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Isles of Scilly Pelagic Weekend 8-11 August 2008

Isles of Scilly Pelagics/Scillonian Crossings
all images taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 with x3 converter
(this camera is for sale see News page in future)

Boat trips/Pelagic were organised by Scilly Pelagics, my totals from memory were…

Scillonian Crossing Penzance to St Mary’s 8 August 2008
20 Storm Petrel, Sunfish 1, Cory’s Shearwater 1 following trawler, Arctic Skua 1, Bonxie 2, Balearic Shearwater 1 with 3 Manx Shearwater (20 in total), adult Sabine’s Gull on the sea, 1 Sooty Shearwater plus commoner seabirds.

Evening Shark fishing pelagic from St Mary’s on the Sapphire
Storm Petrel 30, Common Terns 6, Bonxie 2, Manx Shearwater 3.

9 August 2008 Birder’s Pelagic from St Mary’s on the Sapphire
Half the lads went on this one the other half spent a couple of hours seawatching from Peninis Head on St Mary’s and the rest of the day in the Atlantic Inn and Mermaid Inn with a nightcap in the Bishop and Wolf Inn (7 species of ale tried). On the boat an adult Sabine’s Gull followed the boat for 20 mins, 500 Storm Petrel, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 5 Common Dolphin were bowriding, 2 Little Egret and a Bar-tailed Godwit were seen.

Sunday 10 August 2008 Birders Pelagic from St Mary’s aboard the Sapphire
2 Sooty Shearwater, 400 Storm Petrel, 5 Manx Shearwater, 2-5 Great Shearwater, 2 Bonxie and commoner seabirds.

Scillonian Crossing St Mary’s to Penzance 11 August 2008
2 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover, Bottle-nosed Dolphin 1, Common Dolphin 1+, Common Tern 2, Great Shearwater 1 close views near Cornwall, 25 Manx, 1 and 3 Balearic Shearwater all off the Cornish coast, 40 Storm Petrel, adult Sabine’s Gull, a few large sherwater sp and commoner seabirds.

Four of the lads went on another morning pelagic with more seabirds seen.

The birds……

Great Shearwater MJM

Great Shearwater, 10 August 2008 MJM (both of above)

Gannet MJM

Gannet MJM

Gannets MJMcGill (preceding two images)

Great Black-backed Gulls in hot pursuit MJM

Now for the Stormie-fest….all images by MJMcGill

At one point a hundred were behing the boat, we logged 300-400 on 9/10th and they were feeding just 2-3ft from the boat and to our complete joy, a constant presence. I noted one with a hook through it’s wing which fed without any problem and a ringed bird. One behavioural trait I have never witnessed before was to see them diving with wings open and swimming underwater after the food. On surfacing with wings held open they resumed full flight with no effort. The delicate way they picked the preferred pieces of fish from our bait was also very interesting to see.

These incredible birds survive in this harsh world and are so tuned into it, this is the only way I know of getting close and being part of it. Taking into account the general birding and close Great Shearwaters, they were probably the highlight for me.

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies MJMcGill

Stormies

The weekend was organised by Paul Marshall with the aim of getting a bunch of us together and to do a bit of birding. I organised the last one in 2000 where we did also see 2-3 Wilson’s Petrels only 10-15ft from the boat. No luck this time but it was still a set of quality pelagics with many of the same crowd.

Thanks to Paul for sorting it all out, I appreciate it and to all of my mates that attended (all nine of you) for what was for me a very relaxing long weekend and a right good laugh. I hope this set of images reminds you of the spectacular birding we witnessed. Thanks to the Scilly Pelagics team and the Crew of the Sapphire. To anyone thinking of going I hope these images insipre you to do so. I can put a trip together next year if anyone is interested or alternatively I have places on the proposed Lyme Bay Pelagic on 30 August 2008, I hope to get more images of these birds and Balearic Shearwater and more, see the News page for details.

