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Wednesday 29 May 2019

28th May – Squacco Heron seen again!

Dean Jones reports that the Squacco Heron was seen again on Tuesday 28th, at around 10.00am, this time on Rat Island.

'Back of the camera' shot of Squacco Heron, Rat Island, 28 May © Dean Jones

Saturday 25 May 2019

19th to 24th May – Summer shows its hand

Dean Jones writes:

"It has been a truly magical week on our beautiful little island; here on most days since the last post, Lundy has been graced with some stunning sunshine and noticeably warmer temperatures despite cool northerly winds. Now the migrant birds have slowed down to a trickle, it is starting to feel a lot more like summer on Lundy. As I write this post, nearly all of the island's seabirds are either now busy incubating eggs or feeding newly hatched chicks, including our charming little Puffins in Jenny's Cove. Up on the plateau newly emerged Raven, Blackbird and Stonechat fledglings are haphazardously navigating their strange new world and clouds of hundreds of newly emerged Cocksfoot moths are currently flittering around the sun-kissed foliage in Millcombe. 

Raven fledgling, Halfway Wall Bay, 24 May 2019 © Dean Jones

Other than the superb Squacco Heron on the 23rd, birds of note included: a Water Rail which has been calling most nights near Paradise Row, a single Golden Plover on the 23rd, one flyover Ringed Plover on the 23rd, a Dunlin near St Mark's on 22nd, 246 Kittiwake on the 20th (birds are busily building nests and incubating eggs now), the first Guillemot chick of the year on the 24th and the first Puffling of the year on the 20th, at least one Kestrel on most days, a Cuckoo just south of the Quarries on the 22nd, max 50 Swallow on the 23rd, max 24 House Martin on the 23rd, up to 3 Willow Warbler each day, along with up to 4 Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler on the 24th, up to 3 Blackcap on days, Whitethroat (max 4 on the 21st), Spotted Flycatcher (max 7 on the 22nd), a single first calendar-year male Pied Flycatcher on the 22nd, flyover Yellow Wagtails on the 22nd & 24th and a Tree Pipit in Millcombe on the 19th."

Razorbill, 24 May 2019 © Dean Jones

Report composed of observations from Dave & Helen Boyer, Dean Jones, Alex Sydenham and Tony & Ann Taylor.

Friday 24 May 2019

23rd May – Squacco Heron, a FIRST for Lundy!

Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones writes:

"Seb Loram, Luke Sutton and myself were just finishing up surveying Gannet's Combe, when I noticed five Oystercatchers mobbing a strange-looking bird at the north end of the bay. As soon as I put my bins up, I shouted "Squacco!!". Luke and Seb managed to both get on the bird. The heron then skulked around an area of boulder scree for about five minutes, before moving out of view under an overhang. We waited for ten minutes or so for the bird to reappear, when suddenly, again chased by a number of Oystercatcher, the bird flew out to sea around Gannets' Rock, continuing north and eventually out of sight. It was a seriously beautiful bird!"

This is the first record of Squacco Heron on Lundy; congratulations Dean on another excellent find!

Squacco Heron, Gannets' Bay, 23 May 2019 © Dean Jones

Saturday 18 May 2019

16th to 18th May – Red-footed Falcon after a couple of quiet days

Thursday 16th May

A generally rather quiet day, with a stiff easterly wind again dropping away to virtually nothing during the late afternoon to give a jaw-droppingly gorgeous sunny and still spring evening. Among the rather few notable observations were a second calendar-year Black-headed Gull that flew through the Landing Bay first thing, nine Dunlins in Middle Park, a Collared Dove sitting on top of Lametor, and three Swifts.

Friday 17th May

A cloudy and at times quite raw-feeling day with some light rain for a time mid-morning, when the cold E or NE wind was quite strong, but backed NNE and became much lighter during the afternoon, though it remained heavily overcast, subduing insect and bird activity alike.

A Great Northern Diver flew north up the East Side of the island at plateau height at 06.45 and a pale-phase Arctic Skua was harrying Kittiwakes off Rat Island around midday. A Garden Warbler performed its rich song for prolonged periods, often at the same time as feeding in sycamores in Millcombe. Also of note were two flyover flava wagtails, and eight Spotted Flycatchers.

