Spent the day on St Agnes yesterday
On the tripper boat …
Gugh Bar joins At Agnes with Gugh – the most famous tombolo in the world!
Pleased to see a small colony of kittiwakes surviving on Gugh – Britain’s most endangered seabird as a result of climate change and rising ocean temperatures.
Looking over to Gugh
The Devil’s Punchbowl on Wingletang Down
Cuckoo on Wingletang Down
The Nag’s Head
Male wheatear – a passage migrant on Scilly
A colony of fulmar
An unnamed granite outcrop on Castella Down
The Troytown maze
A rock pipit
Pretty much my favourite island
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
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
Normal service has now been resumed after the fun and games of Gig weekend! Here are a few photos mainly from yesterday around St Mary’s.
Lovely sailing ship making its way to The Roads
Carn Leh by Old Town beach
Thrift in flower on the path up to Peninnis Head
A rock pipit on the beach
Whilst I was at Yarner Woods earlier in the week looking for Pied Flycatchers I managed to photograph a few other birds as well.
A cracking Great Spotted Woodpecker
I think I have been spotted too
A colourful male Siskin on the feeders
Later in the day I went over to Emsworthy looking for Cuckoos and photographed a male Wheatear
Sat on one of the stone walls
A migrant that is now on Dartmoor in considerable numbers
Next day I went to Woodbury and Aylesbeare Commons in search of cuckoos – no joy…. try again in a couple of weeks
I found this female Blackcap on Aylesbeare Common
And at the Devon Wildlife Trust’s reserve Bystock on Woodbury Common I photographed this terrapin – wasn’t expecting that. No doubt some pet owner dumped it here when it got too big and it will now be munching its way through dragonfly and damselfly larvae – what a shame.
We wild camped on Saturday night at Dick’s Well behind Brat Tor.
We set up our tents in bright sunlight before our 10 Tors teams arrived later in the evening
As darkness fell the moon rose – close by Jupiter shone brightly.
It was a still but cold night – in the morning the tents were covered in frost
This is my walking boot which was inside my tent all night – crusted with ice – thank goodness for my 3 season Rab sleeping bag!
In the morning we walk back to Nodden Gate – the sun was shining again. Beside the River Lyd is this lovely matrix of habitats, moorland, gorse and small shrubs – a softly re-wilded landscape
Patches of gorse are great habitat for the whinchat – we saw a couple of birds on our walk back (this rather blurry photo was taken on the Islesof Scilly last year)
There had also been a large fall of wheatear overnight. The previous day there had been a couple of birds – Sunday morning they were everywhere. It is great to see and experience migration in action – it is such an exciting time of the year.
Later in the morning we walked from the Willsworthy Ranges around to Lane End and saw a couple of cuckoos – our first birds of the year. The first bird we saw was a female who performed her characteristic bubbly call. Moments later a male arrived and sang the classic cuck – coo call. Both birds were being chased around by a carrion crow – cuckoos in flight can look very like a bird of prey and I suspect the crow thought they were sparrowhawks and wanted rid of them in case they predated its nest. (This photo was taken last year in Northamptonshire by my friend Steve Brayshaw.)
A great walk up to the Eastern end of St Mary’s via Porth Hellick and back via Bar Point. Sunny day and some common birds today.
At Deep Point
Over to Men a vaur, St Helens, Round Island and Tean
Linnet on gorse
A shag in Pelistry Bay
A stonechat with a woodlouse spider (Dysera crocata)
A great Sunny day on the Isles of Scilly – have been exploring St Mary’s today – a keen easterly wind but very pleasant when you are out of the wind.
Readers of my blog will know I love oil beetles – here are a few photos of an individual near Peninnis Head
A nice side profile
Looks a bit angry!
There are a few fresh painted lady butterflies around
A rather dopey buff-tailed tailed bumblebee
Blackbirds on Scilly have very red bills
A turnstone on the seaweed on Hugh Town beach
Thrift up to Peninnis Head
When I had my walk around the Upper Plym I saw quite a few Northern Wheatears. They are one of the first migrants back to this country with the first ones arriving in mid March.
Wheatear on a rock near Trowlesworthy
Lovely illustration of a wheatear by Carry Ackroyd from the book ‘Tweet of the Day’
Wheatear is a polite derivation of the original name of the bird – used to be called the white arse! The picture above shows how appropriate the old name is. Anyone who has ever seen a wheatear will normally see the white patch before focusing on the grey back.
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.
The cover of the book
The peregrine pages – a pied vignette and a colour page
The red grouse
In my opinion it is worth buying ‘Tweet of the Day’ simply for the illustrations!
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.
If you like Carry’s work I can also recommend her book ‘Natures powers and spells’ – full of her paintings