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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.

Friday, 27 March 2020

24th to 27th Mar – First colour-ringed Wheatears return, Bullfinch in Millcombe

With many of us unable to follow spring migration ourselves to the extent that we would like, here's the next best thing, with the latest round-up of ornithological goings-on from Lundy Warden Dean Jones, locked down on the island along with just the other residents for company, the last visitors now having left until restrictions are lifted.

Tuesday March 24th

A truly beautiful spring day with sunshine and clear skies for the most part  becoming a bit hazy in the late afternoon, light easterlies in the morning swinging round to strong westerly winds later in the day.

Avian highlights include the first two Willow Warbler of the year – one of which was heard in full song from the top of Millcombe Wood in the late morning. Additionally, a Jackdaw was seen briefly over Millcombe in the afternoon, a House Martin whizzed past the Village later in the day and a Firecrest was caught and ringed in the Secret Garden in the afternoon. Others birds/migrants of note included two Water Rail, a Snipe over the Village in the early morning, lots of calling Manx Shearwaters throughout the night, five Woodpigeon, three Swallow, four Sand Martin, three Pied Wagtails and three fly-over alba wags, three male Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, 18 Goldcrest, a lone Wheatear at the Sourth West Point, five Stonechat, ten Linnet, nine Goldfinch and six Chaffinch.

Two Peacock butterflies and a Small Tortoiseshell were also on the wing in Millcombe.

Woodpigeons feeding in Barton Field, 27 Mar © Dean Jones

Wednesday March 25th

Another beautiful but chilly start to the day – sunshine and clear skies, with breezy easterlies in the morning moving NE by the afternoon.

Highlight of the day was undoubtedly a beautiful female Bullfinch in Millcombe Valley which ended up in the shelf of a mist-net in the Secret Garden around 08:00. Also nearby, at least two Firecrest were seen and heard feeding within the Sycamores above the Gas Shed.

Other sightings of note included: A Great Northern Diver feeding offshore from Quarry Beach, a single Snipe flushed south of Pondsbury, the Ackland's Moor Lapwing, a Water Rail in Smelly Gully, four Woodpigeon, six Sand Martin over Quarter Wall, five Wheatear, 35 Skylark, five Blackcap, eight Chiffchaff, one Willow Warbler, 10 Goldcrest, seven Pied Wagtail, 40 Meadow Pipit, 10 Goldfinch, 4 Chaffinch and seven Linnet.

Ringing totals: the female Bullfinch, 2 Blackcap, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest and 2 Goldfinch.

Thursday March 26th

A very chilly start to the day brought forth by strong easterly/north easterly winds – clear skies and good visibility throughout.

Despite the breezy and nippy morning, some birds – namely Meadow Pipit (79) and Linnet (20) weren’t deterred and pushed on through the winds arriving in small numbers along the South End. Other avian highlights included three Jackdaw foraging with a small gang of Carrion Crow in High Street Field and a Grey Wagtail searching for a meal in Millcombe Pond.

Other sightings/migrants of note included: seven Wheatear, three Sand Martin, four Pied Wagtail, 25 Skylark, just three Goldcrest, two Chiffchaff and two Song Thrush.

A sunny but chilly East Side © Dean Jones

Friday March 27th

Weather very much the same as yesterday, though the north-easterly winds were up slightly compared to yesterday morning – then the wind dropped off to a slight breeze by 15:00.

The morning kicked off to a great start with a stunning male Hen Harrier searching for a meal over Barton Field. Other highlights included an adult Mediterranean Gull in full breeding plumage within a raft of 485 Kittiwake in Jenny’s Cove. Nearby, three Black Redstarts (two female and a crackin male) bobbed around the crags and scree next to the Old Lighthouse and Punchbowl Valley. Finally an adult Black-headed Gull was foraging in the Landing Bay in the evening

Male Black Redstart, below Old Light, 27 Mar © Dean Jones

Other than enjoying the avian highlights above – most of the day was spent looking for colour-ringed Wheatears along the south and west coasts as part of an ongoing Re-trapping Adults for Survival (RAS) scheme. A total of ten Lundy birds were found (four males & six females), along with 16 other unringed birds (ten males & six females), mostly foraging low down on the cliffs along the West Side. Not a bad start for the spring but fingers crossed there are a lot more colour-ringed Lundy birds still to arrive!

Colour-ringed male Wheatear, near Old Light, 27 Mar © Dean Jones

The best of the rest included a Great Northern Diver feeding off South West Point, 20 Oystercatcher, a calling Water Rail, a male Kestrel in an auk-devoid Jenny’s Cove, ten Woodpigeon, two Blackcap (one of which was in full song in the Village first thing), a single Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, 93 Meadow Pipit, three Pied Wagtails, a Grey Wagtail, 41 Skylark, five Stonechat, six Redwing, eight Chaffinch, ten Goldfinch and 14 Linnet.

Wheatear paradise – Jenny's Cove and the West Side © Dean Jones

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