Tickets booked yesterday for a day trip to the Isles of Scilly! And what a day! Beautiful sunny, warm conditions ensured Steve, my client this week, got to see the Islands in all their glory. We took the boat over in the hope of a few seabirds but the sea was relatively calm and birds were few. We managed Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Fulmar, Razorbill, Guillemot and Kittiwake though.

As we entered the Islands I phoned ahead for a taxi to take us straight down to Porthellick where the Common Crane had been all morning. As we arrived it was evident it wasn’t there and I was informed by Island birder, Martin Goodey, that it had been seen flying over the airport towards Lower Moors! We decided to head in that direction after a quick look at Porth Hellick Pool. The pool was quiet with only a Grey Heron, few Mallard and Moorhen but a pair of Gadwall were new birds for Steve.

Half way along Lower Moors we stopped at the Shooter’s Pool screen to look for the female Garganey reported there. There was no sign of it but I soon picked up two superb adult Night Herons! A new bird for Steve and a Scilly Tick for me! I then received a message from Martin informing us that the Crane had flown to St Agnes, so we gave that one up and headed for lunch.

Adult Night Heron, Lower Moors (P.Freestone)

Happy with the Night Heron we decided to stop for lunch at the Old Town Inn. No sooner had our order arrived but Joe Pender pulled up in his Landrover and informed us the Crane was back in its field at Porth Hellick! Lunch was consumed at record pace and a taxi ordered again, much to the amusement of the driver! Anyway before long we were watching a super Common Crane feeding in the iris field below Porth Hellick House. Mission accomplished and bird of the trip so far for Steve.

Common Crane on St Mary’s (P.Freestone)

The return trip on Scillonian III proved more fruitful with much better views of common seabirds. The last 45 minutes were the best on the approach to Penzance picking up Puffin, Storm Petrel, adult Pomarine Skua, Eider and the Pacific Diver. Once off the boat a quick detour to Jubilee Pool picked up Rock Pipit, Turnstone and 6 Purple Sandpiper and 6 Sanderling on Marazion Beach. So another 12 new birds added to the trip list which now totals 97 species. Day list as follows:

Scillonian III (outbound) – 10+ Manx Shearwater, 5+ Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, 13 Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull and Gannet.

St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly – COMMON CRANE, NIGHT HERON, Grey Heron, House Martin, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Starling, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Gadwall, Mallard, Great Black Backed Gull, Oystercatcher, Blackcap, Moorhen, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Cormorant, Shag, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Herring Gull.

Scillonian III (inbound) – 60+ Manx Shearwater, 25+ Fulmar, Guillemot, Razorbill, Shag, 2 Kittiwake, Herring Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Gannet, 5+ Puffin, Pomarine Skua, Storm Petrel, Eider (male), PACIFIC DIVER.

Penzance – Rock Pipit, 9 Turnstone, 6 Purple Sandpiper, Shag, GBB Gull, Herring Gull.

Marazion Beach – 6 Sanderling, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover.