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Thursday, 25 October 2012

SCILLIES - October 2012 - A photographic review from leading photographer GARY THOBURN

This juvenile AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER commuted between the Airfield on St Mary's and Porthellick Beach, after being initially located on St Agnes. This species is annual on Scilly in September and October and are always a beautiful bird to see.

This gorgeous juvenile DOTTEREL moved over from West Cornwall (Polgigga) and made friends with a vagrant Buff-breasted Sandpiper. The two birds stayed together at the end of Peninnis Head on St Mary's for nearly a week and afforded incredibly close views.

Following a deep Atlantic depression, these three birds appeared on Porthellick Pool, St Mary's - a drake and two females (all juveniles) (the drake is the darker headed bird with the golden-yellow eye).

The jewel in the crown this October was this very confiding juvenile SOLITARY SANDPIPER that spent three days feeding on a manure spoil heap close to Hell Bay on Bryher. Again, stunningly confiding and a real photographer's dream. It then relocated to St Mary's. where Geoff Goater and Dave Johnson relocated it on a tiny puddle opposite the Pottery

No Scilly October is complete without its juvenile ROSE-COLOURED STARLING and this year was no different - this particular individual favouring the bracken and Blackberry scrub on the Loop Trail at Porthellick for several days before moving to St Agnes Coastguard Cottages

Gary did well photographing this GREATER SHORT-TOED LARK at Carn Friars - it only showed briefly on two separate days

HOODED CROW on Bryher - a real one for a change. The last 10 years has seen the presence of hybrids but this new arrival was the real deal. One also reached West Cornwall at Sennen.

Another big talking point was the arrival of COAL TITS to the islands - up to 10 in number. This was one of 3 birds on Bryher that even I twitched, these being of the green-backed and yellow-cheeked IRISH variety - the first of this form to be fully documented on the islands. This autumn has seen a huge irruption of COAL TITS, particularly in Ireland, but a large proportion of deep blue-backed Continental birds are also involved in the movement.

Although West Cornwall saw an influx of over 50 of these sprites, Scilly only attracted one or two FIRECRESTS this October

This HUME'S LEAF WARBLER spent three days in the Dump Clump but was generally elusive

This cracking male RING OUZEL was a great attraction as this species always is with birders

Tame Greenland LAPLAND BUNTINGS are another of Scilly's specialities and this juvenile showed well for several days on Peninnis