Saturday, November 9, 2019

Titchwell RSPB

A first and well overdue visit to Titchwell RSPB of the year, one of the organisations finest flagship reserves.

The day started cold and clear, and with light winds, it made for a pleasant walk round the reserve.

It was generally quiet with the frenzy of autumn migration now appearing to have reached a natural decline.  On the freshmarsh, the lazy autumn light did nothing to enthuse the waders that roosted peacefully but for the occasional frenzied aerial movement evading in most cases, nothing in particular.  A Merlin was seen cruising through so perhaps the simultaneous burst of activity was not entirely without reason.

Groups of Avocet, Common Redshank, Golden Plover, and Dunlin were standard fare with Black-tailed Godwit, a handful of Knot, decent numbers of Ruff, Curlew and a few Grey Plover providing the wader assortment.

Along the shoreline, the tide began to rush in.  Active groups of Bar-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher, Sanderling, and Turnstone added more variety.

The sea was generally quiet with only Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, a couple of Guillemot, and two Red-throated Diver past at the end of the day.

A small flock of Lesser Redpoll, a few Siskin rounded off a really lovely day.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Broom East GPs

Some decent variety today but wildfowl numbers seem to have settled now albeit with minor fluctuations.  The following minimum counts were;

44 Gadwall
41 Wigeon
26 Teal
1 Shoveler
2 Common Pochard
2 Tufted Duck
1 Great Crested Grebe

An approximate count of 270 Lapwing were circling the area and 37 high flying Golden Plover were noted headed west.

Three Common Snipe roosted on the large island and there was a decent congregation of larids that included 23 Common Gull, 22 Lesser black backed Gull, and four Herring Gull.

A female Sparrowhawk flew through as did four Redwing.

Around 40 Skylark were present again and a pair of Stonechat were active near the pond.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fowlmere RSPB / Broom East GPs

A bit of a change today, deciding to head over to my closest RSPB reserve at Fowlmere.

It was generally very quiet but the Barn Owl showed really well as it sat in its nesting box viewed from the Reedbed hide.

A female Bullfinch and a Treecreeper were seen on the walk round.

In the afternoon, I headed over to Broom where over 300 Lapwing passed overhead, none of which stopped to settle on the pits.

I carried out minimum counts of the wildfowl with the following results:

51 Wigeon
48 Gadwall
37 Teal
5 Shoveler
4 Common Pochard
3 Little Grebe

Also of note were five Skylark, two Yellowhammer, a single Common Snipe, and 15 Common Gull.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Broom East GPs

Another productive day with plenty of interest.

The feeling of Winter was palpable today with a real changing of the guard.  Wigeon numbers were slightly higher today with 42 counted on the pit.

Five Common Snipe and a paltry nine Lapwing were the only waders of note.  Gull numbers have increased with 85 Black-headed Gull and two Common Gull resting on the exposed mud.

There was plenty of activity over the fields with encouraging numbers of at least 40 very flighty Skylark, three Stonechat present in the tall ruderal, a single Yellowhammer, and 19 Fieldfare over.

A Grey Wagtail flew onto the muddy fringes.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Broom East GPs

It's been a few weeks since visiting my new patch and it was interesting to see an increase in wildfowl.

At least 45 Wigeon were present on the pits with six Shoveler.  There were some real highlights that included 120 Lapwing and 70 Golden Plover passing overhead.

A Common Snipe and Little Egret were present on the islands.

The main highlight was a juvenile Peregrine that flew in at speed and pinned a Teal, tearing chunks out of it while it despairingly attempted to wriggle free.  Nature at its savage best.

