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Thursday 7 May 2020

4th to 6th May – Migrants, moths and a flush of wildflowers

The latest instalment of spring migration highlights, other avian goings-on and general nature news from the Lundy Warden, Dean Woodfin Jones:

4th May

A beautifully calm and sunny early morning before the stiff easterly winds returned around 10:00am, becoming overcast in the afternoon.

Another reasonably quiet day for migrants apart from another good push of Swallows (303), House Martin (60) and Sand Martin (26) throughout the day.

The best of the rest included six Dunlin in flight along the west coast, two Collared Dove in the Laundry Garden, ten Swift, two Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, three Sedge Warbler and seven Blackcap.

A Meadow Pipit sheltering from the stiff easterlies near The Battery, 4 May © Dean Jones
This lovely Ruby Tiger moth joined us during our Swallow counts, 4 May © Dean Jones

Ringing totals from a brief early morning session included: Sedge Warbler 2, Blackcap 6, Chiffchaff 2, Willow Warbler 1 and Goldfinch 1.

5th May

Horrible weather today unfortunately, with easterly gales during the morning easing to just below gale force in the afternoon. Heavy rain up until 11:00am followed by overcast skies and a few sunny spells later in the afternoon.

Hirundines again pushed on through despite the strong winds, with 42 Swallow, 17 House Martin and four Sand Martin logged after the rain. Other birds of note included three Swift low over Quarter Wall, a Blackcap in Millcombe (the only warbler logged today) and a small fall of eight Pied Wagtail sheltering on High Street track.

6th May

Today was one of those magical Lundy bird days characterised by a fantastic diversity of migrants, beautiful weather (other than a stiff easterly wind) and seabird-covered cliffs!

The East Sidelands are now awash with wildflowers, namely Bluebells, gorse, Foxgloves and, of course,
our beloved Lundy Cabbage, 6 May © Dean Jones

Highlights included a superb arrival of 26 Spotted Flycatcher across the island and the best day yet of spring hirundine passage!

Birds logged included four Manx Shearwater off the South West Point, two Dunlin, four Whimbrel, a young male Sparrowhawk in Millcombe, two Kestrel, a female Merlin, a super 1,916 Swallow, 478 Sand Martin and 341 House Martin throughout the day, two Swift, 3,722 Guillemot, 1,426 Razorbill, 107 Puffin, 202 Kittiwake, four Sedge Warbler, a Grasshopper Warbler in the Walled Garden, a Reed Warbler in Smelly Gully, nine Whitethroat, ten Blackcap, a Garden Warbler on the Terrace, seven Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, at least three Greenland-type Wheatear, two Stonechat, two Whinchat, seven Pied Wagtail, three fly-over unraced alba wagtails, two White Wagtail at Benjamin’s Chair, a male and two female Yellow Wagtail in Barton Field, three Chaffinch, ten Goldfinch and 41 Linnet.

Lots more Guillemots with eggs in the St Mark's Stone study plots now (147 to be precise), 6 May © Dean Jones
Swallows taking a rest near Quarters Pond, 6 May © Dean Jones

Non-avian sightings included the first two Rosechafer of the year near St Mark’s Stone and two Silver Y.

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

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