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  • Writer's pictureAngie and Mark Underwood

Nature Watching in Scilly

The Isles of Scilly are a very special place, full of nature and wildlife from resident and migratory birds to some rare visitors. Coastal plant life on the headlands and bog plants in the moors and abundant marine life in the seas surrounding our islands.

Nature is unpredictable and you never quite know what you will find. The more time you spend looking obviously increases your chances but in just a few days this week we had some exciting encounters.

21 May 2019

We heard that there was a Red Footed Falcon hanging around Porth Hellick Downs. A quick walk over the headlands soon gave great views of this attractive little falcon.

22 May 2019

A day on Tresco is always a treat. In recent years a visit to the Gardens also gives the opportunity to watch Red Squirrels. These entertaining little creatures were introduced to Tresco about 5 years ago with the aim of establishing a colony safe from predators such as Grey Squirrels as these are absent on the islands. Their introduction was not entirely without its critics as they had never previously inhabited the islands. Whatever you point of view, the Gardens remain an easy place to find and watch them with the colony thriving and growing.

23 May 2019

Whilst boating around the southern side of Scilly on a calm glass like sea we had incredible sightings of 3 or 4 different Minke Whales. Whilst on this occasion we were in a boat, we often see Dolphins, Porpoises and the occasional Whale from the headlands. In fact earlier in the day a sighting of up to 8 Minke Whales and a larger Whale, possibly a Fin Whale had been reported from an individual watching from Giants Castle (the headland near to the end of the runway)

Obviously taken from a distance as we didn't want to disturb these incredible creatures.

Also in the same location whilst watching the whales we saw our first Sun Fish of the year.

24 May 2019

The day started with a boat trip to Mincarlo to view the Puffins. An easy trip to arrange, St Mary's boatman running trips to either the Northern Rocks (Mincarlo) or Annet in the Western Rocks to see the Puffins, seals and other sea birds most days when the weather is suitable.

After the Puffins we went back to the southern side of St Mary's. We didn't find any more whales but we did find a pod of about 20 Risso's Dolphins. They were a challenge to photograph from a boat rocking in a choppy sea, but what a sight. We have seen them before but not so many as in this pod.

Over the same period of time large pods of Common Dolphins have been reported by passengers crossing to the Islands on the Scillonian.

This blog highlights our best sightings within a few hours of walking and boating in just over 4 days and doesn't include the rest of the birds, seals plants and butterflies seen. If you're coming to Scilly and like nature and because you're coming here the chances are that you do, just bring your binoculars, go for a walk and you never know what you may be lucky enough to see.

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