SE­ABIRD RE­COV­ERY

Bird Watching (UK) - - Bird The World -

There are many lovely places to ex­plore and many great birds to see in the Isles of Scilly Au­thor Jonny Rankin with Ja­clyn Pearson of the IOS Se­abird Re­cov­ery Project

From the air, we saw the Exe Es­tu­ary, Dart­moor, the Eden Project, Lands End, feed­ing Gan­nets and ul­ti­mately the Isles of Scilly them­selves. The land­ing upped our heart rates, as although it was ex­pertly ex­e­cuted, we were not used to the steep an­gled, nose-dive de­scent! This was pulled up to al­low for a gen­tle land­ing at the last sec­ond. The air­craft was so small you could see straight through the cock­pit win­dows over the pi­lot’s shoul­ders. The win­dows dis­played green grass and a steep hill­side be­neath the run­way! It was nice to know I was so calm in the event of my per­ceived demise and even bet­ter to re­alise we were not ac­tu­ally in mor­tal peril. Hav­ing watched the pin-prick splashes of feed­ing Gan­nets as we swooped down over the is­lands, our bird­ing ap­petites were whet­ted. We dropped our lug­gage at the su­perb St Mary’s Hall Ho­tel and

im­me­di­ately hit the trail. We had an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for ex­plo­ration and birds! We had both vis­ited the Isles be­fore and in­deed to­gether in au­tumn 2012. Mem­o­ries came flood­ing back as we reac­quainted our­selves with the Gar­ri­son, Lower Moors, Porth Hel­lick, Holy Vale and the golf course, all of which are hal­lowed ground, hav­ing been graced by many a rare or even ‘mega’ bird.

Hav­ing watched the pin-prick splashes of feed­ing Gan­nets as we swooped down over the Isles, our bird­ing ap­petites were whet­ted

Our ex­plo­ration took in 45 species of bird and was pep­pered with Hum­ming­bird Hawk­moths and but­ter­fly sight­ings. We racked up more than 12 miles of walk­ing in just one af­ter­noon – not bad con­sid­er­ing we were on a mod­estly-sized is­land! Greenshank, King­fisher, Grey Wag­tail, Whin­chat, Wheatear and a ju­ve­nile Dot­terel were the bird­ing high­lights. While we had not set out to walk so far in just a few hours; the knowl­edge that the next hedgerow, field or pool could hold yet more avian­bounty was too com­pelling! Hav­ing got our bear­ings and en­joyed much of St Mary’s, we chat­ted through the day over a pint or two. Be­yond the lovely bays, white sand and emer­ald seas, the weather, which was glo­ri­ous, added a fur­ther sheen to the day and a ruddy hue to my face! I also found a new love – Holy Vale. The foot­path through the Vale is in­cised be­tween tree trunks and roots, the path is shrouded by the

Nik­iban­field PA­TIENT STALKER SCENIC SCILLY Wry­neck

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