon and the day after two adults and two first winter birds in the Porth Loo, Porthmellon area.
The long staying Ring-necked Duck was seen again on Tresco Great Pool and a very late Wryneck was seen on the Garrison on the 4th. Another major rarity was found on St Agnes on the 5th, a Solitary Sandpiper which remained for one more day. This species remains a major national rarity but this was the twelfth for Scilly and the third since the year 2000.
A late Arctic Tern was seen on the 6th.
October 17th – 23rd
A Paddyfield Warbler was reported from St Agnes on the 17th and 21st but was not seen by many. The passerine influx continued with large numbers of Goldcrests and Firecrests being seen and the first winter thrushes arriving with circa 100 Redwing over St Mary’s. The next day a Quail was seen on St Agnes and on the Golf Course, St Mary’s. Excitement continued when a small Rail was reported on the Garrison, with red legs and a red bill. Staked out the next morning the area failed to produce the hoped-for Allen’s Gallinule and birders contented themselves with a Little Bunting on St Agnes and a Radde’s Warbler in the allotments. No major rarity was seen in the next couple of days but Yellow-browed Warblers continued in the tens. A Spotted Crake was seen at Higher Moors and a Barred Warbler on St Agnes.
On the 21st a small influx of Hawfinch was observed on St Mary’s and a Red-breasted Flycatcher at the Parsonage remained until the 23rd. A local rarity, a Yellowhammer was seen on the 22nd and continuing the yellow theme a Serin was seen at Old Town church and an Ortolan Bunting in the Normandy area. The Spoonbills remained on the islands even visiting St Agnes on the 23rd when a Little Auk was seen off the Gugh. Pipits arrived on the 23rd with a Richard’s on the airfield and a Red-throated at Porth Hellick and a Tawny was reported at Peninnis. A late Common Swift was seen by the Daymark on the 23rd.
October 10th to 16th
The start of the week was fairly quiet but with a number of good birds remaining for the newly arrived birders to “tick off”. These included the Sora on Lower Moors, the Blackpoll Warbler on Garrison which moved to Lower Moors on 15th, the 2 Spoonbills on Tresco with occasional visits to Porthellick, and the Ring-necked Duck on Great Pool but the Spotted Sandpiper finally went from Carn Leh on the night of 12th. Unfortunately the Radde’s Warbler at Rose Cottage, St Agnes was taken by a cat on 15th, but a new bird was found near the Health Centre, St Mary’s on 16th.
An Arctic Warbler was found at Little Arthur Farm, St. Martin’s on 12th and a Paddyfield Warbler at Peninnis Allotments on the 15th was very close to where the bird in 2001 performed. However this bird was more elusive and annoyingly departed overnight.
Local rarities included a Little Grebe on Abbey Pool, 14th moving to St Agnes on 16th, whilst the Great Spotted Woodpecker remained on Tresco throughout. Brightening up the dull weather was a Hoopoe, originally seen on St Agnes on 12th but moving to Peninnis and remaining all week.
Gull watchers had 3 Mediterranean Gulls to watch, one of which had been ringed this year as a nestling in Belgium, then seen at Dungeness in July before reaching Scilly this week. More/As (?) interesting was the possible Caspian Gull being seen in Porthcressa Bay most days, with video footage being discussed at the Log in great depth by the gull enthusiasts. For those with less esoteric tastes a winter Razorbill swimming close to the beach around the Quay provided good entertainment and photo opportunities. A bird which would have benefited from good photos is the Saker-type falcon that has been seen all over the islands, especially on St Agnes, which some think is just a juvenile Peregrine whilst others think it is a Saker.
Both a Woodchat & Red-backed Shrike have been reported, the former on 12th on Tresco, the latter on 16th on Peninnis. Also on Peninnis a Quail has been flushed on both 15th & 16th.
The 15th saw an influx of passerines. The winter thrushes started to arrive with 3 Ring Ouzels, then a few Fieldfare & Redwings and 2 Mistle Thrush. Finches increased with decent flocks of Chaffinch, Goldfinch & the odd Brambling. More exciting (maybe!) was the Common Rosefinch on St Agnes from 12th, and a colourful influx of Hawfinch which started with 2 at Maypole on 12th, 3 the next day and maybe up to 20 birds around St Mary’s on 15th-16th. The finches were accompanied by a flock of Siskin with 200 birds on Tresco & up to 350 birds across all islands on 16th. Pipits were also noted with the Richard’s Pipit still on Bryher, and 1 or 2 birds on the Airport St Mary’s & Garrison. A possible Tawny Pipit was reported from St Martin’s on 16th, whilst an obliging Red-throated Pipit performed at Carn Friars all week.
Inevitably the passerines included Black Redstarts which arrived in earnest on the 15th, with maybe 200 birds on St Mary’s the next day. A few Common Redstarts accompanied them, with 10 birds recorded on 16th. Larks were not to be outdone and 50+ Skylarks arrived on 15th and 4-5 Woodlarks were also reported. Other “scarce” species included a Barred Warbler on St Agnes from 12th, with possibly the same bird on Porthmellon on 16th, an Ortolan Bunting on St Martin’s from 13th, and a Little Bunting at Porth Thomas and Porthlow Duck Pond area on 15th & 16th.
Finally Yellow-browed Warblers have increased to around 20 birds across all islands on 16th, and a Red-breasted Flycatcher has stayed all week at the new Riding Stables near Pelistry, with another down the road at Normandy.
October 3rd to October 9th
The Sora remained on the pool on Lower Moors all week whilst the Spotted Sandpiper remained faithful to its favourite beach at Carn Leh on the east side of Peninnis Head. On Tresco the Ring-necked Duck was still on the Great Pool and the Great Spotted Woodpecker was still being elusive in the Abbey Woods.
