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Tuesday 29 August 2017

26th August – Rose-coloured Starling & late(ish) Swifts

The night of 25th/26th saw 9 adult and 9 Manx Shearwater chicks ringed, whilst the oldest of the 16 adults retrapped was from 2006. Incidentally, a recent shearwater ringing recovery involved an adult ringed by Steve Wing on Lundy in 1996 and found dead (leg only) on the Pembrokeshire island of Skokholm in spring 2017. From the state of the remains, it was thought that the bird had probably died in 2016, but was still over 20 years old.

The main highlight of Saturday 26th August was a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling in Lower Millcombe from 12.00 to 13.30 hrs. It was feeding on the slopes below the Ugly and visiting the walled gardens around Millcombe Gates. Later on it was seen in St Helen's and Tillage Fields.

Other sightings included 3 ad & 2 juv Woodpigeons, 2 Swifts, the Rook, 2 Goldcrests, 20 Sand Martins, 200 Swallows, 2 Chiffchaffs, 40 Willow Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, 10 Whitethroats, 1 Reed Warbler, 30 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 6 Wheatears and a Tree Pipit calling in flight over Lower Millcombe. Finally, a Grey Heron, flying low over the sea towards Lundy, passed MS Oldenburg just five minutes out from the island on the return crossing to Bideford.

Friday 25 August 2017

25th August – A compensatory Nightingale

On the night of 24th/25th, Richard & Rebecca Taylor, Rosie Hall and Warden Dean Jones visited the North End, where they caught 18 Storm Petrels (six of which were not sound-lured), including one bearing a ring from elsewhere and one carrying food. They also ringed 14 Manx Shearwater chicks and two adults.

Tony Taylor ringed a first-year Nightingale in Millcombe during the early morning of Friday 25th August, which, as he says, "was some compensation for missing a great night". Many regular Lundy birders will heartily agree as this is the first island record of Nightingale since one was ringed on 1 May 2010. Prior to that, one was seen one in St John's Valley in May 2005, whilst there were two  occurrences in 1996, in May and June respectively. This iconic, charismatic yet elusive species was a more regular passage visitor to Lundy in earlier decades of the twentieth century. Sadly, it became a real rarity as the UK breeding range contracted progressively towards the south-east, though doubtless some go undetected, given their typically skulking behaviour, especially in autumn. Tony's was the tenth Nightingale to be ringed on Lundy.

[NB this entry was updated on 29 August to include mention of the 2010 bird, inadvertently excluded from the original text.]

Thursday 24 August 2017

22nd to 24th August – Night manoeuvres & daylight reconnaissance as migration gathers pace

At Old Light colony during the night of 21st/22nd, Tony, Richard & Rebecca caught 52 Manx Shearwaters, including 24 retraps, among them chicks ringed in 2007 & 2008. They also caught one Storm Petrel (not sound-lured) "with a big, bare brood patch".

The following night, 22nd/23rd, the team visited the gully north of Sunset Butress (W side of Ackland's Moor) and caught 26 new Manx Shearwaters and three retraps originally ringed in the same area from 2004 onwards. They caught another Storm Petrel, again with no lure and showing a good brood patch.

Movement during the day on Tuesday 22nd included a Buzzard, a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, single Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap, and several Spotted Flycatchers.

Team Shearwater were out again at the Old Light colony on the night of 23rd/24th, when more chicks were starting to emerge. 17 new birds were ringed, along with 10 retrapped adults.

By day on Wednesday 23rd, migrants included 17 Cormorants, a Marsh Harrier, a Goldcrest, 41 Wilow Warblers, 4 Whitethroats, single Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler, 21 Wheatears, 55 Swallows, 20 Sand Martins, 12 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Tree Pipit and the long-staying Rook.

For Thursday 24th Tony reports "a nice tame Dotterel on the Airfield", seen earlier in the day by Alan & Sandra Rowland. Other notable sightings included single Turtle and Collared Doves, 9 Willow Warblers, single Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler, 30 Swallows, 8 Sand Martins and 4 Spotted Flycatchers.

Monday 21 August 2017

21st August

The night of 20th/21st August saw Richard & Rebecca Taylor clambering about the slope above the Pyramid (West Side), where they caught 14 Manx Shearwaters, of which three were chicks and one had been ringed as a chick at the Old Light colony in 2013.

During the day on Monday 21st, Millcombe held a variety of late summer / early autumn migrants, including 2 Goldcrests, 7 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 5 Spotted Flycatchers and a Tree Pipit.

Sunday 20 August 2017

20th August – a small influx, including first Tree Pipit of 'autumn'

Overnight on 19th/20th, 14 adult Manx Shearwaters were trapped at the Old Light colony, whilst the morning of 20th brought a single Tree Pipit, nine Swallows, a Whitethroat, three Willow Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Rook (the Rook!) before the rain set in...

