Monday, 24 October 2011

Scilly Highlights: Part 1... Upland Sandpiper

Last Monday morning Dave and I set off down to Lands End ready to fly over to St Mary's first thing on Tuesday morning. On the way south we called into a site in Devon and connected with a family party of Cirl Buntings and then we moved down to The Lizard in order to look for some migrants, however it was blowing a gale down there so we binned that idea and headed to the Land's End YHA picking up a group of 5 Chough while we were down there, by this time it was pretty much dark. A pretty restless night was had by us both, fingers and toes crossed that the main targets would still be there the next day.

It was windy through the night and it was with some concern that we made our way to the airport, luckily they didn't seem too bothered about the wind and after a cracking breakfast we were on the way for a rather bumpy flight, but a very smooth landing and were greeted with a Black Kite circling overhead as we stepped off the plane - good timing as shortly after this it was not seen on the islands again!

After a very quick check-in at the very nice Wingletang B&B we made our way straight up to Borough Farm, due to our early flight it was only about 0915hrs and when we arrived there was no-one looking for the Upland Sandpiper so we started checking the favoured fields, within less than 5 minutes Dave picked it up right at the back of the by now famous 'bulb field'. Fantastic, but not the best views, it was favouring an area just over the brow of a hill.

A Carrion Crow flew over the Sandpiper and it vanished. An uncertain next few minutes went by and a quick look of an adjacent field revealed that it must have flown along the back of the bulb field and into the next one along. During the next hour the bird showed remarkably well parading around in front of us, as close as 12ft at times! What was even more amazing was that there was only one other person up there by this point! You can't beat a mega bird with hardly anyone else being present! A great start to the day, and it would only get better...

Upland Sandpiper - taken on my phone

Upland Sandpiper - taken on my phone

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