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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, 14 October 2019

12th to 14th October – Red-eyed Vireo, Cetti's Warbler and a Blackcap fall

Saturday 12th October

A significant drop in the wind gave migrants a welcome weather window to push south and there was a large overnight fall of Blackcaps, with 150 being a very conservative estimate. There were 60 along the Terrace in the morning and at least 100 in Millcombe during the afternoon, with every bramble and blackthorn clump seeming to hold multiple birds, which had formed into several loose flocks. Alongside the Blackcaps were 50 Goldcrests and 8 Chiffchaffs. There were strong movements of Swallow (100) and Meadow Pipit (600) during the day, whilst other sightings included a Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Water Rail, a Golden Plover, 14 Snipe over Pondsbury, 2 Kestrel, 30 Skylark, 11 House Martin, 3 Redwing, 3 Wheatear, 12 Pied/alba Wagtails, 15 Rock Pipit, 1 Greenfinch, 15 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 4 Linnet.

The most unusual species of the day was a juvenile Whooper Swan flying SW over the Castle early in the morning. There was also a Yellow-browed Warbler by the gas store in Millcombe, the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was seen by the lambing shed, and a Snow Bunting was flushed from the track at the Battlements.

Sunday 13th October

An overcast and increasingly damp morning with squally showers gave way to long sunny spells in the afternoon.

Most of Saturday’s Blackcaps and Goldcrests had moved on overnight. Highlight of the day was a Red-eyed Vireo, the 9th for the island, which was discovered in Quarter Wall Copse at around 13.30. After perching prominently in the open for several minutes when it was first seen on the northern edge of the copse, the bird dropped back into the trees and eluded all binoculars for the next hour or so, but was eventually seen by all those present, between 15.00 and 15.30 as it fed in the tree tops, along with several Goldcrest and two Firecrest for company.

Other notable records included the juvenile Dotterel, which was relocated on the Airfield, a Merlin, a Jack Snipe at Pondsbury, a Yellow-browed Warbler in lower Millcombe (Smelly Gully), the Treecreeper, 3 Reed Bunting in the Pondsbury and Quarter Wall area, and a Snow Bunting calling in flight over the Terrace. Among the commoner migrants were 35 Swallow, including some that were clearly struggling in the windy and often very wet conditions and an emaciated juvenile was found dead near Brambles. Also 2 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 20 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Water Rail, 5 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 7 Snipe, 19 Kittiwake, 11 Woodpigeon, 1 Kestrel, 35 Skylark, 10 House Martin, 12 Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap, 15 Goldcrest, 2 Redwing, 17 Robin, 8 Stonechat, 200 Meadow Pipit, 2 Siskin and 20 Linnet.

Monday 14th October

An overcast but mainly dry day, with some patchy light drizzle in the afternoon, and a stiff SE that gradually eased later in the day, falling light by evening.

It was evident first thing that there had been a further clear-out of migrants, which was unsurprising given plenty of clear, moonlit spells overnight. At times it was difficult to find a migrant in Millcombe or along the Lower East Side Path. Nevertheless, there were still new birds to be found, with the highlight being Lundy’s 5th Cetti’s Warbler, which called and showed briefly twice around the edge of Millcombe Pond mid-morning.

Other notable sightings included the Yellow-browed Warbler in lower Millcombe, a late Willow Warbler in the sallows in St John’s Valley, the Treecreeper in Millcombe, the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling in the chicken run, 3 Reed Bunting (one in flight over Castle Hill and two at Quarter Wall), and a Snow Bunting at the western end of Quarter Wall. The supporting cast included 2 Teal, 2 Grey Heron flying north-east off the East Side, a Cormorant, 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 Water Rail, a Golden Plover, 2 Kestrel, a Merlin, 25 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 8 Goldcrest, 8 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 200 Starling, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 11 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 7 Pied/alba Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 150 Meadow Pipit, 14 Rock Pipit, 19 Chaffinch, 40 Goldfinch, 6 Siskin and 31 Linnet.

Compiled from observations by Zoe Barton, Tim Davis, Mandy Dee, James Diamond, Darrin Dowding, Ken Ebsworthy, Martin Elcoate, Andy Jayne, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and Ryan Miller.

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