Friday, 30 October 2015

Polemere - Garganey

Always hard to summon up enthusiasm when suffering from Scilly hangover but this Garganey at Polemere, was a nice find by James Grundy!

And it couldn't have been further away!

Busy preening .....

A (little) bit closer?

Despite this, still suffering from the hangover!

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Lands End - Rose-coloured Starling

Following an overnight stop in Penzance, I was hoping for a decent bird to be in the area? The nearest one to tick the box was the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling at Lands End, some 28 miles from the Scillies according to the sign.....

It wasn't noticeable on arrival but knowing it favoured the lifeboat, so gave it a few minutes!

It didn't take long and proceeded to have a good preen - anyone would think it wanted it's picture taken??

Another birder stirred things up by throwing some bread down. The 300mm lens was next to useless this close so here's a couple of random iphone images!

'We need more feather detail' implored the masses after tweeting it out!

So, the 300mm lens came back out and I obliged - keeping a respectful distance with a variety of backgrounds?

A few close-ups beckoned!

Back on the grass and after having sheltered in the car for 40 minutes as the rain came down - the sune even peeked out!

Completely mobile, a chance image on one of the miniature houses on show, shame they didn't have a starling to scale?

And just to prove birds like this don't need bread, it was quite happy to pick up seeds and tasty titbits....

This was the scene awaiting me when I decided I'd had enough and was ready to start the long journey home!

Complete with burly minders, a celebrity Starling if ever there was one!

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Scilly day 21- St Mary's mini pelagic

A mini-pelagic around the islands this afternoon and taking a quick look at the open sea through Tresco sound, quite sensible to be seeking shelter!!

Spoonbill still present.....

And quite adept at standing on one leg!

Or two?

Especially when take off beckons!

Then frame filling flight shots....

Other waders seen included Greenshank.....

A single Grey Plover was a trip tick ....  And here's part of an estimated 75+  strong Sanderling flock

The highlight was two Minke whales seen roughly a mile north west off St Mary's.

Quite distant but pretty amazing prolonged views :-)

Star bird display was courtesy of this Merlin, engaged in an acrobatic dogfight near one of the Western Isles - prolonged chasing of Pipits which managed to elude capture!!

A nice ending :-) And that's probably it from me..... I'll do a summary post with some galleries etc. once I get sorted back home (where I have three weeks of 'catch up' waiting!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Scilly day 20 - St Mary's - Black Redstart

After a pretty uneventful  walk around the garrison, where Firecrest was the only highlight, called in at Little Porth where a Crossbill over took me by surprise but no surprise to see the Black Redstart still working the length of the beach there ....

On the rocks....

Or the boats?

All were suitable launch pads!

A possible 'Tawny Pipit' came out on the radio to capture my attention! Problem was, in the field normally frequesnted by the Blyth's Pipit!

Scilly day 20 - Peninnis - Blyth's Pipit

Yep you might have guess it, the possible Tawny was the Blyth's Pipit but you can't have enough of a good thing! Present for it's 9th day now and still giving excellent views viewed from the coast path.....

It was a real contrast to see the bird again in much duller conditions.

Busily working its way closer to the wall.....

And then just about as close as I'd seen it!

Even if I was lured by the promise of another Pipit? Always go back - have another look - it's rarely a mistake to do so!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Scilly day 19 - St Martins - Olive-backed Pipit

The omens weren't good as I walked onto the quay at 9.45. Plans were being changed as birders swapped boat queues for alternatives to St Martins! News had just come out, there had been no sign of the Olive-backed Pipit today....

I had no alternative, still needing this for the life list, it was do or die - it could be skulking somewhere?

Luckily the initial walk was going to be a short one as the boat dropped us at Higher Town with just a ten minute stroll beckoning. There was as expected, no sign but I decided to stick with the second bulb field, scanning the furrows.... Thanks to some great images taken by Rob Stonehouse the previous day, I had a clear image in my mind and then BOOM, my panning was suddenly halted by the unmistakable sight of..... Olive Backed Pipit!! I called out "got it" or something like that and got the camera into position. Problem was, I couldn't see it and with a crowd building up, neither could anyone else. Someone mentioned they saw a bird fly out into the hedge as I called it!

With 20 minutes passing by, I knew I'd seen it but with no-one else having connected, unease was growing! Then suddenly, 20m at the opposite end of the field, movement on the wall - yesssss I hadn't been hallucinating :-)

 I was to put it mildly 'ponderous' in moving back towards us but I had all day if necessary!

That bold supercilium, such a striking feature!

What a beauty, the brightly coloured chest, bold streaking and white belly really standing out!

Text book appearance' with the clear olive brown edging to the tertials and streaky olive back...

 It never came closer than 'record shot' range, perhaps within 25m.....

You've probably spotted them already but the poor Pipit was carrying at least three large ticks! Two clearly visible here with one on the other side of the head.

Tony C quipped - that Pipit's got more ticks than anyone on Scilly this year! Nice one :-)

The closest it came.....

It was just approaching the edge of the field where there was less 'cover' and I was looking forward to building on these images, when it suddenly flew into the hedge bordering the field!

It took another 40 minutes before we saw it again and that was at the far end of the field when it was flushed! And here's the culprit!!

Not just one but two reasons why we were unlikely to see it again!

A Firecrest in the same field, Tree Pipit as we approached Lowe Town were the only other notable birds!Oh and an Osprey - separate posting to come.....