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Tuesday 17 March 2020

16th Mar – Killdeer: a first for Lundy!

News came in last night of a Killdeer on the island – a first for Lundy! The bird was found by Neil Trout during the late afternoon of Monday 16th March, near Stoneycroft.

On Tuesday 17th, Assistant Lundy Warden Rosie Ellis reported that the island plateau was shrouded in claggy low cloud, with "shockingly poor visibility" and the bird was not seen by those out peering through the murk (in spite of rumours on social media to the contrary). Neil's initial sighting therefore turned out to be both the first and the last.

There have been two previous BBRC-accepted records in Devon, and about three further historical (pre-BBRC) records.

The following is a transcript of Neil's entry in the LFS logbook (see photo below):

"16/3 16.20 to 16.40 hrs. Killdeer. Initially in Stoneycroft Meadow but flew to temporary pond on Ackland's Moor, beyond water tanks. From distance, thought to be a Ringed Plover but closer inspection allowed the following notes to be recorded: – Bulky plover, larger than ringed plover with longer tail. Double wide, black breast bands with lower part of lower breast band more mottled. White breast band between the 2 black bands was a brighter white than the belly. Upperparts mid-brown to greyish brown. Legs greyish flesh. Bill black with length of half the head width. White supercilium flaring towards rear of ear coverts. White on lores extending onto side of face. dark eye with thick black line between eyes, over loral area. White collar broadening onto chin and upper breast. Call a 'Klee-oo'. Flight details too brief to note anything. 10x40 binoculars, down to 30 yards."

Many thanks to the birding community for respecting the closure of Lundy to day visitors and private boats as part of the island's response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a shame that events (and indeed the bird's brief stay) conspired to mean that only Neil was lucky enough to see this star bird.

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