Thursday, 29 October 2009

Scilly 2009. I hate Hooded Warblers.

The next day started off relatively calm, and the morning was spent consuming cake. Probably. To tell you the truth I don't remember, by this stage of the holiday the days had begun to blur into one. I can tell you that we didn't see very many birds, but I had stopped caring. Wandering round in the sunshine, pottering from Firecrest to showy Firecrest, interspersed with a beer and a wedge of cake is no bad thing. I could safely get used to it I imagine.

By the afternoon there was a buzz of excitement in the camp. The wind had begun to blow. REALLY blow. And the front that was causing this was apparently a fast westerly one, originating in America a couple of days previously, and then veering sharply north. We were going to catch the easternmost edge of it. Promise hung heavy in the air. An attempt at sea-watching produced 4 Bonxies in about an hour, not quite up to Porthgwarra standards. There were stacks of GBBs though, many Gannets, and a close Basking Shark. We spent the evening cleaning our optics and eating. Or more accurately, Les cleaned everyone's bins with assiduous care whilst we stuffed our faces with Stir-fry.

The following morning dawned bright and clear. A huge rainstorm had passed through overnight, and the place was sodden. As always we started on Peninnis, which seemed to have even more thrushes than usual, though sadly nothing small and Veery-like. In the Churchyard a Yellow-browed Warbler proved elusive, and a Little Bunting was on view just around the bay for about two minutes and two observers. This is Sam's number one bogey bird after a lifetime of birding, and he missed it by thirty seconds. The entire birding population of St Mary's converged, but it wasn't seen again. I couldn't be bothered to wait around, even though I really want to see one of these well, so continued on and up to the airfield. Got a brief view of the back of a Richard's Pipit disappearing into the distance, presumably the same bird as a couple of days ago, and then a high "pseeee" had Bradders and a few others shouting "Red-throated Pipit!". Necks were craned, all eyes skywards, but nobody even saw it. A soft tick, but DB had ticked it on heard only a few days previously, so I was forced to as well - that time I had had my face in a pastie and so had never even heard it go over. Got it this time though, very distinctive. I'd recognise it if I heard it again.....

We carried on around, H found a couple of Whinchats in a flower field, and after another gargantuan lunch at Longstones, he, Sam & I twitched a really smart Red-breasted Flycatcher on the east coast near Carn Vean. Once again we were not alone... The CB then reported a funny Warbler on St Martins, likely a Booted. Given that the overnight storm had thus far failed to produce the goods, this generated considerable interest and many people went down the the quay to be ready for the moment when a photographer returned from St Martin's with the shots.

Chiffchaff. We retired to the Mermaid.

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