Three Turks and a Wingletang.

Visits to St Agnes are always a privilege – the place is usually drenched in sun, and this most “Fraggle Rock” of all the Isles of Scilly seems to be most people’s favourite.
It always has birds too, and after a fun early a.m. boat ride through a crisp swell, we were watching a hyperactive Greenish Warbler quicker than you could say “Troytown Farm ice creams all round”.
The thing rarely sat still, especially when it started getting ChiffChaff hassle.

Redstarts in pittosporum cloaked bulb fields that for some reason always remind me of empty churches, ‘crests calling from the cover, and small groups of pipits going through.
Marvellous.
A young Red Backed Shrike was almost as approachable as the warbler and I got great views of the endemic Scilly form of Specked Wood butterfly, which is a bit darker than the bugs back home apparently.

From there we hot-footed it round to the Parsonage, where a superb Convolvulus Hawkmoth was dozing…. look at the size of that moth missus!!!!!

After that we spent a sun-drenched afternoon commuting between the Turk’s Head pub, where we enjoyed one of the best beer garden views on the planet while we waved goodbye to boats ploughing back to St Mary’s, and the odd bit of birding…

Black Redstart following birders down off Wingletang was distant, before we crash landed back on St Mary’s and fell into the Mermaid.
Just another golden day on the fortunate isles……

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One thought on “Three Turks and a Wingletang.

  1. Autumn is a wonderful time for wildlife, and there is no better time for visitors to RSPB Leighton Moss in Silverdale, to enjoy the curious seasonal behaviours of two special residents at the reserve – bearded tits, and red deer.
    From now until the end of November, visitors have the greatest chance of observing bearded tits, colourful little birds specially adapted to living in reedbeds. The reedbed at Leighton Moss, which is the largest in North West England, is regularly home to around 30 pairs.
    When the insects they feast on the rest of the year become scarce in autumn and winter, bearded tits switch their diet to reed seeds. They don’t have teeth to chew it up, so they swallow grit – known as ‘gritting’ – to help them digest it. Leighton Moss’ wardens have placed special grit trays besides the reserve paths for them. It also allows their populations to be monitored closely and presents opportune locations for visitors to view these generally secretive birds.
    Close to the reserve’s Causeway Hide, a brand new viewing platform has been created this autumn to enhance the experience of visitors hoping to watch these striking birds. They are most visible on autumn mornings when conditions are right – dry, still, ideally with sunshine.
    Richard Miller, Warden at Leighton Moss, said: “We manage the reedbed at Leighton Moss for a host of important species, but bearded tits have always remained one of our priorities. Due to development and drainage for farming, reedbeds are a rare habitat in the UK, so those we have left, and the bearded tits within them, are important to conserve. Leighton Moss is one of the best places to see bearded tits in the country. Now is the perfect time to visit and witness these charming birds on the trays.”
    Early mornings and late afternoons in autumn are also an ideal time for visitors to Leighton Moss to witness red deer, Britain’s largest land mammal. Though they are present throughout the year, it is during this period when the stately forms of red deer stags emerge from the reedbed to engage in the annual ‘rut’, or breeding season.
    In competition for the attentions of females, called hinds, the stags let out thunderous bellows to advertise their fitness and supremacy. When stags meet, they size one another up by strutting and posturing in parallel, and if two equally-matched individuals refuse to back down, antlers lock and combat commences.
    For more information on autumn wildlife you can find on the reserve, and the enticing events being held over the season, visit http://www.rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss

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