The Blackpoll Warbler from St Agnes re-appeared on the Garrison on 3rd where it was first seen near the campsite before relocating to Lower Broome where it remained. Those looking near the campsite were rewarded with first one then two Red-eyed Vireos. Elsewhere on the islands a Short-toed Lark flew over Normandy and two Dotterel were on Tresco.
The Greenish Warbler was last seen in the Parsonage on St Agnes on 4th and a Pomarine Skua was noted off Gugh that afternoon. A Little Bunting was near the pool on St Agnes that day and a Hawfinch landed briefly in the Parsonage before being relocated on St Mary’s. It then visited most islands in the next few days. A pelagic trip north east of the islands on 4th saw a single Sooty Shearwater, six Grey phalaropes and at least one Leaches Petrel. A Typically elusive Radde’s Warbler was found on Gugh on 5th/6th with another on Bryher at the end of the week. A Purple Heron made a short stop on St Agnes on 5th before heading south. The Richard’ Pipit noted on Tresco on 5th may well have been the bird seen on St Mary’s and Tresco again over the next few days. Short-eared Owls were seen on Bryher and St Agnes on 6th and 7th with a very late Swift over St Mary’s on 7th. Two Spoonbills flew over most islands on 7th before commuting between Tresco and St Mary’s on 8th/9th. One of these immatures had been ringed as a nestling in Holland earlier this summer.
Wryneck were reported from St Mary’s and St Agnes on 8th and a Red-backed Shrike was on Bryher on 8th/9th. The 9th saw a Little Bunting on Peninnis Head and an Ortolan Bunting near Pelistry Farm plus a scattering of Snow and Lapland Buntings around the islands.
September 26th to October 2nd
The Sora Rail remained on the Lower Moors Scrape all week, best viewed from the ‘Hilda Quick’ Hide. Also present all week was the Ring-necked Duck and the Garganey on the Great Pool and at least one of the Marsh Harriers was seen over St Agnes and the Common Buzzard remained in the Gimble Porth area of Tresco. The Baird’s Sandpiper eventually settled on Porth Coose, St Agnes where it remained until the weekend. The Common Rosefinch remained elusive in the quinoa field on Peninnis Head.
A few Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest and Lapland Bunting were noted but were not easy to catch up with. Following westerly gales a Blackpoll Warbler reached the Parsonage , St Agnes on 27th and a Spotted Sandpiper was feeding along the tide line on Carn Leh on Peninnis Head. Two Grey Phalarope were off St Mary’s Quay with a further eight seen in the Eastern Isles. Those watching the Blackpoll on 28th found a Greenish Warbler also in the Parsonage which also remained until the weeks end. At least two Little Gulls were around the islands at the start of the week and the Great Spotted Woodpecker was again noted on Tresco late in the week. Two Wryneck were on the Garrison again on 20th with still present next day when a Long-eared Owl was found roosting near the tennis court.
A Short-toed Lark was at Carn Friars early on 1st before heading towards Kitty Down and a Corncrake was flushed from beside the path on Gugh on morning of 2nd. Most of the common migrants had moved on by the end of the week as the westerly gales eased and a northerly gale blew hard on 1st.
September 26th & 27th
A busy couple of days, the highlights being: 27th: Blackpoll Warbler found in the Parsonage, St Agnes, a juvenile Spotted Sandpiper found at Carn Leh, St Mary’s (the cove along from Old Town Church towards Peninnis), two Grey Phalaropes off Rat Island, the Quay, St Mary’s. The Sora remains at Lower Moors, St Mary’s and the Common Rosefinch remains on Peninnis Quinoa Field
September 19th to September 25th
At least three Wryneck were on the islands at the start of the week with up to two on St Mary’s by 25th. The drake Ring-necked Duck and the female type Garganey were on the Great Pool all week with the Pectoral Sandpiper staying on the Abbey Pool until 22nd and the Spotted Crake on the Great Pool until 23rd. The Great-spotted Woodpecker has remained elusive on Tresco, usually along the Abbey Drive.Two Marsh Harriers were noted most days along with a general increase in birds of prey with Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Merlin being noted on all islands. Two Dotterel were on Shipman Head Down, Bryher on 19th.The Red-throated Diver noted between islands on 19th was not subsequently relocated. A Little Gull was noted over Hugh Town on evening of 19th with a Yellow-browed Warbler on Lower Moors that afternoon.
A Common Rosefinch was in the ISBG quinoa field on Peninnis 20th-22nd with another on Bryher on 20th. A few very mobile Lapland Buntings were on the heaths of the islands from 20th but were not easily relocated. The Little Bunting found near the eastern end of the Great Pool on 20th was not seen next day. Another bunting only present for the day was the Ortolan on the Golf Course on 20th. The Baird’s Sandpiper made another appearance on St Agnes on morning of 20th. Before relocating to Bryher that evening where it was also seen on 23rd and again on 25th when it or another made a brief appearance on St Mary’s before being seen on St Agnes in later afternoon. Whether there is more than one on the islands is a possibility.
Red-breasted Flycatchers were found at Telegraph and Higher Moors on 21st with those looking for the latter finding Yellow-browed Warbler and Melodious Warbler. One Dotterel was still on Bryher on 21st whilst the Richard’s Pipit on St Agnes was a new arrival.It was presumably the bird seen on at Porth Minnick, St Mary’s next day and in the Lower Moors scrape on 23rd. A new Red-breasted Flycatcher was in the Dump Clump on 22nd with a new Yellow-browed Warbler at Jac-a-ba that day.
Bird of the week was the super Sora Rail that showed well from the Hilda Quick hide on Lower Moors from 23rd. A new Red-breasted Flycatcher was on Bryher on 24th along with two Lapland Buntings. A new Melodious Warbler was near the Dump Clump on St Mary’s on 25th whist new Yellow-browed Warblers were on the Garrison and St Agnes. An immature Little Gull was between the islands on 25th with at least thirty Little Egrets seen on the small islands near Tresco on 25th leading to speculation that we may well have over fifty birds on the islands which would be a record count for Scilly if proven.
