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Monday 24 April 2023

17th to 23rd April – The magic of migration

Bird Observatory Warden Stuart reviews an excellent week of migration on the island.

A light southeasterly to start the week was followed by three days of strong easterlies. Moderate east and southeast winds blew on 21st and 22nd and the 23rd was a very light northerly. The week was mostly dry with rain towards the end of the week.

Two pairs of Teal were seen on Pondsbury this week. Two Shelduck were on Pondsbury on 22nd.  The third island record of Great White Egret was found on Pondsbury by visiting young birders on 17th and was still present on the morning of 18th. The first Collared Dove of the year appeared on 18th and was joined by a second on 19th. They were both seen up to the 23rd. A Stock Dove was seen on 23rd and unusually a flock of 13 Woodpigeon were counted in Quarter Wall Copse. The first Cuckoo of the year was up by Old Light on 18th.

Great White Egret, Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey

Shelduck, Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey

It was an excellent week for wader migration. The island’s 7th record of Little Ringed Plover was heard and then seen with a Ringed Plover and two Dunlin in Lighthouse Field on 20th. It was then heard calling on the evening of the 21st. Five Purple Sandpiper were still at Brazen Ward on 19th. Whimbrel were seen on five dates including two on 20th, 22nd and 23rd. Ringed Plover were seen or heard on six dates with two on 18th and 23rd. Three Dunlin were seen on 18th and two on 20th and 21st. A late Jack Snipe was seen on the evening of 21st. Three Common Sandpiper were around Rat Island on 21st.

Little Ringed Plover, Lighthouse Field © Luke Marriner

Dunlin, Lighthouse Field © Stuart Cossey

Whimbrel, South West Field© Stuart Cossey

Common Sandpiper, Rat Island © Stuart Cossey

Jenny’s Cove is getting busy with 559 Guillemot, 469 Razorbill and 93 Puffin counted on 21st. Other than our breeding seabirds, a Black-headed Gull was seen on 22nd and a Mediterranean Gull flew past on 19th. A Sandwich Tern was in the Landing Bay on 23rd. A Great Northern Diver was still present in the Landing Bay on 17th.

The wintering female Sparrowhawk was last seen on 20th and the Merlin on the 17th. The pair of Kestrel are regularly being seen along with Peregrines. A Marsh Harrier flew over the island on 17th.

The overnight fog and calm winds made for a superb day of migration on 17th. Totals include 500 Willow Warbler, 74 Chiffchaff, four Reed Warbler, 12 Grasshopper Warbler, five Sedge Warbler, 300 Blackcap, three Whitethroat, a Firecrest and six Goldcrest.  After a full day of ringing in Millcombe a total of 402 birds were processed. Birds cleared out overnight with reduced numbers the rest of the week with 50 Willow Warblers on 18th and 56 on 22nd. Nine Sedge Warblers were present on 22nd along with Reed Warblers on 18th, 21st and 22nd. Up to three Grasshopper Warblers were recorded most days for the rest of the week.  A late Siberian Chiffchaff was ringed in Millcombe on 23rd.

Reed Warbler, Millcombe © Danielle Carbott

Hirundines were moving through in big numbers. There were high counts of 500 Swallows on 17th, 340 on 20th and 600 on 23rd. House Martins and Sand Martins were less frequent with max counts of 200 House Martins on 23rd and 110 Sand Martin on 19th. The first Swifts were seen this week with one on 18th and another on 20th.

There was a small pulse of thrush migration. Ring Ouzel were recorded between 17th and 22nd with a maximum of 12 on 18th, five on 21st and four on 19th and 20th. Six Song Thrush were recorded on 21st including our resident singing male.

Ring Ouzel, West Side © Stuart Cossey

The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was seen on 22nd. Nine Pied Flycatcher were counted on 17th with three on the 21st. Two were present on 18th and 23rd and singles on 20th and 22nd. A Black Redstart was seen on 17th and 18th and up to 12 Common Redstart were seen on 17th. Other high counts include five Redstart on 18th and six on 21st. A male Whinchat was on the Terrace on 20th. Obvious passage of Wheatear was noted across the plateau. Over 80 were seen on 18th, 21st and 22nd with the majority being the larger and brighter Greenland race.

Pied Flycatcher, Barton Field © Reuben Veal

Greenland Wheatear, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

Greenland Wheatear, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

The male Blue-headed Wagtail was seen again on 17th along with two other Yellow Wagtail. A single female was seen on 21st. Up to four White Wagtail were seen during the week and there was a high count of 16 alba wagtail on 17th.Five Tree Pipit were also noted on 17th with one on 18th, three on 20th and 22nd and four on 21st.

Yellow Wagtail, Lighthouse Field © Stuart Cossey

Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Reuben Veal

A Serin flew along the West Side with three Goldfinch on 20th. Two Greenfinch were seen on 23rd and a Siskin was seen on 17th. Single Lesser Redpoll were counted on 17th and 21st. A high count of 35 Goldfinch were counted on 17th. 196 Linnet were counted on 23rd, 183 on 21st and 135 on 17th.

In non-avian news, a Painted Lady and Peacock were seen on 17th and a Red Admiral on 20th.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Luke Marriner, Rosie Ellis, Chris Dee, Rackie Powell, Rob Duncan, David Kightley, Rueben Veal, Harry Hiscox, Will Pearce, Jake Belton, Ellie Holley, Danielle Austin, Henry Pagem Owen Davies, Sian Davies, Beth Newark, Iona Cunningham-Eurich, Stephan Cheung, Nathan Williams, Alex Liddle

1 comment:

  1. Lovely to read what is happening on beautiful Lundy.