Saturday 18th May

A cloudy but virtually windless dawn, gave way to a stunningly beautiful spring day with warm sunshine breaking through by late morning.

Tim Davis and Tim Jones experienced one of their all-time highlights of decades of birding on Lundy when they were lucky enough to spend several hours in the company of a beautiful male Red-footed Falcon. Initially encountered in northbound flight over heathland near Pondsbury, the bird moved on rapidly to Middle Park and disappeared towards North End. The by-now very out-of-breath observers, having run in a seemingly vain attempt to keep up with the falcon, arrived at the vantage point offered by the mound near Threequarter Wall Gate in time to see it disappear towards Gannets' Combe. Resigned to the likelihood that the bird would simply continue moving north and off the island, it was almost unbelievable when it suddenly flew in and perched on a reasonably nearby granite outcrop. The falcon then took up residence for a good three hours on and over the slope between Tibbetts and Threequarter Wall Gate, where it pursued and consumed numerous (probably 50+) Emperor Moths, treating the Tims to a mind-blowing display of graceful aerobatics. A red-faced and sweaty Lundy Warden, Dean Woodfin Jones, hove into view having belatedly received a series of frantic WhatsApp messages, in time to join in the visual feast, along with two lucky day-visiting birders. There have been seven previous Lundy records of this delightful Eastern European raptor, the most recent in May 2003.

The series of record shots below indicate that this bird was an immature, presumed second calendar year, given the extent of underwing barring. At close range some brownish smudging could be seen on the nape.

Male Red-footed Falcon and doomed Emperor Moth, Middle Park 18 May © Tim Jones

Other records during the day included a Cuckoo at Old Light, two Garden Warblers in Millcombe, strong Swallow and House Martin passage, a single Sand Martin, three Swifts and a few Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats.

Compiled from observations by Tim Davis, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, Alan & Sandra Rowland, Trevor Dobie and members of the LFS Conservation Working Party.

Thursday 16 May 2019

15th May – Hawfinch, Marsh Harrier & Lesser Whitethroat

Reflecting a subtle change in wind direction, there was a distinct southern and eastern componment to birding, with highlights including a vocal but typically wary Hawfinch flying around Millcombe from early morning until at least midday; a male Pied Flycatcher, a singing Lesser Whitethroat and calling Tree Pipit in and around Millcombe; a Cuckoo at North End (St James' Stream), and a female Marsh Harrier, which drifted over Millcombe at 08.55 and was later seen over South End, Tillage/Brick Field (being mobbed by crows), and quartering over Pondsbury. It was last seen flying north over Threequarter Wall at 14.55. Middle Park again held exceptionally high numbers of Dunlin, with probably over 30 present in all, including a single flock of 19, feeding actively on the grazed turf alongside three Ringed Plovers. There were also two Golden Plovers in the north of the island.

Record shot of Marsh Harrier near Pondsbury, 15 May © Tim Jones
Record shot of male Pied Flycatcher in Millcombe, 15 May © Tim Jones

Other sightings during the day included: three Teal, five Collared Doves, 11 Swifts, a male Kestrel, 100+ House Martins, 300+ Swallows, four Willow Warblers (including one feeding along Threequarter Wall), five Chiffchaffs, two Blackcaps, a Whitethroat, and eight Spotted Flycatchers.

Compiled from observations by Tim Davis, Trevor Dobie, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, and Alan & Sandra Rowland.

Wednesday 15 May 2019

14th May – A wader day

It was yet another sunny, bone-dry day with a keen ESE wind that fell light towards the end of the afternoon.

Unusually for Lundy, which has limited suitable habitat, waders were very much to the fore throughout the day, with a Redshank calling in flight over the Ugly early in the morning and the same or another flying along the East Side, calling and singing as it went, mid-afternoon; two Greenshanks in flight over Middle Park; a minimum of 20 Dunlins (but possibly up to 30) sporting a wide range of plumages and scattered in small groups of up to nine, across much of the island (including the Airfield, Pondsbury, Middle Park and North End, as well as two flying low over the sea off the West Side); groups of three and five Ringed Plovers in Middle Park, the larger group accompanied by two Dotterels; a single Whimbrel in Brick/Tillage Field; and a Common Sandpiper at the Devil's Kitchen.

