MORE SHEARWATERS THAN EVER

August began with a Sooty Shearwater seen off Peninnis on 4th.  The next day found a Little Tern off Bar Point whilst the Little Egret count had risen to twelve.  These were usually seen in Tresco Channel or roosting in the pines on the south side of Tresco Great Pool.  In the next week a Little Stint was on Tresco as were two Mediterranean Gulls.  Twelve Cory's Shearwater were seen from the Scillonian on 12th.  The first of a series of Icterine and Melodious Warblers was noted from 13th.  These European warblers were often difficult to find after the original sighting.  Nightingales were seen on Tresco on 18th and 19th and on St. Agnes on 20th.  An 0rtolan Bunting was seen flying from Peninnis to the Airport on 21st.  A visit to St. Agnes on 22nd found Melodious, Marsh and Barred Warblers and a male Red-backed Shrike on Gugh.  Whilst a Wryneck was on the Garrison early that morning.
An evening fishing trip six miles south of Scilly on 23rd had some amazing birds in the shape of one Wilson's Petrel, a Cory's Shearwater, 150+ Great Shearwaters, an adult Sabine Gull and one Mediterranean Shearwater.  This was bettered the next day with the greatest ever number of large shearwaters recorded on Scilly.  During the day we logged 700+ unidentified 'Large' Shearwaters, 616 Cory's Shearwater, 137 Great Shearwater plus five Great Northern Diver, a Black Tern, Arctic and Great Skua.  Another fishing trip that evening produced yet another Wilson's Petrel and 60+ Great Shearwaters.  This exceptional passage of seabirds was not produced by any strong winds as might have been expected, just misty muggy weather.  The Marsh Warbler in Lower Moors was overshadowed by all these seabirds.

The last week of the month saw more Icterine and Melodious Warblers and two more Little Terns.  An American Golden Plover was on St Mary's on 26th-27th.  This was followed by a Pectoral Sandpiper on St. Agnes which then moved to Tresco and a Baird's Sandpiper that was initially on Bryher before moving to Tresco (30th-31st).  A Marsh Warbler at Argimore Pond showed very well at the end of the month.  Seabirds were not forgotten with Cory's Shearwater off the Eastern Isles and Great Shearwater off St. Agnes on 27th.  A Great Skua showed well sat on the sea between St. Mary's and Tresco on 28th.  Strong winds on 29th brought a Sabine's Gull and a Grey Phalarope between the islands and a Sooty Shearwater off Deep Point (31st).  As the number of birds passing through the islands on their way south increases we wait to see what is coming next.

Will Wagstaff

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