Monday 30 September 2013

Icky dip number 9 - Scilly

If you read my previous post just a few weeks ago about my latest Icterine Warbler dip then you'll know how frustrating this species is for me. We arrived on Scilly to news that there was a long staying (c 2 weeks) individual in and around the camp site, which was proving difficult for many to catch up with. One birder we spoke to who as staying on the camp site had failed to connect despite it being reported 4 days in a row and him spending a lot of time looking for it. Anyway, to cut a long and predictable story short, over the course of the following week we (me, Hawky, Dick and Tony) tried for the bird on about half a dozen occasions to no avail. Nothing. Zip. On the Tuesday evening we decided to take a pelagic trip. As we chugged out of the harbour, I overheard one of the locals on the boat saying after his pager beeped " I see the Icky is showing at Lower Broom on The Garrison". I was prob less than 400 yards from the bird, but on a boat and heading out in to the Atlantic Ocean! Over the next hour or so the inevitable messages came through on the pager that the Icky was now STILL SHOWING XXXXING WELL on The Garrison, where it stayed, performing well all evening. Sticking two fingers up at me somewhere out at sea. Guess where I was at first light the following day? Guess what wasn't there! The Icky was not reported again all week.

Sunday 29 September 2013

Scilly Trip 21st - 28th September 2013

Just back from a very enjoyable week on the Isles of Scilly with Hawky, Dirty Dick and for 3 days Tony Brown. The weather from the off was not in our favour with the islands for 5 days out of the 7, fog bound. Not ideal birding conditions, or flying conditions!

The day before we were due to fly on, we got the call to say all flights the following day were cancelled due to dense fog being forecast. When we arrived at Lands End airdrome, Cornwall and was transferred to Penzance where we boarded The Scillonian, 2.5 hours later we arrived on St Marys.

The birding over the following week was hard and frustrating at times. The SE winds promised lots but were scuppered by the fog. Despite this we did manage to see a few birds. We put the leg work in walking an estimated 15 miles per day, trying to find new birds. Each evening we were shattered and blistered but we never gave up.

Below are some pics of some of the birds we saw or found.    

Dotterel - on the air field and seen on a couple of occasions 

Buff Breasted Sandpiper - seen twice 

Pectoral Sandpiper - found by us on St Agnes - 
or perhaps it found us as it flew in to the beach as we checked out the pipits  

Rose Coloured Starling - my 3rd ever Rosy and all 3 on St Agnes, Scilly

Lapland Bunting

Ortolan Bunting - only my 2nd ever

Wryneck - 1 of 4 seen - this one found by Dick

White Spotted Bluethroat on Higgos Pool - ok it wasn't a Northern Waterthrush or Solitary Sandpiper 
but it was great to see a good bird at this cracking man made site

Black Winged Stilt - at Hayle Estuary in Cornwall on the way home

We also managed 2 Roseate Terns, 4 Sabine's Gulls, Sooty Shearwaters, Balearic Shearwaters, Storm Petrels, Pied and Spotted Flycyatchers. Despite trying on numerous occasions I DID NOT manage to see my bogey bird, Icterine Warbler, but I'll do another post on that as the irony of it just sums up my luck with that species of bird.     

Thursday 19 September 2013

Scilly Bound

We are off to The Scillies for a week on Saturday. We decided to try something a bit different this year and go a week or even two weeks earlier than we have been previously. In recent years we have favoured Shetland for our autumn birding break, but having not been to Scilly for a few years we plumped for the picturesque island of the south west coast of Cornwall. The weather looks to be pretty good with significant fronts coming across the Atlantic. Today's Baltimore Oriole on Unst, Shetland, shows the yankee megas are making it over, fingers crossed they are not all going to fall up north though. So watch this space. Hopefully there'll be plenty to see and a tick or two thrown in for good measure.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Red Backed Shrike, West Canvey Marsh RSPB, Essex

My second Red Backed Shrike in 2 weeks, this time just 30 minutes up the road at West Canvey Marsh RSPB. This bird was even more showy than the last so provided really good photo opps as it hawked insects from the fence line just 100 yards from the car park. It was good to speak with James Hunter who by the looks of it was getting just as good shots via digi-scoping as I was through my camera kit!

Maybe I'll make it a September hat trick of Red Backed Shrikes on Scilly week after next. That's if I have enough time to see one between American megas! Well you never know.  

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Red Backed Shrike, Rottingdean, East Sussex

A few pics from a south coast jaunt on Monday. It was pretty quiet but this smart juv Red Backed Shrike was great to see.