Friday, 24 April 2015

23rd and 24th April, 2015 Trip to Bryher, Isles of Scillies and Beachy Head

23rd April, 2015

DC and myself decided to try to twitch the Great Blue Heron which had been present on the Isles of Scillies for around a week, and which is just the second record for the UK.

We arrived around 7.00 am at Marazion Marsh, Cornwall and spent a pleasant 40 minutes birding seeing a number of year ticks including a flock of 50 Sand Martins, 1 House Martin also my first Reed and Sedge Warblers and several Cetti's were singing, but no sign of the Otters which are occasionally seen here.

Booking onto the Scillionian for a day trip to the Scillies, but no news on the Great Blue Heron. We arrived on St. Marys with 2 Inter Island Boats meeting the Scillonian but still no news on the Heron. With about 15 other birders, we decided to try our luck on Bryher Island and arrived at Bryher where about 12 birders were waiting at the key as they had not found the Heron on either Bryher or nearby Tresco Island. Just as depression was creeping in, a Heron was picked out flying high from Tresco to Bryher and headed for the Big Pool. We quickly headed to the Big Pool and the Heron was quickly picked out along the side of the pool. It was soon flushed by two locals and it flew right in front of us and landed much closer and then during the next hour or so, made its way slowly around the pool coming as close as 25 yards from us. Unfortunately it was then flushed again by two dog walker and flew virtually over us and landed on the rocks on one of the nearby bays. The Heron proved to be a real character often hiding in the long grass and then looking out of the grass, it did all sorts of poses, some of which are shown below and when fishing would stately and slowly walk out in the pool and then dive in, superb.








Great Blue Heron on the Big Pool, Bryher.

Although we spent majority of our time on Bryher, and at times the only observers watching the Heron, we did have a walk to Rushy Bay to pick up the Island Boat for our return to St. Mary's. There was an obviously fall of night migrants with a number of Willow Warblers, Wheatears, Tree Pipit, Common Whitethroats, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper were seen. 
At Rushy Bay, we had to go for a paddle into the sea to gain access to a dinghy which then took us out into the Bay so we could climb on board the Island Boat back to St. Mary's. On our way we had 2 Great Northern Divers one in almost full summer plumage.

On our return Scillonian journey to Penzance we saw small close parties of Manx Shearwaters, small numbers of Razorbills and Guillemots and a very close Puffin sat on the sea. Also a delightful pod of 6 Common Dolphins which passed very close to the ferry and a huge Barrel Jellyfish. 

24th April, 2015

Doreen and myself had a late start to Beachy Head hoping for a sea-watch and we watched from 09.50-10.35 but although a reasonable sea passage had occurred earlier, little was moving when we were watching. We then covered the Birling to Belle Tout loop walk, Belle Tout Wood and Shooters Bottom but generally very quiet.

Brent Goose 130 E
Common Scoter 30 E
Peregrine 1-2
Raven 1
Common Whitethroat 5
Willow Warbler 4
Firecrest 1 in B/T wood.