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The rather wet and windy weather towards the end of October brought us birds from all directions. At first it was species from the east that dominated with an Olive-backed Pipit at Green Farm being the highlight of the third week of October.

The transatlantic depressions in the last few days of October brought an American Robin to St. Agnes. This immature male stayed for three days. This national rarity has been recorded twice on Scilly before in 1963 and 1975 so was a very welcome bird for those who were on the islands at the time. Further Americans arrived in the shape of an immature male Rose-breasted Grosbeak on Bryher. This was the seventeenth record for Britain and was the tenth on Scilly. The same island saw another American in the shape of a Pied-billed Grebe that stayed a few days into November on the Pool, The only other bird to cross the Atlantic at this time was the Surf Scoter that was seen flying past Horse Point on St. Agnes.

Whilst all this was going on the rarest bird on the island was rather ignored. This was the Wilsonís Snipe that had been on the pool in front of the hides on Lower Moors since mid October. After a lot of research it seems that all were agreed that the funny looking snipe was indeed the Wilsonís Snipe. There is only one previous record of Wilsonís Snipe being recorded on this side of the Atlantic, that was identified when it was dead. So this one had a steady stream of admirers coming to Scilly from the mainland. The next problem to be resolved is whether this is a species in itís own right or just a sub species of our Common Snipe.

Early November saw a very tame Long-tailed Duck joining the wildfowl collection on Porthloo Duck Pond for a few days. Equally tame were the two Snow Bunting that frequented Porthcressa beach. A slight increase in Chiffchaff at the end of the first week brought a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers and a Red-throated Pipit to Tresco along with a Pallasís Warbler to Higher Moors and a Red-breasted Flycatcher in Holy Vale. Sea watching off St. Agnes saw several Little Auks passing Horse Point along with a single Little Gull. The small group of Herring Gulls around the dump on St. Maryís were joined by one American Herring Gull and two Yellow-legged Gulls during the month. Easterly winds on 14th brought a Richardís Pipit to Tresco with two Yellow-browed Warblers present the next day. The Red-breasted Flycatcher on St. Agnes on 15th was the latest ever on Scilly by three days. The Greenland White-fronted Goose which has been around on Tresco since late October was present until late November at least. Mid month saw a large movement of Wood Pigeons over the islands. As is often the case with this species the large flocks all pass over heading Southwest only to drift back some time later when they realise there is no more land after the Bishop!

Swallows have been seen on several dates late in November, often zooming, low over the beaches. These areas have also seen good numbers of Black Redstarts with up to sixteen being noted on Porthcressa and smaller numbers on other sheltered beaches. Two Jack Snipe have been noted on a couple of dates in Lower Moors with the Kingfisber being occasionally seen nearby or more usually around the coast.

So ended another Autumn. As winter comes in Great Northern Divers are starting to be noted between the islands. During colder weather these are joined by other divers and some sea duck if we are lucky. Letís see what this winter brings.


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