Dunlins feeding in Middle Park, 15 May © Tim Jones

A Hen Harrier headed north over Tillage Field (mobbed by two crows as it went); another French-ringed Sedge Warbler was controlled in Millcombe (adding to the others trapped in recent weeks); there were two Spotted Flycatchers in Millcombe, plus a further two along the Terrace; two Whinchats in Middle Park; and two female-type Black Redstarts amongst the rocks at North End. Also recorded were three Collared Doves, a single Turtle Dove (Millcombe) nine Swifts, 55 House Martins, 150 Swallows, low single-digit counts of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Common Whitethroat and Blackcap, and two Grey Wagtails.

Turtle Dove, Millcombe pines, near Blue Bung, 15 May © Tim Jones

Compiled from observations by Tim Davis, Chris & Mandy Dee, Trevor Dobie, Merylyn Hedger, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, and Alan & Sandra Rowland.

Tuesday 14 May 2019

13th May – Dotterel at North End

Another day of unbroken sunshine and wind from an easterly quarter, beginning SE but backing more to the E or NE during the day. Given the clear conditions, tail wind and a waxing moon, numbers of grounded migrants were low, with two Willow Warblers, 10 Chiffchaffs, two Sedge Warblers, three Blackcaps, five Common Whitethroats, a Garden Warbler, a scattering of Greenland Wheatears, and three Spotted Flycatchers the best on offer.

North End yielded a veritable cavalcade of waders by Lundy standards, including 4 Dunlins, 2 Ringed Plovers, a Whimbrel and a Dotterel (the only one of the spring thus far). A further two Dunlins were seen elsewhere.

Dunlin and Ringed Plover near the top of the Devil's Slide, NW Lundy, 13 May © Tim Davis

Record shot of Dotterel, North End, 13 May © Tim Davis

Visible migration was much less impressive than 24 hours previously, with counts of Swallow and House Martin down to 160 and 68 respectively, just a single Swift, and one Yellow Wagtail.

Also noted were the female Sparrowhawk, a Collared Dove, the male Kestrel, two family parties of fledged Ravens, a pair of Stonechats feeding young, 98 Linnets, and a Lesser Redpoll.

Compiled from sightings by Tim Davis, Chris & Mandy Dee, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, and Alan & Sandra Rowland.

Sunday 12 May 2019

10th to 12th May – Biggest Swallow and House Martin passage of the spring

Friday 10th May

Records included two Cuckoos, five Swifts, 500 House Martins, four Willow Warblers, 10 Chiffchaffs, 13 Blackcaps, two Garden Warblers, three Whitethroats and three Spotted Flycatchers.

Saturday 11th May

A moderate north or north-westerly wind blew throughout the day, making it feel cold in spite of the largely sunny skies. The crossing from Ilfracombe was unusually quiet for the time of year, with not a single Manx Shearwater seen, though a Cory's Shearwater was reported close to the North Devon mainland duing the return crossing in the evening. Rob Duncan and David Kightley came to the end of their three-week ringing trip, closing it out in style with the trapping in Millcombe of Lundy's fifth Subalpine Warbler of the spring, this one a female Eastern. Also of note were: the long-staying female Sparrowhawk, a calling Cuckoo, seven Woodpigeons, six Swifts, a Sand Martin, 30 House Martins, a singing Willow Warbler in Millcombe, three Chiffchaffs, a Sedge Warbler (Milllcombe), two Blackcaps, a Goldcrest, a Spotted Flycatcher, a female Common Redstart (on the wall of South West Field near the stonecrusher), a male Stonechat (carrying food next to the Beach Road), and a single Siskin (Millcombe/St John's Valley).

