Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Well the fog has gone, kind of. We have still been plagued with the odd blanket of sea mist interspersed with a dash of low cloud but things have improved drastically. The above picture was taken from St Marys airport. It was rather eerie watching the cloud enshroud the islands as it crept in silently and lowered the visibility to tens of feet sometimes. When the sun did come out it was so welcome I took to pretty much staring directly at it to make the most of it. Sometimes it paid off and sometimes it just hurt my eyes.
Sundogs above the Abbey Pool caused by the light passing through ice crystals high up in the atmosphere.
Well that's probably the longest I have ever written on the blog without mentioning birds, so...Birds. Now is the time for the birdwatchers to flock to the Scillies by the hundreds in search for the rarities they dream of. Khaki clad men with telescopes strapped to their backs scan every hedge, rock, reed bed, nook and cranny in the search for the once in a lifetime avian visitor from all corners of the world. Already the list has begun, Arctic Warbler, Bluethroat, Purple Heron, Yellow-browed Warblers.....
Although I do like to see these rarities I do not really enjoy camping out causing traffic jams and jostling for a spot for hours on end. This often results in my pictures of said birds being pretty bad and not worth putting up. So birds and 'things' I have stumbled upon on my meanders will have to suffice.
Another brood of ducklings racing against time fattening and growing before winter gets its grip and the living gets tougher.
As much as I dislike their piercing calls, all year round residents, Oystercatchers are probably the most photogenic birds around. Inadvertently scaring them off towards the sunset made for quite a nice picture.
The Abbey Pool is teaming with plenty of different waders and ducks, a visit down that way can pretty much guarantee Grey Herons, Teal, Mallards, Snipe, Greenshank and others. I mentioned Redshank in my last blog and tried to get a shot for this post. With the exception of a nice blurry close up of one I took during a fly by this is the best I could come up with. The red legs are pretty obvious though.
With all these 'special' birds visiting it is very easy to forget our common birds and the entertainment they can provide. A little pointless piece of information but years ago we had an albino Blackbird on our shores who managed to breed with a 'normal' one. As a result of the passed on genetic information many of our resident Blackbirds are tinged with white feathers. This picture below is not the best by far and I took it a while ago on a pretty simplistic camera but I think it demonstrates our little phenomenon well. Keep your eyes out!
Although the vast majority of our seabirds have bred and ventured off into the Atlantic for the winter a boat journey around the off islands is still worth a trip. Now is the time that our resident Grey seals give birth to their young. Venturing up to the Spring tide mark the females, after gestating for 11 months, give birth to their pups.
They will then provide for their pups for one month until the next months spring tide comes about when the newborns will venture into the ocean for the first time and will have to fend for themselves.

I took these pictures en route to St Agnes via the Northern Rocks and on arrival to the smallest populated island I made a discovery.
Although providing some cracking meat, Tresco cows aren't as pretty as Troytown cows from St Agnes.

We still have a good number of butterflies and dragonflies although it is noticeable that the population is diminishing with the last of them desperately circling around on the hunt for a mate.
This Comma Butterfly (my second this year) seemed not to care for mating but more excited in enjoying our blackberry bushes and grabbing the rare ray of sunshine.
Finally, not the rarest of new arrivals but certainly my favourite. We have had a small influx of Yellow Wagtails arrive on the islands for a refuel before they continue their winter migration. Its the simple things for me but the fact that they are yellow, wag their tail constantly and are extremely playful make them high up in the 'make me happy when I see them' list.

They can be seen almost anywhere but frequently feed in the mud around pools on the islands.
For any of you serious 'Birders' out there, we currently have a Sora (American Water Rail)  that arrived today on the Great pool and after watching over one hundred hardcore birdwatchers jump aboard a boat with their CB radios blaring and pagers beeping like a heart attack wards ECG machines I decided to go for a quick glance after work and try to get a better look tomorrow morning. With any luck some tolerable photos should be on my next post.



  1. Love Oystercatchers, they are so perfect. I don't think I could cope with seal pups getting into difficulties. I'm bad enough with herring gull chicks-at least I can pop them under my arm and put them back on the roof! Amazing looking cows-never seen anything like them. We have a few crows with white feathers, but that blackbird is unusual and I guess it's more vulnerable too.
    Will you be looking out for the red squirrels?
    I think Max is on alert watching out for the birders in case they think he is a rare and unusual green woodpecker!

    1. The Blackbird was a little puzzling when I first saw it and the white certainly catches your eye, I suppose the same may apply for a bird of prey. I suppose other than them there are not really many other threats over here. Tis a great place to be an albino Blackbird!

      Funny you should mention the Squirrels. Stay tuned....

  2. The Oystercatcher pic is superb- well done :-)

  3. Great photos Max love the duckling and the cow is brilliant