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Monday 31 October 2022

24th to 30th October - The final week for our Autumn volunteers.

Angus recalls the sightings on his last week on the island. Unfortunately we said goodbye to both of our autumn volunteers as the last boat of the season left the island on Friday 28th October. Tom and Angus have seen some fantastic birds as well as helped us out by completing the yearly seal pup surveys.

A mild week typically with  moderate to strong south or south-westerly winds.

The Wigeon has remained at Pondsbury all through this week and was sometimes accompanied by up to two Teal. Up to three Water Rail are still heard on a daily basis in Millcombe Valley. Two Grey Herons flew over the south of the island on the 24th and another was harassed by Ravens over Benjamin’s Chair on the 29th.

Compared to last week, this week was far quieter for wader records. The high count for Oystercatchers around the coast was 18. One Golden Plover was recorded calling on the 24th. Single Woodcock have been seen separately on three occasions though, the 25th, 26th and 29th adding a bit more diversity. Six Snipe have been seen in total this week.

Several hundred Kittiwake have been recorded out to sea on most days, with the peak count of 1000+ on 29th. A few Common Gulls featured among the flocks towards the end of the week and a single Mediterranean Gull. A handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls continue to be recorded most days, but never more than four this week (on the 29th). One Arctic Skua was seen off the east coast on the 26th. The highest count of auk spp. Was 652 on the 28th. Five Manx Shearwater were seen on the 26th. Highest Gannet count was also on the very windy 26th with 150 birds. A Storm Petrel sp. was seen far off the east coast by Chris Baillie on the 30th.

The second ringtail Hen Harrier of last week has stayed with us on the island, favouring the heathland north of Quarter Wall. It is occasionally seen hunting but is generally very elusive. The strong winds sometimes keep it hunkered down in the vegetated gullies near Gannets Coombe. Peak counts of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel remain at three as has been typical this month, and a Merlin has been seen most days. Like the Wigeon and Hen Harrier, the single Jackdaw has outstayed our expectations, also remaining for the week, still sticking to the easterly fields south of Quarter Wall (Tillage, Brick and Barton’s). Another increase in Carrion Crow has been noted, with up to 31 roosting in the top of Millcombe.

Hen Harrier, East Coast © Angus Croudace

Skylark passage has continued despite the wind although numbers have been decreasing as the week progresses. Max of 70 on the 24th. Swallows have followed the same trend with 20 on the 24th. Contrastingly, more and more Starlings are moving through with about 200 at the start of the week and 350 at the end of the week, with a peak count of 600 on the 28th.

The ringed Willow Warbler has been seen a few more times near Quarter Wall up until the 28th, and a second was also seen on the 25th. Chiffchaff counts have numbered between four and six birds all week. Blackcap counts have been in the single figures apart from 20 on the 24th. Two Firecrests were seen on the 24th, with one bird also recorded on the 25th and 27th. There was an influx of Goldcrest on the 24th, with 26 recorded for the first two days this week and then 41 on the 26th. One more late Whinchat was recorded on the 24th on the morning census at Quarter Wall.

Several Ring Ouzels are seen on the east coast most days with a couple of nice males often found around the Terrace. Song Thrush numbers are similar although sightings are distributed between Ackland’s Moor and Millcombe. Blackbird numbers have halved this week, falling from high teens to single figure counts. Fieldfare counts started with about 120 birds at the start at the week and was quickly down to 40 midweek which has remained consistent. Redwing have been more variable with some days just a couple of birds recorded, and others 32 (24th), 90 (27th) and 67 (29th) birds seen. One Mistle Thrush was seen on the 24th. Up to three Black Redstart have been seen, with sightings every day this week.

After 12 Pied/White Wagtails on the 24th here has been minimal passage of wagtails with between one and four birds 25-28th and then seven birds including one Grey Wagtail on the 29th.

