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Wednesday 10 March 2021

6th to 9th Mar – First Puffins, Manx Shearwaters & Wheatears return, alongside a rare spring Pink-foot

Dean Woodfin Jones (Lundy Warden) sums up an exciting few days, marked by the arrival of several of the island's keystone breeding birds.

Saturday 6th March

The weekend started off beautifully but bitterly cold with wind-chill temperatures barely exceeding 2°C for the entire day. It had been even colder the night previous, with thin layers of ice on Kistvaen and Rocket Pole ponds first thing. Bright and sunny with partial cloud cover for most, other than some brief periods of overcast in the afternoon. Light to moderate easterly winds throughout – perfect conditions for a complete wrap around Lundy’s coast!

Beautiful morning light through Millcombe, 6 Mar © Dean Jones

Highlights included the first three Puffin of the year, all of which were seen paddling around within some small rafts of Guillemot and Razorbill in Jenny’s Cove. Another star bird, and one which is rarely seen on Lundy, was a Pink-footed Goose, which dropped in from the south into Lower Lighthouse Field for all of two minutes before flying north. This is only the third spring record for the island and the 12th overall – the last of which concerned four birds past the Castle on 22nd October 2014.

One of the highlights of spring is welcoming back our Lundy Puffins,
these at Jenny's Cove on 6 Mar © Dean Jones

The Puffins were close to rafts of Guillemots & Razorbills, Jenny's Cove, 6 Mar © Dean Jones

Still reasonably quiet for now, Long Roost will soon be heaving with nesting seabirds, 6 Mar © Dean Jones

Other highlights included the first Manx Shearwater of the year, flying offshore from the Battery first thing. The first Stock Dove and Siskin of the year were also logged, both over Millcombe in the early morning. Two Red-throated Divers, seven Common Gulls and a Mediterranean Gull were foraging offshore along the east coast. Just one Lapland Bunting was present on High Street track and a Black Redstart was zipping around Jenny’s Cove in the afternoon.

Just one of the three Lapland Buntings present earlier the month was still
lingering along the High Street on 6 Mar © Dean Jones

Additional migrants logged included a small movement of Chiffchaff (5 birds in total), Meadow Pipit (55), Stonechat (5), Pied Wagtail (4) and three unraced alba wagtails.
The best of rest included 21 Teal on Pondsbury, 11 Gannet, 66 Fulmar, 34 Shag, 476 Guillemot, 599 Razorbill, 29 Great Black-backed Gulls, 506 Herring Gulls, 26 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 170 Kittiwake, 33 Oystercatcher, a single Snipe, two Woodpigeon, 35 Skylark, the Firecrest, three Song Thrush, four Chaffinch and one Goldfinch.  
Sunday 7th March
Very similar weather-wise to the 6th, with sunshine, partial cloud and a light easterly wind.
Highlights included the first two Wheatear of the year, both stunning males – one at Jenny’s Cove and the other near South West Point. Meadow Pipits were trickling through in small numbers throughout the morning up until noon, with 105 logged in total. The Pink-footed Goose reappeared on Ackland's Moor, where it remained all day, offering some spectacular views as it rested amongst the juncus.

One of the first two Wheatears of 2021 – this one near South West Point, 7 Mar © Dean Jones

The Pink-footed Goose on Ackland's Moor, 7 Mar © Dean Jones

Other birds of note included a single Manx Shearwater behind Rat Island first thing, two Red-throated Diver, a Water Rail in Millcombe Pond, four Golden Plover on Ackland's Moor, 1,356 Guillemot, 402 Razorbill ashore at Jenny’s Cove and four Puffins on the water, one Common Gull, the Stock Dove for its second day, 44 Skylark, four Stonechat, one Pied Wagtail and two fly-over unraced alba wagtails, the Firecrest, three Chaffinch, and singles of Song Thrush, Linnet and Goldfinch.
Non-avian sightings included seven Common Dolphin moving north along the east first thing – a pod that included two small calves. Finally, a single Harbour Porpoise was foraging offshore from Rat Island.
Monday 8th March
Another day of blue skies and sunshine with slightly warmer temperatures than the last few days. Wind was non-existent throughout the mid-morning, picking up to a slight easterly by the afternoon before swinging SW by the evening.
A reasonably quiet day for birds, particularly first thing, with next to no birds moving overhead other than a very small number of Meadow Pipit. The only other birds of note included the Pink-footed Goose again on Ackland's Moor, three Red-throated Divers offshore, another Wheatear in South West Field, good numbers of Razorbill along the south-west coast, the Firecrest, Coal Tit and a single Goldcrest in Millcombe, two Chiffchaff, four Stonechat in South West Field, one Song Thrush, two Goldfinch, and a Harbour Porpoise behind Rat Island.
Meadow Pipit, Benjamin's Chair, 7 Mar © Dean Jones
Tuesday 9th March
A beautiful morning complete with red skies and looming storm clouds. Sunshine for most of the morning, becoming overcast by noon. Stiff south-west wind first thing, picking up to near gale-force by the evening.
A very quiet day for migrants, with only a handful of Meadow Pipits (23), alba wagtails (5) and singles of Goldfinch and Linnet overhead first thing. There wasn’t much going on offshore either, with 17 Gannet, seven Kittiwake and a Red-throated Diver the only real birds of note. The Firecrest was once again it his favourite pine tree, sharing it today with a single Goldcrest. Finally, the Pink-footed Goose remained on Ackland's Moor for its fourth day on the island.

The stunning morning light more than made up for the lack of migrants on 9 Mar © Dean Jones

Even the Skylarks in South West Field stopped to watch the sunrise, 9 Mar © Dean Jones

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