 

 

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Martin

at 9:19 pm

1-31 August 2008 blog and sightings

Some of today’s sightings and images I took on Landrover safari’s

Dunlin on Severn Mud MJM

Hobby in the WWT Slimbridge 100 Acre MJM

Juvenile Sanderling (right) and Dunlin MJM

31 August 2008 After my three year old responded to yeasterday by waking me at 0500 I went in early and searched for the plover again today but no sign, a full list of sightings will appear on the WWT site tommorow. Highlights here today included juvenile Little-ringed Plover, juvenile Little Stint, Hobbies calling and flying in tandem, 2 Common Whitethroat and the small waders when we could eventually see them (very foggy until 1100). I was pleased to hear from Holden Tower watchers that the preparation work for attracting waders into the scrape that I did  last week has worked…nine species of wader present over the tide!!!!

Lots of dragonfly activity too.

After leaving work I stopped off at Townfield Lake, Frampton at 1710 and saw 2 adult and 2 juvenile Black Terns. I also called in at Saul Warth to have a look for a stint sp seen in flight only by RGB (county recorder) and eventually found it, albeit in flight with Snipe, it called and flew around a few times before heading off East. It looked and sounded like Little Stint to me but well worth a look after the recent weather. c30 Black-tailed Godwit, 11+ Ruff (all juveniles), 3 Greenshank, 3+ Green Sandpiper, 50 Snipe and stacks of duck were all present.

It is worth a look at Mike King’s Gloster Birder site, the Osprey at Fairford is a Loch Garten bird, I am tempted to go and have look at htis bird myself as it is such a great connection with this landmark ornithological site. See link below.

http://www.birder.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ 

Juvenile Kentish Plover (2nd from Left) with juvenile and adult Ringed Plover and Dunlin. The open faced and breasted appearance, thin bill and slightly paler tones all show why it stands out in a crowd. MJMcGill. Also an image of it on it’s own and among the other waders present. This is only the second time I have seen this species in Gloucestershire in the autumn after I had a party of four in 1999, I picked up one on the morning of 23rd September which rose to four by the end of the day, one stayed to the 25th. I think this is the first in the county since then.

30 August 2008 I went in early to WWT (rare on my day off) as things looked good weather wise for a decent bird. I began by getting my own back on my three year old Maisie by waking her early for a change. We both went out looking for birds at WWT and met up with JSL. I decided to go to the North end and scan from there and leave JSL to search the wader roost on the incoming tide. After and hour or so I headed back toward JSL and as I approached him got a call that a juvenile Kentish Plover was in the roost. I will leave him to update the WWT site with all the totals. The waders were great with parties of Sanderling, Greenshank, Knot, Grey Plover, Ruff and 2 Little Stint.

29 August 2008 A couple of hours of quality birding around Saul Warth produced a good number of birds, 2 Kestrel,  1 Little Egret, 7 Buzzard, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 10 Green Sandpiper, 3-4 juvenile Greenshank, 1 juvenile Spotted Redshank, 10 Redshank, 35 Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Lapwing, 3-4 juvenile Ruff, 50 Snipe (1 drumming), 45 Gadwall, 25 Shoveler, 40 Teal, 8 Wigeon, 3 Whinchat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat and Ruddy and Common Darters and 2 Migrant Hawkers all before 1000. JSL had a Common Scoter which was out on the tide (I had to use my imagination due to distance and mist) and DBP had WWT ‘s first Spotted Flycatcher of the year. See WWT website for details.

I also had a marvellous Southern Hawker patrolling my garden all evening.

28 August 2008 With a warmer day it was good to see a few dragonflies on the wing, a pair of Black-tailed Skimmer were in a wheel, 1 Brown Hawker and 5 Migrant Hawker and Common Darters c10 were all seen around the South Finger. Blue tailed and Common Blue Damselflies were also seen in small number <ten each. I did not get to do any birding or really see anything much different to the usual.

In the last few days flocks of Brent Geese, 4 in Lothian, 22 on Skye and 12 in Cornwall (latter two were Light-bellied) have been seen and 12 Pink-footed Geese were seen in flight in Lancashire. Many American birds are turning up with Co Cork, Ireland being the hotspot with 2 Yellow Warbler, Northern Waterthrush and Solitary Sandpiper arriving, all three species can be seen on Cape Clear Island. The Buff-breasted and Baird’s Sandpipers are also on show. See the link for images of these great birds. I have seen Solitary Sandpiper on St Mary’s Isles of Scilly and Northern Waterthrush at Portland Bird Obs.

http://www.surfbirds.com/cgi-bin/gallery/display.cgi?gallery=gallery9

27 August 2008 Southern Hawker and 4 Migrant Hawker seen at the back of South Lake/South Finger today. I did see a couple of Lesser Whitethroat at the Knott Hide but things were quiet around the scrapes/hides, this will change next week with tides etc.