Female Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Millcombe, 11 May © Dean Jones

Tail of female Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Millcombe, 11 May © Dean Jones

Sunday 12th May

After a cold start, with a stiff NE breeze, the sun shone strongly all day and the wind fell away completely by dusk. There were few grounded migrants, but the strongest hirundine passage of the spring got going by mid-morning and lasted until around 17.30. Dean & Philip Jones made timed spot counts of between 101 and 141 Swallows per minute passing north along the West Side from 10.00 to 14.00 hrs, whilst Tim Davis & Tim Jones counted a minimum of 516 birds over the plateau and along the West Side, mainly later in the afternoon. Consolidated counts suggest a conservative estimate of 4,000-5,000 Swallows for the day. Also notable were: two Teal, flyover Ringed Plover (one) and Dunlin (two), a Snipe at Quarter Wall Pond, 62 Puffins (on the water at Jenny's Cove at about 15.30), a male Kestrel, an immature male Merlin, a single Sand Martin, several hundred House Martins, a Willow Warbler, four Chiffchaffs, a Sedge Warbler (Quarter Wall Pond), three Blackcaps, two Whitethroats, a pair of Stonechats, and two Yellow Wagtail (male at Threequarter Wall and female at South End).

Friday 10 May 2019

8th & 9th May – Variable conditions but super birding

Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports on two very different days weather- and bird-wise.

8th May

Strong winds and heavy showers dominated the majority of the day, which unfortunately led to a very bumpy crossing from Bideford to the island and consequently, a number of very green-faced visitors hiding in the Tavern post arrival of the ship. Conditions did improve by the early evening however, which allowed Rob and David to get some of the nets open for an hour or so in Millcombe. Despite the very poor weather there were still some good migrants out there for those brave enough to venture out in the storm.

Birds of note included: a Turtle Dove in Millcombe, a Cuckoo ‘singing’ from within the Landing Bay in the evening, 15 Swallow, 20 House Martin, 1 Swift, 5 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, a Garden Warbler, 2 Blackcap, a Grasshopper Warbler and 4 Sedge Warbler.

Ringing totals: 12 Swallow, 1 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff and 3 Sedge Warbler.

9th May – a super day's birding despite the strong westerly winds!

A beautiful, sunny yet windswept day, particularly for the first few hours of the morning. Despite the burly north-westerlies, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit and Linnet have all been preparing nests today and some of the island-visiting migrants arrived in some impressive numbers, namely Spotted Flycatcher (80), Whitethroat (45) and Sedge Warbler (31).

Other birds of note included: a Whimbrel on the Upper East Side Path, a flyover Dunlin, a stunning Cuckoo in Millcombe Wood, 8 Woodpigeon, 50 Swallow, 54 House Martin, 7 Swift, a White Wagtail in Barton Field, a pair of Stonechat, a male Whinchat (see photo below) at Quarry Pond, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 11 Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 15 Goldfinch and 54 Linnet.

Ringing totals: 15 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Blackcap, 15 Whitethroat, 22 Sedge Warbler (including another French-ringed bird), 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldfinch and 1 Linnet.

Male Whinchat, Quarry Pond, 9th May © Dean Jones

Report composed of sightings by Zoë Barton, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, David Kightley and Sue Waterfield.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

7th May – A good day's ringing

Rob Duncan and David Kightley report a busy day's ringing, with a total of 62 birds newly ringed, including a Wood Warbler, a northern 'acredula'-type Willow Warbler and three Spotted Flycatchers. In addition, they controlled three Sedge Warblers – two French-ringed birds and one British-ringed. Away from Millcombe and St John's Valley they encountered a male Whinchat near the stonecrusher, Whitethroats at Stoneycroft and the Rocket Pole area, plenty of Swallow and House Martin movement and two Swifts.

Wood Warbler, Millcombe, 7 May © Rob Duncan

Ringing totals: 15 Willow Warbler, 9 Chiffchaff, 1 Wood Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 15 Sedge Warbler, 10 Whitethroat, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Goldfinch.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

Details of recent ringing controls

Tony Taylor has provided the following details, just received from the BTO, for three recent 'controls' – captures on Lundy of birds that had been ringed elsewhere, including two birds that were originally ringed on the same day in August last year, at two different sites in Pembrokeshire. All three were controlled on Lundy by Rob Duncan and David Kightley within the last 10 days.

Willow Warbler ring number KYN356 – ringed as a first-year bird on Skokholm, Pembrokeshire, 30 August 2018. Controlled on Lundy, 29 April 2019 (time since ringing 242 days; distance between place of ringing and Lundy 74 km; direction SE, bearing 145°).