One Brambling was seen among a flock of Chaffinches in Barton’s Field, and later by the Lambing Shed on the 24th and two more were picked up on the 27th. Chaffinch counts started the week at 139 on the 24th but bigger movements midweek resulted in totals of 594 and 550 on the 27th and 28th respectively, with 222 on the 29th. More than 70 Siskins were recorded on the 25th and 27th, with lower counts on other days not exceeding the teens. Goldfinch counts have remained low at just a couple most days. A small resurgence of Linnets, mainly from a couple of larger flocks moving through numbered 22 on the 24th and 35 on the 25th.  One bird a day fills out the rest of the row this week, with the exception of the 29th, where there was neither a Linnet nor a single Goldfinch recorded! Two Lesser Redpoll singles were recorded on the 24th and 25th. One Snow Bunting was seen on a few occasions in the first half of this week.

The windy week has been scattered with a few highlights, starting with a Little Bunting on the 24th, which was heard and tracked down by Paul Holt shortly after sunrise but never showed for any of the other birders on the island despite thorough searches of Millcombe. The Bullfinch was also heard calling in Millcombe again on the 24th. A Yellow-browed Warbler was picked up by Government on the 25th. On the 27th Chris Baillie discovered a Red-breasted Flycatcher in the Blackthorn at the top of Millcombe. It was not a particularly showy individual and behaved similarly to the rest of this season’s rarities; teasing and then upping and leaving before the day is out. A Richard’s Pipit was flushed near to Tibbetts in the morning on the 27th. An exciting record for Lundy of a Booted/Syke’s Warbler on the Terrace was picked up by Stuart on the 29th but despite many hours of searching unfortunately the bird was never relocated, and no photographs were obtained.

Little Bunting, Millcombe © Paul Holt

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

After a lull for a week or two in the moth trap, the calm night of the 28th gave us a Convolvulus Hawk-moth and the island’s second record of Olive Tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Angus Croudace, Tom Wright, Paul Holt, Chris Baillie

Monday 24 October 2022

17th to 23rd October - Huge flocks of Fieldfare

Easterlies on the 18th which strengthened into the 19th. A short period of calm on the 20th allowed incredible migrant passage before some strong southerly winds returned on the 21st. The week finished with moderate prevailing winds.

Coverage has remained excellent this week and we have enjoyed a record breaking passage of winter thrushes, as well as a few nice arrivals of birds that are uncommon on Lundy such as Wigeon, Jackdaw, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Hen Harrier, Hobby and several species of small gull.

Dawn over Millcombe © Tim Jones

The first Wigeon of the year was found on Quarter Wall Pond on the 23rd and a female Teal has been present all week at Pondsbury.

Two Stock Doves were seen on the 18th and just one on the 19th. Water Rail can be heard calling quite regularly in Millcombe Valley, and up to three individuals have been recorded this week.

We have had a subtle influx of Lapwing, with two roosting overnight on the 19th and a flock of six spent the day in various fields in the south of the island. Another single bird was present on the 23rd up by the airstrip. We had four Golden Plover on the 17th and three were seen heading out to sea on the morning of the 18th. One more was heard calling on the 20th. Dunlin singles have been heard most days, and on the 20th three Dunlin flew over Stoneycroft before heading out to sea, accompanied by a single Ringed Plover. One Turnstone was with three Oystercatcher in the Landing Bay on the 21st. High count of Snipe for the week was five individuals present or flying over on the 19th. A single Jack Snipe was by Pondsbury on the 19th.

There was a large movement out to sea off of the east coast on the 21st and 1550 Kittiwake were recorded along with three Arctic Skua, six Mediterranean Gulls, 10 Common Gull, 30 Great Black-backed Gull, 70 Gannets and 1500 Auks spp. Another single Mediterranean Gull was seen on the 17th and single Arctic Skuas were seen on the 18th and 19th. 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were recorded on the 19th, with small numbers present every day this week. A Great Skua was picked up off of the west coast on the 19th as well as six Manx Shearwaters and 124 Gannets, while three ‘Commic Terns’ were seen on the east coast. Four Cormorants were seen flying together on the 18th.

