About this page...

You're now viewing the old Lundy Bird Observatory blogspot. Explore the new website for all your favourite island news and wildlife updates. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here.

Saturday 13 June 2020

6th to 12th Jun – Chick-rearing in full swing as the rain pours down...

6th June

A rather miserable day with gale-force westerlies. Frequent showers in the morning, followed by periods of heavy rain in the late afternoon and evening.

With the weather being so poor along the west (no seabird surveys today), the morning was spent roaming the east coast in order to check-in on some of the island's breeding landbirds.

Birds logged included small numbers of Manx Shearwater (68) foraging offshore along the east, eight Woodpigeon, two Collared Dove in Millcombe, a male Kestrel, two apiece of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, four singing Whitethroat, a lone male Blackcap in Millcombe, a number of Wren gathering food for nestlings in Millcombe, two Spotted Flycatcher, four Chaffinch, 21 Goldfinch (lots of  fledglings about now), a handful of Linnet, and the male Siskin on Sue Waterfield’s feeder again in the afternoon.

7th June

Another overcast day, give or take a few sunny spells in the afternoon. A much less windy day, thankfully, with light westerlies throughout.

With the welcome drop in the wind, most of the day was spent roaming up and down the west slopes in search of more colour-ringed Wheatears. So far a total of 40 colour-ringed birds have been re-sighted, many of these today, now that they are feeding recently fledged young up on top of the island.

Colour-ringed female Wheatear green over pale blue (right leg), stripe over metal (left), 7 Jun © Dean Jones

Ever get that feeling you're being watched? Peregrine watching the Warden watching Wheatears,
West Side, 7 Jun © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included the first Pied Wagtail fledglings of the year in Millcombe, 71 Wheatear between Halfway Wall and South West Point – most of which were the aforementioned recently fledged chicks – and a single Spotted Flycatcher.

The first Pied Wagtail fledgling of the 2020 vintage, Millcombe, 7 Jun © Dean Jones

There were some very bold Wheatear fledglings around the South End! 7 Jun © Dean Jones

On another topic, Lundy made it to prime-time telly as part of the new Channel 4/More 4 series Devon and Cornwall. This beautifully filmed piece was shot last spring and is part of an eight-part series covering a multitude of heart-warming stories and gorgeous landscapes here in the South West. If you missed the show and would like to catch up with this series, you can do so via this link https://www.channel4.com/programmes/devon-and-cornwall. I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who has got in touch to say that they enjoyed the show.

Warden Dean Jones talks seabird recovery and biosecurity in the new series of Devon and Cornwall © Channel 4

8th June

A cool, overcast start to the day coupled with a light westerly breeze, which picked up to a moderate wind by mid-afternoon, bringing with it some beautiful blue skies.

Birds of note from a day of Kittiwake and Guillemot surveys included a Cuckoo in Millcombe first thing and a small push of Swallow (11) with a single House Martin.

It was a very quiet night for moths on 7th/8th, with just 37 individuals of nine species caught, all of which were common species, such as Shoulder-striped Wainscot, Silver-ground Carpet and Small Square-spot.

It was a beautiful evening up on Tibbetts Hill... 8 Jun © Dean Jones

...though Boris the bull was intrigued by all the funny-looking moth-trapping paraphernalia! 8 Jun © Dean Jones

9th June

A beautiful clear morning, becoming overcast shortly after sunrise with a few sunny spells mixed in later on in the day. Stiff westerlies first thing, which dropped away to nothing by the late afternoon.

Birds of note included, 241 Puffin and a lone Collared Dove in Jenny’s Cove, a gorgeous Golden Plover in Middle Park, another little push of 15 Swallow as well as three House Martin and seven Swift.

Two of the 241 Puffins in Jenny's Cove, 9 Jun © Dean Jones

Guillemot City! Jenny's Cove, 9 Jun © Dean Jones

The moth-trap was set at Tibbetts on the night of the 8th/9th and amazingly yet another new species for Lundy was caught – the micromoth Neofaculta ericetella. This is a common little moth of heathland and moorland habitats, where its larvae feed on Ling, Bell Heather and Cross-leaved Heath, so not a rare or unusual find but rather one that has likely been overlooked in the past.