Lesser Whitethroat ring number AAC9100 – ringed as a first-year bird at Kilpaison Marsh, Rhoscrowther, Pembrokeshire, 30 August 2018. Controlled on Lundy, 23 April 2019 (time since ringing 236 days; distance between place of ringing and Lundy 62 km; bearing SSE, 155°).

Sedge Warbler ring number Paris 7447202 – ringed as an adult female at Le Bonhomme, St-Philbert-de-Grand-Lieu, Loire-Atlantique, France, 5 August 2015. Controlled on Lundy, 30 April 2019 (time since ringing 1,364 days; distance between place of ringing and Lundy 505 km; NNW, 335°).

Note that the entry below for 2nd May has been updated to include a sound recording of the Continental Coal Tit singing.

Monday 6 May 2019

6th May – Influx of warblers, including yet another Eastern Subalpine Warbler

The flags on top of the Church and on the Ugly hung limp for much of the morning, with a very light NE veering all the way round to NW and strengthening slightly in the afternoon, whilst hazy sunshine took the edge off the continuing underlying cold, making it feel postively warm at times.

There was a noticeable influx of warblers, with singing Grasshopper and Garden Warblers in Millcombe at first light and numbers of Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats also up. As well as in Millcombe, Grasshopper and Sedge Warblers were seen at Stoneycroft, and Quarters hosted a Sedge Warbler.

A Cuckoo flew north near Quarters soon after dawn, whilst other migrants included a Dunlin, two Golden Plovers, a male and female Common Redstart, a female Black Redstart, more than a dozen Swifts and at least three Spotted Flycatchers. The Turtle Dove of the last few days was still present in Millcombe and around the farmyard, but there was no sign of the Continental Coal Tit, which seems to have left the island during the day yesterday, 5th May.

The biggest surprise of the day was another male Eastern Subalpine Warbler (Lundy's fourth Subalpine Warbler and third Eastern since 22nd April) found feeding among Sycamore flowers near Brambles, mid-afternoon. It flew across the valley towards the slopes of the Ugly and later turned up in a mist-net – see photos below. It was aged as a second calendar-year bird and though the tail is heavily worn, white extending along the shaft is discernible on the second outermost tail feather on the right-hand side (though see the cautionary note about reliance on this feature alone in this month's British Birds magazine). Other features are also consistent with Eastern Subalpine Warbler of the race albistriata. The wing-length of this individual was 65mm.

Male Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Millcombe, 6th May © Rob Duncan

Male Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Millcombe, 6th May © Rob Duncan

Ringing totals: 43 birds, of which, Willow Warbler 5, Chiffchaff 6, Sedge Warbler 10, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Blackcap 5,  Garden Warbler 1, Lesser Whitethroat 1, Whitethroat 4, Eastern Subalpine Warbler 1, Meadow Pipit 1, Linnet 2, Goldfinch 2.

Compiled from observations by Sam Bosanquet, Tim Davis, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and David Kightley.

Sunday 5 May 2019

5th May – Swifts increase, Hooded Crow and Western Subalpine Warbler

Much lighter winds – though still from a chilly direction backing from NE to NW during the day – and long spells of unbroken sunshine meant that today was somewhat more springlike for birds and birders alike.

Starlings were once again prospecting for nest sites around the Village, farm and Old Light, having joined together in a single large flock for much of the last week; there was a modest overnight influx of warblers; and the island recorded by far its highest Swift count of the year so far, with at least 15 passing north.

Other migrant totals included: 9 Sand Martin, 150 Swallow, 100 House Martin, 30 Willow Warbler, 9 Sedge Warbler, 7 Whitethroat, 30 Blackcap, a Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. The single Turtle Dove and Collared Dove continued to feed together near the Lambing Shed, whilst the Continental Coal Tit was still singing in Millcombe during the morning, but observed flying high to the East several times, making a curious shrill call, and was not seen or heard later in the day; has it left the island?

A Hooded Crow flew NW with six Carrion Crows early in the morning, and a likely hybrid hirundine, showing some characteristics of Red-rumped Swallow, was seen around the head of Millcombe and the Village during the afternoon. Most surprising of all, the male Western Subalpine Warbler ringed in Millcombe on 1st May reappeared in Millcombe during the late afternoon.

The female Sparrowhawk was soaring off the East Side, where a male Kestrel and single Merlin were also seen, and a Cormorant flew south.

