Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Porthcressa beach and The Garrison, St Mary's

Our house that we had rented for this holiday was pretty near to this Ancient burial chamber up on a hill overlooking Hugh Town (the main town on St Mary's). On a couple of occasions during my week on the Islands, I did a circular walk which involved walking down past the burial chamber and onto Porthcressa beach below, then walk along the beach and up onto the hill in the distance on the left there which leads to The Garrison and then on down into Hugh Town.Here is another view of Porthcressa beach and Hugh Town from the Peninnis headland.The view is fabulous on the way down to the beach. In the distance on the right is the twin peaks of Samson island. Samson is the largest of the uninhabited islands. It used to be inhabited, but was abandoned back in 1855, leaving its cottages empty and wildlife reigning over its gorse covered slopes.From this photo of Porthcressa beach, you might almost imagine you were in the Caribbean!Here is the path down to the beach on a less clement day! I guess the view wasn't quite as magnificent this day! (-:
Those benches would be lovely to sit on when the weather was a bit clearer!On the path along the bay there was this Herring Gull quite happily standing in a puddle (probably admiring the view) (-: His reflection was too good for me to miss too, and I managed to get off a few shots of him taking a drink.

A juvenile Herring Gull wasn't quite so much of a poser. This was the best view he would give me.The ubiquitous Oystercatchers (Oiks for short) were dodging the waves on the beach.One got caught out and flitted a little way along to dodge this little wavelet!I don't think it's going to have much luck landing there either! (-:On up past the beach and you have to walk through the outer wall of The Garrison to get up on top. Here's one of my friends Dave having to duck down to get through. I only had to duck a little bit! (-:Up on top and the old canons are still in place, ready to fight off all comers.On this particular day, it was misty and drizzly with the promise of heavier rain to come. My three birding buddies are up ahead of me deciding whether to walk the whole way around The Garrison in the rain or not. They did. I on the other hand, decided to return to the house for a cuppa tea instead! Wimp or what! (-:The walk around the garrison starts here with a lovely tree covered walkway. This is a good area for passerines to take shelter when going through on migration.You can't see it in this photo, but Porthcressa beach is now down below on the left.Eventually you walk out of the tree covered area onto an area of gorse and bracken with stunning views over to other islands. This I think is St Agnes in the distance.

I've done this photos slightly out of sequence (again)! Below are a couple of photos taken of a Yellow-browed Warbler along the leafy pathway. This small and very flitty warbler is a vagrant to Britain from Siberia. It winters down in south east Asia so is well of course I'm afraid. These aren't brilliant photos as it was quite dark under the leaf canopy and the bird was staying in a patch of trees with the sun behind and I would had to have been standing in mid air over Porthcressa beach to get the sun behind me, so I guess that wasn't going to happen! (-:

This Collared Dove on the other hand was more than obliging by perching on a bare branch with the sun behind me. I love the lichen hanging down on that branch.We had an amazing influx of migrant Painted Ladies in Britain this year and they were still being seen here on the Isles of Scilly in mid October. As with alot of insects, this one was taking advantage of the late nectar from Ivy flowers.Having walked all the way round The Garrison, you end up in Hugh Town and the harbour area.I thought I'd stick this one in last with our Union Jack flying high over The Garrison on St Mary's with the island of Tresco in the background. There will be one more post from the Isles of Scilly before my journey back to the mainland and Cornwall.


Anonymous said...

Well Jen, at least you got to see the YB Warbler and returning for a cuppa was definitely the best idea.

John said...

Hi Jenny,

Lovely photos of the YB Warbler...the circular walk you did was one of my favourites, I would spend ages searching the trees looking for the 'special' bird along the Garrison.
Happy memories.

Been a very quiet October on the Scillies.


The Early Birder said...

Hi Jen. Thanks again for another scenic walk, even if the weather wasn't brilliant. YBW I've seen for about a second but never captured. You did exceptionally well in the circumstances. FAB

Eve said...

I think we really all feel like we were right there with you Jenny Wren. This is just another wonderful post of your adventure. I think the YB Warbler shots are just fine! I love the posing H Gull, very nice.
I've been MIA on my blogging, as you know I'm getting my mom settled in her apartment. I think she'll be all moved in by the weekend!

Chris said...

Hi Jenny,
Wow a magnificent post again. I love the foggy atmosphere shots and the gull reflection. We did again a nice visit with you as a guide!

Jenny said...

Hi Roy, yes, it was a nice cuppa! I was lucky enough to see two YBW's along that stretch of path, one that had already been found and one that I found myself.

Hi John, it has been a quiet 'Scilly season', but I was more than happy with my one life bird and supporting cast. I hope I can go again next autumn.

Hi Frank, thanks for that. They are so active and generally at the tops of trees too, I was lucky to even get a stab at this one!

Hi Evie, I wish you could've been there with me. Glad your Mom's getting settled in OK!

Hi Chris, glad you're enjoying these Scilly posts. Not many more to go now! )-:

Mary said...

This is all so neat and so different. When we were in Wales we wanted to see a burial chamber, but the only one we saw was on private property and we couldn't get near it. Is it just a deep hole or like a cave? The Garrison walk looks pretty...but long! I think I would have opted for the tea, too. Love those reflecton shots of the gull and the young one. I've never seen a young gull. Good that you got to see the warbler!

Rural Rambler said...

Well Jenny this is another great scenic walk you have taken us on. I enjoyed all the pictures and I would have enjoyed the cup of tea rather than walk in the rain, I'm a fair weather gal!

Kelly said...

...Wow! You've packed a lot of info into this post! That ancient burial chamber is interesting... I would have wanted to see it. Loved the little walk you took us on. The paths are gorgeous and it does look quite tropical. Were those actually palm trees? The misty photos are pretty..... I don't know how I missed this post. Glad I checked in!

Jenny said...

Hi Mary, I have to say, I didn't stick my nose down that hole so don't know exactly what was down there, sorry to say.

Hi Pix, I'm usually quite happy to go birding in the rain, but just fancied a cuppa more on this occasion! (-:

Hi Kelly, you know, I find I manage to miss quite a few posts somehow even though I always look at my blogroll on the rhs. Glad you checked in too! (-: I'm not completely sure what those trees are, but it is certainly a warmish steady climate there. Just 9 degrees variation in temp usually.

Quiet Paths said...

I shall miss Scilly; I have enjoyed your posts so much and the photos viewed over and over. The circular walk to the beach and back to the house sounds pretty much like heaven to me.