Scillies - 7th to 15th October 2022

The season of eyestripes and wingbars and for me, there's no better place for it but the Scillies.  Relying on the benevolence of favourable weather systems and the comfort of home-made cake and coffee, the eight days on the Isles were as sublime as they always are.


Blackburnian warbler - probably the top of the list of UK birding experiences from the anxious wait on tides to seeing this nearctic vagrant hawk for insects within touching distance. The assembled crowd numbering in excess of 300 were respectful and equally glowing in reverence to this mighty nearctic vagrant.  Truly unprecedented, undeniably breathtaking.


Swainson's thrush
American buff-bellied pipit
Radde's warbler
Barred warbler
Melodious warbler
Cory's shearwater
Great shearwater
Sooty shearwater


1. Mute Swan
Five on the Great Pool, Bryher on the 14th.

2. Fulmar
One flew past during the pelagic on the 11th.

3. Cory's Shearwater
Estimated count of 140 associating with other seabirds as part of a feeding frenzy.

4. Great Shearwater
Estimated count of 40 during the pelagic.

5. Sooty Shearwater
Three seen from the pelagic on the 11th.


6. Wigeon
One at Porth Hellick on the 10th

7. Gadwall
Good numbers on Great Pool Tresco on the 8th, a few also on Porth Hellick on the 10th. 

8. Mallard
Seen on Great Pool Tresco, Porth Hellick and off Porthcressa.

9. Great northern diver
Found a moulting adult male on Porthcressa Bay on the 10th.

10. Gannet
Plenty passing by offshore and many on the pelagic.

11. Shag
Plenty offshore and on rocks around the island.

12. Grey heron
Frequently seen, Lower Moors, Old Town Bay, etc.

13. Cattle egret
One seen distantly from Pilots Retreat on the 7th.

14. Little egret
Frequently seen on Old Town Bay.

15. Sparrowhawk
Frequently seen around St. Mary's with two together on the 10th.

16. Kestrel
Frequently seen around the Isles.

17. Merlin
One flew low over Hugh Town on the 10th.

18. Water rail
One seen and a few calling around Great Pool Tresco on the 8th.

19. Moorhen
Seen on Great Pool Tresco and Porth Hellick.

20. Coot
Good number on the Great Pool Tresco on the 8th.

21. Oystercatcher
Frequently seen around St. Mary's.

22. Ringed plover
Around 15 in Porth Hellick bay.

23. Grey plover
One in Porth Hellick bay on the 10th.

24. Common sandpiper
One along beach at Porthloo on the 12th.

25. Curlew sandpiper
One on Great Pool Tresco on the 8th.

26. Dunlin
A group of around 20 seen from the boat to Bryher on the 14th.

27. Common snipe
A minimum of 11 on Porth Hellick on the 10th.

28. Jack snipe
One with common snipe at Porth Hellick on the 10th.

29. Black-tailed godwit
One on Great Pool Tresco on the 8th.

30. Curlew
A few at low tide on Tresco on the 8th and one over Old Town Bay on the 9th.

31. Greenshank
Frequently seen in Old Town bay.

32. Redshank
Two on Great Pool Tresco on the 8th.

33. Great skua
Two during the pelagic on the 11th.

34. Black-headed gull
Infrequently seen flying over St. Mary's.

35. Mediterranean Gull
One during the pelagic on the 11th.

36. Kittiwake
A few seen during the pelagic.

37. Great black-backed gull
Plenty offshore.

38. Lesser black backed gull
Seen on a couple of occasions around Penninis and Giants Castle.

39. Herring gull
A few seen offshore and in coastal areas.

40. Sandwich tern
Three in Hugh Town bay on the 8th.

41. Guillemot
Small numbers during the pelagic on the 11th.

42. Razorbill
Small numbers during the pelagic on the 11th.

43. Rock dove (Feral pigeon)
Small groups seen throughout the trip.

44. Collared dove
Common and widespread.

45. Woodpigeon
A few seen on Penninis Head.

46. Kingfisher
Seen frequently in Old Town bay and the Standing Stones field pond.

47. Wryneck
One incredibly confiding bird on Tresco by the Flying Boat Cafe on the 8th.

48. Skylark
Two flying over Standing Stones field on the 9th.

49. Swallow
Frequently seen around the Isles.

50. House martin
Frequently seen but a notable influx on the 10th.

51. Sand martin
One flying through Porth Hellick on the 13th and two over the Old Town Churchyard on the 15th.

52. Buff-bellied pipit (rubecens)
One at Carn Friars on the 10th.

53. Meadow pipit
Common and widespread.

54. Rock pipit
Frequent along the coast.

55. Tree Pipit
One in pines on the Garrison on the 11th.

56. Grey wagtail
One calling over Charrag Dhu on the 10th, and another over Penninis on the 15th.

57. Pied wagtail
Groups of around 15 at the Riding Centre.

58. Yellow wagtail
One at the Riding Centre on the 13th.

59. Wren
Common and widespread.

60. Dunnock
Frequently seen.

61. Robin
Common and widespread.

62. Black redstart
One on rocks at Porth Minnick on the 10th and another along Trench Lane on the 14th.

63. Common redstart
One at Porth Hellick on the 10th, and one at the Riding Centre on the 12th.

64. Whinchat
One on Tresco on the 8th, one from ISBG hide Lower Moors on the 9th, and three at Salakee on the 10th.

65. Stonechat
Common and widespread.

66. Northern wheatear
Only one seen throughout the whole week on Pulpit Rock, Penninis Head on the 9th.

67. Swainson's thrush
Seen well on Tresco on the 8th.

68. Blackbird
Common and widespread.

69. Song thrush
Common and widespread.

70. Redwing
One over Penninis on the 15th.

71. Melodious warbler
One near entrance to Higher Moors on the 13th.

72. Barred warbler
One at Standing Stones field on the 13th.

73. Common whitethroat
One at Penninis allotments on the 9th.

74. Lesser whitethroat
One on Bryher on the 14th.

75. Yellow-browed warbler
One at Charrag Dhu on the 9th.

76. Chiffchaff
Seen frequently. 12 on St. Mary's on the 10th.

77. Radde's warbler
One by Old Town Cemetery on the 9th.

78. Goldcrest
Seen frequently.

79. Firecrest
One at Charrag Dhu on the 10th.

80. Spotted flycatcher
One in Standing Stones field on the 10th. 

81. Red-breasted flycatcher
One first winter bird in Sycamore by the Community Hall, Bryher on the 14th.

82. Blue tit
Frequently seen.

83. Great tit
Frequently seen.

84. Carrion crow
Frequently seen.

85. Starling
Common and widespread.

86. House sparrow
Common and widespread.

87. Chaffinch
Frequently seen in small numbers.

88. Greenfinch
A few seen at Standing Stones field.

89. Goldfinch
Frequently seen in small numbers.

90. Siskin
Two at Porth Hellick and then eight over Porthcressa on the 13th.

91. Linnet
Seen along coast path to Porth Hellick.

92. Lesser redpoll
One in Standing Stones field on the 10th.

What Scilly birding dreams are made of.  A stunning encounter with this mega Nearctic warbler on Bryher on the 13th - 4th for Britain and 1st for Scilly.

St. Mary's



An incredible sight watching this Airbus A400M flying go-arounds as seen from the boat back from Bryher.  Never seen the RAF train over the Isles.


An exceptional October pelagic that yielded a number of seabirds that ordinarily should have departed British waters by this time of year.  There was plenty of cetacean interest with a number of common dolphin following the boat, a distant minke whale and a small pod of risso's dolphin expertly identified by a couple of birders on board prompting a tory-style u-turn for a closer look.