18 Apr 2015

18 Apr 15 - Exploring Some Old Haunts On St Mary's

After the successful Great Blue Heron twitch on Bryher, then there was a few hours left before we had to head back to the airport for the flight back to the mainland. There was time for an early afternoon cafe stop. After that, the first stop was to Porthloo beach, where Richard Webb had seen Scilly Shrews in the past. Despite a good search, we had no success. But there was a White Wagtail & Wheatear to keep the camera busy.
White Wagtail: Nice to see this good looking candidate for a White Wagtail, after screwing one up at Studland earlier in the Spring (note, this shot was a bit underexposed)
Wheatear: Male
Then it was onto Lower Moors, one of my favourite parts of St Mary's. There was a showy Sedge Warbler close to the screen overlooking the small pond at the Porthloo end of Lower Moors.
Sedge Warbler: Good to get some nice, close views of this Sedge Warbler
Then it was a quick walk down to the main pond & hides at the Old Town end of Lower Moors. A scan with the bins, found a small Snipe sp. & the characteristic bobbing immediately confirmed it was a Jack Snipe. This is a species I rarely get to see well in Dorset as the handful of local sightings in recent years, have generally been flight views.
Jack Snipe: Showing the split supercilium & dark crown
Jack Snipe: Also, note the short legs, short bill and dark appearance
When we looked around the rest of the pond, Peter Moore found of one of its larger cousins: a Snipe.
Snipe: This was noticeably larger, with the proportionally longer bill & clearly a warmer, pale brown colouration
The Lower Moors pool: The Jack Snipe & the Snipe were at the back of the pool
Just as we were about to leave the hide this Heron flew in: unfortunately, just a Grey Heron.
Grey Heron: A few days later, the Great Blue Heron dropped into this pool
We still had another hour before having to head up to the airfield, so there was still a chance to look for a Wryneck in the Old Town churchyard. Unfortunately, Peter & I got there too late in the afternoon. Richard had taken a quick journey to the churchyard & had seen it: but the Jack Snipe wasn't on view as he passed the hide. Given I have had great views of Wrynecks in the last few years in the UK & abroad, then I was happier to have seen the Jack Snipe. A great end to a great day with the chance to catch up with a lot of old friends.
The Old Town churchyard: Another great St Mary's Birding site