Leaving London at 1.30am, the journey down with Stuart P was straightforward and we arrived in Penzance just after 7am. Naturally, the first port of call was our stomaches, so we headed first to the new Sainsbury's (built on the site of the former heliport) before going to McDonald's for a quick breakfast. Unbelievably, we dipped Dan P - though we were later to find out that he'd called in at the one in Hayle so our gen wasn't too out...
Everything went as planned from then on - a shuttle bus up from Penzance to Land's End aerodrome (as we were coming back on The Scillonian), decent flight and then arrival on St.Mary's, punctuated by a Black Redstart by the terminal, where we were then immediately taken to the quay in Hugh Town, where Joe Pender took us over to St.Agnes in ten minutes on one of the Bryher boats. Thanks to the Don of Scilly, Mr H, for sorting out all the logistics and making things seamless.
A quick walk through St.Agnes was the next manoevre, and having turned off by the coastguards, before we'd even got to St.Warna's Cove the 1st-winter male Caspian Stonechat showed itself - flying past us, almost Wheatear-like - before perching up in the garden of a nearby house. After a short while, it headed back down to the beach where it spent the next couple of hours - flycatching and feeding on the abundant insects by the rotting seaweed. A real cracker of a bird, as indeed chats tend to be anyway. And with the uncertainty of its taxonomic status putting the stonewall tickers off, just seven of us and a couple of Scilly locals made the experience even more pleasant. As did a Siberian Chiffchaff feeding alongside a couple of nominate birds in the same area.
|1st-winter male Caspian Stonechat St.Agnes, Scilly 23rd November 2013|
|Isles of Scilly scenery - remarkably this was my first visit to the islands since December 2007|