Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Recent ('ish!) Sightings

The 18th September saw three Dunlin, a Snipe, six Wheatear, Reed Bunting, ten Swallow and nine Wigeon on the reserve.
On the 10th October Tim Twiggs found a male LAPLAND BUNTING on the reserve, It proved very elusive and mobile, favouring the island in the middle of the main pool. There was also a smart 2nd winter Med Gull on the main pool at the same time.

Derek Jenkins had two adult WHOOPER SWANS on the main pool on the 9th November and they were present the following day.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Apologies for the lack of recent updates, and thanks for those who have sent in sightings. Anything of real interest is on the Cornwall Birding website. Derek Jenkins, Tim Twiggs, John Johns and i have all been on the reserve but not recorded a great deal other than the odd Dunlin, Greenshank and Wheatear. Tim had a juv Little Stint on Sunday 4th October feeding on floating weed on the main pool.
Will hopefully have some photos to add!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Still on the quiet side..............

Still quiet on the reserve at the moment with nothing but the odd Dunlin and Green and Common Sandpipers. Simon Taylor saw six Wheatears there today.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Terry Hasdell reports three Dunlin on the reserve this morning. Good to see the waders are starting to come back.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Recent Stuff

Here are a few photos taken over the last week on the reserve. There seems to have been a bit of a baby boom on the ponds with new broods of Moorhen, Mallard and Shelduck. Rock Pipits were catching insects on the reedy pond and taking them off towards Godrevy to feed young and there were plenty of young Sand Martins on the wire fences.
Rock Pipit (above and below)

Rock Pipit

Sand Martin

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

1st June 2009

A quick hour round the reserve this morning in the glorious sunshine. Plenty of breeding activity with a brood of seven Shelduck on the main pool and a single Moorhen chick on the small pool with the now healthy looking reed bed. The female mallard seems to have had another brood too. The morning was complete when a Marsh Harrier scattered the gulls from the main pool and flew off high to east.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Wednesday 13th May 2009

An hour on the reserve with Mark Halliday proved dividends this morning when a RED KITE flew over headed south along the Red River valley. The main pool was alive with hirundines with over 100 each of House and Sand Martins, 30+ Swallows and c100 Swifts. The Dunlin did a loop of the main pool and there seemed to be a few more Linnets around. Two Rock Pipits were on the small pool but there was no sign of yesterdays Garganey. Could be good for Terns this weekend.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Tuesday 12th May 2009

Finally reached the 100 mark with a superb male Garganey on the reserve this evening. It was reported on the pager earlier in the day and was still there at 1715hrs, on the north-eastern pool, initially showing well but then elusive amongst the sedge. Species 101 was House Martin over the main pool (3 birds). Only other birds of note were two Whimbrel flying around and a Dunlin on the main pool. The Whitethroat was still looking for a mate near the entrance gate!

Monday, 11 May 2009

Recent Sightings

Apologies for lack of recent updates. My new arrival came earlier than predicted!! Thanks to those who sent in reports. Tim Twiggs and Sam Williams report six Dunlin and five Whimbrel on 6th May and Sam was ready with his camera, capturing the image above. Tim was back again on the 6th and saw 5 Common Swift mainly over cattle fields east of road, 3 House Martin, 25+ Feral Pigeon over fields to north-east, 1 Sparrowhawk low over road, 1 Dunlin flying around main pool, 1 Common Sandpiper in small bay in NW corner of main pool, 2 Sedge Warbler in Red River ditch and 1 Common Whitethroat.

Friday, 1 May 2009

May is here..... why does it feel like bloody November! More rain and cold winds on the reserve this morning and not much different on the avian front. Razorbill (at sea) and Swift (2) were the only additions to my Reserve Yearlist bringing the total so far to 98 species for 2009. The Swifts came from the east and after a quick circuit of the reserve, headed west. Much of the standing water at the north end has now gone (Where does it go??) and i only saw one Whimbrel flying over as i left at 11.30am. Two Reed and a Sedge Warbler were again in reeds at the Red River and the main pool held six Shelduck and three Canada Geese. A walk along the western edge of the reserve produced single male House Sparrow and a Stonechat. The only birds of prey were two Buzzards and a male Kestrel. Still plenty of Sklark and Linnet singing.
Tim Twiggs had a couple of hours on the reserve this afternoon and had more success with the Whimbrel, counting thirteen birds. Swallow numbers had risen to over eighty birds on the main pool and had a single House Martin amongst them. A look at the sea from the embankment produced over eighteen Kittiwake and as many Manx Shearwater. Also four Turnstone flew past. Tim has also added up his Reserve Yearlist for 2009 and is currently on 84 species, including the Collared Dove seen from the western boundary today.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Thursday 30th April 09 sightings

What a difference a day makes! Dry, sunny and warm late morning on the reserve and plenty of birds singing. At least 6 Skylarks singing and finally got brief glimpses of Reed and Sedge Warblers singing in the Red River Ditch (95 and 96 respectively on the SGS Yearlist). The reserve has a lot of water on it at the moment with a large open area at the northern end. This held ten Whimbrel today. The Whitethroat was again singing from brambles near the entrance and just three male and a female Wheatear were evident.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Reserve Year list.......

