Saturday, 23 October 2010

The Big Trip to the Scillies. Part 2, Exploring St. Marys

Monday 11th October.

The sight of Penzance harbour whilst on the "Scillonian III" ferry. There were a few birds to be seen whilst at sea. A Razorbill was just outside the harbour, and over the course of the crossing a fabulous Grey Phalarope, 4 Bonxies, 1 Arctic Skua, plenty of Gannets, Kittiwakes and Guillemots. Someone had claimed a juvenile Sabine's Gull, and both Sooty and Balearic Shearwaters. I must've been looking the other way, probably enjoying the Cornish coastline, including Mousehole and the Minack Theatre.

Eventually the Scillonian docks in at Hugh Town, then as my luggage is labelled (meaning it will be delivered to my guest house for me), I can go straight to the Garrison to look for the Black-eared Wheatear. It had already been seen during morning, and here it is. A lifer for me, hurrah!

After a while, the Wheatear was joined by a Snow Bunting, result!

With the Wheatear safely under the belt, most of the afternoon was spent getting my bearings around Hugh Town, working out where everything is. The pubs, shops and of course the Scillonian club, venue of the nightly bird log. Whilst doing this reccy, a couple of people were spotted. This was the first one:

For the benefit of the untrained eye, this is Michael Eavis. He organises a little gathering of popular-beat combos, mainly consisting of The Wurzels I think, on his Somerset farm every June. The other person I spotted was Lee Evans:

Oh hang on, I got the wrong one! It turned out that Mr L. Grevans wasn't staying on Scilly, but on just for the day to twitch the Black-eared Wheatear and to check out the mystery falcon, a possible Eleonora's that had been recently claimed.

The day was finished around Porthcressa beach, where 4 Sandwich Terns were offshore, and a Wryneck was in adjacent Buzza Quarry.

Tuesday 12th October.

First full day, and plenty of birds to catch up with around St. Marys. The Porthellick area was productive, with a Pectoral Sandpiper on Porthellick pool, the beach held the American Golden Plover, with one of it's European counterparts to provide a nice comparison.

Next to Porthellick is Carn Friars farm, where one Little Bunting was still present.

A pasty for lunch at the Longstones centre, then to find a Common Rosefinch along the Tremelethen farm trail. I knew the trail could be reached from Porthellick farm, but I found it a real struggle to find the other end of the trail. At the same time news was filtering through of a possible Pied Wheatear on the golf course.

Being a bit of a stubborn so and so, I was determined to crack this trail, so walked back to Porthellick via Old Town (and saw the Red-breasted Flycatcher in the Old Town churchyard), and walked the Tremelethen trail from there. However, by the time I got to the Quinoa field with the finch flock in, you're looking straight into the sun. Not easy viewing, a Brambling in amongst the Chaffinches but the Rosefinch was just at the wrong angle, so missed it this time.

So with hindsight the wrong decision there, especially as the Pied Wheatear on the golf course was eventually confirmed and didn't hang around for very long. It was found by a couple who were staying in the same guest house as me, which was great for them. But at the time of writing and seeing pictures of it now, bit gutted. But I did manage to catch up on many of the established good birds, and I felt it was right to see them first before any move on.

During the evening, news appeared of a Subalpine Warbler on Bryher, so a decision to make for where to go on Wednesday.


Karen Woolley said...

Hi Richard, Looks like I was with you at the Green Heron, I was there before and during the Vole eating, and then on the Scillonian on Monday and at the Wheatear straight afterwards. It's a shame I don't know what you look like coz I'd have said hello if I'd recognised you.
Must have seen you lots of times last week without realising it :-(

Richard Powell said...

As you've seen Karen, I've put a comment on your blog. When we spoke on St. Agnes, I should've recognised the accent.