Monday, October 28, 2013

Through a combination of laziness, work, storms and bad weather it's been a little while since my last blog entry. I haven't really managed a good whole day or afternoon outside and instead have been sneaking the odd hour with my camera here and there. Enough of the excuses Max...

The 'Great Storm' or St Jude as I have just heard it be named on the news (?) did not really materialize over here in the way the media predicted but it still whipped up the sea into a frenzy of mountains of grey sea and massive white horses. I ventured up onto the North End and hunkered down under an over hanging rock and put my camera in jeopardy trying to get a few shots in the torrential rain.
Men-A-Vaur, the outcrop of rocks in the top left hand corner is 125 feet above sea level and was frequently being hidden from view with the spay from angry waters.
On a wildlife front there should be some interesting avian arrivals to our islands after being blown in off the Atlantic. Stay tuned.... 
Until a few days ago I was getting a little worried as I had no decent pictures to post and the weather was not really co-operating, with lots of flat, dull grey days, although the nature was out there the conditions to get any good shots were not. Luckily the wildlife decided to come and visit me instead...
While going through my waking up routine, which I shall not divulge any details for the readers sake, I was greeted in the bathroom by this Red Underwing. It is one of Britain's largest moths being up to 8 centimetres in width and beautifully marked I was quite happy to share my bathroom with him for the day.
Apart from leaving the window open and the lights on at night there are not really any other ways of enticing wildlife into your house so I had to venture out and go to them.
We still have a scattering of Jack Snipe on the Great Pool. Sometimes I think that the rarer the bird the harder they are to see, I don't know if this is just me but these charming little birds certainly disprove my thought. If you are scanning the lake from one of the bird hides take a moment to look straight down and see if you can see one of these winter visitors bobbing up and down almost within touching distance. This little guy was tucked away hiding from the gusty wind and refused to allow me to picture his entirety deciding to keep his beak hidden until I ran out of patience and carried on my way.

There are still plenty of Chiffchaffs flitting their way through the trees I believe they will be with us throughout the winter.
Another permanent fixture on the islands are our stonechats. This female decided to pose for me after a rather fruitless walk along the south end of Tresco. I was on the lookout for our overwintering Short Eared Owls who should be arriving very soon.
We were used as a pit stop for these two Whooper Swans who spent about 24 hours with us while fuelling up for their mammoth journey to Southern Europe. Weighing around 10.5 kilos and being one of the heaviest flying birds in Europe it must be one hell of a tiring journey.
Here they are with our more often seen resident Mute Swans.
The arrival of Redwings is a certain sign that the nights are getting longer and the temperature is dropping. Massive numbers of these migrants have been seen flying overhead in many parts of the UK with reports of 45,000 being reported on the Internet. Although a number like that being highly unlikely it is worth looking for smaller influxes of these on any of our open spaces on the island.
Although adopting a better safe than sorry attitude to the recent storm I think the media did hype up it up a little too much. I believe this Song Thrush took it all too seriously and was tucked away in the undergrowth in the Abbey Gardens ready for the apocalypse.
On the rare bird front this Subalpine Warbler has been on the Islands or a week or so now and is a first for me. This bird is far from home as it usually resides in the South of Europe and Northern Africa. They have a very attractive but subtle colouration with a blue and pink tinge to their plumage. I only had a couple of minutes spare and will try to get a better shot. Fingers crossed...


  1. Oh it's so exciting having all these new birds to photograph. You did a great job with the stormy seas. I love the detail on the Jack Snipe feathers.

  2. I agree about the storm hype, but then that's perhaps because all we got was high winds and no damage. Lovely photos as always.

  3. Thank you both. With any luck the high winds will have brought in one or two surprises. Day off so i'm off to try and find them...

  4. Jack snipe has amazing plumage! brilliant pic. Max