With the new addition to my family due in the next 13 days aswell as other commitments i decided to do my birding more local to home this year and challenged myself with a St Gothian Sands NR Yearlist. Im counting species that are seen inside and from within the boundary of the Reserve, that being the road to the south, The Red River to the east, the sand bank to the north and the caravan park fence boundary to the west. Ive managed to miss some good birds this year already, not least the Snowy Owl! Didn't catch up with the snow buntings either but having totted up the years total so far i was surprised to find i'd seen 94 species on or from the reserve. Common Whitethroat and Whimbrel were new additions over the last few days.

Wednesday 29th April 2009

David King had a walk round the reserve this morning and saw Whitethroat, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Peregrine and two Sedge Warblers (along Red River near Sandsifter). I had a walk in the rain (again) this evening. There were certainly less Wheatears than my previous visit with only two males and a female noted. Six Whimbrel were still on the reserve tho mobile and a Common Sandpiper was on the Red river side of the main Pool. Finally caught up with the Whitethroat singing near the entrance gate as i left.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Snowy Owl Video

Heres a link to video footage taken by John Chapple of the Snowy Owl recently on the Reserve.

Todays Sightings

Spent an hour and a half on the reserve this evening in the cold and squally showers in the hope of a Whiskered Tern dropping in! No such luck but i did count six male and five female Wheatear around the ponds. A Fulmar flew over the north end and out to sea and there were five Whimbrel on the beach. Birds of prey were evident with the Buzzard pair constantly around, a Peregrine flew over and a superb male Sparrowhawk shot across the main pool and alighted on the northernmost bank, the Sand Martins remained totally oblivious!

Monday, 20 April 2009

Snowy Visits Reserve

A pretty uneventful morning on the reserve soon turned into a damn good one for Tim Twiggs yesterday. The immature Snowy Owl (Zennor bird or another??) was sat on the mound overlooking the reedy pool to the north of the main pool! After a couple of hours the bird flew north over Godrevy Head and despite extensive searching could not be relocated. A great find by Tim and addition to the reserve list.

I missed it and will be changing my mobile phone very soon, bloody technology!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Evening Visit

I decided on a late evening visit on the patch tonight, mainly to avoid the dog-walkers. How wrong could i be! Why does it take 5 people to walk one dog? Or the other extreme where one person owns five or more bloody dogs! They are never on leads and their owners talk to each other as if they are 3 miles away from one another. Not suprisingly most of the birds were content to remain within the relative safety and tranquility of the fenced off areas. Thanks God for fenced off areas!
Only two pairs of Shelduck were on the main pool this evening, keeping a watchful eye on a couple of Common Buzzards nearby. The Mallard chicks seem to be happy on the westernmost pools and two moorhen were on the bottom small pool (with the reed bed). Over 50 Sand Martins and a dozen or so Swallows were over the reserve and three Wheatears were around the westernmost pools. Really must think up some permanent names for the different areas. Main Pool should remain as such, but anyone ideas for the other areas?

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Recent Reports

Sam Williams saw four Wheatears on the reserve on the 14th and managed the great shot shown here. He also reports lots of Sand Martins and eight Swallows.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Weekend Sightings

Terry Hasdell found a Common Sandpiper on the main pool on Sunday and Sam Williams reports plenty of Sand Martins, Swallows and of course, Shelduck on Saturday. Thanks to Sam for the great photo of Sand Martin in flight.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Recent Sightings

Sunday 29 March - Shelduck 14 on main pool, Northern Wheatear 1 female, Sand Martin 8, Swallow 5+, Moorhen 2, Little Grebe 1 on main pool (Tim Twiggs)
Monday 30th March - 2 Swallows this afternoon, hawking over the big pool with at least 12 Sand Martins. My first for the year here. 6 Sandwich Terns flying past the mouth of the Red River (D.Jenkins)

Tuesday 31st March - (PM) - 40+ House Martins, Swallow, Chiffchaff, 4 Shelduck, 2 Mallard, Little Grebe, Herring Gull, Buzzard, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch and 8 Magpies. (Chris Yates)

Monday, 23 March 2009

Drive by sightings

A quick drive past the reserve this morning and birds observed from the car were four male Wheatear between the main pool and the road and 16 Shelduck doing what Shelducks do. A Kestrel flew NW over the pool and still plenty of Skylark singing. Also about 15 Sand Martins over the main pool.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Recent Sightings

Though the weather has been superb over the last few days with light winds from the south and clear skies, there hasn't been much in the way of birds. Derek Jenkins had four Male and a female Wheatear on the 18th with a few Sand Martins along the Red River and Chris Yates had two male Wheatear around the mian pool on the morning of the 19th.

Six Shelduck were doing the springtime chasing and fighting thing this morning (21st) on the main pool and two Male Wheatears were on the open grass between the main pool and the road. The Phal killing Buzzard was walking up and down the bank of the island in aniticipation of another easy snack and there are still plenty of Skylark singing. Photo right; M.Sallis.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Late news from the Weekend

Bit of late news from Tim Twiggs who visited the reserve on Saturday and Sunday: A summer plumaged Water Pipit was around the main pool on Saturday with 8 Sand Martins and an adult Kittiwake also present. On Sunday there were two male Wheatears on the reserve.

