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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.
If you have news to report, please consider signing up as a contributor or send in your sightings here.
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.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

31st July to 6th August – Invertebrates and marine life to the fore, but some birds too!

Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones's latest update from the island covers the period 31st Jul to 6th August:

A somewhat quiet week for passage birds but very exciting with regards to a number of the island's non-avian inhabitants and visitors from afar...

On the bird front, Willow Warblers are still trickling through in small numbers most days, though the island was blessed once again with another small fall of birds (71) on August 1st.
Linnet numbers are also continuing to grow with 122 birds around the island on the 4th (which included a flock of 49 birds at Halfway Wall). The island has also seen some good Shag numbers dotted around the coast this week, with 172 recorded on the 4th.

Other birds of note include a Grey Heron over the South East point on the 2nd, two adult Cuckoo on the 31st, the first southbound Tree Pipit of the year (1st), another Spotted Flycatcher on the Terrace on the 1st, a Sedge Warbler in Millcombe on the 1st, two young Kestrel together over Pondsbury on the 4th, as well as small numbers of Swallow (max 17 on the 2nd), singles of Blackcap, and up to five Pied Wagtail, four Stonechat and three Whitethroat each day.  There has also been a very noisy and often conspicuous Water Rail lurking in the long grass outside Paradise Row on a number of dates within this period.

Non-avian highlights:

Like elsewhere in the UK, Lundy saw a superb arrival of Painted Ladies come August 1st, with 284 recorded on this beautiful summer's day (most certainly a gross underestimate as there was a constant stream of these magnificent invertebrates coming off the sea for most of the day), 601 on the 2nd, 172 on the 3rd and 171 on the 4th.

Between the gatherings of Painted Ladies, Caitlin Worsey also managed to find a Clouded Yellow on her butterfly transect on August 1st, as well as increases in some of the island's other Lepidoptera species, including Red Admiral (max 32 on the 1st), Common Blue (4 on the 4th), Small Copper (7 on the 4th), Silver Y (29 on the 2nd), as well as a smattering of Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Large White and Hummingbird Hawkmoths.

The evening of August 2nd also saw a mass emergence of flying ants on the island, particularly along the south coast, Upper East Side Path and the North Lighthouse. Swarms of these spectacular winged beasties were seen swathing vegetation and granite boulders on the day as well as forming thick ant clouds in the air in parts. As always the birds were very happy with this mass emergence of food meaning visitors to the island were treated to some amazing views of House Sparrow, Starling, and Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gull “hawking” mouthfuls of ants whilst on the wing. A truly spectacular sight but difficult to converse about at the time without getting a mouthful of critters myself.

Flying ants emerged en masse on 2nd Aug, seen here along the Upper East Side Path © Dean Jones

An evening’s sea-watching on a beautifully still day at the North End revealed some decent-sized rafts of roosting and preening Manx Shearwater (c.3,000) offshore on the 2nd. Within and around these gatherings Zoë Barton and I were also treated to some super cetacean action on the glass-like sea. Here we found no less than 23 Common Dolphin (composed of two pods) and 8 Harbour Porpoise (one pod of 7 and a loner) but the obvious highlight of the evening had to be the titanic Minke Whale which approached the island from the north at around 20:30 allowing superb views for about 20 minutes before it moved off west as the sun neared the horizon, a perfect end to a perfect day's monitoring.

A tranquil sunset over North Light on 2nd Aug © Zoë Barton

Finally, a Sunfish was present right next to the Jetty on the 1st (Rob Waterfield & Mike Jones).

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