Scillies Roundup

Great Northern Diver - one drifting off Porthcressa Bay
Gannet - common offshore
Cormorant - 1 off Porthloo, and 1 off Penninis Head
Shag - Common around the islands
Little Egret - 1 in Old Town bay and a few offshore
Grey Heron - a few around St. Mary's
Mute Swan - 2 on Great Pool - Tresco
Mandarin - female on Porth Hellick
Blue-winged Teal - 1st winter on Porth Hellick
Pink-footed Goose - 2 flying over Porth Hellick
Gadwall - Great Pool - Tresco
Teal - present on Porth Hellick and Great Pool Tresco
Green-winged Teal - dodgy putative juvenile on Newford Duckpond
Mallard - common around the island
Honey Buzzard - one over Telegraph while attempting to locate the YB Cuckoo
Sparrowhawk - a couple of sightings on St. Mary's
Kestrel - 1 or 2 seen daily
Peregrine - a couple of sightings on St. Mary's and one on St. Martin's
Pheasant - a couple seen on St. Mary's
Water Rail - a few heard and one seen from ISBG hide Lower Moors
Spotted Crake - incredibly confiding individual Lower Moors
Moorhen - seen regularly
Coot - Great Pool - Tresco
Oystercatcher - common wader
Ringed Plover - a few seen on St. Mary's
Dotterel - distant bird on the airfield at St. Mary's
Sanderling - small groups seen on 'the roads' crossing to St. Agnes
White-rumped Sandpiper - one at Toll's Porth
Common Snipe - common on the marshes St. Mary's
Bar-tailed Godwit - 3 at Point Bar St. Mary's
Whimbrel - 1 on Old Town bay, 9 seen on Point Bar St. Mary's
Curlew - reasonably common along the coastline
Common Sandpiper - 1 seen in Old Town bay
Turnstone - small groups seen occasionally on St. Mary's and St. Agnes
Mediterranean Gull - small group in Porthcressa Bay
Black-headed Gull - common offshore
Lesser black-backed Gull - a few seen offshore
Great black-backed Gull - common offshore
Sandwich Tern - 3 seen in Porthcressa Bay
Feral Pigeon - small groups
Woodpigeon - common
Collared Dove - common
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - 1 seen off Telegraph
Turtle Dove - 1 in Dump Clump
Kingfisher - seen twice in Old Town bay
Wryneck - 1 seen in Old Town Churchyard
Short-toed Lark - 1 seen at the Heliport - Tresco
Skylark - 1 on Tresco and 1 on St. Martin's, and 2 on the final day on Penninis
Swallow - high count of 30 over Penninis
House Martin - small group over Lower Moors
Meadow Pipit - common and widespread
Red-throated Pipit - stunning adult on Penninis
Rock Pipit - common
Grey Wagtail - a few seen
White Wagtail - high count of 9 on Penninis
Wren - common
Dunnock - common
Robin - common
Common Redstart - one seen along Penninis Trail
Whinchat - 2 on St. Mary's, 1 on St. Martin's
Stonechat - common
Northern Wheatear - a few scattered along the cliffs on St. Mary's
Blackbird - common
Song Thrush - common
Redwing - just a single bird over St. Martin's, then around 150 over Penninis Head on final morning
Sedge Warbler - 1 seen at Shooters Pool
Melodious Warbler - self found in Old Town churchyard
Blackcap - only a handful seen, 2 in Carreg Dhu
Yellow-browed Warbler - 2 in Standing Stones field, 1 on St. Martin's by Cricket pitch
Arctic Warbler - 1 seen on St. Agnes
Willow Warbler - 1 on St. Martin's, 1 along Holy Vale trail
Goldcrest - common and widespread
Firecrest - 2 in Carreg Dhu
Spotted Flycatcher - 2 in Dump Clump, 1 in Old Town churchyard
Pied Flycatcher - 1 in elms along Sandy Lane
Great Tit - common
Blue Tit - common
Red-backed Shrike - juvenile in field behind Old Town churchyard
Red-eyed Vireo - self found on Penninis coastal trail
Carrion Crow - common
Raven - 2 on St. Martin's
Starling - common
House Sparrow - common
Chaffinch - small groups on St. Mary's
Goldfinch - small groups on St. Mary's
Siskin - at least 4 at Carreg Dhu
Linnet - small groups on St. Mary's
Lapland Bunting - 1 on golf course
Snow Bunting - 1 on Penninis Head
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - 1 first-winter male on St. Martin's

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Scillies - Day Fifteen

An interesting marked change in the weather with the moderate south-westerlies replaced by a cool northerly breeze.  This was the final morning of the trip and there was real interest in the air with the first proper arrival of winter thrushes.  Large flocks of Redwing coursed overhead emitting their diagnostic 'seep' calls as they moved over Penninis Head.  Pipits and Larks were also conspicuous with this Skylark hitting ground with a couple more passing through.

You just felt that if these northerlies persisted, the coming week could be an interesting one.  It makes it so frustrating to leave.

These islands definitely have a hold on me.  I cannot emphasise more just how magical they are.


flocks of Redwing passing over Penninis Head

View from Penninis