2 weeks in October on St Agnes, Isles of Scilly

Whilst the North East of the country was being showered in Siberian vagrants and rarities, the opposite end of the was slightly behind in avian terms. However a few great birds and many close encounters with species not so often seen by London patch watchers, plus very good company and pretty much constant clement weather made for a great trip.

A surprise find and a first for Scilly! was my personal highlight- this gleaming 1cy Caspian Gull dropped in front of me for a matter of seconds on the rising tide at Porth Killier/Browath, accidentally flushed by fellow house mate and Larid loather Lee Amery along with 30 or so Lesser Black backs towards Gugh, the latter species were present in notably higher numbers the day that the Caspian arrived. The bird wasnt seen again although number of Mary’s birders were high the following day.






Due to occasional showers and an aching back, i didn’t always have my camera on me, but a few choice birds around the island were showy enough for a few shots now and then.


Firecrests were seen and heard most days.


Northern Wheatear



A few Spotted Flycatchers were seen over the two weeks, including this 1st year bird that littered the ground under its perch with Red-Admiral wings.



At times there were up to 6 Black-Redstarts on Periglis beach, with a couple of lone birds dotted about the island


Tame old Scilly Blackbird



Yellow-Browed Warblers were a daily occurence and seemed to fluctuate in numbers during the two week stay,  some days seeing 10+ on Agnes alone.



There were two Red-Breasted Flycatchers in the Parsonage, a British tick for me! After a few near misses over the years.



The Eastern Yellow Wag on st Mary’s (above) If accepted will be rarer still than Siberian Accentor in the UK…




A tame Lapland Bunting was a half hour lying on my belly spent well.


The last chance saloon!  this Red-Flanked Bluetail gave myself, Laurence Pitcher, Graham Gordon and Lee Amery (finder) a private show away from the crowds on our final day. Stoked for Lee for finding one of the last few BBRC Bluetails as it comes off the list this year apparently.

Just before the news of the Bluetail broke, the beginning of a long and widespread story began. Laurence Pitcher and I were handed a dead ‘Yellow-Browed Warbler’ by Islander Fran Hicks that had flown into his window at the lighthouse, the crazy story goes on from there and can be read in full here

A great two weeks away from the patch, although I hardly felt away from it with fellow Walthamstow enthusiast David Bradshaw being an October feature on st Agnes for many years.   Lovely people and lovely birds even the ones i missed out in this quick summary. But i’ll be spending more time year on this unique Island for years to come.


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