About this page...

You're now viewing the old Lundy Bird Observatory blogspot. Explore the new website for all your favourite island news and wildlife updates. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here.

Monday 21 March 2022

14th to 20th March – First Swallows, House Martin and Blackcaps and a Brambling influx

Assistant Warden Stuart Cossey provides an update from a busy week on the island.

14 March

Clear and warm with a slight wind from the northeast.

It was a busy morning in Millcombe with loud dawn chorus. The Song Thrush is still singing from the top of the valley with other species including Robin, Dunnock, Wren and Chaffinch. 31 Linnets, 41 Meadow Pipits, five Pied Wagtails and four Wheatear were recorded. Skylarks are everywhere at the moment with 19 seen, most of which were singing over Southwest Field and Ackland’s Moor. A small flock of five Redwing were seen in the morning as they flew out of their roost in Millcombe Valley. Also of note was a Rook which was seen being mobbed by Crows over the Village in the morning and then heard by Brick Field in the afternoon.

Male Wheatear, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

The first Bumblebee survey was completed with four seen including a queen White-tailed Bumblebee and a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee.

15 March

Sunny with a light breeze from the southeast.

Numbers of Meadow Pipits were higher today with a total of 75 seen, the biggest flock was 28 over the East Side. Also moving north were Linnets with 45 seen including a single flock of 27 by Rocket Pole. A female Brambling was calling in the trees by the Casbah during the morning census, this species is usually seen on the island during Autumn. The first Swallows were seen today with one near the Lambing Shed and a flock of six over Halfway Wall. A Sand Martin was also seen heading southwest in the afternoon. At Jenny’s Cove a total of 80 Puffins were seen on the water.

Linnet, Old Light © Stuart Cossey

16 March

Overcast with a cold westerly wind. Some periodic low cloud and rain throughout the day.

The first moth trap of the year was completed overnight with three moths recorded in the morning. An Early Thorn, Dotted Border and the micro moth Caloptilla stigmatella. In avian news, the low cloud had brought in a few more migrants including a Stock Dove south of Pondsbury and two Golden Plover by the Airstrip. Seven Chiffchaff were seen with four in Millcombe, one by Rocket Pole, one by Pondsbury and another by the Farmyard. A single Redwing was in Millcombe and four male and three female Wheatear were counted along the West Coast. At Jenny’s Cove 42 Puffins were counted with one seen on land. Also at Jenny's Cove were around 700 Guillemots and 400 Razorbills.

Puffins, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

17 March

Clear and bright with a moderate wind from the southwest.

A Sand Martin flew southwest over South West Field during the morning census. A male Kestrel flew north along the Upper East Coast during the guided walk and the first Blackcap of the year, a female, was seen by the LFS working party as they planted Willow in St. John’s Valley. Five Wheatear were recorded today as well as three Redwing, 48 Meadow Pipits and four Pied Wagtails. A Great Northern Diver was still off the East Coast.

18 March

A foggy start with a clear afternoon. Moderate wind from the southeast.

Four Wheatear and 64 Meadow Pipits were seen today with a Snipe flushed by Pondsbury. A Sparrowhawk was seen hunting Starlings over Barton’s Field in the late afternoon.  In Millcombe a female Firecrest was seen foraging around the Gas Store.

Signs of spring were obvious today with Starlings seen with nest material around Barton's Row. The first Soay lambs were seen today including a mum with triplets by Earthquake.

Soay family, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

19 March

Strong and cold easterly winds but clear blue skies.

A male Blackcap was seen in Millcombe during the morning census and the female Firecrest was also still present. During the day a total of 49 Meadow Pipits, 24 Linnets and 12 Pied Wagtails were counted. Two male Bramblings were seen, one at Jenny’s Cove and another on the track by High Street Field. They were then both seen together feeding with the House Sparrows by the Laundry.

Female Firecrest, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Rosie and Stuart spent the afternoon checking the Manx Shearwater nest boxes on the West Coast before they return to the island. Whilst down on the slopes they recorded a female Black Redstart and three singing male Wheatear including one colour ringed bird. The first Manx Shearwater of the year was heard calling from its burrow. Also of note was a Merlin seen at Halfway Wall and a flock of seven Grey Herons heading North past Jenny’s Cove

Grey Herons, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

20  March

Clear and bright with continued strong easterly winds.

It was an excellent day for migration with a record highest spring count of Brambling with 33 recorded across the island. At one point 20 were seen under the feeders by the Camping Field but small flocks and single birds were turning up everywhere. Other visible migrants include 155 Meadow Pipits, four Cormorants, two Redwing, a Fieldfare, a Sand Martin, three Swallows and the first House Martin of the year at North Light. Also at the North End were two Gannets and a Red Admiral butterfly. A Dunlin was flushed off one of the streams past Threequarter Wall and a Jack Snipe and two Snipe were flushed by Pondsbury. A Stock Dove was seen heading south past Rocket Pole before then being seen heading north followed by a Peregrine! The first Feral Pigeon / Rock Dove was seen in the Village, the lack of rings proving it was a wild bird and not a racing pigeon. A total of 13 Pied Wagtails and six White Wagtails, which are the continental subspecies of Pied Wagtails were recorded.

Male Brambling. West Coast © Stuart Cossey

White Wagtails, Barton's Field © Stuart Cossey

One Puffin was seen at Jenny’s Cove as well as 430 Kittiwakes. It was a dark evening and at least 14 Manx Shearwaters were seen and heard coming in to land around Benjamin’s Chair and the South West Point.

Manx Shearwater, South West Point © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: C Povey, L Lo-Vel, L Cookson, K Williams, K Dobie, T Larose, A Rowland, J Hedger, S Waterfield,  H and P Lymbery, R Ellis

1 comment:

  1. It was nice to meet you last week. Good luck with the Obs project. Kevin, LFS.