"Ann and I spent five or six hours each day looking for Wheatears from what shelter we could find in the cold east winds, mainly on the West Side but with some shorter spells on the south coast. We recorded 28 different colour-ringed birds, as well as seeing several others too briefly or distantly for individual identification. They tended to be feeding out of sight on the lower slopes and cliffs, and plenty of patience was needed for reasonable views.
We saw several birds we know well from past seasons, including the male at Benjamin's Chair and the ‘Dad of the year 2018’ near Montagu Steps. Of the 28 seen, one bird was originally ringed in 2015, seven in 2016, eight in 2017 and twelve in 2018. The jump in numbers between ’15 and ’16 ties in with the unusually low winter survival rate we recorded that year. We hope there will be plenty more colour-ringed birds arriving soon, for us and others to find later in the season. Please do send us your sightings!
In general the established pairs seemed settled on their territories and busy feeding, but we saw several spectacular bouts of displaying, chasing and fighting, including one which involved two males and three females that were all within a couple of metres of each other.
Up to about 20 unringed birds were around the fringes of the plateau in our study area (south of Halfway Wall). They seemed to be a mix of potential Lundy breeders and migrants heading further north."
How to report sightings of colour-ringed Wheatears on Lundy: Each bird has a standard BTO metal ring plus a striped ring (which signifies the Lundy project) on one leg, and two colour rings on the other leg. Please take care to note which rings are on which leg and make sure you specify the order of rings on each leg. The bird in the photo below, for example, would be recorded as: "Left leg, striped over metal; Right leg, yellow over green". Please record sightings in the LFS Logbook in the Tavern, via the Lundy Wheatear Study Facebook page, or email them directly to Tony Taylor using the link here. In addition to the ring sequence, date, time and specific location, the bird's sex and any notable activity (e.g. singing, mating, nest-building, feeding young) would also be useful. Photos are particularly welcome.
|Lundy colour-ringed Wheatear © Elisabeth Price|