Matt Sallis was also there on Sunday morning and captured the Wheatears on film. Matt also states that Skylarks were very abundant.

Monday, 16 March 2009

At Last.....

Finally caught up with the elusive Ring Ouzel on Saturday morning with the directional help of Monty Curtis. The bird showed well on the grassy bank, west of the main path at the entrance gates to the reserve. It appears we were lucky as it flew low east over the reserve shortly after and as yet has not been seen again. Heres the photo as promised by Steve Rogers. Spring was certainly in the air with 38 Sand Martins over the main pool and a superb male Wheatear nearby. At least four Skylark were singing and two or three Linnets sang. Shelduck numbers totalled nine on the main pool. A Firecrest was at Godrevy Point (Thanks Brian). A short visit in the evening of the same day produced seven Greylag geese on the island, a Little Grebe and two Ravens flew over.
There was no sign of the Ring Ouzel on Sunday 15th, but there were eighteen Purple sandpipers on the rocks at nearby Godrevy Point. These superb little waders occasionally get on the pools onthe reserve so are worth keeping a eye out for. Hopefully the first Little ringed Plover should be seen soon!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Ring Ouzel again.......

Steve Rogers finally caught up (after 10 attempts!) with the male Ring Ouzel on the reserve today (12th). Steve says the bird was on the left as you enter the reserve from the layby, on the grass bank and beside the shallow pool. It was badly disturbed, flushed by the bloody dog walkers on several occasions.
I will post photos on the site soon but in the mean time they can be found on Steves blog.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Recent Sightings

The male Snow Bunting was seen again at 4pm on the 5th March by Alec George, but neither bird could be located on Friday morning by Derek Jenkins. However, Derek reports that the Scaup (3) are still on the main pool with two Shelduck and ten Canada Geese. Plenty of singing Skylark too but no sign of the drake Pintail.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Snow Bunting

John H Johns managed to catch up with the 1w bird on the reserve yesterday (2nd) and got the great shots shown here. The Scaup were still on he main pool too.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Recent Sightings - Sunday 1st March '09.

I could see Steve Rogers (Steve's Blog) on the reserve from the road and phoned him to see if he had seen the Snow Bunting seen by Molly on Saturday. He reliably informed me that he was watching a first winter/female Snow Bunting. I short walk later and Steve informed me that i'd missed it! He managed a few shots before it flew a short distance and disappeared. This was obviously not the male seen by Molly, so there are two Snow Buntings around the reserve at the moment. The drake Pintail and Scaup (3) were still on the main Pool.

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Saturdays Sightings

Molly Burnley had a superb male Snow Bunting on the reserve on the 28th and the Scaup (3 fem) and Pintail (drk) were still on the main pool. Two Canada Geese were commuting between the main pool and cattle fields over the road during the afternoon and a Little Grebe and two Shelduck were on the main pool. Eight Curlew flew over towards the beach late afternoon. No sign of any Sand Martins yet.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Recent Sightings

Not much to report from the reserve over the weekend. The three Scaup are still present and Sam Williams managed the superb flight shot of the drake Pintail, below.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Recent Sightings

16th February 2009 - 3 Scaup and Pintail still there plus 3 Med Gulls (2 ad, 1-1stW), Raven, Snipe etc. The Phalarope-eating Buzzard was watching the ducks with intent!! Flock of at least 200 Wood Pigeons in fields on opposite side of road from reserve. (John.H. Johns)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Recent Sightings

The main pool hosted a cracking drake Pintail on Saturday and Sunday accompanied by the now resident three Scaup. The Water Pipit put in another appearance today and there were 7+ Red-throated Divers feeding in a group offshore. No sign of the Ring Ouzel yesterday or today despite extensive searching. Steve Sargeant saw it perched on top of some bare twigs amongst the gorse, about 50m in from the road entrance on the left (west). It was about 30m away from the footpath and he watched it for about two minutes and then it dropped down out of view. Needle in a haystack springs to mind! Thanks to the following for their sightings this weekend: M.Curtis, D.Eva, J.Chapple, A,George and me ;-)

Friday, 13 February 2009

A belated Happy New year!

Firstly an apology that i've not updated this blog for ages! Been busy with Cornwall Birding and the new Isles of Scilly Bird Group website. Fortunately it is a relatively quiet time of year at St Gothian but there have been a few good birds worthy of going to look at. Your probably sick of seeing the photos of the Buzzard killing the Grey Phalarope on the main pool on the 11th January, so if you want another look, click HERE.

The Water Pipit has been around since the beginning of the year but can prove elusive. It was seen most recently on the 12th February, the same day as a cracking male Ring Ouzel (right) snapped by Steve Sargeant. This was probably the same bird seen by Tim Twiggs on 7th January.
Three Scaup are on the main pool at the moment and other wildfowl of note this year include Shoveler and Pintail. A Jack Snipe was also seen on 7th January.
Hope spring brings some more goodies and i will endeavour to keep the blog updated with your sightings!