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Thursday 23 June 2016

22/06/16 Guillemot chick "Obsession", Lundy

Ten days since I first saw this chick, "Obsession" is growing well. Its parents (standing to the right) spent over an hour together at the ledge. This shows that they are all well fed, even with the mist and drizzle they are able to find their way back to Lundy with fish for "Obsession"

Ten chicks have  hatched so far this year, and there may be another three eggs left. So far, the signs are well- the adults are spending time together on the ledge and they are bringing in good numbers of Sprats for their chicks.


Tuesday 21 June 2016

15 Jun – Guillemot "J" loses its egg

Although Guillemot eggs are meant to roll in a tight circle, they can still fall off their ledge. This bird loses it's egg whilst it is preening. The egg falls to the ledge below and the adult cannot move it's egg back to the it's ledge. Imagine trying to move a tennis ball up a step with a knitting needle.

Sunday 12 June 2016

Sat 11 Jun – History is made!

Early morning fog and drizzle, enlivened by scattered downpours, gradually gave way to a sunny but sultry late morning and afternoon. The highlight of the day was long-awaited proof, for the first time ever, of a Blackcap breeding attempt on Lundy. A male and female (both carrying BTO rings) were watched for more more than an hour as they assiduously gathered spider webs (used to bind the nest together) from crevices in the slate walls of Millcombe gardens. The male was wing-shivering and giving short but intense bursts of song between foraging trips and both birds returned repeatedly to the presumed nest site. A Whitethroat was again singing near St Helen's Copse. The Oystercatcher family on Rat Island (see entry for 7th) was continuing to thrive.

A count of Puffins at Jenny's Cove at around 13.00 hrs yielded a minimum total of 95 (45 on land and 50 on the water), but part of the area used by Puffins, on the south side of the bay, was not visible from our vantage point near the Earthquake.

On the afternoon crossing to Ilfracombe two Sandwich Terns were seen about 40 minutes out from the island.

Update: See photos of Red-breasted Flycatcher (31 May) and Greenish Warbler (5 June) added to the relevant posts below, courtesy of Paul Holt and Rebecca & Richard Taylor. A few other photos also added.

Fri 10 Jun – Hobby among other late migrants

At 7.40am on Friday 10th Tim Jones watched a Hobby (the third in a fortnight) take off from a tree perch near the top of the steps between Millcombe and St Helen's Combe. It flew around the south side of the Ugly but was not seen again. A singing male Whitethroat at St Helen's Copse was seen carrying nesting material (and singing at the same time!), but there was no sign of a second bird. A flock of seven Woodpigeons flew out of Millcombe, where there was again a single singing Collared Dove. A Willow Warbler was singing from Millcombe wood, above the the Casbah, in the early evening, but was probably just passing through as it had not been seen or heard earlier in the day, nor was it present the following day. Other late migrants included a Spotted Flycatcher (Millcombe) and five Swifts, while the Golden Plover remained in South West Field.

A new brood of eight Mallard ducklings appeared with a female on the Brick Field pond. One of the Lesser Black-backed Gull nests on the Miller's Cake (a large rock slab adjoining the Landing Bay) contained two small chicks. Tim Davis & Tim Jones estimated more than 1,000 Diamond-back Moths in a Pineapple Weed-dominated area of the Lighthouse Field no more than 50m x 5m!

Spotted Flycatcher, Lundy, Jun 2016 © Tim Jones

Friday 10 June 2016

Continuing northbound passage on 9th June

Tim and Tim report the first real signs of continuing north-bound passage since arriving: 3 House Martin, 13 Swallow, 13 Swift and a White Wagtail (see photo) at the North End. A Whitethroat was singing in Lower Millcombe, but there was no sign of the Common Rosefinch. A Rook was in the Tillage Field again. Great Black-backed and Herring Gull chicks are starting to appear and the Teal and at least 4 young are still going strong! A single Golden Plover was in South West Field (Richard & Rebecca Taylor).
A Thrift Clearwing (a nationally scarce day-flying moth) was seen on flowering thrift by North Light steps and over 500 Diamond-back Moths were counted.
White Wagtail, prob 1st-summer male, North End, 9 Jun 2016 © Tim Jones

