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Monday 29 September 2014

29 Sep – First Lapland Bunting of the autumn

Further news from Richard Campey and Chris Dee for Monday 29th September: Richard had the first Lapland Bunting of the autumn while sampling the morning's visible (and audible!) migration. Also of note were three Grey Wagtails by the water tanks, three Golden Plovers and a calling Tree Pipit over the Airfield, a lone Teal on Pondsbury, and day totals of 35 Wheatears and 21 Robins. The Grey Heron was still present.  Diurnal passage was dominated by Swallows and Meadow Pipits, with estimates of 1,000 and 500, respectively, plus a single flock of 110 House Martins.
Among a total of 97 birds ringed during the day were 71 Meadow Pipits. In addition a Chiffchaff was 'controlled' (i.e. it had already been ringed somewhere other than Lundy).

Sunday 28 September 2014

28 Sep – A benign day of gentle visible migration

News for Sunday 28th September provided by Richard Campey and Chris Dee: During a fine, sunny and still early morning Richard noted a movement of Meadow Pipits leaving to the south, along with five Pied Wagtails, which headed out to sea over Benjamin's Chair. About 350 Swallows flew south through the day. There was also an increase in Skylark numbers, but many of the Robins present on 27th appeared to have left. Very few birds in Millcombe (where most bird-ringing is centred). Golden Plover heard; three Snipe at Pondsbury; two House Martins. The Grey Heron that has been around for a few days was seen twice, on the second occasion looking as if it was heading off to the mainland but eventually settling behind Rat Island.

27 Sep – Meadow Pipits, Robins and a sparse supporting cast

Saturday 27th September: Amidst still but overcast conditions, Richard Campey, who arrived on Saturday for a five-night stay, describes generally quiet birding. A day total of 450 Meadow Pipits included a flock of 380 on the Airfield, while a count of 38 Robins must have included a high proportion of migrants as Lundy's breeding population is only three or four pairs at best. Less common species included a Tree Pipit over lower Millcombe, a Grey Heron on the pond outside Barton Cottages, and a Firecrest in Quarter Wall Copse. Chris Dee reports that he and his team have ringed 433 birds so far during their stay (this total covers 23rd to 27th Sep, inclusive) including, on 27th, the Millcombe Treecreeper, two Garden Warblers, one Whitethroat and a Grasshopper Warbler. The four most frequently ringed species have been Blackcap (an amazing 156), Swallow (79), Meadow Pipit (68) and Chiffchaff (43).

Friday 26 September 2014

26 Sep – Wryneck & Grasshopper Warblers

Tonight's news from Chris Dee is of a Wryneck (the same or another?) on the east sidelands, two Teal on Pondsbury and the Treecreeper still present in Millcombe. Ringing included three Grasshopper Warblers.

25 Sep – Blackcap fall and another Yellow-browed Warbler

The latest update from Chris Dee: "Probably 250 Blackcaps on the island today (Thursday 25th). Also one Yellow-browed Warbler, two Firecrests, one Lesser Whitethroat (all seen, not ringed) and Grey Heron again."

Wednesday 24 September 2014

24 Sep – Waders, warblers & swallows

Chris Dee reports "Grey Heron south; one Greenshank heard; 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, light Swallow passage".

Dotterel photos

Dotterel near the Rocket Pole on 16th September. Photos by Andy Jayne.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

23 Sep – All change...

It was Andy Jayne's last day today, but a group of four bird-ringers, led by Chris Dee, have just taken up residence in Brambles for the next 10 days, so continuity of coverage is assured. Andy reports someting of an exodus of migrants, with highlights today being: Treecreeper still in Millcombe, six Spotted Flycatchers, and female Redstart. Also 2 Bonxies on the crossing back to Ilfracombe, about 30 minutes out from the island.

Monday 22 September 2014

22 Sep – 'Quiet' is a relative concept

Andy Jayne says that today was "a bit quieter than yesterday", but goes on to list: Wryneck again along the Lower East Side Path, Treecreeper still in Millcombe, 6 Golden Plovers, 1,000 Swallows, Redstart, 4 Whinchats, 8 Stonechats, 80 Chiffchaffs, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Pied Flycatchers and a White Wagtail. Not bad for what must have been a sparkling late September day.

