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Sunday 29 May 2016

Sun 29 May – Tree Sparrow, Short-eared Owl & Black Redstart

Today's highlights included a Tree Sparrow – an extremely rare visitor to Lundy and the first in spring since 1996 – feeding outside Brambles (Tony & Ann Taylor), a Short-eared Owl seen between Quarter Wall and Pondsbury by Philip Lymbery, and a female Black Redstart that spent much of the day around 'Sunset Buttress' on the West Side (Tony & Ann Taylor).

Tree Sparrow outside Brambles, 29 May 2016. ©Tony Taylor.

Sat 28 May – Singing Firecrest, Turtle Dove

Tony Taylor and Richard Taylor report a singing male Firecrest (in Millcombe) on Saturday 28th, along with a Turtle Dove and a second brood of Teal comprising two ducklings judged to be slightly older than the brood of five first seen on Friday and still present on Saturday.

Saturday 28 May 2016

Wed 25 to Fri 27 May – Teal breed successfully for a second year

The latest update from Tony Taylor is that there were still a few passage Swallows and House Martins moving through on 25th & 26th, plus 5 Collared Doves (a typical late-spring migrant on Lundy), 1 Sand Martin, 5 Swift and 1 Goldcrest. The Reed Warbler was singing again on 26th. The Manx Shearwater colonies were very active on Thursday/Friday night (26th/27th) and eight birds were caught (the first individual being a 'control', i.e. it  had already been ringed somewhere other than Lundy) before rain set in curtailing ringing activity on the sidelands. Fri 27th brought confirmation that Teal have bred successfully for the second year running, when a female and five very small ducklings were seen.

Female Teal with ducklings (plus Mallard pair in foreground). ©Tony Taylor

Wednesday 25 May 2016

Mon 23 & Tue 24 May – Migration thinning out

As would be expected in late May, migration is showing signs of thinning out. As Tony Taylor puts it, "mainly less of the same", with smaller numbers of Swallows and House Martins moving through on 23 & 24 May, plus 9 Spotted Flycatchers and singing Blackcap, Whitethroat, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler and a Reed Warbler.

It will be interesting to see which of the territory-holding warblers remain to breed; clearly not the Reed Warbler given the absence of suitable reedbed habitat, but Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler have all bred successfully, if somewhat irregularly, in the past – depending largely on the vagaries of the weather. In spite of positive signs in several recent years there has still been no confirmation of  Blackcap ever having bred succcessfully on Lundy. Will 2016 be the year?

Other migrants recorded by Tony on Monday and Tuesday included single Collared Dove, redpoll sp. and Siskin.

Sunday 22 May 2016

Sat 21 & Sun 22 May – Continued passage and belated news of a Smew!

Tony Taylor reports a quiet day on Saturday 21st, with the only notable sightings being 3 Lesser Redpolls in Millcombe and 13 House Martins. On Sunday 22nd there were 200 Swallows, 50 House Martins (most of the hirundines moving through in the morning), 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 singing Whitethroats, a pair of Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 15 Spotted Flycatchers and 1 Siskin.

Tony has also picked out the following (unverified) reports from the logbook for recent days:

5th May – an Osprey headed north
12th May – a Golden Oriole in Millcombe
14th May – a male Smew on Pondsbury (almost certainly the same individual as sighted at Velator and Braunton Marshes on the nearby North Devon mainland on 20th & 21st May). If confirmed, this would be only the second record ever for Lundy, the previous occurrence being on the similarly improbable date of 15 September, but over 80 years ago, in 1933!
16th May – a Snow Bunting on the East Side and a Tufted Duck on Pondsbury

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Tue 17 May – Hirundine passage still going strong

Trevor Dobie, currently on the island as organiser of the Lundy Field Society Conservation Break, has sent through the following update today, Tuesday 17th May:

"Saw two Linnet pairs with nesting material near Pondsbury yesterday disappearing into gorse. Loads of Swallows and House Martins passing through – several hundred Swallows each day. Many Puffins at Jenny's today. Singing Willow Warbler in Quarter Wall Copse and Chiffchaff also calling there and in St Helen's Copse."

The strong, relatively late passage of hirundines could reflect migration delays encountered during cold, wet and windy weather in the Iberian Peninsula during much of the first half of May.

End of April and first half of May – Whimbrels, Marsh Harrier, Turtle Dove, warblers & Spotted Flycatcher

With apologies to those who have sent in records during the last three weeks, here is an overdue round-up that kept slipping down my 'to do' list after being away for 10 days.

Thursday 28th April – contributed by Nik Ward

20 Willow Warblers, 11 Blackcaps, a Sedge Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher – all in Millcombe; plus a Common Sandpiper by the jetty.

Thursday 28th to Saturday 30th April – contributed by Merilyn Holme, Alan & Sandra Rowland

2 Whimbrels, Castle Hill/South West Field and one at the eastern end of Threequarter Wall.
A colour-ringed female Wheatear that Tony Taylor has since confirmed was ringed as an adult near Benjamin's Chair in May 2014.

Thursday 5th May – contributed by Clive Couzens

Turtle Dove – one in Millcombe, below Government House; see photo below.
A colour-ringed Wheatear at the western end of Quarter Wall was the male reported from the same area on 5th April (see post for that date).

Turtle Dove, Millcombe, 5 May 2016 © Clive Couzens.

Sunday 8th May – Devon Birds day trip

A round-up by Jon Turner of what sounds like a rewarding day in spite of a troublesome east wind at times can be found here on the Devon Birds website, with photos by John Wilkes here and here. Highlights included Marsh Harrier, Turtle Dove, Wood Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Garden Warbler and – unusual for the island – a Buzzard and two Sandwich Terns.