September 12th to September 18th
The long staying birds such as the pair of Marsh Harrier and their one young and the Ring-necked Duck on the Great Pool were present all week. The Great-spotted Woodpecker on Tresco remained as elusive as ever. At least one adult and one Juvenile Mediterranean Gull have been commuting between Tresco and St Mary’s all week. Common migrants were still to be found but in smaller numbers. Wryneck are still being noted on all islands with up to five a day being logged. An Osprey flew over Annet on 12th heading south.The Woodchat Shrike found on St Martin’s on 12th stayed for a few days unlike the Spotted Redshank on the Great Pool that day. The Baird’s Sandpiper on Bryher was last noted on 15th on the pool or on Stinking Porth.The Pectoral Sandpiper on Lower Moors seems to have been joined by another on Porth Hellick although both can go missing for some time. The Aquatic Warbler found in the sallows being the pool on St Martins only showed on afternoon of 12th.
The Dotterel reappeared on Airport on 13th and was possibly the bird found on Bryher on 15th which was joined by another on 18th. The Melodious Warbler in Cove Vean, St Agnes was usually only seen once a day until 18th.
Bird of the week was the Pallid Harrier which following the sighting of a small harrier sp over Porth Hellick at 10am on 16th showed well on St Martin’s between Lower Town and Middle Town in late morning. Despite extensive searching it was not seen again until it was back over St Martin’s again at 1810 and at time of writing has not been seen again.
A very early Red-breasted Flycatcher was at Carn Friars on 17th/18th. Also early was the Red-throated Diver seen in Porth Cressa on 17th and the Greylag Goose seen in flight over St Martins that day. A White-rumped Sandpiper was on the Great Pool on 18th but has proved elusive unlike the three Curlew Sandpiper and two Black-tailed Godwits that have spent a few days on the pool.
Sept 5th to Sept 11th
The male Ring-necked Duck remained on the Great Pool all week, whilst the three Marsh Harriers commuted between almost all islands. There were a good many Wryneck on the islands with up to five daily being recorded. The Dotterel on the Golf Course was joined by another on 6th which remained all week although the Tawny Pipit that had also been on the same fairway was last seen on 6th. An Ortolan Bunting was on the airport on 6th. The Bonelli’s Warbler remained on the west side of the Garrison until 9th and was joined on the east side of the Garrison by an Arctic Warbler on 5th. This bird proved to be very elusive during the week. Bird of the week was the one that got away in the shape of a Little Swift that was glimpsed over St Mary’s before giving better views for a short while on St Martins in heavy rain on 5th. The Baird’s Sandpiper was last seen on the Great Pool on 5th although the Pectoral Sandpiper stayed there for another day. The Honey Buzzard showed well on St Mary’s on 5th as did the Spotted Crake on the Great Pool although the Bluethroat found nearby soon vanished back into the reeds. The Common Rosefinch found that day was typically awkward to see, although was still present next day. Icterine Warblers were found on Bryher and at Carn Friars on 6th.
One of the most frustrating birds of the week was the Treecreeper seen on the Garrison on morning of 7th but seen again despite many birders being nearby looking for the Arctic Warbler. A new Arctic Warbler was found at Beady Pool, St Agnes on 8th with what may well be a new Baird’s Sandpiper proving to be very mobile on Bryher also found that day. Two Little Gulls flew over St Mary’s harbour in the morning mist on 8th. The first Firecrest of the year was at Telegraph on 9th with a Red-backed Shrike on Bryher, two Black Terns off Porth Loo and a Pectoral Sandpiper that commuted between St Mary’s and Tresco over the next few days all being found that day. Two of the more unusual records were of a male Bullfinch at Higher Town and an Avocet calling as it flew over Middle Town, also St Martin’s. An Osprey was seen over St Agnes late that day.
A Honey Buzzard was seen in flight between Tresco and St Mary’s on 10th with a Common Rosefinch paying a brief visit to the Lower Moors scrape early that morning. with another Common Rosefinch found on Bryher on 11th.
A pelagic trip on 5th saw eleven Black Terns, ten Sooty Shearwaters, two Arctic Skua, five Great Skua and six Arctic Terns. The next trip on 9th saw the fourth petrel of the year in the form of a Leaches Petrel, along with thirty Great Shearwaters, three Cory’s Shearwaters, two Sooty Shearwaters, over fifty Storm Petrels, two Arctic and one Great Skua. A Long-tailed Skua was the highlight of the trip on 10th which also had five Great Shearwaters, seven Sooty Shearwaters, six Arctic Skuas, five Great Skuas, a Black Tern and two Arctic Terns. A quieter trip on 11th saw a Balearic Shearwater, five Sooty Shearwaters and single Great and Arctic Skua.
Aug 29th to Sept 4th
A Buff-breasted Sandpiper joined the Pectoral Sandpiper and a Little Stint on the Abbey Pool on 29th and remained during the week along with an increasing number of Curlew Sandpipers.The same day saw a Black-necked Grebe arrive near Great Ganilly in the Eastern Isles where it remained until 1st. The juvenile Woodchat Shrike found on Garrison on 29th remained around the Scout Hut area but was often hard to see.The Western Bonelli’s Warbler found on St Agnes in the ‘Fruit Cage’ on 29th also proved to be very elusive during the week as did another Western Bonelli’s Warbler found on the Garrison on 30th.
The first Wryneck of the autumn, on Bryher on 30th, was soon followed by several more including three in one tree in Hugh Town later in the week.A Sooty Shearwater was seen from St Agnes late on 30th whilst the Sparrowhawk found over that island soon moved to St Mary’s. A Melodious Warbler was on Gugh on 31st and a Lapland Bunting was on St Agnes Cricket Pitch that evening.
