Isles of Scilly October 2011

22 to 29 October

After strong westerly winds this autumn, there were many American vagrants on the Scillies during late September and October.  Fortunately, many remained until "Teachers' week". We spent Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday on St. Mary's with great views of Upland Sandpiper, Northern Waterthrush and two Olive-backed Pipits in the same field. Other American waders included a White-rumped Sandpiper at Porthellick beach and a Wilson's Snipe on Lower Moors. Although the Olive-backed Pipits disappeared after a couple a days, we watched a Woodcock in a field near Watermill Cove and then a Hawfinch in a hedge near Green Farm. Wednesday, and we went to St Agnes, always my favorite island. A Radde's warbler was sunning itself in a hedge at Troytown, although a Bluethroat proved more difficult to photograph. I was there when a Lapland bunting was found in a field on Castella Down. It was picked up on call with some Meadow Pipits. Perhaps the most interesting bird on St Agnes was the Desert Lesser Whitethroat feeding among the rocks on Perigillis beach. It was about 3 yards away, although it spent a lot of its time under the rocks foraging for insects amongst the seaweed. On Thursday we headed for Tresco. The Spotted crake and Lesser Yellowlegs were distant on the great pool, although the latter did fly over me. A Pectoral Sandpiper was a bit closer from the hide, but the reeds kept blowing in front of it. On the way back, via Bryher, we got a view of the two Spoonbills on the rocks near Samson. We arrived back on the quay at St Mary's around 4 ish and pleased with the week's results I treated myself to a glass of rose wine in the Mermaid, sitting in that great window looking out across to the Atlantic Ocean. No sooner had I sat down, when I had to rush the wine as news came through of a Red-eyed Vireo near Porthellick House. There was an hour of daylight left and I got some photos - the bird was not seen again. Next day is Friday, we see some Firecrests down Salakee Lane, but the day was quiet apart from a field of Fieldfares with some Redwings. No sign of the Scarlet Tanager all week for me.

All photographs copyright Paul Gale Bird Photography

Upland Sandpiper

Wilson's Snipe

Northern Waterthrush

Olive-backed Pipit

Red-eyed Vireo

Radde's Warbler

Lapland Bunting


Lesser Whitethroat (Asian Desert form)

Spotted Crake

Pectoral Sandpiper

Lesser Yellowlegs




White-rumped Sandpiper

Water Rail






Blackbird with a tick (Ixodes ricinus at a guess)

Song Thrush


Chiffchaff at Lower Moors with infected eye

Lesser and Great black-backed Gulls

UK Rarity Photos

Scillies All Years

Birds of Europe

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