A Christmas Gift For You From The Isles Of Scilly

Well… here’s an early present from Santa! A Rose-breasted Grosbeak on St Mary’s, Isle of Scilly. I wonder how many will be twitching that?



Puts me in my mind of the one I saw on St Martins on 13th October 2001. With not too much doing the late and much missed Phil Holloway and I decided to twitch St Martins for a lifer at the time – a Melodious Warbler. Skev was up for it too only problem is he was staying on Tresco and there was no interest in a boat. Dave Gray was also on Tresco but as he was due off that day he didn’t bother trying to see another Melodious. Undeterred Skev decided to head over to St Mary’s and join us on a boat over. The skippers assured us they’d wait for Mark but soon set off. ‘Don’t worry, he’ll make his boat’ was the chirpy response when we said they’d promised to wait…

As we got out into The Roads, Firethorn the Bryher boat started to slow and was soon pulling alongside with an anxious Skev knowing he was going to have to transfer between boats. Everyone secretly hoped he was going to go for a swim but sadly the crew got him transferred to our boat safely.

Once on St Martins, we’d landed at Lower Town quay, we had a long walk across the island for the Melodious that was up by the Daymark. We’d started past the Higher Town quay and were heading up when the message came out – Rose-breasted Grosbeak by the dump. Fuck! Right back where we’d started and right where Skev had stopped for a piss!

I can move when I want and we were soon ogling this little beauty…

Rose-breatsed Grosbeak photo by Steve Blain

Rose-breatsed Grosbeak photo by Steve Blain

By now everyone and their dog was trying to get to St Martins so we buggered off and added Melodious Warbler belatedly to our lists. We also ticked a really Scilly rare… Magpie from the boat home.

What I didn’t say was that anyone coming over on the several boats that followed dipped, including Dave Gray… he dipped again the next day when it was claimed by a few observers and never seen again. To be fair Dave did tick Yellow-breasted Bunting on St Agnes that I dipped by a day but hey. There’s nothing beats that just jammed in feeling short of finding your own!

For all you music lovers out there the inspiration for the title came from the ONE Christmas album every music lover MUST have in their collection – A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector.


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