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Wednesday 29 July 2015

25th July – Common Scoter in the Landing Bay

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Steve McAusland photographed this female Common Scoter in the Landing Bay last Saturday, 25th July.

Most Common Scoters are only seen in flight as passage migrants past the island; it is rare for one to settle so close to shore. Perhaps this individual was resting up after the recent unsettled weather.

Friday 24 July 2015

Amazing Chaffinch ringing control

This record of a 2009 Lundy-ringed Chaffinch recaptured in Norway in 2012 was of interest in its own right:
  • First-year female Chaffinch ringed on Lundy on 14 October 2009 (ring no. L026586); controlled (= recaptured) at Bømyra, Randaberg, Rogaland, Norway (a few km NW of Stavanger) on 23 April 2012 (922 days from date of ringing; 1,086 km from place of ringing; bearing 37°).
But remarkable news came in recently that Chaffinch L026586 was controlled again in April this year... at exactly the same place in Norway! Now in her seventh calendar year – a venerable age for a Chaffinch, given that typical lifespan is 3 years – she has presumably undertaken 12 long-distance migrations (six in autumn and six in spring) between her Scandinavian breeding site and winter quarters in the British Isles or further SW. What a bird!

Chances are that Bømyra is the bird's breeding area (or very close to it), since the odds of a Chaffinch on migration being captured twice at the same place must be vanishingly small (if anybody knows of evidence to the contrary, please get in touch!). Certainly online satellite images suggest that there is plenty of potential Chaffinch breeding habitat in the area.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

14th to 18th July – Additional sightings

In addition to the singing Storm Petrel and Mediterranean Gull sighting reported in previous posts, Tony Taylor has sent through the following sightings from his short stay on the island from 14th to 18th July :

Teal – 5 on Pondsbury on 15th & 17th; thought to comprise an eclipse adult and four juveniles, presumably from this year's first known sucessful breeding on Lundy.
Grey Heron – 1 on 16th.
Collared Dove – 1 singing in Millcombe on 18th.
Swift – 1 on 16th.
Sand Martin – 1 on 17th.
Stonechat – adult male giving persistent alarm calls south of Pondsbury.
Chiffchaff – up to 2 at St Helen’s Copse.

In addition, a fledged Puffling (young Puffin) was seen during the crossing from Lundy to Bideford on 18th.

Mandy Dee saw a Common Sandpiper at Brazen Ward on 17th and Swallows are nesting in the Church porch.

Saturday 18 July 2015

18th July – Mediterranean Gull

Tony Taylor and Chris & Mandy Dee saw an adult Mediterranean Gull flying around the Landing Bay just after they had boarded MS Oldenburg for the journey back to Bideford this evening (Saturday 18th July). Remarkably, this is only the second record of Med Gull for Lundy, with the first as long ago as August 1978! Incidentally, one of the observers those 37 years ago was... Tony Taylor! Although Mediterranean Gulls have become such a regular feature of mainland birding in recent years, including here in North Devon, where three-digit counts were made in 2014, this has not so far been reflected on Lundy; perhaps in part because relatively few birders visit the island during late summer, but that is not the whole story. Black-headed Gulls, with which Med Gulls commonly associate, have always been scarce on Lundy in spite of their abundance on the nearby mainland, so perhaps it is more the case that both species are very much birds of inshore waters, only passing Lundy in very small numbers from time to time. Whatever, this is a remarkable record, not least because it seems so long overdue. Will it mark the opening of the floodgates, or will we wait until 2052 for the next one?!

Friday 17 July 2015

4th to 11th July – Additional sightings

Andrew Jewels reports the following notable records for 4th to 11th July:

Sparrowhawk – one, Castle Hill; unusual in July (11th)
Black-tailed Godwit – one at Pondsbury; a Lundy rarity (10th)
Common Sandpiper – 3 on Landing Beach; southbound passage clearly under way (6th)
Woodpigeon – fledgling in Millcombe; first proof of breeding this year (8th); also reported by Alan & Sandra Rowland
Starling – 52 on wall by Tavern garden; indication of good numbers post breeding (4th)
Goldfinch – 5 juveniles begging for food from adult below Blue Bung; first proof of breeding this year (8th)

Thursday 16 July 2015

15th/16th July – Singing Storm Petrel

Tony Taylor reports a Storm Petrel singing for prolonged periods on the West Side last night, 15th/16th July. This is the first time that 'song' (if you are unfamiliar with the sound, find a clip online and you will discover why I used inverted commas!) has been heard on Lundy and comes from close to where the island's first ever Storm Petrel chick was discovered last autumn. See also the entry on the Lundy Conservation Team's Facebook page.

Monday 13 July 2015

4th & 7th July – Great Shearwaters from MS Oldenburg

Andrew Jewels saw a Great Shearwater from MS Oldenburg on the way over to Lundy on Saturday 4th July at about 09.30hrs, approximately 90 minutes out from the island (thanks for the excellent logbook entry Andrew!).

In addition, Martin Thorne of Morte Wildlife Group posted this entry in Devon Bird Sightings reporting two probable Great Shearwaters on the return crossing from Lundy to Ilfracombe during the evening of Tuesday 7th July.

So, definitely worth keeping an eye open, both from the boat and from the island itself, as we head into the main season for large shearwaters off the South West coast...