A day on St Martins yesterday
The view from St Martins west over to Round Island, St Helens and Tean
From the Great Bay looking west
A Great Northern Diver in the Bay
Across to the Daymark
Around the Great Bay over to the Daymark
A tractor lost in the landscape
A day of contrasting weather
Glorious sunshine – looking across to St Agnes and the Western Rocks from the Garrison on St Mary’s (click on the photograph to enlarge)
Half and hour later …….
Then back to sunshine as the Scillonian arrives at St Mary’s after passing two visiting cruise ships
I spent the morning yesterday on Peninnis Head – it was very breezy and cold.
The ‘lighthouse’ on the point
Thrift by a rock
White horses out at sea
A Ring Ouzel
A well marked male was very skulking and elusive – the best photo I could manage
A cracking Wheatear
The islands are fully of wheatears at the moment – amazing that none stay to breed – all the birds are migrants on their way to the uplands
Out to sea the Royal Marines were battling the waves on their way to the Islands – must have been an uncomfortable crossing
They finally arrived – four landing craft in all – with their valuable cargoes – 4 gigs ready for the weekend
Two smaller craft were moored up by the Quay
There were some obliging male stonechats on St Mary’s yesterday
This one was on Penninis Head
And this one – feeding young was at Periglis
There was also a Short-toed Lark on Penninis
It was a glorious day on Scilly yesterday – I walked over 12 miles and my shorts and flip flops had their first outing of the year too. I photographed a selection of common birds and re-visited the Little Bittern.
One of Scilly’s numerous and very tame Song Thrushes
A Mallard at Higher Moors
A Gadwall at Higher Moors
A Dunlin approaching full summer plumage
A Blackbird – Scilly Blackbirds have very red bills
A reflection of the Little Bittern
Off hunting again
Backlit in the late afternoon sunshine
I was lucky enough yesterday to get a tipoff from Spider, a resident birder on Scilly who told me that there was a Little Bittern at Lower Moors on St Mary’s. Little Bitterns can be very skulking but this adult female was very obliging.
Little Bitterns are very small herons – the Collins Field Guide describes them as being smaller than a Moorhen. They are agile climbers. Here the female is in hunting mode.
She has seen a fish and pounces
Head right up to swallow
Here is a second sequence of her catching a fish
A head on shot
At last she come right out into the open
This is probably my favourite photograph
Until pretty recently Little Bitterns were considered very rare passage migrants in the UK. In 1984 a pair bred in Yorkshire. Then in 2010 they bred in the Somerset Levels for the first time and have bred there again since.
The Somerset Levels have seen a concerted effort by RSPB, The Wildlife Trust and Natural England to create new and extensive wetland areas and this combined with climate change has attracted Little Bitterns to the UK.
It will be interesting to see how their colonisation develops and whether they spread to the large habitat creation projects in the East Anglian Fens at places such as Wicken Fen, Lakenheath Fen and the Great Fen.
A couple of firsts for the year
The cockchafer or maybug
And the Small Phoenix – a smart moth!