Friday, 22 February 2013

Faeries and Monkies

Phwaar. Wind that bits and grinds simultaneously is never good, unless it brings birds of course..! The mild weather of last week is but a distant tan-line as now the almighty weather gods have decided to shit -5 degrees C sand on to our faces at 50mph. Cheers guys. BUT. There is always and but..and a butt, but thats another matter. So but. But this cold feel has been driven largely by the SE gales making passerine finding all but pointless so it was once again upto those 'big buggers' to entertain. And entertain they did.

It has been cold, but extra-ordinary sunny. Making the sunrise sicker than A&E on Fridays.

With crippling triplegripping txts emerging from the far north of Scotland as some jammy mates managed the two day wonder of Grosbeak and Halequin, which frankly still makes me want to vomit TCP into an open cut on myself (nb. imagery, not real). I became unemployed as the cold conditions somewhat hamper our fleshy flowers, so birding is in order.

Shiz getting real in Porthcressa as the SE gales lashed Scilly.

The great thing about islands is their multi-sided nature, with exposed and sheltered areas always readily available to the thrifty so an excursion to the sheltered Porthloo beach duly produced a Black Redstart getting pretty messed up on beach flies. While the usual asortment of Larus, Shelduck were also present.

Black Red. Like the notebook..kinda.

Further along the coast I finally caught up with the 'adult' Iceland Gull which was hanging out in the brute-club of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls on Porthmellon. While after seeing my first Lesser Black-backed Gulls over a week ago on Newford Island, numbers on the aforementioned beach hit 13 today. It begins....

Bright sunlight creating a greyer looking mantle.

Pretty nice bird though! Silver as feck!

Token LBBG shot. They are here.

This northern monkey of a gull is actually far less advanced plumage-wise than it seems and today in the dull conditions seemed far more towards the 3rd winter/summer end of the spectrum than adult. As if that wasn't enough white-winged madness for one day a skate mission was interrupted by 3 Med Gulls playing in the surf at Old Town, including an eye-bleedingly good adult summer (which is ringed, but doesn't seem to be darviked). I went down today and stuck my lens in their southern faery personal spaces:

Seriously good looking Gull.

Finally here's an obligatory pic of the Ring-necked Ducks that now seem to have pissed off back to Tresco, presumably on account f the raging SE winds lashing the pool along with a Jack Snipe from earlier today at Lower Moors.

Bye bye.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Funny how when you keep putting off blogging more and more stuff happens til you're veritably constipated with material, happenings, 'sources' and so on. In short it's been a while and there's been a fair bit seen birdwise during this interim, which I shall now 'lay it down on ya' like a real old time G.

Check out those particles!

A stormy period made everything go nuts including the sand up at Bar Point where a wander round those ends produced the customary Great Big F##k Off Northern Divers are still hanging out looking hard while the sheltered coastlines held little beside Little Egret, Whimbrel and Common Gull. No white-wingers as was hoped..
Little Egret 'arty' shot, notice how I used blur to accentuate the ghost like properties of this species...ahem

Pretty rare shot of a Sparrowhawk right there, one of the regular duo rounds there ere parts.

Besides my largely maritime bias of late when it came to birding my internal affairs have been some of the most productive affairs with a casual cut through Holy Vale providing views of Long-eared Owl at 0ft in daylight as it flushed from besides the path, what a silent stonker! Meanwhile at Longstone...our efforts came good with 2 Firecrest spending a short time feeding in the sun providing, need I say it, #Crippling views!

Deary me that's a good looking bird.

With cold northerlies dominating birdlife seemed to be almost non-existent across the St. Marys so it was down to Lower Moors for some avian anomalies with 11 Snipe probing the scrapes a welcome sight after such high water levels recently. But its winter! What's your highlight?! A warbler! Obviously. There seems to be 'several' Siberian Chiffs around of which I've maybe seen a couple, and they're good. Really freaking proper!

If that was in September would people be shouting Greenish?

My final paragraph refers to this afternoons activities, as with some free time I decided to go dip on white-wingers for the nth time down at Porthloo/Shark's Pit and after some persistent (not desperate ahem) scanning a hulk emerged! And quickly crystallised into a Glaucous Gull in my camera viewfinder. Just a bloody well to as I only had my bins and the bird was a distant white speck, which had it not flown, I would never have seen due to rocks and gulls and me being unobservant etc. Anyway the pics below are up to and including 96x magnification so won't win any prizes. But you can see how monster it is! And how short the primary projection is, how large the bill is blah blah..

Presumably the 'immature' seen a couple of weeks back, this bird looks to probably be 2nd winter ish, hope it sticks around and lets me eyeball it again!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Running Rings

What a rotund roundabout of a week or so. Admittedly not a great deal of birding has been done besides passive city based musings as Grey Wags pinged over on so on. However. OOsh! I'm back from 'the circuit' and have been enjoying the avian staples of this Scillonian winter.

Mounts Bay looking stormy on day two of my attempt to get home!

Traditionally a more quiet end of the year down in these parts where you really do notice (or not as the case may be) the distinct lack of wintering wildfowl/waders/gulls/thrushes etc, apart from the odd cold weather provoked influx. Luckily Scilly is like well mega for oddities, and the track record of lovely exotic winterers continues with the continued presence of the 'Porthellick Amalgamation' of 3 Ring-necked Ducks and 6 Greenland White-fronted Geese; all of which arrived last autumn and since cosied down on our brackish glory hole. I went down and took loads of photos, here's a few to give a 'feel' for the 'atmosphere' because they're 'crap':

Not often you see such Athya diversity here - multistonk!

Honk if you want to go faster!

Look at those phragmites! Wow!

They really are a lovely looking lump!

Green;and White-front - Ring-necked Duck combo photo.

That drake is FIT!

They can fly, because they are birds. And also have wings.

Finally a Grey Wag being massively rare and very beautiful.

And with that I bid you a due, with strong NW winds expected over night and the following days, with gust reaching 80pmh, or severe storm force 'Vindaloo' as it's affectionately known the possibility of something white is tantalising, Gyr? Snowy Owl? Ross' Gull? Gosh I'm feeling giddy thinking about it!