The Islands are a paradise for birds, providing a home to unusual native species and hosting exciting and rare visitors from across the world every year. You really do not know what may turn up around the next corner.
The resident Sparrows and Song thrushes are famously bold in Scilly, thriving on slugs and snails and revelling in the lack of predators, while Scilly's Wrens and Blackbirds are slightly different to those on the Mainland. In summer visitors from Africa like Cuckoos, Wheatears and various warblers stop off, some remaining to breed.
Gulls and Shags are relatively common in Scilly but most of the other species of seabirds that nest need protection. There were once around 100,000 Puffins in Scilly - today there are fewer than 100 pairs. Terns and Kittiwakes have decreased rapidly, and the Roseate tern has already disappeared. Manx shearwater and Storm petrel cling on in their only English breeding colonies.
In Autumn large numbers of migrating birds such as waders, thrushes, redstarts and flycatchers arrive in the Islands - some spend the winter and others passing through to the south. The Islands are and important staging post for these long distance travellers and are essential to their survival. During the winter, waders and ducks need clean beaches and minimum disturbance to feed up before heading north again the following spring.
Puffins are the smallest of the auks breeding in Scilly and many people hope to catch a glimpse of them on a boat trip around the uninhabited islands. Puffins arrive on the Isles of Scilly around the end of April and leave approximately mid-July.
In summer common terns nest on the uninhabited islands of the Scilly archipelago, but their declining numbers are a cause for concern.
Very close views can be seen of thrushes as they feed along footpaths; they breed on the inhabited and larger uninhabited islands
The Stonechat is a jaunty, characteristic resident of the Isles of Scilly. The male is one of our most beautiful breeding birds. Stonechats can rear multiple broods on the exposed coast of Scilly, indicating their rugged adaptability.
Notes from the ringing lane
Updates from Jaclyn Pearson, Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust volunteer. "For as long as I can remember I have wanted to know the answer to such questions as ‘which bird migrates the furthest distance?’ and ‘how old is the oldest blackbird?"
The Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust works with various partners on projects aimed at conserving Scilly's seabirds. Find out more information about some of these projects.