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Tuesday 25 October 2016

Tue 25 Oct – "One hell of a day!"

A text from Justin Zantboer, currently on Lundy with Rob Duncan’s ringing/birding party, received at 15:27 hrs brought the startling news that a Pallid Swift was “currently over Millcombe Valley!” and that the island was “absolutely crawling with birds!”. Shortly afterwards another text from Justin relayed the news that he was “looking for a Pallas’s Warbler in the gorse around Rocket Pole Pond which was seen by a day-tripping birder [see below], but no sign as yet”, and that the Pallid Swift was at that time flying around the church. A third text, received at 20:38 hrs, announced that a Blyth's Reed Warbler had been trapped and ringed in Millcombe. Other birds ringed included four Yellow-browed Warblers, 30+ Goldcrests and 10+ Blackcaps, all caught in Millcombe. Other sightings included a Whinchat by the church and two Black Redstarts by Old Light.

Chris and Carol Baillie were also lucky enough to see both the Pallid Swift and the Pallas’s Warbler. Chris first saw the swift over St John’s Valley “spiralling down from high up, coming in from the north”. As the bird came lower and passed close by, Chris was able to see the bird’s contrasting plumage tones. They saw the bird several times over the course of some 30 minutes before it moved off. Chris later phoned through the happy news that a birder staying in Blue Bung had managed to take good photographs of the Pallas’s Warbler and “hopefully useable” photos of the swift. Chris and Carol’s other sightings included a flock of 11 Cormorants heading south, a Firecrest, a Ring Ouzel, an estimated 2,500 Chaffinches and small numbers of Fieldfare, Redwing and Song Thrush. The previous day (24 Oct) Chris watched a male Hen Harrier fly south over Pondsbury and past Old Light.

On the Devon Bird Sightings website, Steve Waite posted a message received in mid-afternoon from James McCarthy who said he was enjoying "off the scale" views of a Pallas's Warbler, and had also seen the Pallid Swift, a Yellow-browed Warbler, a Whinchat, a Merlin and two Black Redstarts.

As Justin concluded in his last text: “One hell of a day!

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