About this page...

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.
If you have news to report, please consider signing up as a contributor or send in your sightings here.
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.

Monday, 12 October 2020

10th to 12th Oct – White's Thrush still present and much else...

Saturday 10th October

A stiff NW wind throughout the day, blowing in a few scattered showers.

The lumpy crossing from Ilfracombe was very quiet birdwise, with single 1st-year Mediterranean Gull (close to the mainland) and a dark-phase Arctic Skua the highlights, alongside a handful of Guillemots and Kittiwakes and a couple of Gannets.

The White’s Thrush was relocated in Millcombe Wood during the afternoon and showed several times in flight across the valley, always returning to favoured areas of Millcombe Wood and the tree-planting enclosure below Government House on the north side of the valley. It was seen well, including by two North Devon birders who’d braved the elements on a day trip.

Other rare birds for Lundy (though not quite in the same league as the White’s Thrush!) were the two Barnacle Geese still at Pondsbury (where they were grazing on the short turf just N of the wetland in the afternoon) and a single Coal Tit in Millcombe. Single Yellow-browed Warblers were seen in Millcombe and in the sallows near the Terrace Trap.
Barnacle Geese grazing on one of the small islands in Pondsbury, 10 Oct © Dean Jones

Later in the day the geese ventured onto the fringing grassland, 10 Oct © Tim Jones
Other records included: single Water Rail, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover & Snipe, two Woodpigeon, two Merlin, a Peregrine, two Skylark, 30 Swallow, 10 House Martin, a Chiffchaff, eight Blackcap, a Garden Warbler (trapped & ringed in Millcombe), six Goldcrest, 12 Blackbird, a Song Thrush, five Redwing, 10 Robin, two Stonechat, a Wheatear (at the Castle), five alba wagtail, 10 Meadow Pipit, two Chaffinch, a female Greenfinch (trapped & ringed in Millcombe), four Goldfinch, 10 Siskin and a lone Reed Bunting.

Sunday 11th October

A gorgeous autumn day, with broken cloud at dawn, becoming increasingly sunny during the morning and early afternoon; clouding over gradually later on. NNW wind still quite blowy first thing, dropping away in the afternoon.

The Village & Castle Hill in the late afternoon sun, 11Oct © Tim Jones
The White’s Thrush was once again star bird, being seen in Millcombe on several occasions during the day, in the same areas of the valley as on 10th. It’s furtive habits meant that it took time, care and patience to see well, but it gave itself up properly just before dusk, perching on an open branch near the Casbah for a minute or two.

Also notable were the two Barnacle Geese grazing on one of the islands in Pondsbury, a Dotterel calling in flight over the Upper East Side Path near Quarter Wall (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton), two Yellow-browed Warbler (Millcombe and the Terrace), a Ring Ouzel near the intersection of Quarter Wall and 'Pointless Wall' (James Diamond), and the Coal Tit again in Millcombe & St Helen’s Combe. When seen well, the Coal Tit appeared to have a distinct yellowish suffusion to its cheeks and underparts, a feature particularly (though apparently not exclusively) associated with birds of the Irish race P. a. hibernicus.
Coal Tit with yellowish suffusion to cheeks and underparts, St Helen's Copse 11 Oct © Tim Jones

Another view of the Coal Tit © Tim Jones

Other records included: a female Teal on Barton Pond, three Cormorant, two Sparrowhawk, the autumn peak so far of five Water Rail (all in Millcombe!), single Golden Plover and Snipe, a steady N-bound movement of mainly immature Herring Gull totalling at least 140, three Lesser Black-backed Gull, one Kestrel, two Merlin, three Peregrine, two Sand Martin, 200 Swallow, 30 House Martin, four Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 20 Goldcrest, 120 Starling, 18 Blackbird, five Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 22 Robin, five Stonechat, 14 Dunnock, two Grey Wagtail, two Pied Wagtail and 12 unraced ‘albas’, 190 Meadow Pipit, six Rock Pipit, 20 Chaffinch, the ringed female Greenfinch, 72 Goldfinch, 20 Siskin, 28 Linnet and two Lesser Redpoll.

Non-avian sightings included: a Comma – a scarce species on Lundy, recorded less than annually – a Small White, two Small Copper & 15 Red Admiral; also a Ruby Tiger (moth) caterpillar in Millcombe, a Devil’s Coach-horse beetle on the Lower East Side Path and, two of the day’s real highlights – a Blue-fin Tuna seen breaching three times about 200-300m off the Terrace at 14.25 hrs (Dean Jones) and a Vagrant Emperor dragonfly (as rare as its name suggests!) found and photographed on the main track between Tibbetts and Threequarter Wall by Bill, Jennie & Michael Williams.
Vagrant Emperor, 11 Oct © Jennie Williams

Monday 12th October

Overcast and increasingly claggy, windy & drizzly during the morning; much drier and brighter in the afternoon. A stiff SW veering round to NW then pretty much due N by the end of the day.

Redwings were calling from first light and in spite of the conditions, flocks totalling c.200 were seen over Millcombe and the Ugly between 07.20 and 09.00. Also five Fieldfare and a sixth was outside Paradise Row first thing.

Tim Davis had a gripping close-up encounter with the White’s Thrush, perched just a few metres from him in Millcombe Wood at 10.20, whilst a pale wheatear found by James Diamond on the granite boulder slopes running down from below Quarry Pond and the Timekeeper’s Cottage to the Terrace/Lower East Side Path and seen intermittently in the late afternoon was initially thought to be an Isabelline Wheatear. Sadly expert examination of photos on return to the mainland showed a number of features, including prinmary projection, consistent with Northern Wheatear.

The day’s other notable sightings included the female Teal again, at least one Grey Heron (singles at Pondsbury and in flight near the Church), a juvenile Cormorant, two Sparrowhawk, two Water Rail, four Oystercatcher, a Golden Plover, two Merlin, three Peregrine, two Coal Tit (Millcombe & Quarter Wall Copse), 50 Swallow, 10 House Martin, a late Willow Warbler (Smelly Gully), 15 Chiffchaff, three Yellow-browed Warbler (Millcombe, Quarter Wall Copse, and the gully running down from Quarry Pond), 20 Blackcap, a Firecrest (Quarter Wall Copse), 20 Goldcrest, 120 Starling, a Ring Ouzel (above White Beach), 20 Blackbird, five Fieldfare (the first of the autumn), 10 Song Thrush, 200 Redwing, 40 Robin, a late adult male Common Redstart, a first-winter Whinchat (both the 'start and the ‘chat on the fenceline between Millcombe & St Helen’s Field), five Stonechat, a Northern Wheatear, 14 Dunnock, two Grey Wagtail, six alba wagtail, 30 Meadow Pipit, 15 Chaffinch, the ringed female Greenfinch, 40 Goldfinch, 25 Siskin and 10 Linnet. There was no further sign of the two Barnacle Geese.

A particularly confiding Yellow-browed Warbler spent time at Millcombe Pond in the afternoon, feeding in the willow bushes, on the mud and on nearby grass. What a jewel of a bird!
Yellow-browed Warbler, Millcombe Pond, 12 Oct © Dean Jones

It showed at close range, at times dropping down to feed on the mud... © Dean Jones

...or on the grass between the pond and the walled gardens © Tim Jones

During the night of 11th/12th, recording of nocturnal migration by James Diamond yielded 45 Redwing calls between 22.53 hrs and dawn.
Observations by Nick & Alison Blinston, Paul Bullock, Dave Churchill, Tim Davis, James Diamond, Darrin Dowding, Ken Ebsworthy, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, Jon Turner & Nik Ward.

No comments:

Post a Comment