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Sunday 5 October 2014

5 Oct – Amazing and long-awaited news...

I have just taken a slightly windswept mobile call from Tony Taylor who arrived on Lundy yesterday along with fellow ringers and birders Tony John & Luke Philips. A visit to the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony this evening Sunday 5th October in search of shearwater chicks to ring revealed something altogether more unexpected, though much anticipated – a Storm Petrel chick!

This is the first ever proof of breeding by Storm Petrels on Lundy, though it has long been suspected that Stormies might be nesting (or at least attempting to do so). There must be a strong chance that this development, like the resurgence of shearwaters and Puffins and the island's seemingly burgeoning Wheatear population, is linked to the eradication of rats under the Seabird Recovery Project. A red letter day indeed that will go down in the annals of Lundy ornithology and conservation.

Update: (posted morning of 6 Oct) – a text from Tony says: "Went to Old Light manx colony looking for late chicks in spite of unpromisingly bright moon. Luke noticed stormy a few m from cliff edge. Ringed and photos. Full grown but some down on belly. On release shuffled down small burrow."

Among birds seen during daylight hours on Sunday 5th October were: a Yellow-browed Warbler in St Helen's Copse (third record for the island this autumn), Great Northern Diver, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Teal, Dunlin, a small influx of Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs, and Blackcaps and, during the morning, a movement of Meadow Pipits.

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