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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.

Monday, 23 November 2020

12th to 22nd Nov – An array of late migrants and Lundy's second Goosander

Dean Jones reports on the latest avian goings-on from 'Lundy in Lockdown' – including an unexpected encounter with a Goosander.

Damp and blustery has been the theme for the majority of this period, with strong winds for the most part (gusting between 38mph and 56mph) apart from a few mornings and afternoons where the winds dropped to a moderate westerly/south-westerly – conditions which allowed for some more comfortable birding and of course, a trickle of migrants. Sunday the 22nd, however, was a glorious late-autumn day with barely a breeze throughout, warmer temperatures, some decent passage first thing and lots of very welcome sunshine.
 
Small gatherings of Rock Pipits have now formed in sheltered parts of the south and west coasts, flocks of hungry Herring Gulls are chasing the Farmer daily as he puts down supplementary feed for the sheep, and avian migration has slowed to a trickle. Winter on Lundy is well and truly just around the corner! 

Despite the foul weather and time of the year, there have been some real birding gems to behold throughout this period, one of which was a very unexpected Red-throated Pipit (not a bird you’d expect to find in a force 6/7 westerly) over Millcombe shortly after 08:00hrs on the 13th. Luckily the bird was very vocal as it flew overhead which, permitted a few wind-battered recordings as it made its way over the valley towards the South End. If accepted this will be the 12th record of this species for the island, the previous occurrence being one on 27 October 2017.  

Another star bird of the period was a female Goosander fishing for Mirror Carp on Rocket Pole Pond on the 22nd. This was only the second record of this saw-billed duck for Lundy, the first seen 86 years ago by Felix Gade on the 17th December 1934. Thus, a true Lundy mega! 

Lundy's second Goosander in flight from Rocket Pole Pond, 22 Nov © Dean Jones
 
Additional highlights included a juvenile Glaucous Gull roosting within a flock of 24 Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Lower Lighthouse Field on the 15th, a Yellow-browed Warbler busily searching each and every epiphyte for a meal in Quarter Wall Copse on the 12th, singles of Snow Bunting on the 13th, 21st and 22nd, and a scattering of Black Redstart throughout (max four birds on the 22nd). 
 
Male Black Redstart on the roof of Old House South,
22 Nov © Dean Jones


Offshore, birds of note were a drake Common Scoter past Rat Island on the 12th and six birds (two drakes and four ducks) on the 22nd, a Great Northern Diver sheltering and foraging in the Landing Bay from the 12th to the 15th (with a second bird passing Rat Island on the 15th), a Great Skua present offshore along the east on the 12th, two Mediterranean Gulls on the 13th and seven on the 22nd, three Common Gulls on the 13th and four on the 19th, a single Manx Shearwater on the 15th, and small numbers of Gannet, Shag and Kittiwake (max 70 birds on the 18th) along with auks offshore each day. Fulmar and Guillemot too have been periodically visiting their breeding ledges along the West Side.  

Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay, 15 Nov © Dean Jones
 
Up on top of the island, sightings included up to four Water Rail in Millcombe, a freshly predated Woodcock on the Lower East Side Path on the 22nd, the hibernicus type Coal Tit for its sixth week, singles of late-occurring Swallows on 13th, 16th and 22nd, a Black-headed Gull roosting in Tillage Field on the 12th, the Millcombe Woodpigeon, which remained in the Valley throughout this period, and up to three Firecrest logged daily – along with a handful of Goldcrest and singles of Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

Furthermore, there have been singles of Sparrowhawk, Merlin and Kestrel terrorising the Starling flocks on a near daily basis, and small numbers of larks, thrushes and finches have continued to move south during the fairer weather – with Skylark logged most days (max 21 on the 22nd), Redwing on six days (max 21 on the 13th and 22nd), Fieldfare on three days (max 19 on the 13th) and small numbers of Chaffinch each day, with the exception of the 22nd when 68 flew south. 

Merlin taking a rest from chasing passage Starlings near Pondsbury, 21 Nov © Dean Jones
 
Small numbers of Blackbird, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Goldfinch and Siskin have also been logged most days, as well as five Linnet on the 22nd and singles of Brambling on the 13th and 22nd. 

Female Teal sheltering from the winds on Barton Pond © John Lambert

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