Tim Frayling updates us on days two and three of his and Bart's week on Lundy in search of Manx Shearwaters and other birds...
Bart woke early on Monday (24th) to check if any migrants had arrived overnight and found 10 Spotted Flycatchers along with 20 Willow Warblers and a Blackcap in Millcombe. After hearing a Dunlin calling in Barton Field in the morning, he was rewarded with great views of the bird in the afternoon.
|Dunlin, Barton Field, 24 Aug © Bart Donato|
After lunch we set three mist-nets in Millcombe and had them open for an hour, catching four Willow Warblers, a Blackcap, a Robin and a juvenile Goldfinch. By mid-evening it had started raining but, undeterred, we went out knowing we would have to stop once the heavy rain forecast for midnight onwards arrived. We headed off to Pilot’s Quay and between 22:20hrs and 23:20hrs caught nine Manx Shearwaters (3 juveniles and 6 adults) including a retrapped bird.
Seeing the lights on in the Tavern on our way back, we went in and were told by staff that there was a shearwater by the church, and so the 10th bird was ringed and taken to the coast to be released.
On Tuesday (25th) we woke to really strong winds. We saw a few Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers tucked into the vegetation, and a steady stream of Gannets out at sea. Other notable sightings were a Kestrel below the Ugly and a male Stonechat on the road up from the Landing Bay. A walk along the East Side didn’t turn up much apart from another Stonechat near the Quarries, and several Swallows and House Martins flying low over the sidelands. Cutting across the top of the island to check out the West Side, the wind was literally breath-taking, and it was impossible to stand up. So instead we decided to go shearwatering on the east coast that evening.
|The view from Tibbetts, 25 Aug © Tim Frayling|
|A wild West Side at Jenny's Cove, 25 Aug © Tim Frayling|
With a longer walk to take, we headed off towards the slopes near Tibbetts just after 21:00hrs. Along the way, as it got darker, Bart picked out a wader in the thermal scope. We gradually got closer and, catching the bird in the torch beam, saw it was a Ringed Plover. Still relatively early in the evening, we decided to head back to base to get the B+ rings needed to ring it. However, as we got within a metre of the bird it decided to fly off!
We continued on to Tibbetts in the wind and were relieved to find it was relatively calm on the slopes. Searching for birds in the waist-high bracken was pretty tough going but we managed to catch another 26 new birds – 13 adult shearwaters and 13 juveniles. At around 04:00 hrs we decided to call it a night and head back. En route we came across the Ringed Plover again – and once more it evaded us!
|Bart amongst the bracken with a Manx Shearwater at Tibbetts, 25 Aug © Tim Frayling|