The Baird’s Sandpiper found on Porth Coose, St Agnes on 1st, did not stay long before joining the Pectoral Sandpiper at Porth Hellick that afternoon. It remained there until flushed by the Sparrowhawk whence it flew to Tresco on 4th. A Melodious Warbler made a couple of very brief appearances on the Garrison during the latter half of the week, whilst on Bryher an Icterine Warbler and an Ortolan Bunting were found on 1st September. The Honey Buzzard seen over St Martin’s on 1st may be the bird noted on Tresco on 3rd and 4th. A Nightingale put in a typically brief appearance near the Chapel on St Agnes on 1st.
An Ortolan Bunting was on Garrison on morning of 3rd before vanishing and may be the bird found on the Airport on evening of 4th. Although heard calling on 29th Aug the Great-spotted Woodpecker was not confirmed in the Borough Farm/ Rowesfield area of Tresco until 3rd. Thus making it the twelfth record for Scilly and the first since the overwintering bird of 1997/98.
Three Wryneck and a Melodious Warbler were on Bryher on 4th with at least two Wryneck still around Hugh Town. The Ring-necked Duck was present on the Great Pool all month, slowly coming out of its eclipse plumage. At dusk on 4th a Dotterel was found on St Mary’s Golf Course.
The pelagic trips did well this week with Balearic and Sooty Shearwater along with Artic Skua and a Minke Whale noted on 29th followed by Grey Phalarope, three Sooties plus Great and Artic Skua on 30th. A Sabine’s Gull, Great and two Sooty Shearwater were seen on 1st along with three Great Skuas, an Arctic Skua and at least twenty eight Black Tern to the north east of the islands.
Aug 22nd to Aug 28th
The two Buff-breasted Sandpipers on the Golf Course on 22nd were present near the Daymark, St Martin’s next day whilst the Pectoral Sandpiper on the Airport on evening of 22nd was not seen again.A Wryneck was in Barnaby Lane, St Agnes on 23rd with another at Porth Minnick that evening. Mediterranean Gull numbers increased this week after four were seen on way to St Martin’s on 23rd and six were seen from Tresco on 25th.
The Marsh Harriers, including one juvenile were seen most days on Tresco or St Martin’s with the Common Buzzard putting in the occasional appearance on Tresco. The eclipse male Ring-necked Duck was again present on the Great Pool all week. A Pectoral Sandpiper was present on the Abbey Pool from 25th alongside the Wood Sandpiper that has been present for some days. At least six Knot and five Bar-tailed Godwits were along the shores of Tresco on 25th. The highest count of Little Egret this year so far was thirty eight roosting on Tresco also on 25th. A Sabine’s Gull was seen to the south of St Agnes on 25th as was a single Cory’s Shearwater.
An adult Little Stint was found on the Abbey Pool on 27th with a Sparrowhawk over the island later that day.
Bird of the week was the Black Stork that circled over the Garrison before heading away over the Golf Course never to be seen again just after 6pm on 27th. This is only the sixth record on Scilly and was on the same date as the last in 2001.
A small number of commoner migrants were present on 28th such as Tree Pipit on Peninnis, Wood Warbler on Bryher, three Redstart on St Agnes and a small number of Pied and Spotted Flycatchers on most islands. A Green Sandpiper was on Lower Moors that afternoon. Wrynecks were found near Gweal Hill on Bryher and near Sunnyside on St Mary’s and a Curlew Sandpiper was on St Agnes.
On the pelagic trips two Balearic Shearwater were seen on 22nd and a Wilson’s Petrel was noted on 23rd along with a Sooty Shearwater. After a couple of quiet trips another Wilson’s Petrel, two Balearic Shearwater and a Sooty Shearwater were seen south of the islands on 27th. A Leather-backed Turtle was the highlight of an otherwise relatively quiet trip on 28th.
August 15th to August 21st
The eclipse drake Ring-necked Duck was present on the Great Pool all week as was the Wood Sandpiper, with Green Sandpiper and Kingfisher also noted in the pool area. The Black-tailed Godwit was last noted on 15th. Most of the Crossbill have moved on although one was at Telegraph on 15th with three at Trenoweth on 21st. A group of at least four juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were noted moving between Tresco and Samson during the week with one also off Morning Point on the Garrison. Small numbers of Swift were moving over the islands in mid weekalong with a steady passage of swallows.The first Pied Flycatchers were noted from 17th when three were on St Mary’s.
An early Barred Warbler was on St Agnes on 19th with two Great Skua seen from the southern end of St Agnes that day. The Marsh Harriers made occasional appearances on Tresco and St Martins as did the lone Common Buzzard.The first Little Stint of the year was on Stoney Porth, Bryher on 21st.
The regular pelagic trips south of the islands saw Wilson’s Petrel 16th along with Great, Sooty and Balearic Shearwater plus the first Sabine’s Gull of the year. A further Great and Balearic Shearwater were noted next day. Seven Great Shearwater were seen on 17th with five more on 19th along with four Cory’s and three Sooty Shearwaters and six Great Skua. Singles of the latter and two Arctic Skua had also been seen this week plus the usual good views of Storm Petrel.
August 8th to August 14th
The Ring-necked Duck was still on the Great Pool all week along with a Wood Sandpiper and Little Grebe at the start of the week. A Black-tailed Godwit and two Green Sandpipers were on the Abbey Pool and a lone Crossbill flew over. The Marsh Harriers have been several times during the week, most often on Tean. The Common Buzzard was also noted near Tean on 10th. Along with an arrival of commoner migrants an Icterine Warbler was on the Garrison on 10th and 12th with a first year Mediterranean Gull roosting on the rocks at Morning Point on 11th and 12th. The adult Mediterranean Gull was seen on Tresco again on 10th. Two Lesser Redpoll were on the Garrison on 10th and 11th. The Little Egret count had risen to 21 on 11th, all around the shores of Tresco and an Arctic Tern flew over Hugh Town that day.The Black-tailed Godwit was still on Tresco on 12th as were eight Teal, two Common Sandpiper, a Wood Sandpiper and an Emperor Dragonfly. A Crossbill was at Telegraph on 12th and on the Garrison on 13th. Two great shearwater were seen from Horse Point, St Agnes on 14th.
