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Sunday, 1 November 2020

26th to 31st Oct – High winds, heavy showers and (maybe) the last hurrah of the White's Thrush

Dean Jones reports on a "super quiet" last six days for birds during what, generally, has been an outstanding month of Lundy birding.

26th October

The winds rage on! A day of strong northerly winds gusting 40mph throughout – heavy rain in the early morning giving way to overcast and the odd sunny spell.

Swell rolling into Lametry Bay, 26 Oct © Dean Jones
A very quiet bird day due to the wet and breezy weather. Highlights included the White’s Thrush, which was seen again near the Casbah by Rob Duncan as he made his way to the Village in the mid-morning.

Other birds of note were the hibernicus type Coal Tit, singles of Swallow, Chiffchaff and Firecrest, seven Goldcrest, nine Blackbird, one Fieldfare, four Song Thrush and six Redwing, two each of Grey and Pied Wagtail, 30 Chaffinch and two Siskin.

27th October

Another wet start to the day with frequent squalls in the morning and one or two heavy showers up until the afternoon – strong southerly winds first thing turning north by 09:00hrs – peak gusts 43mph.

Highlights from another reasonably quiet bird day were a male and female Bullfinch (it is incredible that some birds are still moving in these storms), the lingering Yellow-browed Warbler in Millcombe and a Great Northern Diver (the third to be logged so far this autumn) in the Landing Bay.

Other birds noted included four Teal on Pondsbury, two Manx Shearwater, a female Sparrowhawk, two Snipe, c1,000 Kittiwake offshore from the Landing Bay in the afternoon, two Razorbill and 20 other distant auks, the Coal Tit, three Swallow, four Firecrest, eight Goldcrest, 11 Blackbird, two Fieldfare, three Song Thrush, 10 Redwing, 14 Robin, eight Dunnock, one Grey Wagtail, four Meadow Pipit, 31 Chaffinch, and singles of both Brambling and Siskin.

28th October

Bouts of heavy rain throughout the morning, turning cloudy with the odd sunny spell by the afternoon – strong north/westerly winds throughout, peaking at 57mph just before noon.

The hefty winds and frequent downpours made for another tricky day's birding up top, therefore the sea got most of the attention today. Highlights were a first-winter Iceland Gull, a bird which was spotted flying past Rat Island by Justin Zantboer from his cosy sea-watch window in Hamners. Also offshore from the Landing Bay were two Great Skua, three Mediterranean Gulls and two fly-by drake Common Scoters. The lingering Yellow-browed Warbler was still present in Millcombe.

Additional birds logged included a single Manx Shearwater, two Cormorant, a female Sparrowhawk, singles of Water Rail and Oystercatcher, 500 Kittiwake, two Lesser Black-backed Gull, ten Razorbill and 50 other distant auks, singles of both Kestrel and Merlin, the hibernicus type Coal Tit for a 14th day, two Swallow, two Chiffchaff, a lone Firecrest, five Goldcrest, seven Blackbird, one Song Thrush, four Redwing, 11 Robin, one Stonechat, nine Dunnock, two Grey Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipit, four Rock Pipit, 20 Chaffinch, a male Greenfinch, four Siskin, and singles of Lesser Redpoll and Reed Bunting.

Stonechat, Lower East Side Path, 28 Oct © Dean Jones
29th October

40mph winds from the north first thing which switched WSW and steadily gathered pace in the afternoon until the evening – peak gusts 50mph at 22:00hrs – a drier day with the odd spell of drizzle.

Highlights included two Lapland Bunting feeding outside Paradise Row briefly in the morning, a Snow Bunting at the North End, a lone Black Redstart in the Landing Bay and a Great Northern Diver offshore.

Other sightings were a female Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail in Smelly Gully, two Oystercatcher, two Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Merlin, singles of Swallow, Stonechat and Chiffchaff, two Goldcrest, seven Blackbird, a Grey Wagtail, 25 Chaffinch, one Goldfinch and 16 Siskin.

30th October

Strong south-westerly/westerly winds first thing – peak gusts of 44mph – dropping away to a very light breeze come the afternoon which spurred on a brief spell of finch and pipit passage. Drizzle and thick mist until 11:30hrs – becoming overcast but dry up until 16:00hrs when the rains returned – heavy downpours throughout the evening.

Highlights included a female Bullfinch in Millcombe (no sign of the male) and a fly-over Snow Bunting at Halfway Wall (more than likely the same bird noted by Dave Fairhurst at the North End the previous day).

Other birds logged: two Water Rail, 21 Kittiwake, two Lesser Black-backed Gull, a Merlin, one Skylark, three Chiffchaff, seven Blackcap, 11 Goldcrest, nine Blackbird, two Song Thrush, 30 Redwing, 25 Robin, two Stonechat, 14 Dunnock, one Grey Wagtail, 20 Meadow Pipit, 40 Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch, 46 Siskin, six Linnet and singles of both Brambling and Lesser Redpoll.

Peregrine looking out for a meal in the gloomy afternoon light, East Side, 30 Oct © Dean Jones
31st October

Heavy rain first thing giving way to drizzle up until 9:00hrs – sunshine becoming overcast by the mid-afternoon – very strong south-westerly winds in the morning gusting 55mph which shifted to the west and dropped slightly by late morning.

Highlights were the lingering Snow Bunting, this time on the main track near the Old Hospital, and the reappearance of the hibernicus type Coal Tit in Millcombe.

Other birds logged included singles of Merlin and Sparrowhawk, 110 Kittiwake offshore, three Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Swallow, four Blackcap, one Chiffchaff, four Goldcrest, a Firecrest on the Terrace, two Stonechat, the Millcombe Pond Grey Wagtail, 13 Chaffinch and singles of Siskin and Linnet.

Report composed of sightings from Rob Duncan, Dave Fairhurst, Dean Jones and Dan, Ellie & Justin Zantboer.

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