Sunday, 25 December 2011

Dubby Christmas






Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Niche off!

First off before I launch into my usual tirade of nonsensism a quick appeal:

The RSPB are once again running their campaign to collect Christmas stamps to raise money in aid of Albatross conservation. I won’t preach or rant but around 80,000 (plus MILLIONS of other Seabirds, Dolphins, Whales, Sharks, Fish, Jellyfish etc etc etc) are killed each year by various intensive fishing activities such as Long-lining (and of course Trawling) and by the simple (and EASY) act of donating stamps you can help these flagship pelagic species – a Christmas present for future generations. (Note that humans massive demand for things like Tuna is to blame but I won’t rant or preach). Anyway please help and get involved. Much love.

Sprouting Fungi spp brings some colour to the Scillonian winter.

Bonjour! Hola! And Hello. The recent lack of blogish motions is demonstrative of the lack of birding, well lack of time really. As the ever shortening days bring us closer to Crimbo, the time spent birding dwindles. HOWEVER, sorry, however I have been out and about seeing very little in the continuing megawesterly blowjob. However there’s some fungi which are loving the dampish conditions at the end of this post to keep you visually stimulated.

More colourful sprouters -  for 'mature' Fungi action scroll down.

Birdwise the usual rares are in the usual places but I’ve been concentrating on trying to eek out some sheltered/secluded spots in the hope of Nearctic randomness and generally failing. Chiffchaff and Goldcrest are still apparent in any still niche while scalm beach corners are packed with Starling, Rock Pipit and Pied Wagtail. Such a spot in Old Town held Black Redstart, 2 Kingfisher and 4 Chaffinch today although wasn’t particularly sheltered.

Amazingly, despite the hardcore blusters some Lepidotera are still on the wing. Moth Traps are producing the odd White-speck while brief sunny spells brought out a single Red Admiral in the garden – possibly a recent arrival as the ever declining temperatures (and conditions in general eg sunlight length/intensity) and pollen availability mean they all should really be hibernating but it could just be a mentalist.

Finally get these Fungi pics into your cranium. I have no idea what species they are so any ID suggestions are welcome. Most were in my garden but I’ve seen duplicate specimens across St. Marys. Birds blow my mind, but so does all wildlife in all ‘Kingdoms’ as they are known (but you knew that – sorry).

Note the munchings on it - Presumably Rodent or Fly (larvae)?

Though it was a puff ball but it has since emerged and that is its 'head'.

Until next time.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Discoraging Weather

I don’t think anyone reading this will disagree with the above statement besides its clear (and obviously topical) misspell. Of course those who are sad enough to know that Anas discors is the Latin for a certain little American duck called a Blue-winged Teal. But more on such punable tomfoolery in circa 2.364 paragraphs.

This past few days have been a mixed bag of sun, rain, cloud, wind, tornados, pseudo-tropical semi-occluded manicdepressions and the continuation of relatively mild temperatures. However the leaf fall has definately accelerated (caused by wind and stuff), thus rendering passerine action minimal.

However this mixed bag has allowed hardcore birding and guilt free lazing in equal measure and sorties into the small bad world have produced some notable highlights. The most passively interesting was the Whinchat next to my garden last Sunday which is only about 2 months behind schedule and was thoroughly inspected to eliminate any possibility the Asian form Saxicola karma rubetra.

Whinchat action.

After this brief nugget of phenological asynchrony the day was spent planting 120  Norway Spruce and salivating at the wholly unlikely possibility of churring Nightjars, singing Nightingale and Pine Hawk Moth. However news of a Blue-winged Teal down at Porthellick had me and some non-birder mates heading down for a twitch or, as it turned out, a dip.

Luckily this mini Shoveler-Teal style American dabbler was still about the next day when I called in as it grunted a few times and swam across the pool into impenetrable reed. Classic discors.

Blue-winged Teal. Vagrant. Standard.

Luckily this mini Shoveler-Teal style American dabbler was still about the next day when I called in as it grunted a few times and swam across the pool into impenetrable reed. Classic discors.

Pseudsobirds around Marys have produced little else really, a brief sound then sight of the Northern Waterthrush in the Dump Clump was tantilizing while up to 2 Woodcock, Peregrine, Buzzard, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Goldcrest have been the only garden highlights while moth traps are still producing the likes of Pearly Underwing, Dark Sword-grass, White-speck all crazy to be migrating north still and I suspect the strong NW winds that have set in will put pay to any further Lepidopteral interests.
The islands have been hit by some pretty beefy winds and intermittent rain the past week or so courtesy of some Atlantic low pressure sprinters (which actually hit further north) so having blown away/killed most birds that are already here lets hope it brings something that’s totally lost. We’ll treat it good.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Make Mine a Double

The high pressure finger wedge hybrid has kept bringing our scaly invertebrate friends to the Scillies. While numbers are gradually declining in synchrony with the temperatures most catches are still 95% migrants. As good as this is I can’t help worrying for Scilly’s resident population as this new phenomenon of quiet starts and ends to the year is becoming more frequent and has particularly dyer consequences on a small island such as this. However I could (and did) write tens of thousands of words on the subject matter. So we’ll stick to more positive news – RARES!

