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