This week three Sparrowhawks have been seen every day (one male and two females). Most excitingly we have had two separate ringtail Hen Harriers passing through, one juvenile male briefly seen and then heading out to sea on the 18th. Another bird was seen in the afternoon of the 23rd working its way along the west coast. It was then seen again low over Bartons Field at 6pm before heading north to roost for the night. A late juvenile Hobby also spent the night on the island on the 19th, seen from Government at dusk and picked up at first light from Millcombe on the 20th. Merlins have been noticeably moving through too with some seen arriving in off of the sea or departing south. The highest count for Merlin was three birds on the 17th, with two individuals on the 19th and 21st. The high count for Peregrine Falcon was five on the 23rd, which is the most for a while.

Merlin, Halfway Wall © Tom Wright

A single Jackdaw was seen near Quarter Wall on the 22nd, another for the year list(!). It has moved towards the village on the 23rd, also seen in Barton’s Field and even found in the garden of the lodge in the evening of the 23rd! Furthermore, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen flying east over Lighthouse Field on the 19th, another uncommon bird on Lundy – a description species no less!

Jackdaw, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey

Skylarks have still been moving over on the less windy days, with 70 on the 18th and 40-50 towards the end of the week. Swallows have continued to trickle through with 10-20 most days and 49 on the 23rd. One House Martin was seen on the 18th.

A couple of very late Willow Warblers have popped up with one ringed in Millcombe on the 20th and seen at Quarter Wall just a couple of hours later. Up to seven Chiffchaffs have been present, mostly in Millcombe and along the lower east path. Max Blackcap count has reduced to 20. A Firecrest continued to be present all week, with two birds seen on the 18th. Goldcrest numbers have dropped substantially though with 22 on the 17th reducing to totals between 4 and 9 for the rest of week, with the exception of Saturday when 15 were recorded. The week has seen quite a few sightings of Yellow-browed Warblers, sometime with two in Millcombe as well as one Spotted Flycatcher on the 20th.

Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Tim Jones

Yellow-browed Warbler, Smelly Gully © Tim Jones

The weather system in the North Sea this week has opened the floodgates to migrants coming south, and the UK has been flooded with huge numbers of thrushes. Here on Lundy we have seen an unusual balance of substantially more Fieldfare than Redwing, with 4000 Fieldfare passing over on the 20th along with 700 Redwing. This more than doubles the last previous maximum daily total for Fieldfare. The bird movements on this day was an out and out spectacle, and picking through the masses of thrushes also resulted in: 23 Song Thrush, 20 Ring Ouzel, a Mistle Thrush, 1200 Chaffinch, 75 Siskin and 8 Reed Bunting. Starlings have been moving through as well with a peak of 350 on the 19th and 200 most other days. Our resident flock typically numbers about 130.

Ring Ouzel, Millcombe © Tim Jones

Fieldfare © Tim Jones

Fieldfare, Tillage Field © Tom Wright

Increased numbers of Black Redstart have been recorded on the 19th-21st, with four individuals on the 20th. Another very late Whinchat was picked up on the east coast on the 21st and later seen by rocket pole. Stonechats number between 10-20 each day. One perhaps final Wheatear was recorded near Tibbets on the 17th. About 80 Meadow Pipits have been moving through each day after a strong start to the week with 400 on the 18th.

Whinchat, St Helens Copse © Stuart Cossey

A few Yellow Wagtails were moving through towards the end of the week with one or two every day since the 20th. There was a smattering of Grey Wagtails too with a couple most days, one that was tantalisingly close to mist nets in Millcombe but unfortunately wasn’t successfully caught. Highest count of Pied/White Wagtails was 39 on the very busy 20th October!

Goldfinches and Linnets have been in very low numbers this week, with singles or pairs of Goldfinches only amounting to a weekly max of 25 on the 22nd, and a minimum of 3 on the 23rd. There were 22 Linnets on the 18th, but just 6 on each of the following three days. A couple of Lesser Redpoll were picked up towards the end of the week in what seems to be a poor year for this species.  However Chaffinches were consistently moving through in fairly high numbers (several hundred every day and 2000 on the 18th), and there are good numbers of Siskin too, with a high count of 125 on the 22nd. More Brambling have also been recorded with a cumulative total of 21, most of which were early in the week (max daily total of seven on the 19th). One Greenfinch flew over on the 23rd and the weak call of what is proving to be an extremely elusive Bullfinch has been heard on the 19th and 20th, with just one sighting alerting us that it is a male.