Pelagic trips saw two Sooty Shearwaters,a Balearic Shearwater and a Great Skua on 9th. Two Wilson’s Petrels were noted on 10th in with thirty plus Storm Petrels. Three Great Shearwaters and an Arctic Skua were seen from the trip on 11th. Wilson’s Petrel was noted from pelagic trips on 13th as were at least ten Great Shearwaters, three Sooty Shearwaters, two Great Skuas, an Arctic Skua and seventy plus Storm Petrels.
August 1st to August 7th
Green Sandpipers were on Porth Hellick and Lower Moors on 1st with the first Kingfisher of the autumn at Porth Hellick that day. A Wood Sandpiper was on the Abbey Pool Tresco on 1st and the ringtail Harrier thought to be a Hen Harrier was seen distantly over Tresco that afternoon. A Common Buzzard flew from Tresco to St Martin’s on 2nd The Crossbill count remained high with twenty at Innisidgen on 2nd with at least a dozen at Pelisty later in the week.The ringtail Harrier was still present over St Martin’s on 3rd.
The drake Ring-necked Duck was still on the Great Pool on 4th and 5th with a Little Grebe also present.Whilst on the Abbey Pool two Wood Sandpipers, two Green Sandpipers and at least four Common Sandpipers were seen on 4th and 5th with a Little Stint present on 5th and 6th. Mediterranean Gulls have been commuting between Tresco and St Mary’s with at least one adult and one immature present this week. A Curlew Sandpiper was on St Agnes on 6th. Surprise of the week was the male Golden Oriole seen perched on Lower Moors on 6th. The pair of Marsh Harrier have been seen on several days this week. At least eight Cory’s Shearwater and three Great Skua were seen from the south of St Mary’s on 5th.
A Wilson’s Petrel was seen from the pelagic trip on 2nd along with a single Cory’s Shearwater and a lone Great Skua. At least thirty three Cory’s Shearwaters were seen from the daytime trip on 5th along with five Great Shearwaters, and single Balearic and Sooty Shearwaters plus two Wilson’s Petrel in with fifty plus Storm Petrel and a large Sunfish.
July 25th to July 31st
Crossbills were still present in small groups at the start of the week with double figures reported from Telegraph and in the Pelistry although fourteen were still present in Tresco Gardens on 29th. A Green Sandpiper was on Tresco on 25th followed by a single on St Agnes on 26th with up to three commuting between Lower Moors and Porth Hellick by the end of the week.
The adult Mediterranean Gull has been commuting between Tresco and Porth Loo again and was joined by an immature bird on 31st. Small numbers of Whimbrel have been around the uninhabited islands since 25th with small flocks of Dunlin and up to eighty three Sanderling on St Martin’s on 28th. A Balearic Shearwater was sat on the sea south of Bryher on 27th with an Arctic Skua nearby later that day. A very late Razorbill was between the islands on 28th with the last Puffin of the year seen near Mincarlo on 29th.
A Wood Sandpiper was on St Agnes on 28th with another single on Tresco from 29th. The male Marsh Harrier has been seen intermittantly, mostly over St Martins with a the female and then an immature over Tresco on 31st.
The pelagic Trips found a Wilson’s Petrel on 25th along with Balearic and Sooty Shearwater plus a Great Skua. A further Balearic Shearwater was noted on 26th. On 30th four Great Shearwaters and single Cory’s and Sooty Shearwaters were seen along with two Arctic Skua and another Great Shearwater and a Great Skua were seen next day.
July 18th to July 24th
The adult Mediterranean Gull has been several times this week. Either on Porth Loo, St Mary’s or on Tresco roosting with the increasing number of Sandwich Terns that are passing through the islands.Crossbill numbers were still high, with many small flocks on St Mary’s and Tresco at the start of the week although less have been seen in the last few days.The Little Egret count has risen to ten, with birds seen regularly in Tresco Channel at low tide and roosting by the Great Pool over the high tide period.
Seawatching off Deep Point on evening of 19th saw three Cory’s Shearwaters with another nine noted from the same site early the next day along with a Great Shearwater, a Sooty Shearwater and single Great and Arctic Skuas. The first Water Rail of the autumn was at Porth Hellick on 19th.
The bird of the week, and probably the summer, was the Swinhoe’s Petrel seen from Wednesday’s pelagic trip seven miles south of the islands. This is the first record in Scillonian waters since the famous Chalice bird in 1988. Otherwise it was a relatively quiet week at sea with a Balearic Shearwater seen on 23rd being the only other seabird of note.
July 4th- July 10th
The immature Night Heron was seen at Porth Hellick again on 4th and 5th. Crossbill numbers rose during the week with six at Longstone on 6th increasing to twelve at Innisidgen on 8th and again at Porth Hellick on 10th with a single on St Martin’s on 9th. The male Marsh Harrier continues to commute between Tean and St Martin’s and the lone Magpie is still in residence on St Martins.
Pelagic trips found two Wilson’s Petrels on 5th and 8th and again on 10th with single Great Skuas noted on 5th and 10th and two Arctic Skuas on 8th, Large numbers of Storm Petrels were also noted with a peak of 200+ on 5th.