If mother nature made Cocktails - Double Cosmopolitan

The pick of recent catches have been 3 Cosmopolitan on 23rd and another on 4th. Other migrants have been ticking along with Rusty Dot Pearl, Rush Veneer, Dark Sword-grass, Turnip Moth, White-speck and Silver Y all regular in small numbers.

Birdwise its all relatively stable. Thursday saw the Red-breasted Flycatcher still in the Dump Clump – it takes some looking for but I havn’t dipped yet! Also saw a Dusky Warbler (one of two) at Lower Moors plus usual iffy Chiffy arrangement.

Yesterday whilst volunteering with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust managed to clock up 1 Kestrel, 2 Merlin, 3 Sparrowhawk and 1 Long-eared Owl plus Black Redstart at Porthellick Beach and the Eider was still bobbing about in the harbour looking freakier than a nun in speedos. No pics of birds or nuns unfortunately.   


Wednesday, 23 November 2011


The combination of routine and late autumn continue with some beautiful weather accompanying the high pressure finger that has now turned in to a high pressure wedge allowing the Northern Waterthrush to be forgiven if it thought Scilly was Puerto Rico due to our scolding highs of 13 Degrees C. But I didn’t see the Waterthrush ‘lol’. However FINALLY got some semi-acceptable pics of the blasted Red-breasted Flycatcher in the Dump Clump as it cocked tail this morning.

Look at those tail wedges phrrrrooooowwwaar.

Also chilling, illing and spilling in, on and around the clump were 6 Chiffs and a couple of Goldcrest. Seeing as was all like totally sunny and all I decided to hit Lower Moors on route home. It too was relatively quiet…well Jack Snipe, Dusky Warbler and Brambling plus a few Chiff isn’t exactly bad but I by no means flogged her.

Go on, bob, live it up.

Besides fogging habitats til they cry, I been doing some moth trappung yep. Not much to report besides steadily declining numbers of migrants but a late insula Shuttle-shaped Dart has been the only oddity. Plus I’ve been taking loads of Fungi photos which I will share soon cos they do look severely cool although if I ate some I’m sure they’d look ‘cooler’. NORMAL  

Dirty inbred Dart.

And for those who scrolled all the way down some BLURRY PORN - well Firecrest photos from yesterday:

They shoud be called CRIPPLE-ON-SITECRESTS

Firecrest silhouette for those who wana take crest ID to the next level.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Finger from the South

I still can’t get my head round current climatic affairs. It’s late November and still reaching the mid-teens and low-teens during day and night respectively! Perhaps this offers an explanation as to why so many eastern passage migrants/vagrants are still present making the most of leafy sallows with their associated invert fauna. Anyway I digress; I say this because last night in the mild, even muggy conditions we caught a bumper haul of moths – but more on that later. All I’ll say is a finger of high pressure came from the south, seriously.

Being Monday, the day was spent at work however this routine includes a nice wander through the Dump Clump which I was quite excite about as a Red-breasted Flycatcher had been seen in there yesterday. Initially it didn’t look good, standard Chiffchaff numbers (6+) hinted birds were about but it wasn’t until I was right up inside the clump that the ‘RB Flicker’ started calling. Lens in hand and not looking the least bit suspicious I emerged from the emergents to watch the beauty flick, glide and all that about in the tree tops. However my shots are pretty crap, due to usual lack of skill/poor light/camera issues…

Red-breasted blur.

Post work the Flycatcher was being a right little fuck and refused to show despite calling a couple of times from inside the clump. But the chooing of a ‘classic’ Siberian Chiffchaff compensated. Didn’t see much of note beyond that really, a Woodcock in  Carreg Dhu was explosive. The gardens held 3 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest while the actual garden held very little despite a rare warm feel to the air.

Of course birds aren’t unique in their appreciation of warmth, as the moths have an equally strong affinity! And last night was a bumper crop! 12 Crocidosema plebejana, 1 Palpita vitrealis, 11 Rush Veneer, 33 Rusty Dot Pearl, 1 Vestal, 3 Gem, 2 Turnip Moth, 2 Dark Sword-grass, 4 Pearly Underwing, 36 White-speck, 6 Silver Y made for an eventful morning. Here’s some pictures as they are gurt lush.

Dark Sword-grass

Silver gets better...

Three Pearly Underwing showing two colour morphs.

How good is that?! Pearly Underwing

Pearly Underwing...again.

Palpita vitrealis (I prefer unionalis - the old name)

Rush Veneer

Vestal - Big in the game!

Scilly is known for combos so here's one - Gem and Vestal

Gem - a male

One more...

Lastly this autumn seems to be a ‘boom’ year for Fungi with thousands of fruiting bodies to be found across Scilly, some of which I’ve got pictures of so will do a Fungus Bloggage soon.