Tuesday, 13 October 2020

St Martin's, Scilly 2 - 9 Oct 2020

Helen and I have recently returned from another great week on the Isles of Scilly and as usual we spent the whole week on our favourite island of St Martin's! After last year's excitement of finding a Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the island (13/10/19) as well as a Buff-bellied Pipit (14/10/19 accepted as the same bird from St Mary's 9/10/19) I was preparing myself for far less excitement this year!

The first three days consisted of relentless buffeting N/NW winds (not the best for Scilly) and even when they veered to the West the weather system seemed to be more localised rather than the hoped for winds from further afield. However, on the morning of the 7th the wind finally abated and I enjoyed a lovely calm morning birding the north end of St Martin's whilst Helen was out running. On my return to meet Helen for coffee, I did some "pishing" in an area that I had been checking daily and out popped a Red-eyed Vireo! Though not as rare as the Grosbeak, I was made up finding another Yank passerine and it signalled the the start of the Yanks to the South West! A Swainson's Thrush was found on St Mary's later that day and a Black-and-White Warbler on Tresco and another REV in Cornwall the following day! Quite impressive from a weather system that on the face of it, did not look that impressive.

Aside from the excitement of the Vireo, it was another great week on this beautiful island. 
I personally clocked up 65 miles of walking on the island and it is certainly a special place to both of us. I very much look forward to returning very soon!
My first view of the Red-eyed Vireo, St Martin's

Red-eyed Vireo, St Martin's

The red dot marks the spot I first found it!

Looking across to the Eastern Isles from Higher Town

A very distinctive "grey" Meadow Pipit was frequenting the Cricket Pitch.
Thought to be an Icelandic bird?

This beautiful Merlin was out hunting at dusk near Higher Town

Counts of up to 70+ Sanderling on the beaches

Looking west from the Day Mark

One of 3 Whicnchats present on the island

Yellow-browed Warbler - a daily species with 2 birds on the island

Yellow-browed Warbler, St Martin's

Part of a small flock of Siskin in Lawrence's Bay fields

Part of a small flock of Siskin in Lawrence's Bay fields

Brown Rat, St Martin's. Thankfully eradicated from St Agnes & Gugh now as well as some other uninhabited islands with key seabird breeding areas
Lesser White-tooted Shrew, St Martin's. Also known as "Scilly" Shrew though in the UK it is also found on the island of Jersey and Sark too.

Firecrest, St Martin's

A very striking Willow Warbler, presumably a "Northern" acredula 
 
Same Willow Warbler as above, not quite as striking when in the sun

Yellow-browed Warbler, St Martin's

Yellow-browed Warbler

Sunset over Tresco

Sunset from the Scillonian with Tater-du Lighthouse


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