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Monday 13 April 2020

11th to 13th Apr – Blackcap fall; first Pied Flycatchers & Whitethroat

Saturday 11th April

Another glorious and warm spring day complete with blue skies, minimal wind and a good selection of migrants.

The locals were treated to yet another spectacular sunrise, 11 Apr © Dean Jones

Highlights included a super fall of 110 Blackcap and 53 Willow Warbler – mostly from the south and east coasts of the island. The first two Pied Flycatchers of the year also made an appearance with a female in the Terrace Willows and a lovely male in Millcombe Wood. Another Jackdaw flew over the Villlage in the afternoon and two Grasshopper Warblers were reeling in Millcombe and St Johns first thing along with three nearby Sedge Warblers. The Buzzard remained for another day – seen soaring over High Street Field in the afternoon and seven White Wagtails were foraging in Barton and Brick Fields throughout the day.

One of the first two Pied Flycatchers of 2020 – a female in the Terrace willows, 11 Apr © Dean Jones

One of the 110 Blackcaps logged on 11 Apr © Dean Jones

The Buzzard remained for another day – here over the High Street, 11 Apr © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note from the south and east coasts included the long-staying Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay first thing, four Woodpigeon, the female Sparrowhawk, two Kestrel together over the Quarries, just one Swallow, two Chiffchaff, one Goldcrest, 19 Skylark, eight Pied Wagtail and another unraced fly-over alba wag, 94 Meadow Pipit (including a flock of 57 birds in Tent Field), three Dunnock, three Robin, two Stonechat, four Wheatear, three each of Blackbird, Redwing and Song Thrush, a single Fieldfare, three Chaffinch, seven Goldfinch and 49 Linnet.

Unfortunately there was no further sign of the Hoopoe from yesterday.

Ringing totals: Blackcap 30, Willow Warbler 17 and Chiffchaff 2.

Non-avian news includes the first Silver Y of the year and two Rabbits in the Upper East Side Path – the first seen in quite some time!

Sunday 12th April

Thick fog for the first few hours, clearing by 10:00am to give way to some more lovely sunshine for most of the rest of the day, other than a few hazy/foggy spells in the afternoon. South and westerly breeze to start, turning easterly again by mid-morning.

A much quieter feel to the island today due to the mass departure of Blackcaps – just eight logged. It was still a very enjoyable day of birding on the island, however, with a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from a fog-cloaked Millcombe during the first few hours. Later in the day two Jackdaws flew over the Village calling loudly (it has been a great spring for records of this scarce corvid this year). A male Common Redstart was catching insects from its Quarter Wall perch and lots of nest-building was observed among the Starlings and Linnets.

Raven on the lookout for a meal at Halfway Wall, 12 Apr © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included 27 Mallard (23 ducklings in total so far), the long staying Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay first thing, five Woodpigeon (including a lone bird hiding from the Peregrines at Halfway Wall), two Water Rail, 1,500 Guillemot on ledges in Jenny’s Cove, 400 Razorbill, 68 Puffin, four Swallow, two Sand Martin, 27 Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest, 25 Skylark, six Pied Wagtail, two unraced fly-over alba wags and a lone White Wagtail in Barton Field, 89 Meadow Pipit, seven Dunnock, three Robin, three Stonechat, six Wheatear, ten Blackbird, three Redwing, three Chaffinch, 14 Goldfinch and 39 Linnet.

Easter ducklings – a female Mallard and her brood, St John's Valley, 12 Apr © Dean Jones

Monday 13th April

The shorts, T-shirt and peaked cap were swapped for long trousers and woollies today due to a hefty easterly wind which peaked at gale force around midday. It was very hard going on the birding front, particularly in the morning, as there wasn’t much shelter on the island at all (the wind blew the specs off my face on the west coast path!). Unsurprisingly most of the birds remained very inconspicuous for most of the day – migrants logged included the first Whitethroat of the year in Millcombe, four Willow Warbler, three Blackcap, singles of Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and Redwing, a lone White Wagtail in Barton Field and a small arrival of Goldfinch (24) – which included a flock of 16 underneath Sue Waterfield’s feeder.

Gale-force easterlies made for difficult birding... © Dean Jones

Some of the 24 Goldfinches logged on 13 Apr, underneath Sue Waterfield's feeder © Dean Jones

The latest update from the Landmark Trust concerning the Covid-19 pandemic and Lundy can be found here.

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