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Friday 28 August 2015

A scarce Lundy wader drops in...

Lundy Warden Beccy MacDonald and Assistant Warden ChloĆ« Nicholson have been watching this juvenile Ruff outside Barton Cottages this morning. Ruff is a very rare bird on Lundy – two on 10 September last year were the first since 2007! Further photos are posted on the Lundy Conservation Team's Facebook page.

Juvenile Ruff, 28 August 2015

There have been a lot of Ruff about in the last couple of weeks; the graph below shows the August 2015 spike in BirdTrack reporting rates nationally (red line) over and above the past two years, perhaps associated with the recent unsettled UK weather grounding migrants that set off from NE Europe in fine conditions.

BirdTrack national reporting rates for Ruff www.birdtrack.net

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Shearwater spectacular

The waters around Lundy were the focus for one of the teams deployed for today's Balearic Shearwater and Bottlenose Dolphin survey (#swsurvey) of the whole SW peninsula coordinated by RSPB and MARINElife. Seven surveyors (Annette Dutton, Dave Chown, James McCarthy, Kevin Bainbridge, Steve McAusland, Tim Davis & Tim Jones) left Ilfracombe this morning on Obsession II, with two of us being dropped off on the island to scan from land (taking over from island resident and Guillemot expert Grant Sherman, who covered the early shift), while others performed a series of pre-defined GPS transects at sea.

We didn't manage to find any Balearic Shearwaters, which seem not to reach the Bristol Channel until September or October, but an estimated 10–20,000 Manx Shearwaters gathered in a spectacular 'feeding frenzy' off the East Side in the early afternoon and six Bottlenose Dolphins (including a calf) were off the West Side, seen from Shutter Point. The team also had multiple sightings of Common Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises, while additional seabirds included Gannets, Kittiwakes, Shags, Fulmars, a few Common Terns, small numbers of Guillemots – some now sporting winter plumage – and (during one of the transects) a single Storm Petrel.

On the island, en route to and from our various seawatching points, we saw a Pied Flycatcher (Millcombe), one Sand Martin (Castle), 9 Cormorants (including a migrating flock of 8 heading south along the East Side), a Grey Heron (East Side), a Kestrel (South West Field) and a few Willow Warblers. But it was the amazing concentration of Manx Shearwaters that will live long in the memory. Thanks to Andrew Bengey, skipper of Obsession II, for a superb day.

The survey team at Ilfracombe (R–L): Kevin, Annette, Dave, Steve, James & Tim D
The team had the island surrounded!

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Lundy Peregrine Project

For updates from Luke Sutton on the Lundy Peregrine Project, a long-term research initiative looking at the population dynamics and foraging behaviour of Lundy's magnificent falcons, follow @LundyPeregrine on Twitter. The project operates under relevant permits in close consultation with the Lundy Warden.

This image is from a Lundy Peregrine Project camera trap. ©Luke Sutton