Neofaculta ericetella – a new moth for Lundy, 9 Jun © Dean Jones

Finally, a total of 104 Atlantic Grey Seals were hauled out between the North End and Gannets’ Bay.

10th June

Rain in the early hours followed by mizzle for the rest of the morning. Thick mist and fog then rolled in around 11:30, lingering for the rest of the day. Heavy downpours throughout the evening.

With the constant rain and mist, there wasn’t much done in the way of seabird monitoring! There were, however, a few bits and bobs of note in the south of the island in the morning, including a lone Spotted Flycatcher in the Sycamores above the Casbah, and a pair of Chiffchaff copulating in lower Millcombe. There was also another small arrival of hirundines first thing with nine Swallow and two each of House and Sand Martin making their way north before the mist rolled in.

After narrowly avoiding the rain, the computer was then fired-up for an afternoon of paperwork and data entry. My email inbox brought news of a number of interesting ringing recoveries and controls, two of them involving birds caught on Lundy earlier this spring!

Firstly, the already ringed Reed Warbler that was caught in Millcombe on 19th April this year had originally been ringed at Nanjizal, Land's End, Cornwall on 8th July 2019, so had popped down to sub-Saharan Africa and back in the meantime!

The Sedge Warbler caught in the Secret Garden (lower Millcombe) on 8th May this year was originally ringed at Blackditch, Wicklow, Ireland on 17th July 2016, when it was already an adult, meaning that this little bird has at least ten Sub-saharan migrations (five southbound, five northbound) under its belt. Incredible stuff!

And finally, a first-year Bullfinch ringed on Lundy on 8th April 2015 (itself a notable event, as only 29 have been ringed on the island since 1972) was unfortunately found dead on 2nd June this year at Redmonsford, Devon. Similar to the Sedge Warbler, this bird lived to the grand age of six years – well above the average lifespan in the wild for this species, which is only about two to three years.

A massive thank you to Tony Taylor for forwarding on details of these ringing movements.

11th June

Rain and strong easterly winds in the morning slaking somewhat by the evening. More heavy rain again come the evening.

As you can probably tell from this week’s blog, it has been a very wet few days on the island. In fact, a total of 59.2mm of rain has fallen over the past few days, which is more than the rainfall recorded for the whole of April and May combined!

Luckily for us, the strong easterly winds meant that the west coast was reasonably calm, which allowed us to crack on with our Puffin productivity monitoring. It was slightly quieter on the slope today, with noticeably fewer birds out and about. Nevertheless, Team Puffin still managed to see birds provisioning over 70 burrows within the productivity slope, some of which were provisioned up to three times in little over three hours of observations.

Unsurprisingly with the weather, not much of note in the way of other birds, but a lone Swallow zoomed past Jenny’s Cove in the morning and there was a Spotted Flycatcher in Millcombe.

Next to Government House, up to 40 Starlings were hiding away from the strong winds, 11 Jun © Dean Jones

12th June

Overcast first thing, giving way to some beautiful sunshine by the mid-morning. More rain by the late afternoon and a stiff north-easterly throughout.

Most of the morning was spent checking-in on the St Mark’s Stone Guillemots. The energy was incredible on the slope, with nearly all 200-odd birds now looking after young chicks.

Other sightings of note included another Cuckoo at Threequarter Wall (a different bird to the one on the 8th), a Spotted Flycatcher in Millcombe (fingers crossed there is another bird sat on eggs somewhere in the Valley), two House Martin over the South End first thing, a female Kestrel hunting next to the Church, and a decent arrival of 20 Red Admirals along the main track and in the Village.

A female Stonechat on her blustery perch in Millcombe, 12 Jun © Dean Jones

Lundy is currently closed to visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please refer to the Landmark's Trust website, here

No comments:

Post a Comment