Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Scillies, my first visit (30th August)

I'd planned this trip months in advance as it had been a long dream of mine to eventually set foot on the Isles of Scilly to experience the feel of self-found rarities and life on an archipelago.  I was certainly not disappointed and my visit from beginning to end was a combination of shear effort, rewarding rarities and plenty of slugging around in aery foggy graveyards at dusk, nothing short of my dream finally come true.  Anyway, the trip really kicked off from the Scillonian III which left for the stormy seas at Penzance Quay.

St Michael's Mount
Lands End

1st winter Herring Gull

1st winter Great Black-backed Gull

The large waves soon had my stomach in pain.  However, not before I had added the first bird to the yearlist, 9+ MANX SHEARWATERS.  After a very grueling journey, and still trying to recover on the mainland, I made my first wander around the Island.  Lower Moors was my first port of call, hoping for the Spotted Crake, seen only yesterday, however, despite a lot of patience, none were seen for the rest of my stay.  Only 1 Greenshank and a Snipe were viewable from the hide.  Other than my first dip, butterflies seemed to be evident in larger numbers particularly Red Admiral along with several Speckled Woods and 2 Small Tortoiseshells.  Next stop was the airfield in search of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, however, I dipped on this too (my Scilly dream was rapidly turning to dust).  Only a few Wheatear, Rock Pipits and more Greenshanks at the Porth Hellick Pool were the best I could find.  The pool also hosted 3 Dunlin, 1 Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher hovering remarkably close to the hide.  On my second trudging around the airfield (energy rapidly draining away) I finally managed to connect with my first lifer of my stay, the JUV. BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER feeding at the edge of the runway almost entirely obscured by the heat haze.  A final evening visit to Lower Moors didn't produce the Spotted Crake, but the Greenshank remained now joined by a Green Sandpiper.

Porth Cressa

Porth Hellick

juv. Buffy in the heat-haze

Carn Leh Cove

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