Sunday 11th April
A beautiful but chilly morning with clear skies and a light north-easterly breeze – sunshine and clear skies for the majority, with the wind picking up slightly and shifting to the north-west come the afternoon. Max temperature 7°C.
A relatively quiet day for migrants. Highlights included a handsome male Ring Ouzel at Benjamin’s Chair, a decent movement of 96 Linnet through the morning, and the lingering Common Buzzard which arrived on the island on 7th (see last blog post).
Other birds of note included four Teal on Pondsbury, four Woodpigeon, 26 Skylark, four Swallow, 11 House Martin, 16 Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, seven Blackcap, four Goldcrest, two Song Thrush, 27 Wheatear (all south of Halfway Wall), a single Stonechat, four Pied Wagtail, 52 Meadow Pipit, five Chaffinch, 25 Goldfinch and four Siskin.
Non-avian sightings included a pod of at least eight Common Dolphins offshore from Tibbets/Threequarter Wall Bay in the evening (Sue Waterfield).
Monday 12th April
Another chilly start to the day (the weather station showed wind-chill temperatures around 0°C) with moderate northerlies, partial cloud and sunshine – the winds then dropped off to a gentle breeze come mid-morning though it still felt cold due to their northerly orientation. Max temperature 9°C.
Coverage was rather limited due to a cargo-laden MS Oldenburg (including a tower of Domino’s pizzas for all the island staff – thanks Matt and Rob!) and a day of finishing up various bits and bobs for the island's grand reopening the next day!
Birds of note included a Grasshopper Warbler in Millcombe, the male Ring Ouzel at Benjamin’s Chair again for his second day, a singing Sedge Warbler behind the Walled Gardens, small numbers of Willlow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Wheatear, three Goldcrest, the Song Thrush again singing his heart out in Millcombe, seven Swallow, 20 Goldfinch and three Linnet.
Tuesday 13th April
A glorious spring day with a light south-westerly breeze throughout, clear blue skies and noticeably warmer temperatures (Max 10°).
A day of big smiles, socially distanced greetings and catch-ups, and oodles of excitement as the island welcomed back its first staying guests and day-trippers since the end of 2020. Stowed onboard the MS Oldenburg on this magical day were a number of special visitors too, including Tony & Ann Taylor from the Lundy Field Society who will spend the best part of the next week looking for colour-ringed Wheatears as part of the island's Re-trapping Adults for Survival (RAS) studies. Our first long-term volunteers also made landfall, among them drystone waller extraordinaire Adam Waters as our new Assistant Ranger, as well as keen-eyed birders and all-round seabird nuts Ben Hanson and Eleanor Grover as our new Assistant Wardens. PhD student Jamie Dunning from Imperial College London also arrived with a ladder at the ready in preparation for a busy season of checking House Sparrow nestboxes (with a bit of noc-migging on the side), and last but by no means least, Angus, Siss and Colin from the Ropeworks team who will be bravely abseiling down the East Side cliffs over the next five days in search of, and removing, any sneaky Rhododendron seedlings which have rooted there.
|And there she goes! MS Oldenburg departing the jetty, bound for Ilfracombe,|
with a small band of happy day-trippers on board, 13 Apr © Dean Jones
On top of all the wonderful, socially distanced catch-ups, it was an exciting day on the birding front too! Highlights included the lingering Buzzard and male Ring Ouzel, a Merlin low over Castle Parade, 47 Swallow, six Sand Martin, two House Martin, two singing Sedge Warbler, a single Grasshopper Warbler (flushed from the brambles near Millcombe House), 51 Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaff, 68 Blackcap, two Goldcrest, four Pied and one White Wagtail, a Robin with nesting material in Millcombe Wood, 13 Goldfinch, 30 Linnet, four Chaffinch and three Siskin.
There was a nice flurry of Lepidoptera in the afternoon, with the first Small White (three) and Holly Blue (one) butterflies of the year on the wing in Millcombe.
Wednesday 14th April
A morning of very light but chilly south-easterlies – which picked up slightly and swung round to the north by the evening – and clear blue skies throughout. Max temperature 10°C.
There were lots of migrants about again, Willow Warblers making up the bulk with at least 100 moving through the island over the course of the day. The first two Common Redstarts of the year, both males, also made landfall – one in South West Field (Tony Taylor) and another along the lower east (Colin Charles).
Other birds of note included a Manx Shearwater calling repeatedly from its burrow in South West Field in the afternoon, five Woodpigeon (the four Lundy breeders plus one migrant at Jenny’s Cove), a Stock Dove in Millcombe, a female Merlin, the long-staying Buzzard again over Pondsbury, a Jackdaw over Barton Field, 97 Puffins from Jenny’s Cove to St Mark's Stone, 17 Skylark, 18 Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, four House Martin, singles of Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler in Millcombe, 22 Blackcap, just eight Chiffchaff, one Goldcrest, 58 Wheatear (which including six Greenland-type birds), one Stonechat, two Ring Ouzel, two Song Thrush (including one very grey, likely continental bird at Quarter Wall Pond), eight Goldfinch, four Chaffinch, 11 Linnet and four Siskin.
Lundy’s breeders were also keeping busy, with a number of House Sparrow nestboxes and Starling nests in the Village already containing hungry young chicks. It looks like it is going to be an early fledging date for some!
Thursday 15th April
Another chilly start to the day – blue skies and a moderate easterly wind throughout. Max temperature 9°C.
A much quieter day for migrants, with an obvious clear-out of birds overnight. Birds of note included the spring's first Whimbrel (next to Old Light) and Yellow Wagtail (two individuals, by the Lambing Shed and in Tillage Field). Also a single Snipe flushed from Lower Lighthouse Field, the Jackdaw again over the Farm, 19 Swallow, 12 Sand Martin, two House Martin, a Sedge Warbler singing next to Quarters, 20 Blackcap, just five Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, a single Goldcrest, 13 Wheatear along the South End (which included at least one Greenland-type bird), one Stonechat, a Fieldfare next to the Black Shed, three Song Thrush, 12 Goldfinch and 45 Linnet.
Report composed of sightings from Ben Arkless, Colin Charles, Jamie Dunning, Eleanor Grover, Dean Jones, Tony & Ann Taylor and Sue Waterfield.