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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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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.

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