Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Oh no its another gorgeous day! Just the ticket for our visit to St Agnes.

We arrive on the quay to the standard Wren salute (every quay on Scilly has one) and a Cuckoo flies over towards the island of Gugh (pronounced Goo). We walk down to Porth Killier to be greeted with news of a Rose-coloured (Rosy) Starling. But the bird has flown to the other side of the bay. We scan the far shore when Ray spots the Rosy Starling flying off towards the cricket pitch. We head that way when Steve sees it fly back and over to nearby Browarth Point. We trek round to the point but no sign. We follow the point back round to Porth Killier, and, surprise, surprise, the Rosy Starling is back with the Starling flock feeding on the beach where it was first seen! We view the bird as it feeds on the seaweed with the other Starlings until it flies off again. We decide to reposition ourselves by the beach where all the Starlings are feeding. As we head round we stop to look at a Cinnabar moth when a Common Sandpiper takes flight from some nearby rocks. It lands amongst the gulls and searching for it we find a single Whimbrel roosting up on the rocks. On the nearby beach we also find four summer-plumage Sanderling and eight Dunlin. We get our best views of Rock Pipit as one struts its stuff right in front of us on the beach.

Arriving at the 'Starling' beach, we find the Rosy Starling back on the seaweed feeding with the Starlings. Its plumage isnÂ’t that bright, the pale areas only having a hint of pink suggesting it is a first summer bird (hatched last year). Its still got a pink bill though, which proves useful when you can only see its head behind a mound of seaweed is very useful in picking it out from the yellow-billed Starlings. We get tremendous views before it again flies away which is our queue to find a sheltered sunny spot for lunch.

Crossing the cricket pitch a Turtle Dove does a fly-by, a Spotted Flycatcher is feeding under the Tamarisks and a Barnacle Goose of questionable origin is on the Big Pool, before arriving at Periglis. The beach is quiet apart from a couple of sun-seekers, and is perfect for lunch. Our view of the southern tip of Annet and out to the Western Rocks and the Bishop Rock Lighthouse is stunning. The sun beats down on us and there is hardly a ripple on the water in the cove. John and Margaret can't resist a paddle, and next minute they have their boots off, trousers rolled up and are waltzing in the shallows! What's that about mad dogs and English men going out in the midday sun? A Whimbrel on the rocks provides a brief snippet of birding interest.

After lunch we walk up to Lower Town and across to the 'Nag's Head' a wind-carved stone overlooking St WarnaÂ’s Cove. A Light Emerald moth flutters around our feet and we try hard to pin down a Meadow Pipit but none are that obliging. We head round to Wingletang where we get good views of a couple of Stonechats. Our second Cuckoo sighting of the day is a bird being pursued by Meadow Pipits. We walk through the dappled shade of Barnaby's Lane to Covean Tea Garden where most of us part-take in a spot of ice cream indulgence and a spot of afternoon tea. Steve of course can't have a cone like everyone else, and has to be greedy with a four-scoop sundae! All refreshed we take a stroll over The Bar to Gugh. On the Gugh end of The Bar is a fine spread of Sea Holly, and at Carn Bite we eventually catch up with Scilly Bee.

We catch the boat back to St Mary's, and after dinner, we walk up to the Star Castle on the Garrison to watch the woman's pilot gig race. This soon takes on a competitive feel when we learn that Eva, one of the waitresses from our guesthouse, is racing in the Tregarthen gig. Getting into the swing of the race we cheer on Tregarthen to an honourable fifth place.

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