The period started off in a whirlwind of seafoam and loose vegetation, with gale-force south-westerlies on the morning of Wednesday the 10th, which then switched to the north and picked up more-so as the day went on (gusting 66mph by the evening). The 10th was also a very wet day, with light to moderate rain first thing, becoming misty and drizzly by the mid-morning up until 17:30 hrs. From this date, the gale-force hoolies continued from the north, bringing with them a noticeable drop in temperature. Luckily, other than a brief but heavy spell of hail in the afternoon of the 11th, things remained dry and sunny for most. The winds then picked up again on the evening of the 13th (gusts 68mph) before dropping significantly by the afternoon of the 14th, conditions which spurred on a number of Lundy’s avian residents to burst into joyful song, as well as the first White-tailed Bumblebee to emerge along the east coast.
15th March saw the winds drop further, allowing for the first decent bit of passage since the last blog post. Meadow Pipits put on a decent show with 87 birds overhead in small flocks first thing. Two Grey Wagtails, one Pied and six alba wagtails, and 12 Chaffinch (the highest count so far this year) were also moving north in the first few hours after dawn.
Migrants on the windier days were few and far between, though there was a noticeable trickle of Meadow Pipits battling through the winds on the 13th and 14th. Unbelievably, there was also a small arrival of three Goldcrest together in Millcombe on the 11th – it is truly incredible how these birds, which weigh not much more than a teaspoon of sugar, can fly in such conditions. Additionally, two Siskins arrived on the 12th, one of which showed very well on Sue Waterfield’s feeder in mid-morning, and a Water Rail was calling from the slope above Quarry Beach on the afternoon of the 14th.
Other sightings of note included 310 Herring Gull in High Street Field on the 13th, small numbers of Stonechat along the east on a number of days (max five on the 12th), up to six Woodpigeon (13th), singles of Chiffchaff on three days, and offshore a handful of Manx Shearwater each day, up to 101 Kittiwake and on the 13th, a raft of 105 Shag sheltering from the winds in the Landing Bay.
Highlights from this period included the Pink-footed Goose, which has lingered on Ackland's Moor despite the burly westerlies throughout this period. Another Jackdaw (or perhaps the same bird from earlier in the month) was with the Carrion Crow gang in High Street Field on the 14th & 15th. Out at sea, singles of Red-throated Diver were offshore from Rat Island on the 11th & 15th, and two Great Northern Divers were together off the Terrace on the 14th. Finally, the second Stock Dove of the year flew in off the sea on the afternoon of the 15th and the long-staying Firecrest and Coal Tit have hung on for yet another five days.
Non-avian sightings included a pod of eight Common Dolphin on the 12th and a single Harbour Porpoise on the 11th and 14th.