Saturday, 25 April 2015

Great Blue Heron ......... On Scilly

Great Blue Heron on Bryher.

Yesterday the 24th April i headed on a long journey to the Isles of Scilly and my target bird was the Great Blue Heron on Bryher which was only the 2nd record of this species in the UK . 

 









Given the lack of news , i decided to head for Bryher where the bird was favouring mostly.  Other birders joined me making 12 in total on the small craft that was ferrying us to Bryher, getting the fare down to £5 each.

Water Taxi the " Falcon ".

By 1225 we were on Bryher and on our way to the pool by Hell Bay hotel where the GBH was most commonly seen. Still no news ! Hearts were partly dampened , heads a little hung and tales of woe were already being created that would go down in the dipping halls of infamy.

As the throng of birders approached the pool there was still no sign of the GBH  at a distance , two birders were on the far side , they could see us, no body language to put a spring in the step. Closer examination was required. On we went. There by the waters edge was another birder. He looked semi-professional , you know, the kind of Sunday afternoon birder that us serious birders / twitchers can be all too dismissive of. He had some intel !


There had been a large Heron that had flown in but had conveniently moved out of sight in tall vegetation at the back of the pool. Oh yeah, really !? Apparently , he had gone in to the hotel to use the toilet so the permutations were becoming exponential.

Arrggghhhh !! The non-natives were now getting really restless. ' Lets move around to get a better view ' et al. Baaaa . The flock of sheep clambered their way with varying degrees of guile , via a few natural obstacles . Corroboration was established. The bird WAS there and it had YET to fly off. Belief ? It was becoming palpable. Did i even hear some praying ?

Then , hallelujah. ' A  sign '. A large Heron came flying into view. Within seconds ( following borderline hysteria from those that couldn't see the fly in ) the GREAT BLUE HERON myth for us became a reality .


The presence of the ' in person' bird surpassed the images that, up til now, we could only ruefully appreciate. This was the ' real deal '. Manly, and less than manly , congratulations rippled through the 15 or so conectees. Relief made birders stand an inch or two taller and we feasted our eyes for a good 10-12 minutes , whilst the Heron huffed and puffed to the sound of cameras and iPhones gorging on capturing images that would be scrutinized in the hours to come.


The bird eventually had it's fill and was soon to take to the wing. This lumbering giant slowly meandered off towards the far side of Tresco with a Herring Gull or two as , no doubt, an unwelcome escourt . So, with the pressure off and two hours before we were to be ferried back to St.Mary's the prospect of some birding took shape , i looked for some Golden Oriole , but alas without success. Who cares - GREAT BLUE HERON !!.

I enjoyed looking at some migrants washing them down with a pot of tea - oh , how civilized the happy twitcher can be. As 1530 approached the reverse journey was about to commence with the Falcon on hand to speed us back to the quay at Hugh town.

Great Blue Heron.

A very long and tiring trip but with great reward , he who dares....