About this page...

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.

Friday, 15 May 2020

11th to 14th May – First fledglings of the year – and a Minke!

The latest news from Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones – who's having a whale of a time!

11th May

Gale-force winds through the night reaching gusts of over 51mph in the early hours – strong and cold NE winds throughout the day, slackening slightly by the late afternoon – cloudy for parts but mostly sunny.

Unsurprisingly, due to the very strong and cold winds, there wasn’t much in the way of migration today. Highlights included the first Skylarks delivering food to young ones in the nest and a day of seabird surveys along the west.

Birds of note were two Collared Dove in Millcombe, two Blackcap, singles of Sedge and Willow Warbler and a handful of Swallow.

12th May

A beautiful late-spring day with wall-to-wall sunshine and a light north-east breeze.

A bit better today for migrants but still rather quiet overall. Highlights included the first two Raven fledglings of the year along the South End and the first Small Copper butterfly of the year on the Terrace.

Fledgling Raven, South End, 12 May © Dean Jones
Small Copper, Terrace, 12 May © Dean Jones

Other birds logged included a male and female Sparrowhawk high over St John’s Valley, a young female Peregrine along the east coast, six Woodpigeon, a single Collared Dove, 39 Swallow, a single Sand Martin, nine House Martin, one Swift, two Sedge Warbler, four Blackcaps, three Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, a small arrival of Wheatear along the south coast, one Spotted Flycatcher in Millcombe, two male Chaffinch and a small arrival of Goldfinch (20) and Linnet (37), the latter of which included a flock of 17 birds in Brick Field.

Another survey of the Village, Church and Old Lighthouse revealed five more Starling nests, bringing the total number of pairs this year to 53! This figure is still down on the 2019 total (56) but only slightly, and all seem to have very noisy and healthy chicks tucked away in their respective nests.

13th May

Another day of strong, chilly north easterlies; clear and sunny in the early hours becoming overcast by the late morning; sunny spells in the afternoon.

Birds logged on another day of seabird surveys included two Ringed Plover on South West Point, yet another Cuckoo at the watertanks (Rob Waterfield), the Quarters Water Rail, eight Woodpigeon, a single Collared Dove along the west coast with a Peregrine in hot pursuit, nine Blackcap, four Whitethroat, three apiece of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, 24 Swallow, singles of House and Sand Martin, at least three pairs of Stonechat feeding chicks, 30 Linnet and 20 Goldfinch.

Today’s highlight came about during the Puffin watch, where colour-ringed Guillemot 0114 – ringed as a nestling on 8th Jul 2013 on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire – was seen incubating an egg! It is very rare for Guillemots to breed anywhere other than their natal colony so this is quite the find. We will be keeping a keen eye on 0114 throughout the season and will make sure to keep you updated on the bird's progress. Fingers crossed he or she will manage to hatch and raise a healthy chick this season!

Most of the Guillemots are incubating eggs now in the productivity plot but there are probably
a few late breeders still to lay, 11 May © Dean Jones.

14th May

Sunshine and clear skies throughout, coupled with moderate and chilly north-easterlies again.

It was another beautiful day on Lundy – topped by a number of Manx Shearwater incubating eggs in their artificial burrows!

The purpose of these artificial burrows is to allow us to get a sneaky peak into the lives of Lundy’s shearwaters. This provides us with insights into their productivity and how well their chicks develop throughout the season, and enables us to ring individuals so that we can learn about their migration and other aspects of their life histories, e.g. how long they live.

A total of five birds were found today, three of which have attempted to breed in the boxes before, and two new birds. The former included bird EA10081 which has been using the same box since 2017 – the year after the boxes were installed by volunteers from the Lundy Field Society. It is such a massive privilege to see and learn from these birds throughout the season and to re-acquaint myself with birds that I met four seasons ago when I first came to Lundy.

Manx Shearwater, Old Light colony, 14 May © Dean Jones

Manx Shearwater egg in nestbox, Old Light colony, 14 May © Dean Jones

And as if things couldn’t get any better, a Minke Whale cruised past the Old Light shearwater colony shortly after we closed the last nest box. What an afternoon!

Minke Whale off the West Side, 14 May © Dean Jones.

Other birds of note included a Cuckoo in Millcombe first thing, two young female Peregrine together over the island, the Quarters Water Rail, six Woodpigeon, a single Collared Dove in the Village, two each of Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler, a single Chiffchaff, 47 Swallow, two each of House and Sand Martin, a White Wagtail at Pilot’s Quay, 16 Linnet, nine Goldfinch and the first House Sparrow fledglings of the year.

Fledgling House Sparrow, Paradise Row, 14 May © Dean Jones
There was a good selection of butterflies on the wing today, including numerous Small Heaths (pictured here),
Small Copper, Green-veined White and a number of Common Blue, 14 May © Dean Jones

Lundy is currently closed to visitors. The latest Covid-19 update from the Landmark Trust can be found here.

No comments:

Post a Comment