The above photo depicts the scene that awaited me when I arrived at the HUDSONIAN WHIMBREL twitch at Gimble Porth on Tresco. Just before I arrived and not being 100% sure of the way I saw one chap coming back past me who was on our boat. I asked him if I was going the wrong way, he replied "no it's just over the hill, I've seen it!" My word...I thought, that must have been a quick look!!?
I joined the crowd and the bird took off and flew out into the bay and landed on a rocky island...
The above being a typical last minute grab as the bird disappears? Here's another crappy one of the bird on the rock...
Thing is...you don't know what your going to get...that's part of the fun?
I'd seen the bird on the mainland at Church Norton, West Sussex in the Spring as my British tick but the views weren't great to be honest. So I was hoping to enjoy better views this time...and I was prepared to wait.
The bird seemed agitated on the rock and sure enough after around 10 minutes it (thankfully) flew back towards the beach...pleased with this one which shows the diagnostic dark rump...
The crowd had already started to disperse but I wasn't going anywhere. I wanted to savour the sighting and observe this rare bird to the full. As the admirers thinned it started to move up the rocks towards the beach. I joined Pete Greaves at the far end of the bay hoping it might move closer. Unfortunately a lady going for a walk flushed it back down onto the rocks.
This one shows how much it blended in with the rocks. You can also see the head pattern.
Finally here's my favourite image. One of it walking up the beach. A distinctive jizz?
We made our way back to the Swarovski hide and had our lunch with Vaughn Ashby's group. Luckily they were looking at the Garganey not 40 yds from the hide...
The above image is heavily copped and the light wasn't helpful but it does show the distinctive face pattern and bill shape. Another Scilly tick...at last!
We then decided to start our walk to Carn Near which was going to take me quite a while. Fortunately as we passed the old heliport news broke of a Pallas's Warbler at the Rowesfield crossroads. Change of plan. When we got there there must have been at least 100 birders looking high into the trees (c40ft) but there was no sign of the bird.
In summary it led everyone a merry dance for the next hour at least with only fleeting glimpses obtained if you happened to be in the right spot. This was the best I could manage (don't expect too much!)...it wasn't easy!
I did get a great, if brief view of it on a dead branch through the bins...eventually!
This detour meant we would now have to get the 4.45 boat from New Grimsby, which was good news as it meant a much shorter walk. I booked a taxi to pick me up from the quay as I wanted to try for the Siberian Stonechat up near telegraph. The continuing Osprey flew into the sun across the bow of our boat...
Many people had seen the SS by now but I was hoping to catch a glimpse before dusk. When I arrived Vaughn's group were present again and they'd all seen it but it had disappeared. There seemed to be three main vantage points for viewing and there were still birders present at all three. I made my choice and waited. It was now approaching 6pm and the light was fading. A Stonechat appeared briefly. Then another. Then a paler bird distantly. It did look "good". They were all very active and kept disappearing and re-appearing over the high hedges.
Here's the thing. I did see "the bird". Many had seen it and went away happy BUT it has now been re-identified from photos as a (pale) Stonechat. My views through the bins were distant and brief. Still I shouldn't have presumed just because many had seen it previously. Will I never learn? No Scilly tick there then!
Still a great day.
I'm writing this as we wait for our taxi to the airport. That's it for another year. I hope you have enjoyed my Scilly diary. I enjoyed writing it and will do it again next year all being well.
Here's to Scilly 2016!