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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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Saturday, 24 August 2019

21st to 23rd August – Icterine Warbler & Wryneck seen, Storm Petrels ringed – updated

August 21st & 22nd

The stiff westerly winds raged on! Not much to report from either date, other than a small scattering of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Goldcrest from the Millcombe area, a fly-by Storm Petrel seen from MS Oldenburg on the 22nd (about 30 minutes from Lundy) and an admirable catch of 26 Manx Shearwater on the evening of the 22nd (22 chicks ringed, and 4 adult re-trapped).

August 23rd

The burly westerlies and periodic showers finally gave way to a slight easterly breeze and some beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures.  This much-awaited change in conditions allowed for some great visible migration throughout the day, which included an increase in passage Swallow (66), the first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn (5 in Millcombe and along the Terrace) and two magnificent Devon rarities.

One of five Pied Flycatchers present in Millcombe and along the Terrace on 23 August © Dean Jones

The first of these star birds came in the form of an Icterine Warbler, which was seen at around 13:30 foraging within and upon the scrub at the top of Millcombe, bordering St Helen's/Barton Field. From here, the bird allowed for some smashing but brief views before disappearing for most of the afternoon. Then, at around 17:00, it was relocated slightly south of its original location, flitting through the willows just below Government House.

The Icterine Warbler in the willow plantation just below Government House on 23 August © Dean Jones

Shortly after the initial sighting of the Icterine Warbler, news arrived of a Wryneck just outside Bramble Villas, where it was watched foraging for a meal for 10 minutes or so at around 14.40 before flying up into Millcombe Wood and out of sight.

Other birds of note on this exciting day included: the long-staying Grey Heron, a Water Rail outside Paradise Row, a fly-over Golden Plover, a Whimbrel calling from the Landing Bay, 3 Swift, lone Sand Martin and House Martin, 3 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest and 8 Chaffinch.

The perfect evening conditions also allowed for a Storm Petrel ringing session at North End. Here, 30 new birds were caught and ringed as well as 9 retrapped or controlled birds* – a superb end to a fantastic day of birds!

Finally, the first Migrant Hawker dragonfly of the autumn was seen quartering around Millcombe in the beautiful afternoon sunshine.

Report composed of observations from Dean Jones, Patrick Keith, Rebecca Taylor, Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor and Martin Thorne.

*Update

Tony Taylor adds that seven of the nine Storm Petrels that were already wearing rings had been ringed on Lundy in  2017 and 2018. The other two birds were controls (i.e. they had been ringed elsewhere); details to be confirmed in due course.

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