August 2020

31st. In the afternoon I cycled to Porthloo, and the gulls and waders on an island nearby suddenly went up suggesting that a raptor was in the area. A few minutes later a local birder's pager went off saying there was a probable black kite near Longstone. I thought I had missed it, then looking from the balcony at our holiday let near Maypole saw two birds together. I had great views of the 2 black kites as I cycled to the harbour for the evening pelagic, and some birders watched them distantly from the quay.

black kites

black kite

The last pelagic of the season was a good one - Wilson's petrel, 27 great shearwater, 10 sooty shearwater, Arctic skua, 3 bonxies,black tern, kittiwake, lots of common dolphins and a distant blowing humpback whale.

great shearwater

great shearwater



Sunsets and a a full moon moon rising from the pelagics.

St Agnes

Bishop's Rock


30th. Tresco, where I saw the juvenile citrine wagtail from the Swarovski Hide on the Great Pool. There was a kingfisher and 8 greenshank there too, and a juvenile Mediterranean gull on the Abbey pool. The red squirrels are thriving here now (>100, from 30 in 2013), there are several tame golden pheasants, and I also saw a pied flycatcher and a hornet mimic hover fly Volucella zonaria.

Citrine wagtail

red squirrel

red squirrel

golden pheasant

Tresco Abbey Gardens

29th. A northerly wind didn't bear well for today's Birder's Pelagic. Nevertheless, we saw 3 Wilson's petrels, a sooty shearwater, 2 ocean sunfish and several common dolphins. Photos of some of the seabirds below. The Canon 5D Mark 4 is not the best camera for capturing flying seabirds from a moving boat!




Storm petrels

storm petrel

storm petrel

Wilson's petrel

Wilson's petrel

28th. We walked around the coast of St Mary's. I heard about a Woodchat shrike at Carn Friars as we set off, and happened to be in the right place at the right time.

past Pelistry

woodchat shrike

Penninis Head.

Penninis Head

Sanderlings at Porthloo Beach.


The views to Men-a-Vaur, Round Island and towards the Northern Rocks were stunning.

Men A Vaur to Round Island

Men a Vaur

towards Northern Rocks

27th. A rainy morning. The sun came out in the afternoon, and we visited Porth Hellick and Lower Moors and saw 2 clouded yellow butterflies and a pied flycatcher at Porth Hellick. The bird hides are still closed on St Mary's, and the nature reserves overgrown in places.

clouded yellow

26th. A lovely day on St Agnes. A couple of wheatears on Wingletang Down. In the evening I joined my first pelagic trip of the holiday on the Sapphire, and saw sooty shearwater, great shearwater, 2 Wilson's petrels, and several common dolphins. The fishermen on board caught (and returned) an octopus. The Wilson's petrels flew close to the stern, but the light had deteriorated too much for photography when they appeared. They mare mainly moulting wing feathers at present. We had great views of a bonxie.


25th. Storm Francis arrived. A blustery walk on The Garrison in the morning, and then we sheltered in Pelistry Bay in the afternoon, where a group of ca. 40 gannets fed offshore.


Pelistry Bay


gannet near Daymark

24th. St Martin's. We walked to the Daymark and along the north coast, looping around to the Karma Hotel. I saw a curlew sandpiper and a peregrine in flight towards the Eastern Isles on the boat back to St Mary's. There were 5 whimbrel on St Martin's.

23rd - common dolphins close to the wake of the Scillonian.

I set off for summer holidays on the evening of 21st. First stop was St Ives with Kiara and Dan before our scheduled trip to Scilly on 25th. I did some seawatching from the Island on 22nd - there were about 15 Mediterranean gulls on the beach W of Manshead. The seawatch produced a Balearic shearwater, 22 storm petrels, a bonxie, a golden plover and a ringed plover between 17.30-18.40h. Storm Francis was predicted to hit on the day of our scheduled crossing, so Hetty drove down and we rescheduled our crossing for Sunday 23rd, and booked a dog-friendly room in Tregarthen's Hotel. The Scillonian was indeed cancelled on 25th, and the offspring arrived a day later.

We had a great time on Scilly. The weather was generally good, though perhaps a bit more changeable than usual. The situation was strange - the inter-island boats appeared almost as busy as ever, and face masks were compulsory on the boats and on the Scillonian. Distanced queues formed outside the Co-op. There was no bus and no golf buggy hire, so we hired a trailer for one of the bikes to transport food to where we stayed in the middle of St Mary's. The strudel place next door had closed, and finding good quality meals proved tricky. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time and some quality birds appeared on the islands.

18th. Jay mimicking tawny owl 'kewick' calls in the garden.

15th. Some decent birds at Pilning Wetlands - wood, 3 green and common sandpipers, little ringed plover, whinchat, yellow wagtail, and a lesser whitethroat.

9th. Greater horseshoe bat, Woodchester.

greater horseshoe bat

1st. A walk from Chew Valley Lake to Chew Magna and Knowle Hill. Three cattle egrets on Denny Island, Egyptian goose at the main picnic area.

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