18 Apr 2015

18 Apr 15 - More On The Great Blue Heron Twitch

The last Post covered the logistics of the twitch to Bryher for the Great Blue Heron. It was good that we were there in time to see it flushed by walkers from the pool next to the Hells Bay hotel and catch it in flight. More importantly for the sanity of all of the twitchers visiting on the Saturday, we saw it drop in to a nearby field. Had it been flushed 15 minutes earlier, then it would have been very easy for us to overlook the Great Blue Heron as it roosted by some trees, especially as it landed out of view from our viewpoint over the pool. I do wonder how quickly we would have left the area to spread out to check the local bays.
The Great Blue Heron wasn't obvious as it sat hunched at the edge of the field: On a couple of occasions it moved to sit right next to the trees due to the attention of one of the local Gulls, when it blended in a lot better
The Great Blue Heron: Occasionally it stretched out as it getting ready to fly, before hunching up again
The Great Blue Heron: Everybody kept well back so some opted for digiscoping, whereas I tried the zoom on the SX60
Another SX60 shot of the Great Blue Heron
Most of the group headed off for a higher viewpoint and quickly returned to say they had seen it in the field, before it walked out of view. I stayed put hoping it would quickly fly back to the pool. When that didn't happen, I joining the others, when word reached us that it had hunkered down and looked like it was going to roost for a while. There it remained & we carried on watching it from a distance. After well over an hour, the next group of Birders joined us. Some having arrived on the next run of our chartered boat, whilst others had the less enviable option of taking the Scillies Associated boat to Tresco, followed by a walk across the island & then wading between the two islands as the water dropped in the main channel. At this point, it had moved out of our view, so we joined the new group to view it from a better angle. I was pleased to see nearly all the Birders were behaving well & keeping well back, especially as we knew other Birders would not be able to get over till early afternoon. Many had opted for the cheaper Scillonian option, which was running an hour later than usual due to the extreme low tides. The exception was one excitable character, dressed in a bright red jacket. In his enthusiasm to get the first group of arriving Birders onto the Great Blue Heron, he left us to stand in the middle of a field & then wave his arms around widely to encourage the others to join him. Finally, he stopped waving as they joined him. Perhaps he is an amateur conductor in his spare time: certainly, an amateur in fieldcraft & camouflage. Fortunately, the Great Blue Heron wasn't keen to fly again. It remained roosting in the same area & was more upset about the occasional mobbing Gulls, than the well behaved Birders or 'The Conductor'. With the chance to catch up with a number of old friends, the time passed quickly & suddenly it was early afternoon. As we decided that as the light or views were unlikely to get any better, then we would head back for the boats. One of Richard's mates, Mick I, who was booked on our charter over that morning, had rung the boatman & kindly booked my carload as part of his party, onto the first charter back boat at 13:30 (that was bringing over Scillonian Birders). There were about thirty Birders on the beach hoping to get on this boat, and it was great to be able to head to the front of the queue again (after Mick this time). Other Birders who had also booked moved forward to confirm their names, before the boat was full. Getting off for the remaining Birders wasn't going to be a problem as the tide was quickly rising, allowing the Association boats & our boat to take Birders off, after they brought the Scillonian passengers over. Still it was great to not have to worry about waiting for a later boat.
It was still a small scale twitch as we left for St Mary's: Although a number of Birders had left in the erratic drizzle for some Bryher Birding or the cafe & the Scillonian Birders were still to arrive
Somewhere here is the wading route from Tresco: Glad we didn't have to do that
We arriving back into Hugh Town & headed off to find a cafe. Peter came into his own at this point, having carried out an extensive study from his many family holidays to the islands. Given the extent of this field research, it can only be a matter of time, before he starts to write up his Doctorate on 'The Cafes of the Isles of Scillies'. His first choice was full (a sign of his expertise), so we quickly moved on past the entrances to other places (that were too slow or with poor quality food), past the 'too pretentious' cafe, before finally settling on 'The Dairy Cafe'. An excellent choice of a cafe, with complimentary Jelly Beans as appetisers, before our food quickly appeared. Finally, topped up on calories & a huge mug of tea, it was time to head out for the St Mary's leg of our day out.