Up to eight Snow Buntings were seen this week, delighting visitors on the main track with their apparent fearlessness. There were 19 records of Reed Bunting this week, with a max of eight on the 20th.

Reed Bunting, Millcombe © Tim Jones

A few late Small Copper butterflies have been recorded this week as well as up to four Hummingbird Hawk-moths in Millcombe on the 17th.

Contributors: Stuart Cosset, Rosie Ellis, Angus Croudace, Tom Wright, Tim Jones, Tim Davis, Tim Worfolk, Paul Holt, Chris Baillie, Nik Ward, Greg Conway, David Lindo, Andy Jayne

Tuesday 18 October 2022

10th to 16th October - Snow Buntings and the start of finch migration

Angus reports on a week busy with birders but not necessarily the birds. A team of ringers have been operating in Millcombe and St Johns Valley all week and a whole host of frequent Lundy birders have been on the island.

Mixed spells of weather this week with calm days on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th and a strong sustained south-westerly on Saturday 15th.

A high count of 16 Mallard were seen on the 13th, with some popping up near Rocket Pole on several mornings. A female Teal has been at Pondsbury for most of the week. Five Water Rail were recorded on the 13th, mostly in Millcombe with another at Quarter Wall.

26 Oystercatcher were recorded around the island on the 15th and 16th. A couple of Golden Plover left us early this week but one has remained in the fields near to the village. Dunlin singles were picked up on the 13th and 16th, and a Woodcock burst out of cover near to Rocket Pole in the afternoon of the 11th. Snipe were recorded most days, usually picked up individually flying over with totals of four on the 12th and the 13th.

Strong winds meant several pairs of eyes were fixed on the sea on the 15th, resulting in: 380 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull (with another seen on the 16th), four Common Gull, nine Great Black-backed Gull (max count 18 on the 14th), three Herring Gull (max counts of 17 on both 11th and 16th), two Lesser Black-backed Gull (three also recorded on the 11th, and two on the 12th), two Fulmar, 12 Manx Shearwater, 11 Shag and five ‘commic’ terns. A high count of 125 Gannets was recorded on the 15th, and another 82 were recorded on the 12th. Nine Guillemot were recorded on the 12th, with 6 on the 15th. Razorbill numbered 16 on the 12th and 15 on the 15th. There were 101 unidentified Auks on the 12th, 41 on the 14th, 335 on the 15th and 11 on the 16th.

An Arctic Skua was recorded on the 14th off of Rat Island and a Great Northern Diver flew past north light heading southeast on the 16th, close enough to be identified with binoculars. One Cormorant was recorded on the 11th, and two Grey Herons slowly flew over Millcombe and the south of the island on the 12th.

Two Sparrowhawks are seen most days, with three each day at the weekend (three females on Saturday 15th and two plus a male on Sunday 16th). We still have two Kestrels and one was seen brawling with a Merlin together with a Peregrine early in the week. Two Merlins were recorded 13th-15th, and four Peregrines on 16th, with three interacting over the church mid-morning. 21 Carrion Crows and 22 Ravens were recorded on the 16th with slightly increased numbers and flightier behaviour perhaps representing some new arrivals.

The calm days this week saw large hirundine and finch passage, with 600 Swallows on both 11th and 13th, and 160 on the 14th. There were 200 House Martins on the 11th and 300 on the 13th, and five Sand Martins on the 11th. Skylarks numbered 50 on the 11th and a huge 170 on the 13th, with numbers in the teens on the other windier days. 300 Meadow Pipits on the 11th and 600 on the 13th. Good island coverage has resulted in up 40 Rock Pipits this week, with a flock of 18 in the north-west and 12 near to Quarter Wall in the west recorded on the 16th.

