Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Spotty Highlight

Tuesday October 22
The cart at Porth Low - it's lefthand drive
The end of a thoroughly enjoyable last day, (fingers crossed that the Scillonian arrives to-morrow). Driving the cart was fun. I'd suggested that we spend the day visiting all the cafes open on the island - not that many - we managed three, including Mumfords to buy to-night's last pasty.
Having returned to town after picking up the cart at Porthmellon, to get the said pasty before they spent hours being kept warm, we returned to visit Porth Low.  One of our favourite places. A male Black Redstart put in a very brief appearance, from the thick tamarisk bush at the eastern end. Four White Wagtails, a single adult Pied and the usual Rock Pipits, Starlings and Oystercatchers enlivened the seaweed tide-line. 

A Whimbrel called from the island, two Little Egrets hunched on a rocky reef as did an undertaker like Grey Heron. Lovely. Still a brisk and gusty wind but, less than yesterday and a warm sun.
I then parked at Old Town and we walked Lower Moors. As we were watching my first Scilly eel, gently wafting its tail in the pathside stream, news came through that the Spotted Crake was showing....didn't say where on Lower Moors. It has previously shown 'behind the Hilda Quick hide'. There it was, trotting about in a wet area beside the main track. I saw this elusive bird well and for a good length of time but, it was never photographable, too many low branches and roots in the way.
Visiting both hides was a waste of time. One Moorhen! We did see four Swallows over the dump incinerator with no sign of the House Martin we missed this morning.
After a coffee and a Teacake at Old Town cafe (cafe 2), next stop Carreg Dhu. Another try for a Firecrest. The gardens are thickly wooded, it's like looking for a needle in a Haystack. We did see some very tame Blackbirds, Robin, Song Thrush, Dunnock and a superb, newly hatched, Red Admiral.
Nearly 2.00, time for lunch at Kaffeehaus. We were greeted by two women with 'Here are the ladies on the boat'. What boat? It turned out to be the Tresco one. They are Canadians, over for a son's wedding. They'd never heard of Scilly, his new wife holidayed here for 26 years with her family. Fancy that journey into the unknown. They should have left on Monday, the boat being cancelled put paid to their much anticipated 2 days in London. First time in he UK too.
In a ploughed field between Maypole and Borough Farm, we found two Black Redstarts, umpteen Meadow Pipits, several Redwings and a Fieldfare.
Black Redstart
And... three Chaffinches, a trip tick.
Newford Duck Pond had about 20 birders trying to see a Yellow-browed Warbler, one older man we know well by sight said that they were down to ticking off the YBWs they hadn't seen yet. Desperation.
News on the CB of a Swift sp over Carreg Dhu/ Holy Vale, flying towards Lower Moors produced an immediate surge of adrenalin, sending everyone rushing off. Very few observers and no-one saw it well enough to decide whether it was a Common or a Pallid. The latter is more usual this late. We didn't see it at all as we drove back to Porth Low for a final visit.
Despite the increasing chill and 12 spots of rain, produced by the grey cloud cover, we stayed a while, the only addition a second Black Redstart. I enjoyed watching the ever entertaining and characterful antics of a flock of Starlings.

Another check to see if the three days worth of newspapers were in...no, another hour or so when the Gry Maritha had unloaded.
A quick visit to Porthcressa paid off with two excellent views of a close Peregrine against the blue sky. No-one else in sight, we had it all to ourselves.
Back to Old Town in time to catch the school emptying, complete with crossing attendant at Nowhere. Drop off the cart, a last look at Porthmellon beach before the trudge up school hill. Pam collected the papers and I took the baggage home to the flat.
Brilliant. I've managed to upload yesterday's write-up and write all this without the internet crashing ! Now for uploading photos which take an age.

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