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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.
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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.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

13th to 21st Jun – A smorgasbord of avian and other delights!

Warden Dean Jones presents another round-up of island wildlife in his latest missive from Lundy.

13th June

A beautiful summer's days albeit a tad breezy from the east.

Highlights included the first Kittiwake chicks of the year in Jenny’s Cove and at Threequarter Wall Buttress, and a grand total of 97 Red Admiral butterflies across the island.

Digi-scope shot of the first Kittiwake chick of the year,
Jenny's Cove, 13 June © Dean Jones
One of the 97 Red Admirals logged today,  Millcombe, 13 Jun © Dean Jones
The beautiful Twiggy Mullein is now in flower in Millcombe. Here's one of eight large plants currently in
bloom in the Walled Gardens, 13 Jun © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included the Welsh-born colour-ringed Guillemot 0114 provisioning a young chick in Jenny’s Cove, lots of Wren fledglings making a commotion in Millcombe and along the east coast, handfuls of Rock Pipit fledglings foraging in the in-fields and a small number of Silver Y moths scattered across the island.

14th June

Sunny and warm for most give or take a few cloudy spells in the late morning and afternoon, and a light easterly breeze throughout.

Not much in the way of new birds but a smashing day nonetheless, with masses of seabirds busily delivering sandeels and sprats to developing chicks, heaps of young passerine fledglings haphazardly navigating the island and a number of warblers singing their hearts out in Millcombe.

Other than the birds there has been a mass arrival of hoverflies across the island, namely the Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus. Although lots of different hoverfly species are resident on the island, the easterly winds this week have definitely bolstered numbers with literal swarms, thousands strong, buzzing about the east coast, Millcombe and the Village. In fact a quick count around Millcombe revealed between 5 and 40 hoverflies per head of Hogweed (there are hundreds of plants in bloom currently), other than those which have been taken over by Parsnip Moth caterpillars.

Invasion on the hoverflies! Numerous Marmalade Hoverflies Episyrphus balteatus and a single
Eupeodes corollae
hoverfly (centre) on Hogweed, Millcombe, 14 Jun © Dean Jones
Lots of Parsnip Moth caterpillars were making their homes in some of the Hogweed too, 14 June © Dean Jones

15th June

Another lovely summer’s day with low winds and sunshine between periods of overcast – perfect conditions for a day on the west cliffs.

More and more Kittiwake chicks are starting to arrive in both Aztec Bay and Threequarter Wall Buttress colonies, though the vast majority of nesting birds are still incubating eggs, along with one or two pairs still in the process of completing late nests. The St Mark’s Stone Guillemot productivity plot is also covered in little squeaky chicks. So far it has been a fantastic year for this colony, with very few breeding failures – give or take a handful of eggs and young chicks that have been lost to hungry Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

How many Guillemot chicks can you see? St Marks Stone, 15 Jun © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included five Swift heading south along the west coast, a singing Willow Warbler again in Millcombe, 21 Red Admiral on the wing and a handful of Silver Y.

The moth trap was deployed in Tent Field last night but unfortunately only a handful of very common moths were caught. 

16th June

It’s not often you see the island’s anemometer at a complete standstill! The wind did pick up come late morning, albeit only slightly, from the north and the east. Overcast for most with a few nice sunny spells – a few very light showers throughout the day and some incredible skyscapes offshore as thunderstorms rolled past along the North Devon coast.

With the weather being so fair, today was spent counting cliff-nesting seabirds around the entire island. Results included (totals show adult birds only): 191 Fulmar, 111 Shag, 8,252 Guillemot, 2,177 Razorbill, 400 Puffin, 242 Kittiwake, 602 Herring Gull, only 145 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 62 Great Black-backed Gull.

You could have easily mistaken Lundy's waters for somewhere in the Mediterranean today.
Threequarter Wall Buttress, 16 Jun © Dean Jones
Seabird heaven, Long Roost, 16 Jun © Dean Jones

Other highlights from the wrap around were a pair of Whitethroat feeding nestlings on the east coast and a male Cuckoo hiding away from mobbing passerines in Quarterwall Copse.

This rather grumpy looking Cuckoo couldn't go anywhere without being mobbed, Quarter Wall Copse,
16 Jun © Dean Jones

Other sightings included 31 Oystercatcher, seven Raven, 31 Carrion Crow, six Peregrine, the Kestrel pair, four Woodpigeon, two Collared Dove, 16 Swift, eight Swallow, 102 Wheatear, seven Stonechat, four Whitethroat, two male Blackcap, a singing male Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, 33 Wren, six Robin, 39 Skylark, 89 Meadow Pipit, 16 Blackbird, 16 Goldfinch, 76 Linnet and four Chaffinch.