1st to 4th July
A singing male Lesser Redpoll on the Garrison on 1st was joined by another bird on 2nd. A first summer Mediterranean Gull was commuting between St Mary’s and Tresco during this period.The 1st summer Night Heron was seen at Porth Hellick and Lower Moors on 1st and 4th. The pelagic trip ten miles south of the islands on 2nd found four Wilson’s Petrel, seven Cory’s Shearwaters, one Great Skua and at least sixty Storm Petrels. The male Marsh Harrier was more evident on 3rd than it had been for some time being seen in the Tean / St Helen’s area. A Roseate Tern was seen with the Common Tern colony near Tresco on 3rd.The male Ring-necked Duck was outside the David Hunt hide on Tresco on 3rd.
The male Ring-necked Duck moved from Porth Hellick to Tresco where it remained to the end of the month. The female Woodchat Shrike was on Lower Moors to 4th as was the male Garganey that became increasingly elusive through the month. At least three Hobby were on the island in the first half of June. The Nightjar found last month at Telegraph was last seen 8th with a belated report of one singing at Porth Hellick in first week of June. A female Honey Buzzard was on St Mary’s for a few days from 8th and also visited Tresco and St Martin’s. The first Black-winged Stilt since 1990 was first on Lower Moors before settling on Porth Hellick 10th- 17th. A Quail was at Giant’s Castle 13th. A Golden Oriole was at Porth Hellick 14th and was singing there next day. The 1st summer Night Heron commuted between Porth Hellick and Lower Moors 20th-30th. A female Black Redstart was on the Golf Course on 21st and a female Red-backed Shrike was on Peninnis 23rd. The first Mediterranean Gull of the summer was at Porth Loo on 27th and the first Green Sandpiper was on Lower Moors on 28th. A Crossbill flew over Longstone 30th.
Two Black-tailed Godwits were on Tresco to 4th with one remaining to 12th and a male Woodchat Shrike was near New Grimsby 5th. The Little Egret count rose to six by the end of the month, most often roosting near Simpson’s Field, which was the site of the Golden Oriole 10th. A pair of White Wagtail bred at Old Grimsby and raised at least two young. A male Reed Bunting was at Borough Farm 12th and a female Pintail was noted intermittently on the Great Pool throughout the month. A moulting Spotted Redshank was on the Abbey Pool 27th-29th and two Lapwing were present 28th.
A Yellow Wagtail of one of the eastern forms was near Norrard 2nd with a ‘lutea’ type Yellow Wagtail near Popplestones 7th. A pair of Lesser Redpoll has summered near the campsite this year. A Blue-headed Wagtail was on Gweal Hill and a Short-toed Lark was on Shipman Head Down 9th. The Hooded Crow raised two young with a Carrion Crow this year. A Pallid Swift spent a few hours over Watch Hill 20th and the second Short-toed Lark of the month was again on Shipman Head Down 23rd.
The male Honey Buzzard that flew over the island 10th was later seen on St Mary’s.
The male Whitethroat remained singing near the campsite until mid month. A Spotted Flycatcher was noted 10th along with a Sedge Warbler. A Quail was near Higher Town 27th and the Magpie remained all month. A Roseate Tern was between St Martin’s and Tresco 29th.
Four Wilson’s Petrels were off the Pol Bank on 14th along with 60+ Storm Petrel with two more Wilson’s noted 18th and another seen near Western Rocks 22nd.
Three Great Northern Divers were near Annet 2nd with a Re-breasted Merganser seen near Samson 6th. The male Marsh Harrier remained around Tean throughout. A pair of Arctic Tern was breeding near Tresco until one was predated late in the month and a Little Tern was in the same area on 10th.
May 16th to May 22nd
The five Tree Sparrow were last noted on St Agnes on 16th with one reappearing on 22nd. The Hoopoe present on St Agnes on 16th was not seen again and neither was the Wood Warbler also on St Agnes. The Roseate Tern found near Samson was seen occasionally in the same area at the start of the week. A Nightingale was heard singing on Tresco on 16th and a Golden Oriole was in Holy Vale and three Great Northern Divers were near Annet that day
Golden Oriole were reported from St Martin’s and St Agnes on 17th. The Red-rumped Swallow found at Porth Hellick on the afternoon of 18th was present early next day but not subsequently. Those looking were rewarded with Golden Orioles at Porth Hellick, Lower Moors, Rose Hill all on St Mary’s. A 1st year female Subalpine Warbler was typically elusive between Middle and Higher Town, St Agnes on 20th with more Golden Orioles reported from St Agnes on 20th and from Lower Moors on 20th and 21st. The pair of European Nightjar found in the pines above Middle Town St Martins were somewhat of a surprise.
The Corn Bunting was noted at Carn Friars until 20th with the Common Buzzard reappearing on 22nd and the two Marsh Harrier often seen at Tean throughout the week.
May 9th to May 15th
One of the two Garganey at Porth Hellick departed during the week but another pair were discovered in mid week. The Common Buzzard was still around on 9th and the pair of Marsh Harrier were near Tean most days. A Rook was at Porth Loo Farm on 9th and a Quail was flushed on Tresco that day but the find of the week was the flock of five Tree Sparrow that were discoed that evening and were still present around the pool at the end of the week. This is the first record since 2000 for this species on Scilly with the one prior to that being in 1993.
An Osprey flew from St Mary’s towards Samson on 10th whilst on St Agnes two Lesser Whitethroat were singing with several others being found around the other islands in the next few days. A Blue-headed Wagtail was on St Agnes from 10th. A male Hen Harrier was on St Agnes on 12th but not seen again. Golden Orioles were reported from 13th when one was in Lower Moors with singles then reported from St Agnes, Tresco and Holy Vale next day. The foul weather on 15th stranded many swallows and martins with some being found dead next day when the sunny weather returned.
The first Roseate Tern to be seen between the islands in springtime was on Stony Island near Samson on 15th. This vanished an hour or so later as did the Spoonbill that flew over Tresco heading eastwards just after midday on 15th.
