We travelled pretty much straight from Orkney to Scilly, rather enjoying the milder weather - people wearing shorts! Amazing. Arriving on St Agnes was a pleasure, as always and we headed straight to The Big Pool for the Grey Phalarope which had been present there for a while. It was quite tame and with a little time showed extremely well.
It's great to get opportunities for some pleasing photos, even of birds which aren't rare. The opportunity came quickly with a Merlin sitting up nicely against a backdrop of fire smoke provided by Tim at Troytown Farm.
Wrynecks are always a welcome sight on St Agnes and Gugh, thankfully we usually get a few of them. This one was picked up near The Bulb Dump by Andy Carroll and showed well till booted on by day-trippers.
This one was in our garden for a couple of mornings at Lower Town Barn allowing a mini breakfast-twitch and staying really close as it scoffed ants, though only seen and photographed through the conservatory windows.
There was at least one Turtle Dove around, seen on Gugh and St Agnes.
And the Merlin remained - an aggressive individual, enjoying seeing-off the crows whenever it got the chance. Presumably the same bird as in the earlier photographs though several were seen throughout the trip.
There were a couple, at least, of Common Rosefinches, present between Gugh and the area around The Bulb Dump, it was really difficult to know how many there were over an extended period. At least 2 but maybe more. They could be difficult to find at times and were never easy to photograph.
A new activity on quiet afternoons became rockpooling, in the big pool between Wingletang and Covean. A Tompot Blenny here and a crab (forget which) but it was often interesting.
Only a couple of Common Redstarts were present, Black Redstarts were in normal numbers though and there were smart individuals of both.
Doug Page picked up a flyover Ortolan Bunting which eventually settled to a certain extent and we got good views of. A Little bunting was much easier to see near The Maze and next day in Nicky and Ross's Garden behind the Post Office. It was a bit bedraggled though and then news of a Bluethroat at The Nag's Head came through - we saw it but it was very elusive.
Lawrence Pitcher had an amazing time in a very short period, picking up a Greenish Warbler at Browarth Fields, followed quickly by a flyover Red-throated Pipit which settled on the beach with a couple of Meadow Pipits. The Pipit didn't stay long but the Greenish stayed for days, relocating quickly to The Parsonage and providing entertainment for visitors and locals.
Kathy found this Mistle Thrush along New Lane, only the second we've seen on The Island, far, far fewer than Wrynecks for example.
All through the trip it was clear that there were far more Kestrels than usual present, there's often one or two but there were 10+ a lot of the time tis year and it was a similar picture on St Mary's apparently. The picture below shows that Scilly Shrews are eaten, providing the majority of their diet I'm sure. They seem to have increased, presumably as the Rats have gone. It also seemed Wrens had increased, maybe for the same reason?
We returned to Pembrokeshire for a few days mid-trip for Kathy's treatment and missed a few birds which turned up, like Glossy Ibis. This Red-backed Shrike was found near The Nag's Head and remained for an extended period, allowing for some decent photos. Amazing how it could disappear for long periods even in such generally open habitat though
Kathy did it again picking up this Water Pipit in Santa Warner's, it stayed there for a day but soon moved on to Porthkillier where it could be seen on and off in the following days.
Lawrence and Graham reported brief views of a Grey-cheeked Thrush at Covean and that became a big focus of the final days of the trip - it was a nightmare to see, incredibly skulking most of the time but just occasionally popping up right in front of a lucky observer, such as David Wilson who photographed it on a rowing boat at the Gig Shed. And while in the Covean area, looking, this Rose-coloured Starling appeared (it had been at Santa Warner's), sometimes feeding with a big flock of Starlings on the beach.
This is probably the worst photo I have ever, or ever will, post but it captures perfectly the frustrations of the grey-cheeked Thrush on Agnes 2018. Seen mostly in the shady area of Sycamores at Covean, dawn or dusk, you couldn't have thousands enough of ISO on your camera. It was a waste of time trying really but a learning experience for a fairly novice photographer.
And that was it, looking forward to next year now when it will all be the same and no doubt all different.