Of all the places I've been lucky enough to live, work and bird, The Isles of Scilly are one of my favourites.
From May to September 2005 I volunteered with the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust as part of my work placement year at Sparsholt College, living in the old gun battery on The Garrison and working evenings in the Atlantic Inn in Hugh Town. Despite doing long hours with the Wildlife Trust and in the pub to keep me in food, beer and pelagic trips, I managed to find the time to see plenty of great birds, many of which I was able to photograph. Rather than keep these photos in the dusty corner of my hard drive I thought it would be nice to share these shots from before the time this blog was up and running. All these were taken with a Canon EOS300D and Sigma 170-500mm
Arctic Warbler, Lower Broome Platform, September
Baird's Sandpiper, Porthellick, September
Western Bonelli's Warbler, Garrison, September
Ring-necked Duck, Porthellick, May
Tawny Pipit, Golf Course, September
Woodchat Shrike, Garrison, September
I remember hearing about this as we cruised back through St. Mary's Sound after a pelagic and legging it up the hill to see it as the evening light faded. my 3rd Woodchat that year!
The first Woodchat of the Spring, Lower Moors, May
The same Baird's as before, with Pectoral Sandpiper, Porthellick magic
One of two Buff-breasted Sandpipers together, Golf Course, September
Black-winged Stilt, Porthellick, June. I had just been in the Wildlife Trust office in Hugh Town reporting to the other birders in there the Honey Buzzard and Ring-necked Duck I had seen at Porthellick that morning, having re-found both birds after a days absence. I was rudely being told to find my own birds instead of recycling other peoples, I stepped out into the street, looked up and saw this flying over towards Lower Moors! The 4th Scilly record and the first since 1990
Citrine Wagtail, Hell Bay, Bryher, May. On my first full day on the islands, what a welcome!
Dotterel, Golf Course, September
Great Shearwater, Pelagic, August
Honey Buzzard, Porthellick, June
Icterine Warbler, Garrison, August
Pallid Swift, Bryher, June. Found by Higgo as it hawked over my head as I was brushcutting footpaths, blissfully unaware until another volunteer ran over with my phone!
Night Heron, Porthellick, June. I found this late one evening whilst optimistically trying to re-find the Pallid Swift from Bryher earlier in the day. On the way back home I got collared by the local coppers for riding my bike without lights in the dark, quite a serious crime by Scilly standards. These shots were taken the next day
Ortolan Bunting, Garrison, September
Red-rumped Swallow, Porthellick, May. The first photo I've ever had published
Sabines Gull, Pelagic, August
Sooty Shearwater, Pelagic, August
Spotted Crake, Porthellick, July. I had been strimming the reeds at the pool to improve conditions for waders and crakes, and was just admiring my handiwork from the hide when this stepped out of the un-cut vegetation. Ultimate job satisfaction!
Wilson's Petrel, pelagic, August. The only one I managed to call first on the many pelagics i went on- On the self-found list!
Woodchat number 2, in the same field as the first, Lower Moors, May
Aah, Glory Day's. I really have got to get meself back to Scilly soon, what a place!