Friday, 30 August 2013

Pocket Full of Sunshine

So I'm back on the illustrious Isles of Scilly for some R&R post 'the most mental season ever' where workload, film crews, special events and random guests nearly had every single one of us fatigued in an insane ayslum! The avian gods smiled upon us though, and delivered therapeutic rare after medicinal rare to ease our weary psyches'!!
A rather stiff 25mph NW watched as I hugged the railing of Scillonian III on Saturday, scanning for 3 solid hours and eeking out Cory's, Belearic and 2 Storm Petrel from the 600+ passing Manx Shearwaters. After being on the east coast, where seawatching is great, but perhaps lacks the potential for a 'Tropicbird moment' that the SW will always possess. So needless to say I was very excited throughout!
This Spotted Fly was looking rare down at Porthellick

However semi-ideal these conditions were for sea passage, I wasnt hopeful for any passerine migrants, while the east coast was bathed in all the shades of brown one could ever wish for. So it came as a surprise when the garden held Tree Pipit, Pied Fly and Chiffchaff! This vein continued as I stomped round the airfield clocking 17 Wheatear but no Citrine or Dotterel or Buff-breast while the Farnes crew kept finding stonker after whisker tickling stonker!

My luck changed however!! A coincidental trip with mates to Tresco yesterday saw me sneaking away, bins and camera clutched firm, to the Great Pool. Where before even entering the hide I could make out the hybrid Yellow Wag/Tree Pipit call of a Citrine Wag! It remained mostly elusive occassionally rewarding my persistence with good close views, remaining extraordinarily vocal throughout, which allowed to me pinpoint the second, less vocal bird across the pool! Needless to say my pics dont convey their loveliness!

Well two Citrine's together almost compensates for missing 2 Belearic Shearwater, 2 Greenish Wblr, 2 Citrine Wags, Icterine Wblr and Rosefinch on the Farnes in a matter of days. Balls. But I couldnt help feel St. Marys was hiding some gems that would probably require a bird-finding pick to unearth given the habitat. And thats the great thing about Scilly, it's just nice to wander around birding, even if there's very little about, the biggy is round the corner...! Which I did as I apporached my garden and saw a large, buff looking, shortish legged, long-toed Heron bank behind the trees, which seemed brownish in the millisecond I saw it for. Cue running but alas it had done a classic rare dissappearing act. Purple Heron it was, almost certainly. But I aint the guy to claim off those views! Luckily other people managed to nail birds..and so a pub lunch was interrupted by news of a third, this time adult (!) Citrine Wag down at Lower Moors! Oh my days! So I calmly ate my food, had a pint, played pool and casually rode like hell to find this extraordinarily fresh looking adult female showing superbly.

What a pleaser!! Little bundle of lemons!

Rather aptly, it has been nothing but beautiful sunshine here since my arrival allowing the true majesty of butterfly numbers on Scilly to be realised. They are everywhere! With Common Blue's seeming especially abundant. However top prize goes to possibly my favourate UK butterfly: The Clouded Yellow. These little rays of sun are everywhere there is suitable habitat with Porthloo area holding nearly 20 and Porthellick to Deep Point holding in excess of 30. Pure unadulterated high grade uncut cripple!

They are just little pockets of sunshine!!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Long Time. No Beak.

Well then. Been a while hasn't it? You're looking good. This long hot summer's done wonders for your complexion. And WHAT and long hot summer it has been. Birds and insects abounding like some steamy porno that you are both disgusted and fascinated by. Basically I have a million excuses for not updating this thing. Lack of a laptop has been a big part, but the shear hecticness that this summer has provided is almost as insane as the wildlife!

There is too much to write about so I thought I'd hit you in the optic nerve with a pictory of delight. Alas some birds like the Black and Red Kites and (Fea's...booo mist fail) lack photos but I think you'll get the jist, or just jizz.

Sexier than a floatilla of boobships. Bridled Tern; it's like the first time every. single. time.

Sallow Kitten. Amazing first Farnes record that tipified what has been an Lepidopterists wet-dream of a summer.

Guillemot jumpling commiting reverse suicide.

Tell you what these are nice birds.

Barred Straw. Bonny.

Ringlet. Check out those dirty rings.

Immature Puffin, probably around 3 years old. Having a peak with its dirty great smudgey face.

Nostalgia trip. Its autumn, rares are causing mass panic and grip. Lest we forget the elixir of breeding birds that intoxicated us this summer.

PUFFINS! 39,962....
Common is crippling. Burnished Brass making me think rude thoughts.

Plain Golden Y. Y? Not plain at all...!

I want the reflected photons from this bird in my face at all tims pleas.

Double Dart, moth'ers moth. Sublty stunning and butch!

Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet. 2nd Farnes records, closely followed by the 3rd two weeks later.

Storm Petrel. Best. Seabird. EVER!

Two Whites, one thistle. Insect porn.

Thousands of White spp. invaded the Farnes during July/August. Mainly involving Small then later Large Whites. Incredible sight. Mid-summer snow.

The ever cryptic Wall Brown demonstrating its camouflage much akin to Speckled Wood.

Black-tailed Godwits on the move. 2013 has been the best year ever for these long-legged pastel munchers.

Much Lep-porn. Not offensive.

Wader passage on the Farnes has been mental! Sanderling mega-well represented also. Great all round year this one!

Bridled Roseate combo. Piss on my face!!

Just look at it. Makes me weak at the knees each and every time.

Not technically good. But one of my favourate Bridled photos, mainly cos thats my house in the background!

Oblique Carpet. Oblique on my chest! Hair curler.

Black-tailed Godwit/Cow combo. Newton repping hard as usual.

Pectoral Sand/Yellow Wag combo. Real butt clenchingly distan views of this nugget.

Small Heath, first I have seen in a long time! Made a 6mile dune stomp more than worth while!

Migrant Hawker posing nicely for the generic 'hanging up' pic.

So now I'm back on Scilly for a short while recharging after all the excitement that has bordered many timed on the rediculous. Already jammed some nice birds and insects. Another post tom follow very shortly. I promise. No really.