PORTHCRESSA BEACH – PELAGIC TRIP AROUND THE ISLANDS – BISHOPS ROCK – WESTERN ROCKS – PENNINIS ALLOTMENTS
WEATHER; wet and windy start, clear later, wall to wall sunshine all afternoon light winds
The day started with atrocious weather, the wind-driven rain battered against my bedroom window in the early hours and it was still the same as I went down to breakfast at 7:30am. Then, miraculously, it changed, the wind dropped, the rain stopped and blue sky appeared as if by magic.
Before boarding our 10am boat for the pelagic trip we walked down to Porthcressa Beach in Hugh Town. None of us carried a scope because of the forthcoming boat trip. In the bay we noticed a good number of Sandwich Terns, we counted 9 but an earlier count reached 21! A nice flock of Mediterranean Gulls sat out on the water, we counted 23.
the islands are full of Song Trushes and some are very tame
Along the beach a few Ruddy Turnstones sifted through the mats of sea-weed whilst a White Wagtail dashed along the sand. We also noted both Cormorant and Shag, Grey Heron and a Grey Seal.
The boat for the pelagic was packed with 50+ birders hoping for some great sightings and they were not disappointed. As soon as we got into open water shearwaters started to appear, the most common species was the Cory’s Shearwater and sometimes they came really close to the boat, the sea-state was calm enough for us to stand up and use our binoculars we had excellent views.
Te first couple of hours were the best, about 20-30 Cory’s and half a dozen Great Shearwaters were noted as well as the odd Manx and a couple of Balearic Shearwaters. Once or twice we were able see to Storm Petrels in the wake of the boat and we ad sightings of Razorbill, Guillemot, Puffin, Kittiwake, Fulmar and we had a constant ‘wake’ of Herring & G BB Gulls.
a view of Bishop's rock Lighthouse
At Bishop’s Rock lighthouse we found a Grey Phalarope, it sat on the water and the captain manoeuvred the boat skillfully so that we all had excellent views of it. We then spent sometime searching the Western Rocks for Purple Sandpipers but found only Ruddy Turnstones.
Hugh Town marina at low tide
Our final Shearwater of the set was the Sooty Shearwater, two or three were seen during the next half an hour the best of which came fairly close across the bow, Other sightings included Common Dolphins and Atlantic Blue-Fin Tuna. All in all it was a great trip with some excellent sightings,
Porth Cressa late this afternoon
We docked at 3pm in beautiful sunshine and flat calm water, a Common Rosefinch had been sighted near to Hugh Town so we decided to go for that. After walking up to our guest to get changed and to picked up our scopes we walked down to the allotments near the beach at Porthcressa, a small group of birders had staked out the site were the Rosefinch had been seen last, which was at 3pm. It was now 4:30pm.
Alas, we never saw the finch but we added Common Whitethroat and Blackcap to the list and enjoyed some warm afternoon sunshine, we also added Holly Blue butterfly to our list.We gave up at 5:30pm because we had an early dinner booked down in Hugh Town which was taken in the Mermaid Pub at 6:30pm and so ended another lovely day on Scilly.
Vicky, one of the group, had decided not to take the Pelagic trip with us and instead she went Tresco to visit the Gardens, she added a few species to the trip list and a mammal, the Red Squirrel.