May 2nd to May 8th
The Woodchat Shrike found on 30th was present in the ‘Standing Stones’ field on Lower Moors until 4th. The three male Garganey were present at Porth Hellick for most of the week although only two were noted on 8th. A Short-toed Lark was on St Mary’s Airport on evening of 1st but not subsequently. The male and female Marsh Harrier were noted over Tresco and Tean until midweek with only the male present on 8th. The Common Buzzard commuted around the island before returning to Tresco by 7th. A Quail was flushed on St Agnes on 1st with another noted on St Agnes in midweek and another on St Martin’s on 6th. The first and so far only Turtle Dove of the year was on St Agnes on 2nd with a Wigeon and Pintail on Tresco that day being rather out of season as was the Brambling and Redwing on Bryher on 4th. A Lesser Whitethroat spent a while on the Golf Course on 4th and a Black-tailed Godwit was on the Great Pool also on 4th.
Two Common Sandpipers were on St Mary’s on 5th with three Great Northern Divers still to the south of Samson and three Whitethroats being found in one area of Gugh. A possible Red-rumped Swallow was seen briefly on Tresco in with 100 plus Swallows but could not be relocated. Also on Tresco that day a Wood Warbler was singing near Racket Town.
April 25th to May 1st
A Hoopoe was on St Agnes on 25th-27th and the Corn Bunting reappeared at the end of the week. The first Common Sandpiper was at Watermill on 25th. Two Great Northern Divers were noted occasionally between Samson and St Agnes. The three male Garganey were at Porth Hellick throughout the week and the male Marsh Harrier was joined by a femaleon 1st May .
The Black Duck has remained on the Great Pool, usually seen on Simpson’s field. Four Purple Sandpiper were on the south side of Gugh on 26th. A Serin was singing on the Garrison in early morning of 27th.The Buzzard has only showed over St Martin’s a couple of times this week. The first Whitethroat was at Trewince on 28th with Tree Pipits seen on St Mary’s and St Martin’s that day. A Short-toed Lark was on Chapel Down, St Martin’s for ten minutes on 29th. Bird of the week was the first summer male Citrine Wagtail that spent the afternoon near the pool on Bryher on 30th. The same afternoon saw the discovery of a Woodchat Shrike at the Old Town end of the Lower Moors Trailwhich unlike the wagtail was still present next day.
April 17th to April 24th
The Black Duck has remained on Tresco all week with the male Marsh Harrier being reported on several occasions on Tresco and Tean. Three Little Egrets can be seen at Halangy and at least two Great Northern Divers are in the ‘Roads’. The four male Garganey were still on Porth Hellick, occasionally displaying to one of the female Teal. A Corn Bunting was commuting between Periglis and the Lighthouse on St Agnes on 18th and the first Yellow Wagtail of the year flew over Tresco. Another Cuckoo was on St Agnes on 19th following the first there on 15th. Also on that island that day was a pale phase Arctic Skua that flew close past Horse Point. Grasshopper Warbler and Common Redstart were on St Agnes on 20th whilst on St Mary’s a Rook was at Trewince and a Sedge Warbler was at Porth Hellick. A Little Tern off Samson on 21st was a good find with Reed Warbler at Porth Hellick a new bird for the year. Several small flocks of Whimbrel were about the islands on 22nd and a Hoopoe was at Horse Point, St Agnes later that day. A Serin was singing on Porth Loo Lane near the Mount Flagon turning on 23rd and a small number of hirundines were passing over the islands throughout the day. An elusive Tawny Pipit was on St Agnes on 23rd and a Quail was flushed from Peninnis that afternoon and the first Swift of the year was over the Garrison.
April 5th to April 16th
The Spotted Redshank was last seen on Lower Moors on 5th and the last Hoopoe so far was still on St Martin’s on 6th. A Black-throated Diver was between St Agnes and St Mary’s on 6th.Also on St Martin’s were a male Common Redstart and a male Ring Ouzel on 7th with the former still present on 10th. The Purple Heron seen around the Great and Abbey Pool on Tresco on 9th was seen looking rather sick a day or so later and was sadly found dead on 13th. A Short-eared Owl flew over the airport to Porth Hellick on St Mary’s on 10th. The Spotted Crake reappeared on Lower Moors on 11th the same day as another Common Redstart was and a Rook were on St Martin’s. The latter having been seen on St Mary’s the day before. A few hirundines were on the islands at this time with Swallows outnumbering Sand and House Martins. The long staying Common Buzzard was still commuting between Tresco and St Martins whilst the male Marsh Harrier is still roaming all islands. The female Black Duck has been more sedentary remaining on the Abbey Farm end of the Great Pool. The first Common Tern was in Tresco Channel on 11th whilst near Annet the first Great-northern Divers for some time were also noted that day. A small fall of Swallow, Wheatear and Willow Warblers was noted on St Mary’s on 15th/16th.
March 29 to April 4
The Hoopoe remained on the Garrison Campsite until Mar 30 at least whilst two were on St Martin’s on Apr 4 and one on Apr 6. Four male Garganeys were on St Mary’s on Apr 1 settling on Porth Hellick where five drakes were present to at least Apr 4. A Spotted Redshank alternated between Porth Hellick and Lower Moors Apr 1-4 at least. A female Woodchat Shrike was on Samson Hill, Bryher on Apr 3. A male Ring Ousel was in the Sheep Fields on St Martin’s Apr 3-4. Two long stayers were the male Marsh Harrier that popped up occasionally almost anywhere and the female American Black Duck that showed very well on Simpson’s Field.
A Siberian Chiffchaff was on Bryher Mar 23-25. A stunning male Common Redstart was on Porthlow Beach Mar 23-28. A Brambling was at Carn Friars and another on Pool Road, Tresco on Mar 28. At least four Slavonian Grebes were still present off St Martin’s, all in transitional plumage with one in full summer plumage. Sandwich Tern numbers grew to a high of 60. Meanwhile, the Hoopoe remained on the Garrison, the male Marsh Harrier put in an occasional appearance, the female American Black Duck frequented Simpson’s Field, the single Whooper Swan alternated between Bryher Pool and Abbey Pool, and the wintering Short-eared Owl remained on Bryher.