24-26 August 2008  A few waders of note around WWT, see the website for details.

23 August 2008 No birding today unless I get a call about a rarity.

My daughter Maisie deerstalking (Sika fawn) at Arne RSPB

21-22 August 2008 I spent a couple of days staying in Bournemouth with the family, glorious sunshine, sandcastles and sea were all enjoyed. Despite spending much of our time around Poole and Christchurch Harbours and the New Forest I did not do any birding, I did see two male and a female Keeled Skimmer at Hatchet Pond in the New Forest and 3 male Emerald Damselflies at the Arne RSPB during a walk.

20 August 2008 All sightings from WWT are on the website, I went in early to leave early for the South Coast.

19 August 2008 A day with some great Gloucestershire birding. I went in earlier to take advantage of the rapidly incoming tide and picked up a Storm Petrel fluttering over the sands as soon as I lifted my bins at Middle Point. I did see this one or another at c0910 and soon after that JSL spotted a juvenile Shag, I picked up a party of three and then we had a fifth which were all juveniles. Three Arctic Terns flew down, 5 Knot and about 150 small waders were also present. P Bowerman had three Stormies at Severn Beach before us.

After getting home I was getting calls concerning an American wader at Coombe Hill GWT, I headed off after being picked up by NRS and en-route got a call that it was a Stilt Sandpiper, first for Gloucestershire (Les Brown saw it last Friday but it was flushed by walkers, he initially thought it may have been a Long-billed Dowitcher, better views were had today by L Skipp and others and it was positivley id’d and news spread, thanks guys). This is a great bird to drop into this newly created reserve and a bit of icing to go with the good breeding and wintering success, we all had good views before the light began to fade. A Wood Sandpiper, 5+ Green Sandpiper, Curlews and Black-tailed Godwits plus 2 Wheatears were on show. The rare visitor was flushed by a Sparrowhawk just after 2000 and may have flown to the Long Pool on the same reserve. Parking/turning will be very difficult as there is only room for 15 cars, finding a safe place on the A38 and a walk down the lane may be a better alternative

Stilt Sandpiper in silouhette with Black-tailed Godwit

 

Blackcap at the Holden Tower WWT Slimbridge, MJM

Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin and Ringed Plover WWT MJM

18 August 2008 At WWT a Clouded Yellow near Middle Point was a first of the year for me. Notable birds that I saw were male Redstart, 2 Whitethroat, Little Stint and 3 Curlew Sandpiper.

See http://www.wwt.org.uk/news/213/sightings.html for full list of sightings.

An evening walk and the Red-necked Phalarope at Saul Warth was still busy.

17 August 2008 Problems with updating the WWT website will hopefully be sorted tommorow. At WWT my personal highlight was a moulting adult Black Tern on South Lake, I may have seen two over the estuary earlier in the day and at least 7 Commic Tern were around over high tide. For waders 4 Knot, 2 adult Grey Plover, 4 Sanderling, 150 Dunlin and 50 Ringed Plover were about, 16 Wheatear and 4 Whinchat were also notable. Ana dult and juvenile Spotted Redshank, Ruff and Black-tailed Godwit remain among the Redshank flock. Lesser Whitethroat was at the Knott Hide. Nice to see that vagrants are arriving on the east coast and northern islands.

16 August 2008 A couple of Swift were over the Whitminster cricket pitch.

15 August 2008 A Stock Dove over the garden was an addition to the list.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus intermedius ? (left bird) with Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus graellsii on the Dumbles edge 14 August 2008 MJM.

14 August 2008 Lots of waders on the estuary following the weather last night. See the WWT link for details. JSL and I had the Gannet again on the estuary and it floated out on the tide, P Taylor had it further downstream later. On the way home I called in at Saul Warth to see an adult Red-necked Phalarope (found by Alan Baxter), hard viewing as it was into the light but still nice to see. A Garganey was also present. I also saw an adult eclipse Garganey in the 100 Acre whilst I was tractor mowing early afternoon.

