ISLES OF SCILLY 2002
The weather during most of September had been influenced by a large high-pressure area settled over the UK which was conducive to an uninterrupted migration to many species. This resulted in rarities on Scilly being in short supply this year and those that were present were mainly from the east. Of course, rarities aren't the only reason to go to Scilly and on some glorious autumn days the scenery was simply stunning and the water looked so inviting but believe me, it is VERY cold!
Highlights of the first week were a very long-staying Citrine Wagtail, an (eventually) very confiding Rustic Bunting, Barred Warbler, Short-eared Owl and an even more confiding Bluethroat. Merlin, Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Yellow-browed Warbler and Jack Snipe showed well both weeks whilst highlights of the second week were Richard's Pipit, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Rose-coloured Starling, a different Barred Warbler, the long-staying Ring-necked Duck and a hat-trick of buntings: Lapland, Ortolan and Snow. As they say, "it ain't all over until the fat lady sings" and at the last gasp an Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike showed well although the Black-throated Thrush arrived just after the helicopter had returned to Penzance and Olive-backed Pipit and European Serin the next day!
Part of the enjoyment of Scilly is that difficult species on the mainland often show incredibly well here (see the Jack Snipe and Eurasian Siskin photographs). There were the usual scares with possible Great Snipe, Pechora Pipit, Northern Waterthrush and Dusky Thrush, and the evenings in the Scillonian Club were very enjoyable with various tables, the log and several slide shows. Finally, in case anyone thinks that I am a 'manic twitcher', we checked out the two cafés that had re-opened on St. Mary's (Longstones and Carn Vean) as well as Old Town and Tolman Cafés and the sticky toffee pudding on St. Agnes tasted even better than ever!