Weather To Blame For Poor Birding Season Say Experts

birdwatchers 2There have been mixed views on the success of this year’s birdwatching in Scilly.

Comments on social networking site Twitter have suggested that there have been few rare species spotted on the islands this season.

One birdwatcher wrote: “This is undoubtedly the worst Scilly week I’ve experienced.”

Another said: “If Scilly doesn’t buck up, this season is going to go down as one of the worst ever.”

Local bird expert Bob Flood says weather patterns have changed and now favour the Scottish islands. It means they’re getting more interesting and rare birds than Scilly.

He also says new paging technology means twitchers tend to stay on the mainland now and wait for news of so–called ‘mega’ rare species. The last thing they want is to be stuck on Scilly when an alert goes out, he says.

County Bird Recorder Nigel Hudson agrees that the weather patterns have changed, although he says it’s not clear if it’s just a normal glitch or something more permanent.

And while he says birders are currently seeing more species in Shetland, “it’s cold and windy there” and many old timers prefer to come to Scilly for the scenery.

But wildlife expert Will Wagstaff says it could be the birders themselves who need to get some perspective.

He remembers comments in the early 1990’s about how Scilly wasn’t as good as it used to be, but those same people are now harking back saying, how good it was.

And he says it hasn’t been all that bad this year. He estimates up to 350 twitchers have visited and several rare species spotted. These include two sora rails from America, a White’s thrush and a Pallas’s grasshopper warbler.

Will says we’re never going back to the 1980s when around 1,000 birders used to descend on the islands.

But he feels those who come ove enjoy it and we should make every effort to attract new birdwatchers here.



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