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Friday 25 October 2019

20th to 24th Oct – A stunning sunrise and some spectacular birding

Sunday 20th October
A day of moderate to strong north-easterlies and periods of sunshine and overcast.

Highpoints of the day included a decent arrival of Chaffinch first thing (132 in Millcombe) plus two very noisy Mistle Thrush feeding on berries in upper Millcombe, a grand total of six Snow Bunting (five of which were seen together just north of Threequarter Wall) and a Jack Snipe flushed from the Molinia grass just west of Pondsbury.

Other birds of note included two Teal on Pondsbury, a lone Fulmar in the Landing Bay, one south-bound Cormorant, the male and female Sparrowhawk together in Millcombe, a Water Rail, a fly-over Golden Plover, just three Skylark, four Swallow, three Chiffchaff,  five Blackcap, 26 Goldcrest, the Treecreeper, 202 Starling, four Blackbird, four Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush, 49 Redwing, eight Robin, 11 Stonechat, a single Wheatear at Halfway Wall, 80 Meadow Pipit, a Greenfinch, 18 Goldfinch, 18 Siskin, just five Linnet and a Reed Bunting.

Redwing feeding on Hawthorn berries, Millcombe, 20 Oct © Dean Jones

Monday 21st October

A chilly, clear and overall very pleasant day weather-wise. Birding highlights included a Long-tailed Tit feeding in the Sycamores just above the Casbah in Millcombe. A whopping 107 Fieldfare, a count which included a spectacular flock of 80 birds flying NE over the Quarries in the early afternoon, and the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, again with its head in the chicken feed box next to the farmyard.

Rose-coloured Starling with friends in the chicken coop, 21 Oct © Dean Jones

Other birds of note included two Teal on Pondsbury, the male and female Sparrowhawk, two Water Rail, a fly-over Golden Plover, three Snipe, one Woodpigeon, a male Kestrel, a female Merlin, three Skylark, four Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, 20 Goldcrest, the Treecreeper, 250 Starling, a Ring Ouzel, 10 Blackbird, 15 Song Thrush, 70 Redwing, nine Robin, 10 Stonechat, a Pied Wagtail, two unidentified alba wagtails, 25 Meadow Pipit, 50 Chaffinch, a Greenfinch, 13 Goldfinch, 10 Siskin, eight Linnet, a single fly-over Redpoll and a Reed Bunting over Quarter Wall.

Non-avian news featured 11 Portuguese Man o’war, 10 of which unfortunately had washed up along the shore of the Landing Bay (see photo below).

Portuguese Man o'War, Landing Bay, 21st Oct © Dean Jones

Tuesday 22nd October

An absolutely glorious day complete with clear skies, a stunning sunrise and next to no wind – perfect conditions for the newly arrived ringing team to get their mist-nets up and some truly superb visual migration, particularly during the first few hours of the morning.

Highlights from this spectacular day of birding include a Cetti’s Warbler caught and ringed in Millcombe in the afternoon, possibly the same bird that was found by Andy Jayne & Tim Jones by Millcombe Pond on October 14th. Three Jackdaws (a Lundy rarity) were also briefly present on the main track near Quarter Wall first thing. A rather late Lesser Whitethroat was found in the brambles next to the Timekeeper's Hut in the afternoon, two Yellow-browed Warbler were in Millcombe (one of which was caught and ringed) and the fourth Lapland Bunting of the year flew over Middle Park in the early morning, closely followed by two fly-over Snow Bunting!

Other birds of note include a lone female Teal on Pondsbury, the female Sparrowhawk, 2 Water Rail, a fly-over Golden Plover, a single Snipe, a single Lesser Black-backed Gull, one Woodpigeon, a female Merlin, 30 Skylark, a late Sand Martin, 11 Swallow, two House Martin, seven Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap, 25 Goldcrest, the Treecreeper (caught and ringed in Millcombe), 203 Starling, a Ring Ouzel, 40 Blackbird, 25 Fieldfare, 10 Song Thrush, 100 Redwing, a single Mistle Thrush in Millcombe, six Robin, three Stonechat, a Grey Wagtail, a White Wagtail in Barton Field, six unidentified alba wagtails, 100 Meadow Pipit, 200 Chaffinch, four Brambling, a Greenfinch, 19 Goldfinch, 56 Siskin, 19 Linnet, two fly-over Redpoll and a Reed Bunting over Millcombe.