Sunday 21 September 2014

21 Sep – Autumn equinox brings a Yellow-browed Warbler and Chiffchaff fall

Andy Jayne reports: "Super day. Stoneycroft bouncing with bill-snapping Chiffchaffs. Highlight was a Yellow-browed Warbler in Millcombe. Also Golden Plover, 2 Redstarts, 4 Whinchats, 12 Stonechats, 2 Sedge Warblers, Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Blackcaps, 65 Chiffchaffs, Yellow Wagtail". This is Lundy's first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn.

Saturday 20 September 2014

20 Sep – Treecreeper: a 'Lundy rarity'

Treecreeper is a species that's always nice to see, but not one to really quicken the pulse of many birders. Yet this is a rare bird (less than annual) on Lundy, meaning that there have been many more records of (for example) Yellow-browed Warbler for the island. So Andy Jayne's 'find of the day' – a Treecreeper in Millcombe – is definitely worth a mention in despatches. It's impressive to think of a bird that sometimes seems barely capable of making it from one tree to the next flying over a minimum of 18 km of open sea, perhaps considerably further. The 'best of the rest' of Andy's Saturday sightings on a generally quiet day were Dunlin, Curlew, Redstart, 4 Whinchats and 3 Spotted Flycatchers.

Friday 19 September 2014

19 Sep – Wryneck in the rain

Andy Jayne's plea (of yesterday) for rain was answered and tonight he writes "Light rain and mist this morning produced a few birds. Saw a Wryneck very briefly, flushed along the Lower East Side Path. Also, 3 Sparrowhawks, Redstart, Stonechat, 8 Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Spotted Flycatchers and a Curlew."

Thursday 18 September 2014

18 Sep – Quiet weather, quiet birding

Andy Jayne reports 10 Whinchats as the highlight of today's birding, saying "Little else of note. Need some rain to drop the birds in I think".

17 Sep – Trouble with the east wind

Andy Jayne reports for Wednesday 17 September: "6 Balearic Shearwaters off South End late afternoon. Chris Baillie had 4 Whinchats. Very quiet generally in blustery conditions. Millcombe windswept!"

Tuesday 16 September 2014

16 Sep – Dotterel & Hen Harrier

Andy Jayne who arrived on the island today reports a juvenile Dotterel near the Rocket Pole. Also two Whinchats and two Turnstones. Writing on the Devon Birds website, Stuart Darbyshire reported an adult female Hen Harrier and a couple of Spotted Flycatchers, plus, on the return boat crossing, a Balearic Shearwater.

28 Aug to 5 Sep and 9 –11 Sep – shearwater and passerine ringing, including Common Rosefinch

David Price, Peter Slader,  Nik Ward and Tim Frayling spent much of this period ringing Manx Shearwaters at night, following on from Tony Taylor & Richard Taylor's earlier visit – see below. They captured good numbers of adults, including both 'new' birds and retraps, but fewer chicks than in recent years, though it may simply be that this is a later season, rather than a less productive year.

Mist-netting during the day, yielded just over a hundred birds, including 48 Willow Warblers, while Nik ringed a juvenile Common Rosefinch on 10 Sep. Other passerine migrants included Spotted Flycatcher, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Goldcrest and Firecrest. Two Ruff on Pondsbury on 10th were the first since 2007!

11 Tree Sparrows continued to be seen up until 30th. Nik reports that "At one point 10 were just up the track from the farm, while one stayed over by Old Light!"

Thanks to David Price & Nik Ward for contributing the information from which the above brief summary is taken.

Saturday 13 September 2014

23rd August to 6th September 2014

During my two week stay there were a number of interesting sightings. When I arrived there were reports of a Juvenile Rose Coloured Starling which I tracked down in the chicken run behind the Lodge.

A flock of Tree Sparrows was also reported. Initially 3 had been seen, but in the first week of my stay I regularly saw as many as 11 or 12 on the main track between the Village and Quarter Wall, or on the track from the Black Shed past the Stone Crusher and towards Old Light. Sometimes they split into smaller groups but often they all stayed together.

Towards the end of my stay I saw a Firecrest in the oak trees in Millcombe and a Pied Flycatcher further down Millcombe.

A little Stint was reported around the duck pond behind Bartons but I didn't get to see it!!

There were plenty of Spotted Flycatchers and Willow Warblers mainly in Millcombe and St Johns, and also Swallows, Swifts, House Martins and Sand Martins flying around the top of the island.

I saw all four Wagtails too, Pied, White, Yellow and Grey.

3 Kestrels were regularly seen, often being mobbed by the resident Ravens and Crows.

Juvenile Rose Coloured Starling

Tree Sparrows


Pied Flycatcher