Non-avian sightings included two Harbour Porpoise off St Mark’s Stone, the first Emperor Dragonfly (Quarter Wall) and Giant Tachinid Fly (Tibbett’s) of the year, 26 Red Admiral, 28 Meadow Brown, 12 Small Heath and singles of Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell and Common Blue.

The first Giant Tachinid Fly Tachina grossa of the year, Tibbetts, 16 Jun © Dean Jones

17th June

A muggy but clear start to the day up until 07:15 hrs when a thick mist rolled in which pretty much stayed for the entire day other than two brief clear spells in the afternoon.

Highlights included a singing Reed Warbler in the Secret Garden shortly after sunrise, a Spotted Flycatcher above the Casbah and three Chiffchaff – two of which were singing males in Millcombe and St Helen’s Copse.

Sixty-seven moths of 24 species were caught in the Millcombe Heath trap last night, including singles of Northern Rustic, Rusty Dot Pearl and Grey Pug as well as the first Mother of Pearl and Udea olivalis micromoths of the year.

18th June

A very wet day with thick mist, fog and drizzle lingering over throughout – particularly by late morning when I struggled to see the Laundry Rooms from the front of Paradise Row! Heavy rain followed in mid-afternoon which continued into the wee hours.

A rather miserable and wet morning’s census was brightened enormously by the occurrence of a sub-adult male Golden Oriole singing from a fog-clagged Millcombe first thing. Luckily the mist lifted just enough for a decent but brief view of the bird on top of the Secret Garden Sycamore before it shot off down the valley and out of sight. This is the third Golden Oriole of the year following an adult male on 8th May and a sub-adult male/female on 20th May.

Luckily the mist and drizzle held off long enough to get some nice views of the Golden Oriole, 18 Jun © Dean Jones

Other birds of note included good numbers of Wren fledglings in Millcombe, two singing Willow Warblers, two Chiffchaff and a lone Whitethroat.

The Heath moth trap was deployed in the Ugly last night and managed to catch 149 moths of 37 different species. Highlights included the first Clay, Uncertain and Satin Waves of the year.

19th June

A mostly sunny day with a stiff westerly wind throughout.

Unfortunately it was too windy to pop down to check on the Guillemot and Kittiwake plots but luckily Jenny’s Cove was sheltered enough to get the scope up for a Puffin watch.

Puffins in Jenny's Cove, 19 Jun © Dean Jones

Highlights other than the seabirds included two female Crossbills feeding in the evergreens at the top of Millcombe first thing, the first Woodpigeon fledglings of the year, a lone Spotted Flycatcher doing what they do best – catching flies over the Casbah – and small numbers of Manx Shearwater foraging offshore from the east.

Female Crossbills in Millcombe, 19 Jun © Dean Jones

20th June

A beautiful, sunny and warm morning with a light westerly breeze – the wind then picked up by the early evening, ramping up to gale force by the end of the day, bringing with it bouts of heavy rain.

Avian highlights included the Crossbills again in Millcombe for their second day, a single Spotted Flycatcher in Millcombe, 11 Swift over the Village in the afternoon (Zoë Barton) and 166 Kittiwake either incubating eggs or brooding young chicks at Aztec Bay and Threequarter Wall Buttress.

A few Razorbill dropped in to check I was surveying the Kittiwakes adequately, Aztec Bay 20 Jun © Dean Jones
Small numbers of Heath Spotted Orchid are now in flower around Pondsbury, 20 Jun © Zoë Barton

21st June

Strong south-westerly winds throughout, overcast with a few sunny spells.

Highlights from a day largely spent on paperwork and catch-up (too windy for the cliffs today) included a superb adult Rose-coloured Starling in Millcombe within a small flock of juvenile Common Starlings first thing. The bird was rather flighty at first, providing only brief views on the wing, before it finally settled upon the Sycamores near Bramble Villas for a brief rest before disappearing towards the Village.

Today's special treat: an adult Rosy Starling with young Common Starlings, Millcombe, 21 Jun © Dean Jones
Please join at the back of the line! An orderly queue at Sue Waterfield's feeders, 21 Jun © Dean Jones

Additionally the two female Crossbills remained for their third day on the island, a single Spotted Flycatcher was again foraging over the Casbah in Millcombe and two House Martin shot over the South End at around 08:00 hrs.

1 comment:

  1. The queue for the bird feeders looked like what was over my shoulder as I was checking through my moth trap this morning! Great pic and another top update. Well done Dean for being so vigilant, a top draw resident birder is just what Lundy needed :-)