PENNINIS ALLOTMENTS – ALL DAY VISIT TO ST MARTINS – CARREG DHU
WEATHER; overcast and blustery with some clear spells.
So, we went down to the allotments for the fourth time this morning, and guess what? The Rosefinch had shown 10 minutes before we got there and failed to turn up during the hour we stayed, we dipped again! That bird is starting to annoy me.
We scanned the Porthcressa beach and bay and saw the usual suspects, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Rock Pipit White Wagtail and a few Grey Seals. Further out we could see many Gannets, a few Dolphins but none of the hundreds of Shearwaters that had been passing through earlier this morning.
With very little to go for on any of the islands (I have never known it so bad) we decided to go to St Martins to try to see the Little Bunting and the Long-tailed Duck ( a bit of a ‘mega’ for Scilly). We landed around 10:45 at Higher Town jetty, it was very windy there, a quick scan of Higher Town Bay failed to produce the LT Duck and nothing but about 20 Oystercatchers sat on the beach.
We walked across the cricket pitch and headed towards the Day Mark hoping to find the elusive Duck at the far end of the Bay. The wind kept most birds down and out of sight, we saw only common garden birds and a few Crows. The Long-tailed Duck was nowhere to be seen.
It was around 12 noon when we arrived in Higher Town at the site where the Little Bunting had been sighted, we saw a Sparrowhawk a couple of times.
seasrching for the Long-tailed Duck on the way to St Martins
We had missed the bunting of course, but apparently the bird was still around. Four of the group decided to go to the bakery for tea and cakes whilst the rest of us remained vigilant at the ‘bunting field’.
Our patience paid off, the Little Bunting was spotted by other birders and luckily it flew up onto the telegraph wires and showed extremely well. Pauline, one of the ‘tea & cake eaters’, returned to see it but the others did not and the bird disappeared.
two pictures of the Bunting which was very obliging as it sat upon the power lines
We all ate our lunch standing next to a ploughed field with the wind in our backs but the bunting failed to return, we saw Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches, Linnets, a Pheasant, a White Wagtail and not much else.
Then a guy told us that he had seen the LT Duck from a position between Higher Town and Middle Town so we went off to scanned the sea from there and found nothing of course. We did see a Kestrel but not the duck. We decided to return to St Marys on an earlier boat and so headed to the jetty to catch the 2:30pm.
From the quay we scanned Par Bay and someone shouted that the duck was showing just as the boat arrived to take us back. Matt and I managed to see but the others did not. The captain of the boat was good enough to sail into the bay and look for the duck. It was still there, he got us very close to the bird and everyone onboard got a great view of it, what a smashing bird, a male Long-tailed Duck.
Back on St Marys after a 30 minute soaking during the trip (Sea-spray was the name of the boat and it lived up to its name), some of us walked up to Carreg Dhu to look for a Yellow-browed Warbler which had been showing well. Two of the group made a detour to the ‘allotments’ to look for the Rosefinch and missed it. It was too windy to look for warblers but we tried anyway and failed. Not even a Firecrest put in an appearance, so after spending another fruitless hour we walked back to the digs.
at carreg Dhu Gardens
Another birding day was over and we had not much to show for it, a Greenish Warbler had been found on St Agnes today but very little else. Tomorrow is forecast for a lot more wind, such fun!