A Cetti’s Warbler started the week off well, as only the 7th record for the island. Seven Chiffchaffs have been recorded almost every day, with the exception of 15 on the 11th and six on the 16th. Blackcap number 20-30 most days, with a high count of 40 on the 14th. Three Firecrests have been present since the 11th, although only one has been recorded over the weekend. About 25 Goldcrests are noted each day, with a max of 34 on the 16th. A high count of 52 Wrens were recorded on the 14th, perhaps due to birds moving south down the island as the weather turns colder. A Treecreeper has been in Millcombe since the 10th. A Wryneck hung around in the gorse by Rocket Pole on the 10th and 11th, and was even more elusive than our previous records this autumn, with no photographs captured of this individual.

Treecreeper, St Helens Copse © Stuart Cossey

Max Starling count this week was 173, with the Rosy-coloured Starling only sighted on the 10th this week. One Ring Ouzel was observed on the 14th, and there were a lot of Blackbirds also around on this day, with 23. A few Redwings have been picked up each day flying over or feeding among the brambles at the top of Millcombe. The highest count was 21 on the 11th. With recent large movements of thrushes in the north and strong easterlies forecast for the middle of the coming week it is expected that many more will be recorded next week. Over the 12th-15th three Song Thrushes were recorded in Millcombe.

One Spotted Flycatcher was present by the gas shed until the 12th, with a Pied Flycatcher also on the 11th. 30 Robins were recorded on the 14th. Black Redstart was recorded once on the 11th and once on the beach road on the 15th. Two Common Redstarts were in Millcombe on the 10th (one male and one female), and another female was seen on the 13th. A very late Whinchat was seen by Quarter Wall on the 16th (last recorded was Sept 22nd). Top of the week for Stonechat was on the 13th with 30, the highest count thus far this season. Another lone Wheatear popped up on the 12th, and three were seen on the 14th (two in South-west Field and one by Benjamin’s Chair).

Black Redstart, South West Field © Tim Williams

Most days had Yellow Wagtail flying over, with three on the 12th. Five Grey Wagtails on the 10th and six on the 13th. One White Wagtail each day 10th-13th. Unidentified Pied/White Wagtails flying over peaked at 35 on the 13th with good numbers most other days too.

Yellow Wagtail, South West Field © Tim Williams

Chaffinches are moving through in big numbers this week, with 90 on the 13th and 350 on the 16th! One female Brambling was in Millcombe on the 11th. Greenfinches are occasionally heard, with five on the 11th. Goldfinch numbers are variable with 40 and 52 on the 12th and 13th respectively, but just 8 later in the week on the 15th. Siskin numbers are now up, with counts of 1, 145, 200, 30, 29 and 100 stretching from Monday to Sunday respectively. The 11th and 13th were the best for Linnets with 87 and 122, and counts between 17 and 39 on other days. Only one Lesser Redpoll was recorded on the 11th over Millcombe.

Buntings have started passing through, with one Lapland Bunting over the Airfield on the 13th, 3 Snow Buntings over the weekend and two or three Reed Buntings often around St John’s Valley between 11th and 14th, with a count of 12 on the 16th! A single Yellowhammer calling flew over the church on the 16th.

Snow Buntings, Main Track © Stuart Cossey

Angus and Tom catching up with the Snow Buntings © Tim Jones

The resulting shots! Snow Bunting © Tom Wright

Highlights of birds ringed this week include: three Firecrests, three Yellow-browed Warblers, Cetti’s Warbler, male Common Redstart, one Treecreeper, one Redwing and a few Siskin.

Clockwise from top left: Male Redstart, Cetti's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest © Tom Wright

In non-avian news a few Painted Ladies have been recorded this week, a Clouded Yellow on the 11th, 45 Red Admiral on the tranquil 13th as well as up to five Hummingbird Hawk-moths in Millcombe. 11 Rush Veneer were scattered across the island too on the 16th. Harbour Porpoise have also been seen around Rat Island with two on the 12th, one on 13th and one of the 14th.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Tom Wright, Angus Croudace, Tim Davis, Tim Jones, Tim Worfolk, Nik Ward, Greg Conway, Andy Jayne, Paul Holt, Andrew Cleave, Tim Williams.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

3rd to 9th October - Baltimore Oriole!