Ringing totals: 40 birds ringed, of which, Woodpigeon 1, Willow Warbler 10, Chiffchaff 4, Sedge Warbler 6, Blackcap 14, Garden Warbler 1, Whitethroat 3, Wren 1, Blackbird 1.

In spite of the chilly breeze, the sunshine seemed to trigger an emergence of male Emperor Moths, with at least 28 over the heathland between Quarter and Halfway Walls. In Middle Park, a sample transect recorded more than 1,200 plants of Small Adder's-tongue Fern Ophioglossum azoricum.

Compiled from observations by Zoë Barton, Sam Bosanquet, Tim Davis, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and David Kightley.

4th May – Winter makes a late comeback

A strong, bitingly cold NE wind, leaden skies and a squally early-morning shower made it feel decidedly more like mid-winter than late spring for a time. The underlying temperature remained unseasonably low all day, but the cloud gave way to blue skies and almost unbroken sunshine from late-morning onwards, and it felt pleasantly warm in any shelter, notably on the west sidelands. Given the Arctic origins of the air, migration had slowed to little more than a trickle of hirundines (100 Swallows, 15 House Martins and 2 Sand Martins logged), and single-digit counts of warblers, including Willow Warbler (4), Chiffchaff (2), Blackcap (4) and Whitethroat (1). The Continental Coal Tit continued to sing in Millcombe, the Turtle Dove was still around the Village and upper Millcombe and a Tree Pipit in Millcombe was also thought to be an individual lingering from previous days. A Spotted Flycatcher was feeding well in shelter on the northern side of upper Millcombe. Other sightings included 1 Whimbrel, 5 Pied Wagtails and a Lesser Redpoll. There was no ringing due to the direction and strength of the wind, which made the mist-net sites in lower Millcombe and St John's Valley unuseable. On the non-avian front, there were 13 Green-veined Whites (flying in sheltered sunny corners here and there), 2 Red Admirals, a male Emperor Moth and a Green Tiger-beetle.

Turtle Dove, farmyard, May 2019 © Richard Campey

Compiled from observations by Richard Campey, Tim Davis, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and David Kightley.

Friday 3 May 2019

3rd May – Yellow Wagtail & Jackdaw in a chilly northerly

Today saw a chilly NW wind veering more northerly by the end of the afternoon, with largely overcast skies, but some welcome sunny spells later on. Hirundine passage was again a feature, with another early peak in Swallow movements, in particular, during the first two or three hours of daylight. Logged estimates were 500 Swallows and 200 House Martins, plus five Sand Martins. There were only small numbers of warblers in evidence, with 20 Willow Warblers (including several very 'washed out', grey, acredula-type birds of presumed north-eastern origin), 12 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps, and single Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler.

On top of the island, the Turtle Dove and Collared Dove were still around the farmyard and Bull's Paradise, whilst a calling Jackdaw flew over South West Field in the late afternoon. A female Yellow Wagtail spent much of the day in Brick Field, associating with the Highland Cattle and showing brilliantly well in the clear late afternoon sunshine.

Female Yellow Wagtail, Brick Field, 3 May © Richard Campey

Female Yellow Wagtail, Brick Field, 3 May © Richard Campey

A real highlight was confirmation of the return of a colour-ringed Wheatear to its breeding territory on the sidelands just south of Quarter Wall Copse, for its eighth successive year, having originally been ringed as a a second calendar-year bird in 2012!

Other sightings included 6 Teal, 10 Mallards (with a total of 30 ducklings in three broods in Lighthouse Field, Millcombe and Pondsbury), mating Great Black-backed Gulls (Shutter Point), 2 Collared Doves, 9 Woodpigeons, 2 Kestrels, a male Stonechat (at Pondsbury), and mating Chaffinches in Millcombe.

Male Stonechat, Pondsbury, 3 May © Richard Campey

Ringing totals: 24 birds ringed including Willow Warbler 7, Chiffchaff 4, Sedge Warbler 1, Reed Warbler 1, Blackcap 1, Wren 1, Robin 1, Goldfinch 8.

Compiled from observations by Richard Campey, Tim Davis, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and David Kightley.