Thursday 9 June 2016

Wed 8 Jun – Cuckoo, Hobby, Rook and breeding Swallows

Tim and Tim report from Wed 8th: 1 Cuckoo (Terrace), 1 Swift (N off E Side), 1 Hobby (flying N, South West Field – Richard & Rebecca Taylor), 1 Rook (Tillage Field), a pair of Swallows (collecting mud from pigsty by Tavern and nestbuilding in Church porch), 1 Reed Warbler (Quarters garden), 1 Spotted Flycatcher (VC Quarry), 3 Blackcaps (2 males in Millcombe and a female along Terrace), Common Rosefinch (singing still in Millcombe). 32 Skylark territories logged (but not a full census); 350+ Diamond-back Moths as a sample count; they were everywhere!
Rook, Tillage Field, 8 Jun 2016 © Tim Jones
Reed Warbler, Quarters garden, 8 Jun 2016 © Tim Jones
Skylark chick, Middle Park, 8 Jun 2016 © Tim Jones

Wednesday 8 June 2016

News from 7th June – Singing male Common Rosefinch

Tim Davis and Tim Jones arrived on the island for a short stay and reported a singing male Common Rosefinch in Millcombe (albeit a brown, presumed first-summer, bird with no red plumage) as well as a singing male Blackcap and a Spotted Flycatcher. There were 7 Collared Doves in the village and Millcombe. On Pondsbury there were two females and a single male Teal with four ducklings, whilst a pair of Oystercatchers tended to their two well-grown chicks on the northern side of Rat Island. Richard Taylor reported a Yellow Wagtail in flight at the Rocket Pole.
Migrant Lepidoptera included lots of Painted Ladies, Red Admirals, Silver Ys and Diamond-backed Moths.

Below is a record shot of the Rosefinch feeding on Commmon Sorrel from the fence forming one of the tree-planting enclosures below Government House in upper Millcombe. (Apologies for the poor quality but hand held and taken over an enormous distance in very harsh light; note that the silvery flash at the base of the leg is an optical illusion, not a metal ring – Tim J).

Common Rosefinch feeding on sorrel, Millcombe, 7 Jun 2016 © Tim Jones

Sunday 5 June 2016

Sun 5 Jun – Full of (north-)eastern promise...

Hot on the heels of Tuesday's Red-breasted Flycatcher comes news this evening (Sunday 5th) from Richard & Rebecca Taylor of two other classic late-spring scarcities from breeding grounds in north-east continental Europe, namely a Greenish Warbler singing outside Brambles and a Common Rosefinch. A Crossbill was also present in Millcombe. Of note is that Shetland and Bardsey also hosted Greenish Warblers on 5 June (the third to occur at the Welsh observatory within a week!). There have only been two previous verified records for Lundy.
Greenish Warbler, Millcombe, 5 Jun 2016 © Rebecca Taylor
Greenish Warbler, Millcombe, 5 Jun 2016 © Richard Taylor

Wed 1 Jun to Sat 4 Jun – Rook, Golden Plover, Cuckoo

News from Tony Taylor is of a Rook (a Lundy rarity), which spent most of its time in the Tillage Field from 1st to 3rd; a Cuckoo daily to 4th, 3 Golden Plovers on Ackland's Moor on 3rd; the two broods of Teal still present, though the smaller brood now appears to be down to a single duckling; and a Cormorant (scarce in summer) fishing in the Landing Bay on 4th. Singing male Chiffchaffs continue to hold territory in Millcombe and at St Helen's and Quarter Wall Copses.

Thursday 2 June 2016

Mon 30 May & Tue 31 May – Red-breasted Flycatcher, Hobby, Tree Sparrow

A Red-breasted Flycatcher was seen and photographed (see below) by Paul Holt as it fed actively among alders in St Helen's Copse at 07.35 hrs on 31st.
Red-breasted Flycatcher, 31 May 2016  © Paul Holt

Other sightings for 30th & 31st included a Hobby flying south past the Old Light on 30th (Philip Lymbery) and a Cuckoo at St Helen's Copse, Millcombe and elsewhere in the south of the island on both dates (Richard & Rebecca Taylor, Paul Holt, Martin Thorne). The Tree Sparrow (see entry fror 29 May) was seen again on the morning of 30th at the northern end of the High Street (Tony & Ann Taylor). Tony Taylor reports that 37 Manx Shearwaters were caught and ringed, including 17 already ringed in previous years, five as chicks. He also notes that Wheatears appear to be fewer in number this year, with the season very spread out, some broods out of the nest and some birds inconspicuous, perhaps still on eggs.