Caught by the River

The Bird Effect Diaries

Ceri Levy | 2nd March 2010

The diary of the making of a film. and an on going fascination with birds and their accompanying cast of human characters. By Ceri Levy. Read previous entries, starting here.

Isles Of Scilly – Part 3.

Friday October 9th

Jim and I decide to stay on St Mary’s today and get off to a cracking start and fail to see both a reported Red-Breasted Flycatcher and a Firecrest. As we run around the island in search of birdlife, we do see a wonderful sight as ten Whooper Swans fly overhead and then drop onto Porth Hellick Pool, which is where we are headed. We go into the hide and watch this elegant group swanning around and also see a Green Sandpiper. For me the best moment is when we manage to witness a fleeting, bullet-like aerial performance from a Kingfisher, as it barrels round the eastern side of the reed-strewn pool. A perfect split second of blurred blue and orange, almost like a glimpsing of a ghostly apparition from another dimension, partly within our world and partly without, and just for a moment our worlds connect. It never matters to me how long or how short a time I see a Kingfisher for, as they always impress me and fill me with awe. For such small birds they have such majesty about them.

It’s the Pilots Gig for dinner, which is run by Bryan Thomas, a birder, who has an early evening birder’s menu, at a decent price, backed up by some fresh fish and without doubt one of the best places for food on Scilly. I had megrim, which is the local sole, which I have never seen anywhere else other than here. It is so nice to eat a proper evening meal for a change, before heading off to the Scillonian for the log and a pint.

Tonight sees a call of a Richard’s Pipit on St Agnes, but when photos of it are studied by some of the experienced birders, it is thought that it could possibly be the more unusual Tawny Pipit. With a sigh, as discussions are had and photos hummed and hawed over, an extremely seasoned birder tells me that the normal course of events will mean that often with a bird like this, it starts off being seen as the more common, but still rare Richard’s Pipit, then gets turned into the more uncommon Tawny Pipit and then someone, somewhere, somehow will turn it into the even rarer Blyth’s Pipit. He advises me to watch out for the hysteria in the morning as the bird’s credentials could be altered several times before it’s actual identity gets sorted out properly when the seasoned vets descend upon Aggie. Should be a fun morning.