Thursday, June 6, 2013

Finally I got them! After spending too long loitering near the Abbey pool on my personal challenge to photograph a Reed Warbler I gave up. It was just far too boring. So whilst rambling along the Great Pool I decided to venture towards the bird hide halfway along the path. Its usually the noise they make that give away their presence but not this time. One of the reeds was bent at a funny angle and it caught my eye. There it was precariously balanced at towards the tip was one of two Reed Warblers gathering nest material! Still I want to get better....

To capture them in focus was a real challenge as the autofocus cannot handle the reeds swaying in the breeze so I had to revert back to good old manual adjustment and hope that I was quick enough before the bird moved. They were quite far away and therefore are not as large in the frame as I would like, however I quite like the way they are captured busy at work in their natural environment.
I took a stroll towards the Abbey Gardens on one of the beautiful sunny days we have had recently and while going past the old heliport I was greeted by a few guys perched on the fence happy to be snapped. Photographing Hirundines while they are stationary is far easier than while they are on the wing!
I was also confused for a few minutes when I caught sight of this juvenile Blackbird. I couldn't think what it was until I remembered that the young I have seen recently also have the yellow lining around their beaks. We have all kinds of young dotted across the island at the moment however I am still trying to hold back on chick photos! Amongst the new additions in our world I have seen Mallards, Mute Swans, Gadwalls, Starlings, Shelducks, Pheasants and Robins........ 
Besides the fact that the Gardens are looking absolutely stunning at the moment and are worth a look I had two purposes for my trip. Firstly I wanted to see if I could find one our endemic Smooth Stick Insects that only exist on the Isles of Scilly. There is a particular bush in the middle of the Valhalla Exhibition that they seem to favour and it is always worth checking for a number of them sunbathing on the leaves. I, however failed miserably.
My other intention was to see if I could capture something that puzzles the odd garden visitor during the months of May and June. Every now and again visitors ask what the black bird with the gold head is called. Here is the answer:
Birds of all kinds are attracted to our flowering Puya plants. They seem to have an insatiable appetite for the nectar on offer. As a result their heads become covered in pollen giving them a yellow mask. This is above image is also one that puzzled me for a minute or two. It is another juvenile, a starling. You can see the difference between the young and the adult on the left and in the picture below.
The highlight of my day and a couple of photos I am rather proud of are of a bird I have wanted to get a decent shot of for ages. I don't think many of them present on the Scillies but they are by no means rare. While fiddling around with my camera on the middle terrace I noticed movement in the flowering Bottlebrush tree just feet away from me. My immediate thought was that it was one of the millions of sparrows we have over here but I was quickly and happily proved wrong.

This female Blackcap posed for a few brief seconds before being startled by the shutter on my camera as I snapped away. Not before I got two images I am rather proud of!
My day off consisted of me strolling around the island for quite some time hence the abundance of photos this time. I'm not sure i'll be able to upload so many in future posts! Just a couple more of some little guys.....
This Green Tiger Beetle was standing out in the middle of the track towards Pentle. I thought it looked rather stunning.
Finally I was quite happy with this shot too. To get him in focus was rather lucky...
This bee was feasting on the flowering Tea Tree plant in The Abbey Gardens.
I have some more pictures to put up but the housework beckons.....



  1. These are really great photos Max. Thanks for sharing them. I love the starlings with the yellow heads!

  2. Wow Max, those images are stunning. You're right to be proud of the Blackcap images, they are magic, the one with her head tipped to the side is my favourite. I also love the beetle, you can see the hairs on its legs so well. Looking forward to the insect posts /blog too. Sounds like you might have some very unusual creatures to tell us about.

  3. Super photos !
    On our first visit to Tresco over 30 years ago, we thought that the Sparrows with orange head were something very rare & couldn't find them in any of our bird books He He ! didn't discover why they were like that until the following year !