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Tuesday 19 May 2020

15th to 18th May – Migrants, moths macro & micro and more dolphins

Dean Jones sends his latest bulletin from Lundy in lockdown.

15th May

A lovely spring day with lots of sunshine between periods of overcast and a light northerly wind.

Highlights from another wonderful day of seabird surveys included a Hooded Crow in Tent Field first thing, a feeding pod of c.30 Common Dolphin (including at least four calves) which spent around an hour foraging offshore from St Mark’s Stone before heading north, and the first Kittiwake egg of the year within the Threequarter Wall buttress colony.

Other sightings of note included a handsome male Cuckoo at Threequarter Wall, the male and female Kestrel over Pondsbury, 207 Kittiwake, five Woodpigeon and two Collared Dove (including one of each at Aztec Bay!), 19 Swallow, two Sand Martin, five House Martin, seven Blackcap, three Whitethroat, three Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, a male Stonechat, 32 Skylark, two Pied Wagtail (including a male collecting food for nestlings in the Village), a female Chaffinch delivering food to chicks in Millcombe, eight Goldfinch and 34 Linnet.

"What are you looking at? Haven't you ever seen a Hooded Crow before?", Tent Field, 15 May © Dean Jones
Male Cuckoo, Threequarter Wall, 15 May © Dean Jones
Kittiwake with egg, Threequarter Wall buttress colony, 15 May © Dean Jones

16th May

Clear skies and sunshine in the morning becoming chilly and overcast by 15:00 – light north to north-westerly winds all day.

Today’s highlight from what was a rather quiet bird day was a group of c.24 Common Dolphin foraging off South West Point in the morning.

Other sightings included a lone Collared Dove, just two Woodpigeon, 39 Swallow, three Sand Martin, 11 House Martin, six Blackcap, two Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler singing in St John’s Valley, two each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, three Stonechat, two Pied Wagtail, 21 Meadow Pipit (including a bird collecting food for nestlings near Quarry Cottages), three Chaffinch, eight Goldfinch and 46 Linnet (which included a flock of 23 birds at Stoneycroft).

Male Chaffinch with food for nestlings, Millcombe, 16 May © Dean Jones

17th May

Cloudy with sunny spells and a light westerly wind.

A very quiet bird day today. Not much of note other than a handful of passing hirundines and a number of singing warblers (Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff) which, after a few days of observations, are seemingly holding territories in Millcombe and along the east.

A total of 84 moths of 18 different species were caught in the Millcombe Heath trap last night – including a single Dark Sword Grass, the first Buff-tip, Small Angle Shades and Pale-shouldered Brocade of the year, as well as good numbers of Angle Shades, Spectacle, Pale Tussock and Lychnis.

Buff-tip, Millcombe, 17 May © Dean Jones

The aptly named Spectacle, Millcombe, 17 May © Dean Jones

18th May

An overcast day with one or two short-lived sunny spells – stiff south-westerly winds throughout.

A few nice birds moving through today including two Spotted Flycatcher and a Tree Pipit in Quarter Wall Copse, 16 Woodpigeon along the east coast and a decent arrival of 38 Goldfinch (which included a flock of 24 birds past St Helen’s Copse in the morning) and 58 Linnet.

Tree Pipit, Quarter Wall Copse, 18 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings included the Quarters Water Rail, three Pied Wagtail, 27 Skylark, 46 Swallow, 25 House Martin, a single Sand Martin, four Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, four Blackcap, three Whitethroat, 24 Meadow Pipit, two Stonechat and two Chaffinch.

Small numbers of the stunning micromoth Esperia sulphurella have been recorded in Millcombe
this week, 18 May © Dean Jones

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

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