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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.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Goldfinch and Storm Petrels among the latest bird ringing highlights

The latest batch of Lundy ringing recoveries and controls, provided by Lundy bird ringing coordinator Tony Taylor, makes for some fascinating reading.

Two controls (recaptures of birds ringed in locations away from the site of ringing), of a Goldfinch and a Storm Petrel, are particularly intriguing.

The Goldfinch (ring no. AVA4847), mist-netted on Lundy on 24th Aug, was ringed as an adult male on Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork, Ireland – 338 km to the west of Lundy – on 22nd April this year. Tony Taylor believes the Goldfinch is very likely to have bred on Lundy this summer, having started its wing moult and been caught in Millcombe together with a brood of recently fledged young.

Between 23rd and 27th Aug Tony and his ringing team caught 86 Storm Petrels – most during two night-time sessions just east of North Light, but 10 on two nights of primarily Manx Shearwater ringing between Old Light and the Battery. In all, 61 ‘Stormies’ were newly ringed, 18 were retrapped Lundy-ringed birds – mainly from 2017 and 2018 – and 7 had been ringed elsewhere. Fourteen were judged on the state of their incubation patches to be young, prospecting birds, while all the others were of breeding age, several carrying full crops of food for chicks.

Among these captures were birds ringed at nearby Hartland Point; Skokholm Island off the Pembrokeshire coast; Wooltack Point, Pembrokeshire (opposite Skomer); The Lizard in Cornwall; Old Head of Kinsale in Co. Cork, Ireland; and, as with the Goldfinch, Cape Clear Island.

Among the list of these controls sent to Tony by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) was one in particular that raised the hairs on the back of Tony’s neck! Storm Petrel 2580670 (pictured below) had been ringed as a young bird on Lundy on 5th Oct 2014 – so far the ONLY chick ever to have been ringed on the island. It was controlled on Burhou Island, Alderney, Channel Islands on 27th Jul this year – 1,756 days after it was found outside its nest burrow on Lundy’s West Side.

Storm Petrel chick, 5th Oct 2014 © Tony Taylor

The ringing team of Tony Taylor, Warden Dean Jones, Paddy Keith, Richard & Rebecca Taylor were joined on different nights by a visiting ringer, Dawn Anderson and her partner Chris, Grant Sherman and Rosie Ellis.

Colour-ringed Guillemot

One other sighting of note concerns a colour-ringed Guillemot seen on the breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove by Dean Jones on 26th Jun this year. Dean has recently received the news that the bird was ringed as a nestling on 8th Jul 2013 on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire. This bird was probably loafing on Lundy rather than breeding (there was no sign of either an egg or a chick). Professor Tim Birkhead, who ringed the Guillemot on Skomer, told Dean that it is actually very rare for birds to breed elsewhere other than their natal colony, adding “we very rarely get birds ringed elsewhere breeding on Skomer. However this year we had a bird found breeding on Skomer that had been ringed as a chick on Saltee in Ireland 35 years ago!”.

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