Thursday 2 May 2019

2nd May – Woodlark the highlight of a generally quieter day

With the change of wind direction to a distinctly chilly northwesterly, there was something of a hiatus in Lundy's purple patch... The Continental Coal Tit was still present, feeding actively and singing frequently in Millcombe, where it was trapped and ringed in the late morning (play video clip below, with sound on, for samples of its two main song types – the bird itself is hidden from view throughout as I was concentrating on getting decent sound quality).

A southern flavour was also still discernible in Lundy's first Woodlark in a decade, when one was seen and heard in flight near the Church by Rob Duncan and David Kightley, and later seen briefly on Castle Hill by Richard Campey.

There were small numbers of warblers around, including 35 Willow Warblers, 20 Chiffchaffs, 5 Sedge Warblers, 10 Blackcaps, 2 Whitethroats and single Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Warbler, along with a female Pied Flycatcher. After an early-morning pulse of strong hirundine migration, movements slowed to a trickle, to give day totals of 250 Swallows, 80 House Martins and two Sand Martins. Other records included two Goldcrests, 35 Wheatears and a female Siskin.

Tim Davis & Tim Jones walked the length of the Lower East Side Path from Millcombe to North End, counting a total of 27 Wrens, most of which were singing males, 27 Oystercatchers, as well as the very modest totals, for the time of year, of 91 Herring Gulls and 100 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, with very few active nests as yet. They also saw eight stonking breeding-plumaged Golden Plovers at North End, whilst Richard Campey witnessed seven Ravens engaged in aerial combat at Jenny's Cove.

Ringing totals: Willow Warbler 10, Chiffchaff 7, Sedge Warbler 5, Blackcap 4, Goldfinch 3, Whitethroat 2, Coal Tit 1, Blackbird 1, Pied Flycatcher 1.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

1st May – Western Subalpine Warbler & Continental Coal Tit

Astonishingly, Lundy's third Subalpine Warbler in less than 10 days was trapped and ringed in Millcombe today – this time a superb second-year male Western Subalpine Warbler.

The day's other highlight was a Continental Coal Tit, which was singing strongly, and highly mobile around Millcombe, from mid-morning. The excellent photos by Richard Campey below show clearly the contrast between the paler, outer two, unmoulted greater coverts and the darker, inner, moulted greater coverts, indicating that this is a second calendar-year bird.

A Lundy scarcity these days, sadly, was a Turtle Dove around the farmyard.

Consolidated totals from all observers for the day included: 1 Teal, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Dunlin, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Swift, 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin (female near Pondsbury), 10 Sand Martin, 1,000 Swallow, 150 House Martin, 30 Willow Warbler, 6 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 15 Blackcap, 25 Wheatear, 1 Black Redstart (female-type, Brick Field), 1 White Wagtail (St Helen's Field),  1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipit, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 150 Linnet, 1 Siskin, 40 Goldfinch.

Second calendar-year male Western Subalpine Warbler, Millcombe, 1 May 2019 © Tim Davis

Tail pattern of the Western Subalpine Warbler © Tim Jones

Record shot of Continental Coal Tit, 1 May © Tim Jones

Continental Coal Tit, Millcombe, 1 May © Richard Campey

Continental Coal Tit, Millcombe, 1 May © Richard Campey

Ringing totals: Blackcap 7, Willow Warbler 5, Sedge Warbler 4, Goldfinch 4, Goldcrest 1, Chiffchaff 1, Reed Warbler 1, Western Subalpine Warbler 1, Tree Pipit 1.

Compiled from observations by: Richard Campey, Tim Davis, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and David Kightley.

Some recent ringing totals

Below are totals for some of the migrants ringed on 29th & 30th April; data from Rob Duncan and David Kightley:

Mon 29th April: Blackcap 21, Willow Warbler 94, Chiffchaff 17, Sedge Warbler 3, Whitethroat 2, Grasshopper Warbler 3, Garden Warbler 2, Goldcrest 2.

Tue 30th April: Blackcap 30, Willow Warbler 22, Chiffchaff 10, Sedge Warbler 11, Reed Warbler 3, Whitethroat 7, Goldcrest 1, Pied Flycatcher 1(f). In addition, a French-ringed Sedge Warbler control (and the Eastern Subalpine Warbler, of course...).