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.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Dawn til Dusky

Here's some pictures from my travels today. Might write something later but the pub is calling.


Retro-Dusky Wabler

Dusky Warbler vs. Goldcrest

Another brilliantly out of focus Dusky Warbler.

Probably my best effort at this bird which showed brilliantly, but was extremely active.

Coming to a wood near you...

Get your Woodcock out.

Female Blackcap photographed badly.

Back garden Redwings.

Anyone know what this awesome Fungi is?!?


You can just about make out two Pink-footed Geese flying away.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

B-side Birding

If October and early November were an A track then the past week or so is definitely the B-side of my birding intensity. Not through lack of wanton lust, but more due to my new employment and voluntary effort with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust. So despite birding the Dump, Old Town and Longstone areas daily I haven’t got much to show for it besides a fist full of scarce..or uncommon depending on your classification.

Calm, still, sunny...Scilly.

So birds. Firecrests have been getting gradually more and more thin on the ground post Firefest 2011 last week, or the week before I lose track. The Yellow-browed Warbler disappeared from Carreg Dhu a week ago while Black Redstarts are still bountiful with a hanger on by my garden and 1 then 2 yesterday and today within the school complex feeding together, at time fighting – quality!

I will never get bored of Yellow-browed Warblers....they are such little beansprouts!

The back garden is calming after it’s uber fest this autumn but a Serin on the 12th which flew calling from within the garden as I stood at the back door drinking tea was awesome and a major garden record (my first) to add to 3 rare pipits (OBP, Red-throated and Richard’s), a Rosefinch, Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, 3 Black Kites, Firecrest, Long-eared Owl plus all the rare insects it really has been a mega autumn for Longstone as well as Scilly!

Buteo mofo

Other birds up this end of ‘t island include 2 resident Blackcaps, 1 Chiffchaff up to 4 Woodcock, Common Buzzard, 4 Raven, daily raptors including Kestrel, Peregrne, Merlin and Sparrowhawk, usual autumnal Turdus assemblage, Grey and Pied Wagtails with the odd Skylark and group of Meadow Pipit for good measure.

Nominate form Black Redstart, none of that offensively gripping red underparts here.

The leps or should I say moths (as butterflies are becoming highly infrequent) are also still booming with baking hot night-time temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius we have been catching bits and pieces. The trapping effort is vastly reduced from 5 traps to 2 or 3 but numbers of Rusty Dot Pearl and White-speck remain in double figures while Silver Y, Rush Veneer and Diamond-backed Moth are all still being caught, albeit in small numbers. Oddly a Dingy Footman was caught a few days back, very late and had us checking our french macro guides!

And I'll leave you with some pics of recent things \I saw through my camera...

Hiding in the bushes clutching my lens watching Fiedfare. NORMAL

Mushrooms or Fingi or Toadstools.

Squiffy European Wigeon down at Porthellick