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Wednesday 26 September 2018

23rd to 26th Sep – Finally some decent weather and some good birds!

The 23rd was another unremarkable day, but Chris Dee reports that Monday 24th saw "At last some calm weather; massive Swallow passage, with a minimum of 1,200 birds through. Also small numbers of House Martins and Sand Martins, two Stonechats, 45 Blackcaps and 15 Chiffchaffs. Best sighting of the day was a summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay. It was an excellent day's ringing of 272 birds, including 218 Swallows, two House Martins, two Sand Martins and 30 Blackcaps."

Also on 24th, Paul Dean photographed this smart Ring Ouzel on the East Side Path below Tibbetts:

Ring Ouzel, Lundy, 24 Sep 2018 © Paul Dean

Tuesday 25th brought another, fine, settled and sunny day. A ringtail Hen Harrier flying due E, about 20 minutes out from Ilfracombe was the highlight of a very fast crossing on a falling spring tide, which saw MS Oldenburg reaching the Landing Bay by 11.35. Highlights of sightings on the island included the Great Northern Diver still present in the Landing Bay, a female Merlin hunting Meadow Pipits near the Airfield, a Firecrest and 22 Blackcaps trapped and ringed in Millcombe, a female Sparrowhawk, and an immature Cormorant heading south.

Wednesday 26th saw clear skies and sunshine from sunrise at 07.10 until sunset at 19.10 along with a light SW breeze that fell away to nothing for much of the day. Bird of the day was a first-year Red-backed Shrike, which showed superbly well in upper Millcombe during the late afternoon (see record shot below). Carol & Chris Baillie encountered a Short-eared Owl near Pondsbury – the first occurrence this year on Lundy. There was another major movement of hirundines, including an estimated 1,500 Swallows, 70 House Martins and four Sand Martins. Two 15-minute sample counts of Swallows piling S below Quarry Cottages totalled 440 and 380. There was a  scattering of late summer migrants, including a Grasshopper Warbler, 11 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, a male Redstart, one Whinchat, two Wheatears and a Yellow Wagtail. Also a Short-eared Owl at Pondsbury, three Water Rails, a flock of six Oystercatchers plus one Curlew at North Light, nine scattered Stonechats, two Sparrowhawks (male & female), a female Merlin, four Kestrels and the Great Northern Diver.

Observations by Carol & Chris Baillie, Zoë Barton, Tim Davis, Keith Dean, Paul Dean, Chris & Mandy Dee, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, Alan & Sandra Rowland, Sue Sabin and Jan Swan.

Red-backed Shrike, Millcombe, 26 Sep © Tim Jones

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