Saturday 19 August 2017

18th & 19th August – updated

During the night of Thu 17th/Fri 18th Richard & Rebecca Taylor braved wind and showers to ring 30 Manx Shearwaters at the Tibbetts colony; all but one were adults. They also handled two retraps, one of which was originally ringed at the Old Light colony.

Daytime sigthings on 18th included: the Rook, one Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and two Goldcrests.

During the night of Fri 18th/Sat19th: Tony, Richard & Rebecca ringed a further 15 Manxies along the South End, including three chicks, two of which were on the point of fledging.

There were no new arrivals on 19th, but the Marsh Harrier was still present.

Thursday 17 August 2017

16th & 17th August

Tony Taylor, Richard & Rebecca Taylor and Dean Jones visited the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony during the night of 15th/16th, and ringed one chick and seven adults. They also retrapped six shearwaters ringed on Lundy in previous years, including two ringed as chicks in 2005 and 2013 respectively. During the day on 16th, sightings included three Teal, the Marsh Harrier, a Green Sandpiper, the long-staying Rook, and single Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. Two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests were ringed.

Thursday 17th proved to be a quiet day, with the more notable sightings involving 7 Cormorants migrating south, the Rook, one Blackcap, one Goldcrest and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

Tuesday 15 August 2017

28 July to 15 August – Seawatching and early autumn migration highlights

Warden Dean Jones has managed to fit in some early morning and evening seawatching during the recent run of unsettled weather, recording some impressive numbers and the odd scarcity. Migration of raptors, waders, gulls and landbirds is also underway, with several 'Lundy rarities' putting in recent appearances.


3rd August 06.30–08.30 hrs, from SW Point

Manx Shearwater 538
Storm Petrel 1
Gannet 145
Shag 5
Kittiwake 19

5th August 18.30 hrs onwards, from North End

Manx Shearwater 10,000+ (all moving N, apart from a rafting flock of c.1,100 birds)
Gannet 100+
Shag 30
Great Skua 1 (in pursuit of Gannets, trying to to force them to regurgitate fish...)

Also at least 5 Storm Petrels coming into their burrows at around half-past midnight, in spite of a full moon.

6th August 06.30–10.00 hrs, from North End

Fulmar 13
Sooty Shearwater 1
Manx Shearwater 1,121
Gannet 136
Great Skua 1 or 2, harrying Kittiwakes
Puffin 1 (likely to be the last record for the year from the island) 
Kittiwake 127

Dean picked out the Sooty Shearwater sitting on the water as he watched "a spectacular mixed species feeding frenzy that started around 7.30am, with numerous Gannets and Manx Shearwaters diving for prey." After 10 minutes or so, the Sooty Shearwater flew off to the east with Manxies.

9th August 07.00–10.00 hrs, from North End

Fulmar 13 
Manx Shearwater 639
Gannet 124
Shag 74
Razorbill 4
Guillemot 1
Kittiwake 86

Also Harbour Porpoise 6

Other notable records from 28 July to 15 August (mainly migrants and post-breeding dispersal):

Little Egret – one in the Devil's Kitchen and Landing Bay area on 13 & 14 Aug (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton)
Marsh Harrier – juvenile on 7 Aug and daily from 9th to 13th (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton et al.)
Ringed Plover – one on 3 & 4 Aug
Whimbrel – singles on 2 & 15 Aug
Turnstone – one in Landing Bay on 29 Jul (Dean Jones)
Common Sandpiper – one on Rat Island on 13 Aug (Dean Jones, Rob & Sue Waterfield)
Guillemot – two on 12 Aug
Black-headed Gull – three juveniles on Rat Island on 13 Aug (Dean Jones)
Woodpigeon – seven on 12 Aug 
Collared Dove – three on 7 & 8 Aug
Swift – one on 31 Jul
Kestrel – singles on 29 Jul and 3 & 4 Aug
Sand Martin – up to three on six dates, 29 Jul to 15 Aug
Willow Warbler – higher counts were six on 4 & 8 Aug and 13 on 12 Aug
Blackcap – singles on 8 & 13 Aug
Whitethroat one on 6 Aug,  two on 7th and one on 13th
Reed Warbler – one on 7 Aug (Dean Jones)
Spotted Flycatcher – two juvs along the Terrace on 4 Aug, two in Millcombe on 12 Aug
Linnet – 100+ on 6 Aug
Crossbill – a juvenile in Millcombe on 10 Aug (R.M.R. James)

In addition, three Sunfish were seen from the island on 6 Aug (Emily Trapnell & Mike Jones), while Tony Taylor and Richard & Rebecca Taylor saw 5 Storm Petrels and good numbers of Guillemot adult-and-chick twosomes from MS Oldenburg on the crossing from Ilfracombe on 15th.