There's a few too many leaves falling off the trees for my liking in the last few days. I can ignore that, but the fact that the odd blackberry is looking ripe means I cannot escape the end of Summer is nigh. As a consolation this time of year means that we begin to host migrant birds passing through, usually on their way to warmer climates for the Winter. I haven't been on any shark fishing adventures this week, spending most of my spare time mooching around the island.
Although I think I spend a bit too much time around the Great Pool recently it seems to be the best place to be for a range of wildlife. This above picture was taken on a bit of a grey day (hence the dullness) and is of one of the parents of the Mute Swan cygnet featured in previous posts having a stretch. The small number we have over here are permanent residents and can be seen all through the year.
I have been checking both pools over here for the kind of rarity that makes any birdwatcher dribble but I think sometimes some of the most common birds can really catch the eye. I really liked the blue flank on each of these Mallards as they flew off. My little 'gap in the hedge/hiding place' wasn't as secretive as I thought...
These Greenshanks are pat of quite a sizeable gathering that are making use of the mud around the Great Pool at the moment. I think the largest count I have seen was twenty five. They are stocking up on invertebrates and small fish before heading off to Africa.
There are Dragon and Damselflies everywhere at the moment and they all seem to have one thing on their mind.... As they have such a short lifespan mating is the number one priority. Strangely enough this involves the male subduing the female by holding her by the neck and the female responding by bending her abdomen right round to conjoin. I don't think this features in the Karma Sutra!
I am holding back a little highlight to my week until the end of the post so for the sake of narrative I shall say that after checking the pools I went for a little wander down the beaches on the South end of the Island. Although the beaches were surprisingly quiet I did, almost literally, stumble across this Ringed Plover, another year round resident but they are so well camouflaged amongst the rocks and pebbles on the beach that it is very easy to walk straight past one without noticing. I like their big black eyes.
We currently have Little Egrets around the island at the moment too. You can see them in various places on the island but always close to water. Plum Island, the Great pool and the beaches on the south and west side of the island are the best places. The number seem to be increasing each year and I believe that we are not far off a pair staying throughout the year and breeding. This one was too focused on fishing to notice me 'sneaking up' on him. I'm not sure what the purpose of them is, and if there is one at all but their yellow feet are funny.
And now for my little highlight. Wagtails have always been one of my favourite types of birds, I like their liveliness and character. We have a few varieties in England that are fairly common. Nowadays Pied Wagtails seem to be all over the place, often living in urban areas and most people are familiar with them. There are several other varieties too though often much more colourful. I was told about two Citrine Wagtails that had arrived on Tresco and were seen close to the Bird Hide at the western end of the Great Pool and decided to try and find them. It is quite a rare occurrence for Britain to host these birds as they live in Asia and migrate to the southern part of the continent in Winter, the British Isles is a big deviation. Although there are usually a few recorded sightings each year you can never tell where they will be. To have two is a real rarity.
The two on Tresco were both what is known as '1st Winter' this means that the birds are less than a year old and do not have adult plumage. As the name suggests they will be bright yellow when they mature
Although I was very happy seeing these birds I wished they were the pretty adults I'd seen in books. So the next day my wish came true. Easy as that.
This was a first for many birdwatchers on the Scillies and to have a third in as many days is pretty much unheard of. And here she is.
One happy Max.
Maybe looking forward to the arrival of Autumn is a better way of approaching things than moaning about the end of Summer.