Angus recounts an impressive October week on the island.

Another week of high SW winds apart from Saturday 8th which was extremely calm and sunny in contrast.

The past week has been a bit quieter on the sightings front, with lower migrant passage and many birds hunkering down out of the wind and rain. This all changed on Saturday, when wings once again filled the air, and a mega-rare treat awaited the conservation team…

Water Rail have once again been heard calling in Smelly Gully, with two birds on Saturday evening and another on the morning census on the 9th. A total of 22 Oystercatcher were recorded around the entire coastline whilst surveying for seals on the 9th. A single Manx Shearwater as well as a Sooty Shearwater were picked up on a sea watch from South West Point on the 8th.

Black-tailed Godwit was found feeding in Pondsbury on the 3rd. Two Golden Plover were seen flying in off of the sea by the quarry hospital on the 6th, with three present on the 7th and then four flying together on the 8th. At least one bird remained on the 9th. A very tired juvenile Ringed Plover was discovered in the landing bay on the 5th, allowing people to approach extremely closely. It was helped over to the strandline to feed on insects among the seaweed, but was still looking quite tired when resighted on the beach road on the 6th. Single Snipe were recorded on the 7th, 8th and 9th. Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over on the 9th, the first for a few weeks, and four Cormorants flew over the south west of the island on the 8th.

SparrowhawkKestrel, Peregrine and Merlin all continue to be seen most days, and most were showing particularly well on the sunny Saturday, with two Peregrines soaring high above the castle and three seen on Sunday too. A Red Kite was seen drifting north from South West point on the 8th.

14 Redwing were heard flying over on the 7th and 12 were seen on the 8th. Earlier in the week a Treecreeper was seen on the 3rd, two Chiffchaffs on the 5th, a Pied Flycatcher on the 6th, a Tree Sparrow on the 7th and a couple of Blackcap each day were the highlights of a rather quiet week. Skylarks had still been seen in decent number on the 5th and 6th with 10 and 15 respectively and there were six Stonechat on the 6th. We keep thinking that we’ve possibly seen the last Wheatear but some more individuals keep on filtering through, with one of the 4th and one on the 6th. There was also some higher numbers of Starlings this week, with 300 recorded on the 5th.

The beautiful weather on Saturday 8th led to many more birds passing over and through, including 30 Skylarks, four Sand Martin, 300 Swallows, 200 House Martin, 31 Meadow Pipit, two Yellow Wagtail and two Grey Wagtail. In Millcombe there were 50 Goldcrest, seven Blackcap, 14 Wren, eight Blackbird and five Dunnock. It was also a good day for finches with eight Chaffinch, 17 Goldfinch, 17 Siskin and 18 Linnet. The highlight of the day (/week/year?!) came at 2.30pm when a Baltimore Oriole was discovered in the willows below Government by volunteer Angus. An incredibly striking adult male, this bird is a fantastic record for the UK (27th bird, 3rd adult male). This week’s sighting is now the 3rd record and 4th individual for Lundy, with one in 1958 and two birds (one deceased) in 1967. The first record for Lundy was also the first for Britain. All have been early-mid October. The bird was watched for 15 minutes before being relocated and watched for an hour at 5.30pm by the whole conservation team.

