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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.

Saturday, 19 September 2020

19th Sep – First Yellow-browed Warbler & Brambling of the autumn

The latest message-in-a-bottle from Richard Campey begins with a question...

"Had the wind dropped overnight? Yes, by about 2mph! Now due east, Force 6/7. Started off walking South End up to Old Light: very little about. At Old Light, Starling flock of 87 birds, with two Swallows flying around them. Presumably the Starling mob were disturbing insects, as when the Starlings moved, the Swallows stayed with them. Also seen in this area: Peregrine (one male), Sparrowhawk (one female), half-a-dozen more Swallows and a Wheatear.

Then on to Pondsbury. A Grey Heron flew off towards the East Side, heading south. Also a lone Stonechat. Took main track back and encountered a raptor fest, with a Merlin trying to dig a Meadow Pipit out of the bush by Quarter Wall Gate, two Peregrines hunting, two Sparrowhawks and two, possibly three, Kestrels. Four Ravens on High Street Gate, two Linnet flocks on Airfield plus some feeding in the tracks, totalling 90 birds. Surely they will drag in an Ortolan or maybe that elusive Snow Bunting from Thursday (17th)?!
Linnet blowing in the wind... 19 Sep © Richard Campey
After breakfast, did Lower East Side Path to Terrace; fairly devoid of birds. Then Tibbetts to North End. Nothing much apart from a steady stream of Swallows. Very difficult to estimate numbers but 50 every 20 minutes, roughly. Return via Pondsbury, which had about 100 Swallows flying around and approximately 20 House Martins.

4.30pm and the wind had dropped a fair bit but more importantly it had gone north with a bit of sunshine peeping through. I felt Millcombe would be the place. Walked through the Bue Door and it was promisingly calm. More to the point, there were three Willow Warblers in the tree next to the gate! Feeling a sense of excitement, I entered the valley. In brambles near the tree plantation were Blackcaps, a Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler. About 50 Swallows overhead. Looking across to the Casbah there were Goldcrests and Phylloscopus warblers. And then... a fast-moving small warbler falling through the trees. It fed briefly on a branch towards the edge of the Sycamores and I was watching a Yellow-browed Warbler. Not for long though, as I lost it from view. Saw Sam Bosanquet across the valley, who shouted "Firecrest in pines". I retorted with the Yellow-browed! Searched for another 20 minutes but couldn't relocate it. Did see the Firecrest though. Also in Millcombe two Pied Flycatchers, another three Willow Warblers and a total of 11 Blackcaps.

Finished off by the Rocket Pole and had a Brambling fly-over calling."

Sam Bosanquet adds that: "A number of Lepidoptera were sheltering on Long Roost, including Large & Small Whites, Red Admiral and the migrant moth Rush Veneer. A young Cormorant flew over, heading north, and a pair of gull wings with fresh blood on the bones proved to belong to a 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull. As I walked back past Gannets' Combe a Lapland Bunting flew up “tik-a-tik” and then landed in an open area to give good views. The large, rare lichen Roccella fuciformis on the Mousehole & Trap was new for Lundy, and a surprise given how many lichenologists have visited the island. Even more surprising was the gametophyte of Killarney Fern on the ceiling of Queen Mab’s Grotto – also new for Lundy. The wind had dropped a bit by the time I returned to Millcombe, which held at least one Redstart and a Garden Warbler as well as the Firecrest which I called out to Richard." 

Additional species and combined totals from Richard, Chris Baillie and Sam Bosanquet included: Mallard 10, Shag 11, Gannet 5, Dunlin 2, Snipe 4, Woodpigeon 7, Swallow 500, Sand Martin 2, House Martin 30, Skylark 20, Willow Warbler 8, Chiffchaff 8, Goldcrest 8, Robin 6,  Stonechat 6, Starling 200, Meadow Pipit 50, Pied/White Wagtail 8, Linnet 150 and Goldfinch 30.

A team of ringers, led by Chris Dee, arrived on the island today. Chris reports that two Chiffchaffs were ringed in Millcombe, whilst three Manx Shearwaters were ringed at the Old Light breeding colony.

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