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This page is run by volunteer contributors as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, UK.
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See also the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the 2007 book of the same name.
Bird recording and ringing on Lundy are coordinated by the Lundy Field Society and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

7th Oct – 'Greenish Warbler' in Millcombe identified as Green Warbler!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Please do not phone the Lundy island landline for news of the Green Warbler. The Warden is currently off island and the hard-pressed admin & catering staff are not birders and will not be able to help!

For birders coming to Lundy to look for the Green Warbler, please keep to the footpaths in Millcombe and respect the privacy of those holidaying in the properties around the valley. 

Many thanks to everyone for your understanding and cooperation.

A full round-up to follow, but the highlight of the day has been a 'Greenish Warbler' [subsequently identified as a Green Warbler – the UK's fifth and the first for Lundy and Devon] found in Millcombe by Tim Jones & Tim Davis at just after 09.00 and which continued to show well around the valley for much of the day, in company with Chiffchaffs (20+), Goldcrests (15), Blackcaps (40+) and single Willow Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher, not forgetting the Great Spotted Woodpecker – itself a rarity (for Lundy!). The Great Northern Diver was also back on fisheries patrol in the Landing Bay after going AWOL in yesterday's northeasterly gale.

20.40 UPDATE. We have been able to keep up partly with the Twitter storm these photos unleashed. Thanks to everyone with experience of Green vs Greenish Warblers for their comments and expertise, especially Chris Townend, Mike Langman, Brydon Thomason and Andy Jayne. We can confirm that the yellowish tones are real – not an effect of the light under the canopy or of the photos themselves. We're kind of gobsmacked but chuffed at the same time. Will be out to look for it again first thing in the morning; last seen at about 15.45 this afternoon.  Below are some additional record shots and we have added an account of the bird's finding...

Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones
Green Warbler, Millcombe, 7 Oct © Tim Jones

Account of the bird's finding

Saturday 6th October had been a day of very strong north-north-easterly winds, with early rain giving way to sun in the afternoon. Sunday 7th dawned fine and dry with some patchy cloud and just a light N breeze, falling away to nothing by mid-morning and then a fresh south-westerly getting up, along with increasing cloud, during the afternoon. At around 09.10 hrs on 7th, Tim Davis (TJD) and Tim Jones (TAJ) were walking along the north side of Millcombe, the valley containing the largest area of trees and shrubs on Lundy, having earlier been monitoring visible migration on Castle Hill. TAJ glimpsed a warbler with a prominent supercilium and wing-bar and said “I think I’ve got a Yellow-browed” (having seen two on 4th/5th October, including one in Millcombe). He quickly corrected that, saying “No, it’s not a Yellow-browed… What the hell is it?!” The bird then showed quite well, if briefly as it moved through sycamore leaves, to both TAJ & TJD. Both noted a single wing-bar, very long supercilium, orangey bill and generally bright plumage, TAJ being particularly struck by the yellowish tones in the plumage, but with no field experience of Green Warbler and very little of Greenish, was unsure how yellow was ‘too yellow’… The bird dropped down and disappeared from view. We spent a few minutes trying to relocate it but it seemed to have done a runner. Both of us were needed for duties elsewhere, having offered some voluntary time to support island staff, and couldn’t get back to Millcombe until 12.00, when after about 25 minutes’ searching we found the bird feeding in Turkey oaks and sycamores on the opposite (south) side of the valley, loosely associating with Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. We again watched the bird moving through the canopy at some speed, often against the light, which made snatching record shots with a bridge camera quite a challenge (though TAJ managed a few of the upperparts). The bird was constantly moving ahead of us and once more dropped out of sight after about 10 minutes. It was not until 14.30 that we caught up with it again, back in the same area where it had started out at 12.25, but again it was moving away. At 15.25 it was in ash and sycamore trees above the gas store in lower Millcombe, when it rested in the semi-open for a few minutes, enabling some better record shots to be taken, albeit of the head and underside only. At 15.45, when it was last seen, it was in ash and aspen next to the gas store – again associating with Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests. Altogether we estimate that we watched it for about 40 minutes.
Description: Phylloscopus warbler approximately the size of a Chiffchaff, with a notably prominent, slightly upturned orange bill. Long yellowish-white supercilium that appeared to us, at least on some views, to meet over the bill. Single quite prominent whitish-yellow wingbar. Prominent yellow body feathering near alula, making yellow mark near 'shoulder' bend in wing. Upperparts rather bright greenish. Tertials narrowly tipped paler. Throat and face suffused with lemon yellow, very much like Wood Warbler. Rest of underparts more whitish but washed with yellow. Legs brownish.

2 comments:

  1. Birdguides reporting this as GREEN WARBLER. Supercillium does look yellow rather than whitish and throat/upper breast look also distinctly bright yellow. Wing-bar also looks to have yellowish tone. Interesting...........

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  2. I have just trawled through lots of Greenish photos on the net. None are as yellow as this bird. I saw a number of Green (and one Greenish) in Georgia last year. Does look good for Green.

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