Sunrise over Millcombe, 22 Oct © Dean Jones
Cetti's Warbler, Millcombe, 22 Oct © Dean Jones

Wednesday 23rd October

Another fantastic day of birding and clear/calm conditions. The undoubted highlight of the day was the occurrence of a Little Bunting in the shelf of a mist-net in Millcombe mid-morning, the 20th record for the island and the 7th to be ringed – a spectacular start to the day!

Following the star bird, birders on the island were also blessed with some spectacular numbers of Chaffinches. A very conservative estimate of 1,000 birds passed Lundy during the day, along with some good numbers of Siskin (100) and a smattering of Brambling (one of which was trapped and ringed). Additionally the first Woodcock of the year was seen, flushed from the path below the Ugly whilst checking the slope mist-net. Nearby a female Bullfinch spent most of the day flying around Millcombe – the second of the year following a stunning male at the top of the valley on January 5th. A Yellow-browed Warbler was busily feeding in Quarter Wall Copse in the afternoon. The first Black Redstart of the autumn was also seen, bobbing away upon the roof of Government House in the evening. A very late female Common Redstart was trapped and ringed in Millcombe and the fifth Lapland Bunting of the autumn shot over St John’s in the early afternoon.

Other birds of note on this glorious autumn day included a single Fulmar, a Manx Shearwater calling in the early hours, the female Sparrowhawk, three Water Rail in Millcombe, a fly-over Golden Plover, one Woodpigeon, a Merlin, nine Skylark, six Swallow, a late Willow Warbler on the Terrace, seven Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, the Lesser Whitethroat again near the Terrace, a Firecrest (caught and ringed in Millcombe), 26 Goldcrest, the Treecreeper, 285 Starling, a Ring Ouzel in Upper Millcombe, 40 Blackbird, 30 Fieldfare, four Song Thrush, 250 Redwing, 20 Robin, six Stonechat, two Grey Wagtail having a rest on the roof of the Radio Room, two Pied Wagtail, 31 Meadow Pipit, three Brambling, three Greenfinch, nine Goldfinch, three Linnet and a single Reed Bunting.

Little Bunting, Millcombe, 23 Oct © Ellie Zantboer

Thursday 24th October

A rather dim and overcast start to the day but slighter warmer despite the winds picking up overnight and the lack of morning sunshine.

All in all, today was much quieter bird-wise with most of yesterday’s thrushes and finches moving off in the clear and relatively calm overnight conditions. Highlights included a Little Egret on Pondsbury in the early afternoon and the female Bullfinch again – this time outside Bramble Villas on the now foliage-devoid Sycamores. Herring Gull numbers also made a massive jump up today (total 140) with multiple flocks moving north along the east coast throughout the morning – perhaps moving in anticipation of tomorrow's storms!

Other birds of note included the female Sparrowhawk, two Water Rail in Millcombe, five Golden Plover (the highest count of the autumn so far), a Woodcock, one Snipe, 16 Kittiwake, two Lesser Black-backed Gull, a female Kestrel, a Merlin, five Skylark, four Swallow, three Chiffchaff, eight Blackcap, two Firecrest (one caught and ringed in Millcombe), 17 Goldcrest, the Treecreeper, 230 Starling, 13 Blackbird, six Fieldfare, four Song Thrush, 17 Redwing, 10 Robin, two Black Redstart, three Stonechat, one Grey Wagtail, two Pied Wagtail, just 10 Meadow Pipit, 170 Chaffinch, three Brambling, two Goldfinch, 11 Siskin, three Linnet, a Snow Bunting and a single Reed Bunting.

Report composed of sightings from Chris & Carol Baillie, Zoë Barton, James Booty, Sam Bosanquet, Rob Duncan, Paul Goodwin, Mark & Jo Harris, Dean Jones, Dan Zantboer, Ellie Zantboer and Justin Zantboer.

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