Thursday 1 November 2018

St Martin's, Scilly 22 - 29 Oct 2018

I love the Isles of Scilly. Ever since I first visited with birding mates in October 1989, I have returned (almost without fail) every year since, mostly October but also during the Spring and Summer too.

One thing is for sure, the birding scene has definitely changed since I first visited the islands and of course the autumn weather has dramatically changed too. In my opinion, the later you visit in October the better the chance of finding something unusual. 

What I like about St Martin's is it has bags of potential and yet it is very under visited by birders. I have seen some great birds on St Martin's over the years including Cream-coloured Courser, Snowy Owl, Pallas's Warbler and Isabelline Shrike to name just a few! 

During our stay, me and the Mrs were the only birders staying on the island for much of the time and in my book that is just fine! No mega this year, but stunning scenery, very relaxing and a feeling of anticipation that the next field you look in, could just have the biggie! Maybe next year.......

St Just from the Skybus

Beautiful St Martin's looking from Higher Town back towards Lower Town

Little Bunting - Seen on the cricket pitch for just 5 minutes before it flew off with Meadow Pipits!

Goldcrests were present in very small numbers

Great Egret - A very rare bird on Scilly but will presumably become more common.
This bird was mostly seen on St Mary's And Tresco, but was a nice surprise on St Martin's at Higher Town Bay for an afternoon

Great Egret - St Martin's 

Great Egret in the St Martin's sunshine!

Higher Town Bay looking towards the Higher Town Quay

Yellow-browed Warbler - seen almost daily from our accommodation near Sevenstones

European Reed Warbler - It was a bit of a skulker but eventually gave reasonable views to confirm it was nothing rarer!

The Sevenstones Pub is the only Pub on the island with a fabulous view from the terrace

The view from the Day Mark at the eastern end of the island

Sunrise over the Eastern Isles

Male Brambling - small numbers appeared in with the chaffinches after northerly winds

Fieldfare - Small flocks of 30+ birds appeared after the northerly winds

Redwing - feeding on the beach at Lower Town

Siberian Chiffchaff - This cold toned Chiffchaff didn't call but seems to fit a Siberian Chiff on plumage

Merlin were seen on most days including 2 birds hunting together
targeting newly arriving passerines similar to an Eleonora's Falcon strategy

Merlin - Juv/Female

The north coast taking the brunt of the northerly winds

Sunset over Samson

Song Thrush - The resident birds are so tame in contrast to the migrants that are very shy

Rainbow at the north end

Whinchat - a late bird on the 28th October

Woodlark - an uncommon and certainly not annual species on Scilly.
 This bird was seen daily at Little Arthur Farm or the Cricket Pitch Fields

Grey-cheeked Thrush - A bird that had relocated from St Agnes to St Mary's on the day we left St Martin's allowed me just
enough time to see it before boarding the Scillonian. This was my 5th GC Thrush in the UK and all have been on Scilly
in 1990, 1991, 2003, 2008 & 2018

Grey-cheeked Thrush - You looking at me!

Longships Lighthouse from the Scillonian

Common Dolphin - Just!

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