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This page is run by volunteer contributors as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, UK.
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See also the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the 2007 book of the same name.
Bird recording and ringing on Lundy are coordinated by the Lundy Field Society and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Friday, 22 February 2019

9th to 21st Feb – Lundy's earliest ever Swallows, but will they a summer make?

The following is a round-up of records from the LFS Logbook for the period 9th - 21st February, from Lundy Warden Dean Jones:

Out at sea, the presence of a number of Red-throated Divers has continued, with up to 12 birds being recorded each day since my return to the island. There was, however, one very special afternoon where an impressive 22 birds were recorded upon the flat calm seas off the East side (18th) including a stunning new bird in full breeding plumage. High numbers of Kittiwakes continued to linger off the East coast up until the 11th at least where c1000 were noted in the logbook. From this date however numbers dropped rather dramatically (between 2 and 160 recorded on days after this date). The lone Great Northern Diver has also been recorded on a number of dates up until the 21st.

On the Larid front, we’ve also seen the return of a number of our gulls to their breeding territories this week, including some of our Lesser-black Backed Gulls which were seen arguing over nesting sites above Miller’s Cake on the 17th (total of 22). Other gull highlights include 8 Common Gull on 18th, 11 on the 19th & 16 on the 20th, as well as a single adult Mediterranean Gull on the 19th. Shag numbers have also continued to increase with 50 birds recorded feeding in the Landing Bay on 16th.

Away from the sea we’ve also noticed some movement of passerines too, namely Skylark and Meadow Pipit. From the logbook there seemed to be a rather impressive day of February passage with 40 and 20 birds being noted on the 14th. The biggest surprise from the plateau, however, has to be from the morning of the 16th when two Swallows zoomed overhead making their way north, spurred on by some hefty tail winds. After this three more birds were found throughout the day,  together making the earliest record for this species for Lundy. Other passerines of note include singles of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest on most days, singles of Pied Wagtail, good numbers of Stonechat (max 9 on the 21st), a Mistle Thrush in Millcombe on the 17th and small numbers of Linnet, Goldfinch, and Chaffinch on a number of dates. 

And onto the non-passerines, birds of note include 10 Teal on Pondsbury on the 21st, 8 Golden Plover over the airfield on the 21st, up to 3 Water Rail on some days and on the evening of the 8th, six Woodcock and a Short-eared Owl recorded near Quarter Wall by ‘The Rabbiters’ whilst they were out looking for and counting the islands remaining bunnies (a total of six were found in various parts of the island).

Furthermore, two Kestrel were seen on the 14th, our lady Sparrowhawk has remained on the island until the 21st at least, dining on a platter of House Sparrows as we’ve found after discovering a number of her pellets in Millcombe (see photo). The lone Woodpigeon is still kicking about the Millcombe area and was joined by a Stock Dove on the 21st, after a close run-in with two Peregrine Falcons over the South End.

Colour rings in a Sparrowhawk pellet confirm that House Sparrows have been on the menu... © Dean Jones

Report compiled from sightings by Alan & Sandra Rowland, Steve Wing, Siân Cann, Grant Sherman & Dean Jones.

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