Thursday, May 30, 2013

A further installment...

Its kind of old news here now but we had a little fun and games in the harbour on St Marys last week. A combination of gusty winds and an 'operator error' ended up with the passenger ferry, The Scillonian, missing the Quay and swinging round colliding with a couple of boats on their moorings. It was like watching a rather tame disaster movie in slow motion as the stern slowly drifted into a tripper and fishing boat. You could see from the beginning that there was no chance of anyone being hurt and although the two boats had minor damage, the whole thing was rather calamitous and slightly entertaining.
Our local boatmen were extremely professional and with some quick think and action they swung into action and removed any further boats that was in its path. Two jet boats, one from Bryher Boats and the St Marys harbour boat then went full throttle against the stern and after quite some time ended up moving the drifting boat and its 230 passengers in the right direction. An hour and a half after it was supposed to dock the passengers all got off safely with a story to tell. I felt sorry for any day trippers who then had two hours and then had to travel back! A major embarrassment for the captain.
All is still rather quiet on the bird front with this being a pretty depressing Spring for new arrivals. However there is always something to photograph.

Being extremely adept on the wing, Swifts are notoriously hard to picture. This is my effort after seeing two darting above the Abbey pool. This is a Common Swift. After wintering in Africa they come to spend the Summer with us. They are also well known for never landing (except to breed) and even sleep in the air. They circle to a great height and then descend in a circular manner slowly dropping altitude while snoozing. You can see them overhead nearly anywhere but they prefer feeding over the pools munching on insects.
Rock Pipits are extremely common on the islands and prefer the moorlands by the coast around the Scillies. They are often watching you from a nearby boulder or rocky outcrop as you walk around the North End as this one was.
After photographing the Rock Pipit I literally did stumble across this Shag as I was rather clumsily rock hopping along the coast near Gimble Porth.
While walking back from the North End I popped into the Bird Hide on the Great Pool and fought the temptation of photographing the chicks that seem to be perfectly happy to feed within feet of the hut. I don't know whether I just never noticed before or if we have had an influx of Gadwalls but they were everywhere. There must have been over twenty males alone on the lake towards the western end. The above picture is of a female having a little stretch. Here she is below too.
I have just come back from a rather unproductive walk to see if I can photograph one of the two Reed Warblers that are being extremely vocal down in the reeds by the Abbey pool at the Heliport end. I ventured down to the beach nearby and saw three Sanderlings who were extremely well camouflaged in amongst the pebbles. They are the first I have seen since before Christmas when they were more black and white. This time they were all in their breeding plumage although they do not produce offspring in the UK preferring to visit the Arctic to reproduce. It was nice to see something a little different though after seeing the 'usual suspects' over here for so long!
I saw this female Stonechat at the log pile who posed for me for a couple of seconds before flying off to find her male counterpart in the brambles nearby. They are very plentiful down towards Pentle at the moment.

Want your own beach during Whitsun half term?
With all the talk of the demise of bees it was nice to see this guy working away on the rhododendron bushes that are flowering all over the island. We have so much of this stuff that we have to burn it every now and again to control it. Boys aren't supposed to like pink but I cannot help thinking it looks pretty damn good at this time of the year
And a picture of an ant carrying something,  really really close up, purely for the sake of seeing how big I could make it.....
Might go and check out the sunset, night.


  1. Hasn't the Scillonian just had a refit? Oh dear maybe the captain got confused with new controls! We do have the occasional bump here, usually into the Breakwater which is concrete so not so good for the boats. Great images again. Swifts normally just look like black blobs, but you've got the face and shading on the wings-just lovely. My favourite image is the Stonechat on the log. Love the big shadow and the texture and colour of the log.

  2. Thank you for your kind comments. I do like the Stonechat shot. When the sun is low in the sky it really does make photographs look so much better. I think it is coined 'The Golden Hour'

    Thanks again!

  3. Hi Max, Just popped over from Suzie's site. Love your photos, my favourite is the bee - nothing wrong with pink for boys :-)

  4. Thank you! Due to the quietness of the bird life here at the moment I am toying with doing an insect/ creepy crawler post. I think they look fascinating up close. Once again thanks for your comment and for taking an interest.