 

13 August 2008 The Goshawk was again over the grounds today. Lower numbers of waders were about the scrapes despite the torrential rain. In the evening I got a call from JSL who had been tipped off to the presence of Storm Petrels by Paul Bowerman at Severn Beach. He saw one past Middle Point along with a Gannet. I saw the Gannet floating on the tide and we had a pale phase Arctic Skua harass a gull before heading downstream. The heavy rain made it impossible to look through optics for 20 mins and only the Gannet could be found after but an exhausted Fulmar was floating offshore. Small flocks of Ringed Plover and Dunlin were migrating through and 7 and 2 Red Knot and 3 Turnstone also headed S. Three Wheatear and a Whimbrel were also seen. After I left for home Neil Smart saw a Storm Petrel which was killed by the immature gulls.

12 August 2008 A few birds around the scrapes at WWT but the insects steal the show. I did see a Goshawk over the Tack Piece and JSL noted it too.

8-11 August 2008 A very early start and late return to get to the Isles of Scilly for a weekend of pelagics, camping in gales and a few beers. See the trip reports section for detail.

Great Shearwater off Scilly MJM.

7 August 2008 Much the same at WWT with plenty of waders about and an increase in Teal. At lunchtime a look on the estuary produced 121 Dunlin, 3 Sanderling, 15 Ringed Plover and 3 Red Knot. I have spent much of this week mowing/strimming to improve viewing and open up areas to see various wildlife. On the Martin Smith Hide marsh scrape I noted a male Broad-bodied Chaser, Black -tailed Skimmer and Common Darter. There are open areas for you to find the Spotted Crake now. Also two Migrant Hawker were hunting by the feeding station.

http://www.wwt.org.uk/news/213/sightings.html for WWT sightings.

6 August 2008 The Oystercatchers on the Rushy are very mobile now (two adults and two fledged juveniles)

5 August 2008 At Saul Warth this morning I saw 4 Greenshank, 10+ Green Sandpiper, 37+ Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Ruff, 4 Redshank and a singing Willow Warbler.

See http://www.wwt.org.uk/news/213/sightings.html for my sightings during the morning rounds at WWT (highlight being 2 juvenile Wood Sandpipers) plus 23 Sanderling, 1 Whimbrel, a Golden Plover, a Yellow Wagtail on the Tack Piece among cattle and a Hobby took a Swallow only 10 ft from me, I could hear the whack clearly. I forgot to mention that 2 Spotted Redshank were on the South Lake yesterday and again today.

4 August 2008 Another wader day at WWT, I saw a good variety of birds on rounds/safari. South Lake is very good with a Wood Sandpiper there as well. A juvenile Arctic Tern flew downriver this afternoon, 2 Sanderling and 28 Black-tailed Godwit were on the mud and the 5 Whinchat were still in the 100 Acre.

Black-tailed Godwit, WWT South Lake MJM

3 August 2008 Lots of waders at WWT, a total of 17 species logged plus 5 Whinchats, 2 Wheatear, 2 Hobby, 3 Turnstone, 1 Sanderling, 1 Red Knot, 3 Yellow-legged Gull and a Wood Sandpiper flew over S. At home I finally added Hobby to my garden list and saw it again whilst playing cricket over the road. A Swift also flew over heading S.

2 August 2008 Whilst playing cricket at Bisley, Stroud I noted a Hobby,  a Swift, 11 Pied Wagtail and 50 Starling, all this and still concentrating on fielding.

1 August 2008 An hour or so around Saul Warth was very pleasant indeed. I logged a decent haul of birds despite the constant attention of a female Sparrowhawk that is feeding young in the copse east side of the canal. The adult breeding plumage Curlew Sandpiper was very nice, one Wood Sandpiper, 6 Green Sandpiper, 5 Greenshank, 70 Dunlin, 70 Redshank (including 2 short billed and spangled juveniles that have been reared here), 8 Black-tailed Godwit (inc first juv of the year), 3 Snipe, (one started drumming after the hawk flushed it!) 2 Ruff, 5 Little-ringed Plover (1 adult, 4 juveniles), 3 Garganey (juveniles), 10 Teal, 20 Shoveler, 40 Gadwall.I did hear from other birders that 3 Wood Sanpiper were seen.

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Martin

at 11:08 am