The darkest day of the year has come and gone and Lundy is now very much enveloped in a mid-winter embrace.
|A squall passing overhead © Dean Jones
Acklands Moor Marsh too has continued to swell, spreading out to areas on both sides of High Street Field wall (to the delight of the gulls), so much so that it is now contending for the title of largest body of freshwater on the island (look out Pondsbury)!
|Ackland's Moor Marsh – all we need now is a visitng Spoonbill from
the nearby Isley Marsh © Dean Jones
Whilst out on my soggy adventures - unsurprisingly being winter - it is noticeably quieter on the island bird wise. Though saying that; there are still some wondrous winter encounters to be had for those willing to venture out in the cold.
Like the numerous conspicuous Rock Pipits which have moved up from their seaside settings to feed between the livestock up and around the farm fields. Flocks of Herring Gull and Carrion Crow have now banded together to chase the Farmer each morning as he lays down feed for the sheep. Up to six dapper drake Teal have been busy pulling out all the moves to an audience of 12 ducks on Pondsbury – spring is already in the air for some! Guillemots have too been periodically gracing their guano enriched podiums, particularly at Long Roost. Then out at sea, we’ve had flocks of feeding Kittiwake, small numbers of Harbour Porpoise, a very late Manx Shearwater (one past the North Lighthouse on the 22nd) and a delightful Great Northern Diver most days - patrolling the shallows of the Landing Bay in hope for a hearty catch.
Other than these, there has been a very small number of Chaffinch present, mostly around the Millcombe area, as well as a pair of Goldfinch which have been frequenting Sue’s feeder - adding a welcome splash of colour to the dreary winter days.
Fieldfare, Redwing and Song Thrush are still trickling through too in small numbers, stopping over briefly in Barton’s Field to probe the damp in fields for juicy Oligochaetes to fuel their remaining journeys south.Singles of Goldcrest have also been reported on a number of days, somehow finding enough food to sustain their energetic lifestyles in the skeleton canopies in Millcombe and Quarterwall copse. Oh, and the odd Meadow Pipit and up to five Skylark have also been reported on days, hiding out in the lee of towering tussocks further up the island.
|Rudolf the red-breasted Robin - carolling away in Millcombe Valley © Dean Jones
With the holidays just around the corner I would once again like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who visited Lundy this year as well as all those who have contributed sightings to the Lundy Field Society Logbook and the Lundy Birds Blog. It has been a truly spectacular year of birds, birders and happy times.A very Merry Christmas to you all!