Peninnis Head

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

St Agnes and Gugh 2

A section of photos from our meanderings around St Agnes and Gugh today.

ring-ouzel-1A nice Ring Ouzel from Gugh

black-redstart_Another fabulous Black Redstart

starling-2A calling Starling

sundailAn interesting hare weather vane

nags-headThe Nag’s Head on St Agnes

queen-victoria‘Queen Victoria’ at the entrance to St Agnes Quay

rock-on-gughAn interesting rock on Gugh!

graniteDartmoor comes to Gugh

dolphin-skeletonWe found this short – beaked common dolphin spine of Gugh – Steve gives a sense of scale

sunset-gughAnother cracking sunset – this time from Gugh showing the Hermitage and the Bishop Rock Lighthouse

sunset-gugh-2The same but this time including the St Agnes Lighthouse as well

A day on Bryher

We spent the day on Bryher yesterday – it’s an island which is really growing on me.

The view from Shipman Head Down looking west

shipmans-headLooking north to Shipman Head

Across to Bishop Rock

Rushy Bay

There were quite a few stonechats on Bryher including this attractive male

And a flock to six snow buntings on Shipman Head Down including this female in autumn plumage

ring-ouzelWe saw at least two ring ouzels – they were very flighty and this is the nearest I could get to any of them

A grey heron feeding among the seaweed

Bryher has undergone a lot of agricultural change in the years that I have known it – it has been described by my supervisor Professor Michael Winter as a ‘post agricultural landscape’. In due course I will write a short piece about agricultural change and the future for farming on Scilly.

A great day on Scilly

We spent most of yesterday on Tresco where we saw the Hudsonian Whimbrel – see here. After coming back from Tresco we went round to Penninis on St Mary to see the Blyth’s pipit. My photos are  not great because it was quite a long way off.

Blyth's pipit 2
Blyth’s Pipit

Blyth's pipit 1
A blown up image of the back of the bird showing its covert feathers – black spots with tawny lower margins

V zonaria
On Tresco I found this hoverfly – Volucella zonaria – which is a large fly which mimics a hornet

Prickly stick insect
Also found a prickly stick insect – they live in the wild on Tresco but are originally from New Zealand – It is about 6″ long and is quite impressive

Prickley stick insect 2
A close up of the prickles

Ring ouzelWe found 4 ring ouzels on Penninis – here is one of them

And this smart little stonechat

Scilly 1
Sunset across to St Agnes from St Marys




Tweet of the Day with Carry Akroyd

A book written by Brett Westwood and Stephen Moss has just been published to celebrate the cult Radio 4 programme ‘Tweet of the Day’. To get a feel for the radio programme listen here to Bill Oddie talking about the ring ouzel.

The book ‘ Tweet of the Day’ is well written and contains lots of interesting anecdotes but for me it is made by the illustrations by Carry Akroyd – she has done 248 ‘pied vignettes’ and 36 colour pages. Here are a couple of ‘Dartmoor’ examples from the book.

Tweet of the day The cover of the book

Tweet of the day MarchThe peregrine pages – a pied vignette and a colour page

Tweet of the day WheatearThe wheatear


Tweet of the day Red grouseThe red grouse

In my opinion it is worth buying ‘Tweet of the Day’ simply for the illustrations!

Wicken Fen

I have been a big fan of Carry for years and when I left Wicken Fen for Dartmoor my colleagues asked Carry to paint a Wicken Fen landscape for me
– it is one of my most treasured possessions.

Nature's powersIf you like Carry’s work I can also recommend her book ‘Natures powers and spells’ – full of her paintings