Southeasterlies bringing fog and mist to Scilly prevented significant migrant arrivals. However, a few Wheatears, Sand Martins and Willow Warblers found the islands during the week. Two Sandwich Terns roamed the inter-island waters and the male Marsh Harrier roamed the islands. The first Hoopoe of the year arrived on March 21 on the Garrison. Meanwhile, the female American Black Duck was most obliging on Simpson’s Field and the single Whooper Swan alternated between Bryher Pool and Abbey Pool.
The last of the Glaucous Gulls departed. Long stayers remaining throughout the week included the American Black Duck, Black-throated Diver,
about 4 Slavonian Grebes, a Whooper Swan, three Long-tailed Ducks and a Cetti’s Warbler. Pied Wagtails started moving through from March 9 with a few White Wagtails amongst them. A Rook arrived on Tresco on March 10 and visited St Mary’s, with two on Bryher next day and one there on March 14. Another hint of migration on March 14 came in the form of a male Marsh Harrier on St Agnes and Gugh, a Wheatear on Great Ganilly and a Sandwich Tern on the Bacon Buoy, the first Bacon Sandwich of the year.
Feb 28th – March 6th
A new Glaucous Gull was on Porthmellon on March 2 taking the tally to four this year, all first-winters. Otherwise things remained quiet. The Buzzard remained on Tresco although was elusive at times. The Whooper Swan spent most of its time on Bryher Pool with the occasional visit to Tresco. The Goldeneye occasionally visited Abbey Pool. The wintering Water Pipit continued to frequent Porthellick Beach whilst a new bird was found on Samson on March 4. The wintering Short-eared Owl remained faithful to Samson. Up to six Slavonian Grebes were visible from Innisidgen when calm conditions
Feb 21st-Feb 27th
The Black Duck & Whooper Swan were seen in the usual places, but only one Glaucous Gull was still on Simpson’s Field, Tresco on 24th, along with 18 Moorhen – a high count probably brought about by the cold weather as they fed out in the open.
A Black Redstart and Chiffchaff are frequenting Porthcressa Beach.
Feb 14th-Feb 20th
A Buzzard was seen on the 14th.
Tresco continued to hold the Glaucous Gulls, Whooper Swan & Black Duck whilst 2 Firecrests were seen on Abbey Road on the 16th.
A Kumlien’s Gull was reported passing Bar Point on the 18th, with Black-throated Diver, 4 Great Northern Divers & a Slavonian Grebe being seen nearby.
Feb 7th-Feb 13th
On the 9th the 2 Long-tailed Ducks were again seen near Tean, and 4 Great Northern Divers were in waters between the islands, whilst the Black Duck, Whooper Swan & Glaoucous Gulls remained.
Jan 31st-Feb 6th
3 Waxwings were in Hugh Town on 2nd February; the invasion on mainland at last allowing a few to reach the far South-West. One was still around on the 3rd, the same date as when the female Black Duck was on Great Pool, Tresco, along with the 2 Glaucous Gulls on Simpson’s Field & the Whooper Swan which remained on Abbey Pool.
From the 6th a Cetti’s Warbler was heard singing at Porthellick & Carn Friars area for 3 days, with the Water Pipit nearby on the first date.
Jan 24th-Jan 30th
On St Mary’s the Water Pipit from earlier in the month was seen again at Porth Hellick.
A Firecrest was in Holy Vale 26th with another at Old Town next day and three Black Redstarts were in the Porthcressa/Little Porth area 27th.
The Glaucous Gull on Tresco was joined by another 1st winter bird on 27th, and the Whimbrel last seen here on the 10th, was seen again on 27th.
Finally a Lapwing flew over Middle Down, Tresco on30th.
Jan 17th-Jan 23rd
Little new was seen this week. One of the Iceland Gulls was seen in Hugh Town again on 18th, and the Barn Owl from Sandy Banks was seen in Hugh Town on 23rd.
Jan 10th-Jan 16th
An adult Iceland Gull was on Samson 9th-10th &13th with a Short-eared Owl there on 10th.
A female type Goldeneye was in Green Bay, Bryher 10th with the regular Hooded Crow still present on that island and a Whooper Swan also noted there on the same day.
During the week a ringtail Harrier visited Tresco on several occasions, going to Samson 10th-11th. Three 1st winter Iceland Gulls and a Whimbrel were on Tresco on 10th, whilst a 1st winter Iceland Gull was on St Agnes 11th.
An Iceland Gull then visited Hugh Town 12th-14th , whilst a Barn Owl was seen at dusk at Sandy Lane, St Mary’s on 13th and14th.
On Tresco the Whooper Swan from Bryher appeared on 13th and seems to have settled on the pools there. Also on Tresco there was a possible 2nd winter American Herring Gull on 14th along with an Iceland Gull – it is difficult to estimate how many in total are currently here.
Jan 1st-Jan 9th .
A Black-throated Diver was seen between the islands on calm days with up to seven Great Northern Divers and three Slavonian Grebes also noted on windless days.
On Tresco the female Black Duck was present on the pools, whilst on the sea the two Long-tailed Ducks were seen regularly close to Tean, where there was also a Bar-tailed Godwit on 2nd.
A Red-breasted Merganser was in Tresco Channel on 3rd whilst on the other side of the island nine Purple Sandpiper and twenty-two Grey Plover were counted and a Firecrest was along the Abbey Drive, whilst a Glaucous Gull was on the island from 5th.
A Mistle Thrush was at Watermill, St. Mary’s on 3rd, with a Water Pipit at Porth Hellick during the week.