Once again our intrepid team headed for Scilly in teachers week this year. Seven of us birded the Islands based on St Mary’s and whilst there were no megas there were still plenty of scarcities to keep us amused. The airfield was particularly attractive with Red-throated Pipit, three Short Toed Larks and a Snow Bunting in the same scope view at one time! Unprecedented numbers of Yellow-browed Warblers graced us this year with 20+ individuals on one day! Red-breasted Flycatchers totalled four and a showy Ortolan Bunting was on St Agnes throughout our stay. This was joined nearby by a stunning summer plumaged Red-throated Pipit. Photographic highlight for me was probably the Barred Warbler at Carn Gwarval which really showed off for the camera. The supporting cast included Red-backed Shrike, American Wigeon and Green-winged Teal on Tresco, a very late Hobby, Firecrests, Spotted Flycatcher, Black-necked Grebes, Black Redstarts and a host of commoner species. My personal trip list totalled 96 species (I missed a few due to coming home early!)
Non-bird highlights included two Prickly Stick insects that we searched for for hours in Old Town Church yard! And numerous Bottle-nosed Dolphin, Porpoise and a Minke Whale from the Scillonian III on the return journey.
All in all, once again an extremely enjoyable week on Scilly, with good food, beautiful islands and great company. It’s not always just the birds!