Sunday, July 21, 2013

While a group of people sit in a office wearing jackets and ties debate whether or not this is a 'category 2' or a 'category 3' heatwave the rest of the country is out enjoying what is essentially a lovely sunny spell.  In my mind, this grey seal has the best of both worlds wallowing in the sea and soaking up the rays simultaneously. This particular individual frequents the southern tip of the island and can often be seen basking as people to and fro from Carn Near.

 I went for a quick jaunt on the Scillonian back to the mainland recently and was looking forward to seeing a nice variety of different wildlife  and filling a post with loads of shots of dolphins, gannets, shearwaters and the like but alas, almost everything I saw ended up as dots in the distance in my photos and the seas were rather quiet too. That is not to say that there is always the chance of cruising past pods of dolphins, basking sharks, gannets in a feeding frenzy and even Leatherback turtles (seen from the ship on the 18th July.) This photo below is pretty much the culmination of looking out to sea for a couple of hours. Luckily I'm very good at staring into the distance for long periods of time......
This is a Manx Shearwater and although not the best picture ever I do love how it shows how close to the surface of the sea they allow their wingtips to venture. Any contact at speed would be pretty disastrous however they cruise for miles in this fashion looking for food. Strangely enough the Latin name for this bird is Puffinus Puffinus, while bearing no relation to the colourful beaked chaps. In the 17th Century they were known as Manks Puffins. (Good old Wikipedia!) Puffins as we know them were named much later. There are regular trips put on to watch hundreds of these guys arrive back to the off islands and their burrows at sunset.
Back on dry land I stumbled across this Swallow's nest down by the old Heliport building after my vain attempt at photographing the sunrise. Due to the fact that it was silly o' clock in the morning the light was not brilliant and the picture was not as sharp as i'd have liked it to be. I decided to venture back later in the day to try again but the three chicks had all fledged leaving nothing but an empty nest! It's that time of year when a lot of this years new arrivals are finding out what it is like to fend for themselves.

The butterflies are out in full strength at the moment across the island. Below are a couple you can find in almost any hedge across the entire Scillies. The top is another shot of a Meadow Brown. Beneath are a couple of pictures of a very common Painted Lady. Sometimes I think that too much attention is set on the topside of butterflies but I think the underside of the bottom shot is my favourite part. I just like its intricacy.

The usual suspects are still around too, this female stonechat was watching me from her thorny perch.

While nearby this Linnet was posing nicely in the Summer sun.

I also had a go at photographing some insects around the Abbey pool, of which there are plenty at the moment. It wasn't the most successful of ventures but I shall certainly keep at it. However I did quite like this Cranefly doing the equivalent of the splits.

With 'Category 3' heatwaves can come some serious sea fog. I think a lot of people were caught out by the arrival of this thick cloud we experienced last Sunday. This picture was taken from the Eastern Isles looking towards Tresco. It was rather entertaining trying to make my way back on my Kayak! For any of you serious ornithophiles (if it's not a real word it should be) out there while paddling around the uninhabited islands, myself and a friend know to all as Spider may have seen and photographed a Mediterranean Shag, quite a rarity for these waters. Details can be found on his Blog 


  1. We have not had much fog at all-a little came over today for about 15 minutes and then burned off. Love the dragonfly image. I really like swallows so it's always nice to see their lovely faces. I'm delighted the grey seal is providing the tourists with a show. We have been on a couple of boat trips recently and not seen a seal or dolphin.

  2. Our heatwave seems to have culminated in an array of warm muggy days intermingled with Sea fog. It has made for quite atmospheric views. Get to Scilly in September, the seals breed here and there are pups everywhere!

  3. We have been over for two weeks the weather was just fantastic we had such a great time nice to see you with mum when you were over

    1. It was a brief but pleasant visit. No Linnets spotted when I strolled around the village!