UNLIKELY VAGRANT COMMUTES BETWEEN ISLANDS

Towards the end of May the numbers of migrants were getting less as the spring migration came to a close. Although Golden 0riole were seen and heard on most islands with Hobby reported regularly from St. Mary's and St. Martin's. A rare sound on Scilly was of the Nightingale singing on Lower Moors. Also in song was the male Common Rosefinch at Sunnyside on 27th. Another European species found that day was a female Subalpine Warbler on the Garrison. The first Red-necked Phalarope for eight years was seen from the Scillonian as it neared St. Mary's on 28th. The Stone Curlew found on St. Agnes on 28th was seen the next morning on one of the newly cut areas on St. Martin's. That same day saw an increase in migrants with a Red-backed Shrike on Tresco, a Short-toed Lark on St Agnes and a Mediterranean Shearwater in St. Mary's Sound. A female Common Scoter took up residence in St. Mary's harbour at the end of the month.
The southern influence continued on 30th with a Hone y Buzzard seen over flying St. Mary's and a Marsh Warbler singing on St. Agnes. The strangest bird on the islands was the female Chinese Grosbeak that was first on St. Mary's then St. Agnes. This huge finch commuted between those islands several times in its four day stay. It is at best a very unlikely vagrant to western Europe. It was far more likely to have escaped from a cage on the mainland. Another species often tarred with the taint of being a possible escape was the male Black-headed Bunting that was on St. Agnes in early June. At one point the Grosbeak and the Bunting were feeding together. Although regular every spring the Hoopoe in early June at Bant's Carn was possibly the first summertime record on the islands.
A very elusive Paddyfield Warbler was present at Porth Hellick in the second week of June. This eastern species has only been recorded on Scilly three times and never before in Spring. Those looking for this bird on 11th did not see the warbler but did have some consolation in the form of an adult Night Heron which arrived during the afternoon. As expected things got a little quieter by mid June apart from a Ring-billed Gull on St. Mary's and an Osprey arriving on St. Martin's for a longer stay than is usual. Maybe the Mullet in Great Bay were to its liking.
Strong winds on 21st brought hundreds of Manx Sbearwater past St. Mary's. With these eight Cory's Shearwater were noted along with a lone Arctic Skua.
At least twenty three Crossbill were reported from the islands on 23rd June. This northern finch has occasional boom years resulting in large numbers all over the mainland with some filtering down to Scilly. Maybe these few are the fore runners of many more to come.
Will Wagstaff

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