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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.
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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.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

23rd Oct – Little Bunting, Choughs and a Siskin invasion

A fairly mild but grey day weather-wise, with an increasing southerly wind and some heavy showers. 
A Little Bunting photographed feeding outside Little St John's was about the 20th for Lundy and the fourth in five years, following other October birds in 2017, 2019 & 2020.

Little Bunting, St John's Valley, 23 Oct © Trevor Dobie

A classic late-autumn scarcity and the third October on the trot for Lundy © Trevor Dobie

Much rarer in Lundy terms were two Choughs seen over the Landing Bay by Rich Dann from the jetty. Hailing from the Welsh coast, Rich sees Choughs on a daily basis over his garden, but was amazingly lucky to run into two on Lundy at the start of his very first visit to the island! This is the first record since 2013.

Rich arrived with fellow Gower Ringing Group members Jo Conway and Sarah Davies to spend a few days ringing alongside the indefatigable Rob Duncan. And what a day it was to arrive, with a deluge of Siskins. A message from Rob in the early afternoon read: "Just opened one net in the Secret Garden for a few minutes, now closed again to ring the MASSES of Siskins caught!" There were flocks passing south all day, in addition to those that stopped to feed. Altogether, 89 Siskins were ringed, with only three retraps, showing the high volume of new arrivals. Some 500 were logged for the day, but this seems likely to be a very conservative estimate given that the focus was on ringing in Millcombe and so covering just a small part of the island.
Reinforcements from Gower Ringing Group help to deal with the
mega Siskin catch in Millcombe, 23 Oct © Rob Duncan

There was a small passage of Chaffinches (about 100), with other notable observations including a Stock Dove in Millcombe, two Merlins hunting finches around the South End, about a dozen Swallows hanging around Millcombe, and 11 Fieldfares. Masses of seabirds were off the East Side but there was no opportunity for counts, unfortunately. Also recorded in the LFS logbook were a Red-throated Diver, a Grey Heron, 10 Brambling and a Lapland Bunting.

The boat crossing from Ilfracombe was enlivened by a Merlin trying to catch a Meadow Pipit, which landed and hid on the Oldenburg to evade capture. The falcon didn't give up, however, and was nearly hitting people as it tried to flush the pipit. The latter held firm and lived to do battle another day.

Martin Thorne comments on his day-trip, during which he managed to take a few photos despite poor light levels throughout the day.

“The Merlin, my third over the years seen from the Oldenburg‎, was bombing along in among a flock of ‘shocked’ Manx Shearwaters. The last half-hour on board, heading up to North End, was like driving through a snowstorm of seabirds, mostly Kittiwakes, Guillemots and Gannets, along with a few Common, Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls. I didn't attempt to count them (I was too busy looking for skuas and shearwaters!) but the numbers were just massive – well into the twenties of thousands. On the island I saw Black Redstarts at The Battery, Old Hospital, Quarry Cottages, near the Church and along the Beach Road – quite how many there were, your guess is as good as mine! There was a constant movement of flocks of finches over the plateau all day as well. The one big disappointment was missing the two Choughs, but hey ho! Fingers crossed for my week on the island from 5th Nov.”

Stock Dove, Millcombe, 23 Oct © Martin Thorne

The Merlin seen from the Oldenburg, 23 Oct © Martin Thorne

One of the many Black Redstarts seen throughout the day, 23 Oct © Martin Thorne

Records from Jo Conway, Richard Dann, Sarah Davies, Trevor Dobie, Rob Duncan and Martin Thorne.

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