Tuesday, September 13, 2011

As with the rest of the country, the island has been battered by south and westerly winds which averaged in excess of 56mph for a while yesterday. It's rubbish for finding skulky migrants in the gorse bushes but fantastic for sea-watching. Although frustrating at times, with birds disappearing into massive troughs never to be seen again, sea passage has been mega. The last couple of days have produced 12 Sooty Shearwaters, 10 Balearics, the first three Leach's Petrels of the year, three Pomarine Skuas, 10 Arctic Skuas, three Long-tailed Skuas, 18 Bonxies and two Sabine's Gulls. A good tern passage has included 188 Common Tern, 275 Sandwich Tern and a few Arctics. By far the biggest spectacle was yesterday's passage of Manxies where up to 15,400/hour were recorded past the North Hide.

This Grey Heron also passed the North Hide this morning. With days of strong westerlies, an abundance of yank waders reaching the Southwest and the first Nearctic passerine of the year reaching Scilly, it seemed prudent to check for chestnut thighs and carpels. It doesn't have any. (c) Richard Brown

Little in the way of passerine migrants have appeared from the wind battered undergrowth but a few Spotted Flycatchers are still moving through. Aging is straightforward at this time of year with the pale thorns to the greater coverts and the buffish fringes to the tertials and uppertail coverts all indicating a bird of the year. The plumage is also very fresh whereas an adult would now be heavily abraded (they don't moult until they reach their wintering grounds). (c) Richard Brown

The strong winds and moonlit nights have resulted in little in the way of lighthouse attractions. These two unlucky Sanderlings were found side by side under the light but, along with two Grasshopper Warblers and a Sedge Warbler, they have been the only birds attracted for at least a week. (c) Richard Brown

Giselle showing how hard it is to stand up, never mind bird, in a Force 10 wind. (c) Richard Brown

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