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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.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Additions for 7th to 14th Dec – A serendipitous ‘first’ for Lundy: not one but THREE Great White Egrets!

This post includes additional records from Martin Thorne for the period 7th to 14th Dec and should be read together with the previous post, from Dean Jones, covering sightings for 4th to 19th Dec.
 
On discovering that the Radio Room was available for a week following a cancellation, Martin Thorne grabbed the opportunity for a pre-Christmas break on the island. Here’s his summary, including an encounter with not one but three Great White Egrets – a new species for Lundy’s burgeoning bird list!

“My week started with a skua harassing Kittiwakes off the Landing Bay on 7th. It looked very much like a juvenile Herring Gull but had the distinctive raised wings of a skua but with no noticeable wing barring – a shame I didn't have my 25x100 binoculars handy as I feel certain it was a Pomarine (certainly the most likely skua species to occur in SW waters this late in the year – eds). The following day a Mediterranean Gull off the Jetty was showing an interest in a Grey Mullet dying of a severe infestation of gill parasites (see photo). Later on I saw a Yellow-browed Warbler feeding around the gateway opposite the Shop. On Wednesday a white-winged gull flew over the Airfield, possibly a Glaucous though it looked rather small. Looking through the gulls again on Thursday, I picked out one or more adult Yellow-legged Gulls. On Saturday there were two immature Glaucous Gulls, one white, one very brown (see photo). I would say from the markings on its head the latter was the same bird that turned up on Monkstone Beach, Pembrokeshire, due north of Lundy, on 14th Dec (see https://pembsbirds.blogspot.com/). The same day I made it up to the North End. It was very quiet bird-wise, with six Snipe around Pondsbury and just three Gannets off North End. On Sunday I noted well in excess of 450 gulls, split into roughly four flocks.
 
First-winter Mediterranean Gull off the Jetty, 8th Dec © Martin Thorne

An immature Glaucous Gull stands out among a gull flock...

... and also in flight, 12th Dec © Martin Thorne
 
On most days there were two or more Black Redstarts, four Stonechats and a Chiffchaff in Millcombe, a single Great Northern Diver off the East Side, and a Woodcock in and around St John's Valley at dusk. Standing outside the Radio Room at one point, a stone bounced off the roof and hit the ground hard. On closer inspection I realised it was a gastrolith, or gizzard stone, consisting of a piece of tarmac – no doubt purged by some high flying gull. 

Black Redstart © Martin Thorne
Chiffchaff, Millcombe © Martin Thorne
 
Undoubtedly the high point of my stay came on 8th when, from below the South Light, I saw what I first thought were three Cattle Egrets approaching from the west. As they loomed into view I became aware of their much larger size, brilliant white plumage, dark legs, yellow bill and rather heron-like cranked neck posture – three Great White Egrets (which I later learned from the two Tims were new for Lundy!). Without stopping, they headed away east toward the mainland. Oh, and I mustn’t forget also two speedy Teal at dusk!
 
The first Great White Egrets to be recorded in Lundy's rich ornithological history fly in from the west past South End...

...and head on eastwards towards the mainland, 8th Dec © Martin Thorne

Teal zooming along at dusk over Brick Field Pond, 8th Dec © Martin Thorne
 
Non-avian sightings included a superb stag Sika Deer in Middle Park, and a Grey Seal emerging from kelp and various bits of 'human' waste along the East Side."
 
Stag Sika Deer, Middle Park © Martin Thorne

A Grey Seal noses its way to the surface through kelp and various bits of plastic and nylon cord © Martin Thorne
 
Congratulations Martin on your serendipitous ‘first’ for Lundy, and nicely captured on camera for posterity!
 

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