We will update this statement if required, in line with local and Government guidance
We are all looking forward to welcoming birders back to the Isles of Scilly. We hope to see some familiar and some new faces. Birding (and twitching) can be, at present, carried out safely on Scilly, but we all need to be sensible and responsible. We want you to keep yourselves, other birders and our special community safe and well. There are some basic expectations of those birding on the islands over the next few weeks, based on Government Covid-19 guidance:
- Wear a mask
If a crowd starts to form, we would advise wearing your mask or face covering, even outdoors*. Please form socially distanced groups of six or less and stay socially distanced in those groups. At a twitch, with people gathering quickly, please put on your mask immediately.
- Sanitise your hands
All cafes and shops have hand sanitiser; please carry some with you so that you can sanitise after touching fences and gateposts.
- Be mindful of others
Practice social distancing (2m) at all times. If watching a rare bird, be mindful of others who may not have seen it and move away once you have. If you don’t need to see the bird, consider delaying your arrival or come back later if a crowd is forming. Prioritise viewing for people who ‘need’ the bird. Stand well aside to allow local walkers to pass safely and do not crowd narrow paths.
In the case of a big twitch, depending on the location, we may have to adopt more structured measures. In this instance, please be supportive, patient and work with the landowner and fellow birders to make sure that everyone sees the bird safely. This may mean queuing or following instructions from appointed marshals. In these instances, we will communicate with you as quickly as possible on social media and WhatsApp.
As always, our birding code of conduct still stands and now more than ever, we are relying on you to do our birding community proud.
As visitors, you are coming into a ‘low-Covid area’, but this doesn’t mean you can take less notice of regulations. Local folk may view visitors as ‘high-risk’. We want everyone to stay safe and behave responsibly. The police and most local landowners are minded, as always, to be tolerant and welcoming to birders, but we must not be complacent. Please do not give anyone, locals or visitors, a cause for concern that might escalate (for example on social media).
Thank you, and happy birding,
*Please be aware that some people may be exempt from wearing face coverings for medical reasons