Sunday, 6 October 2013

Scillies 2013 - Day 2 - Sun 6th October

After going to Log last night Jay, Paz and I decided that St Agnes was going to be the best bet for the second day of my Scillies trip as there was a Subalpine Warbler and a Barred Warbler available. So we planned to get on the 10.15am boat which gave me time to get down to Higgo's Pool first thing and hopefully see the juv Purple Heron come out of roost.

I arrived at Higgo's Pool at 7.10am in half light only to find out the Purple Heron came out of roost in almost darkness at 6.50am this morning. Undeterred I carried on mooching around the reedbed adding Reed Warbler to the trip list and then I managed to find the Bluethroat just in time for Jay and Paz's arrival so we all enjoyed nice views of it. There were also at least 4 Water Rails squealing from the reeds. It also turned out that they had seen the Purple Heron flying over Lower Moors from Porth Mellon! Sod it...!

Reed Warbler - Higgo's Pool
Soon enough we were heading down the quay and got on the 10.15am boat. Once on St Agnes we headed straight for the Barred Warbler site but the house owner was doing some gardening so that pretty much scuppered that idea! We did see a few Goldfinches and a single Whitethroat in the garden but no sign of the Barred Warbler.

Next stop was the Subalpine Warbler...again no show so we decided to head round to the Fruit Cages. Here there were lots of birds, best of all was a juvenile Red-breasted Flycatcher. There were also a number of phyllosc's mainly Chiffchaffs with several Willow Warblers mixed in. Next stop was the Parsonage where we found a very confiding Pied Flycatcher and had great views of a Humming-bird Hawk-moth.

Humming-bird Hawk-moth
Whilst watching the moth Jay heard crests calling and soon we were watching a small flock of Goldcrests and with them was my first Yellow-browed Warbler of the trip. These are always magic birds for me and I never bore of seeing them. We carried on up the path towards Troy Town and then a Short-toed Lark came up on the radio at the Burnt Rock which was pretty close by. Soon enough we were enjoying nice views of this bird which was feeding actively in the pig field just south of the Burnt Rock.

Short-toed Lark
After seeing the Lark we carried on round Wingletang Down adding a lots of Clouded Yellows as we went. In total I counted 13 around the island but I am sure there were many more. There were plenty of other butterflies on the wing too with Red Admiral, Small Copper and Speckled Wood all putting in an appearance.

As the tide was out and the boat wasn't for another hour we crossed Gugh Bar and wandered round there for a while. In all my visits to the Scillies before I have never had a good look around Gugh so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. There were not many birds on the island but there was a single Spotted Flycatcher which turned out to be my only one of the trip, a Whinchat and several Wheatear along the beach.

Wheatear - Gugh
We got the boat back to St Mary's at 4.45pm and I headed straight round to the ISBG hide at Lower Moors as I was desperate to see the juvenile Purple Heron come in to roost at the Dump Clump. I arrived at 5.00pm and had nice views of a Jack Snipe and a Sedge Warbler while I waited for the Heron to appear from the Willow scrub it had landed in about an hour earlier. The time ticked by and I got more and more eaten by midges and finally the Purple Heron took off and flew across the top of the reeds and landed low down in the Dump Clump Wood at c7.30pm. A brilliant end to a classic Scillies day, lots of good quality birds and all within reach in a day.

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