Baltimore Oriole, Millcombe © Tom Wright

Baltimore Oriole, Millcombe © Angus Croudace

Sunday 9th started with fairly light winds before stronger speeds from the south built up later in the day. A Song Thrush was seen in Millcombe as well as a Firecrest, three Chiffchaff, and single Spotted FlycatcherPied Flycatcher and Tree Pipit! Sunday was also a good day for finches with 5 Chaffinch, 14 Goldfinch, 39 Siskin, 67 Linnet and single Lesser Redpoll and Greenfinch. There were large numbers of Meadow Pipit too, with a high count of 79. The Rosy-Coloured Starling is still present after evading sightings for a few days at the end of last week and beginning of this week. There was also a Yellow-browed Warbler in the Sycamore by Government on the 9th, and both birds helped entertain some of the ~25 visitors who came to twitch the Baltimore Oriole. Unfortunately the clear skies and favourable winds of the night before most likely led to the departure of the Oriole so soon after it had arrived.

Contributors: S Cossey, R Ellis, A Croudace, T Wright, M Thorne, M Bailey

Monday 3 October 2022

26th September to 2nd October - First Redwings of the autumn and a Sabine’s Gull

This week has seen some strong winds and heavy rain, particularly on Friday 30th September and Saturday 1st October.

Despite some strong winds there haven’t been any particularly major falls of migrants this week.

A total of 24 Oystercatchers were observed roosting at high tide by Brazen Ward on the 28th. Four Golden Plover were present near to the airfield on the 26th and just one was seen on the 27th and 28th. Snipe were seen in singles on the 27th, 29th and 30th

11 Kittiwake were seen from south west point along with five Manx Shearwater on the 26th. An adult winter Sabine’s Gull flew past the south west of the island about 700m offshore on the 27th, and the same seawatch produced eight Kittiwake and 16 Gannets. Three Lesser Black-backed Gull flew past Millcombe on the 27th and two were seen on the 28th. One Fulmar was seen on the 27th and a Razorbill was seen feeding from North Light on the 30th.

Sparrowhawk presence continues providing daily entertainment around Millcombe and the east coast. Most days see at least two birds, but the highest total this week was six birds on the 28th.  A Merlin has also been present since 28th September. The local Kestrels are still seen daily, with two on the 28th, and three of the local Peregrine Falcons were seen on the 1st October.

Merlin, West Coast © Tom Wright

Sparrowhawk, East Coast © Tom Wright

Higher numbers of Skylark continue with 10 on the 27th and nine on the 2nd October. Swallow passage has been much quieter than last week. However, there were several hundred passing over Millcombe at sunrise on the 2nd October and it is possible that these birds had roosted on the island that night. One Sand Martin was recorded on the 27th September and two House Martins on the 1st October.

Warbler sightings have been quite scarce, with small numbers of Blackcap flitting about the brambles, the maximum being 18 birds on the 29th. One late Willow Warbler was spotted on the 29th in Millcombe and there were two Chiffchaffs on the 28th, four on the 29th and five on the 30th September. A Firecrest and a Treecreeper were spotted on the 1st and the weekend in particular has produced high numbers of Goldcrest moving through with 100 between Millcombe and the Quarry on Sunday 2nd October.

Treecreeper, Millcombe © Tom Wright

Firecrest, Millcombe © Tom Wright

The juvenile Rose-Coloured Starling was last spotted on the 29th. One Ring Ouzel was recorded on the 1st October calling at the Quarry. The first Redwing of the year flew over on the 27th, with another seen sheltering from the strong winds near Quarter Wall on the 30th.

There have been fewer wagtails passing over this week, with single Grey Wagtails over on the 28th and the 29th and a high count of six Pied/White wagtails on the 29th. This week’s high count of Meadow Pipits was 86 on the 29th. The highest count of Stonechat was 13 on the 2nd. A late Wheatear has been hanging on around quarter wall towards the end of the week and two other individuals were seen at the north and south of the island on the 2nd. There was a high count of 10 Dunnock on the 28th dispersed along the lower east. Finches have been seen in fairly large mixed flocks this week, with counts of 39 Goldfinch on the 2nd October and 70 Linnet on the 29th September. Similar to last week there have been 5 or 6 Chaffinches recorded most days.

Sunday 2nd October started very wet but turned into a hot sunny day with lots of butterflies about. The most notable were two clouded yellow, one at South Light and one in Millcombe.

Contributors: S Cossey, R Ellis, T Wright, A Croudace