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This page is run by Lundy Bird Observatory (LBO) as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds and wildlife of Lundy, situated 12 miles out in the Bristol Channel, UK. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here. While you're here, check out the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the book of the same name (Davis & Jones, 2007). All bird recording and ringing activities on Lundy are coordinated by LBO and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update 18th-23rd September

Strong winds have been a feature of the past week. We watched the weather charts at the start of the week with interest as a fast moving warm front zipped across the Atlantic. Off the back of this system (the remnants of a hurricane) the west coast of UK and Ireland have received a record breaking influx of American vagrants in the past few days, which have all been carried off course by the strong winds. Lundy has shared a small part of the fall with two individual Red-eyed Vireo landing in Millcombe Valley on 20th. One was ringed, and then retrapped three days later having put on one gram of weight. These are the 11th and 12th records for Lundy, the one that entered the nets was the 7th to be ringed, and they are the earliest records by 8 days.

Red-eyed Vireo in Millcombe © Luke Marriner

Red-eyed Vireo in the hand at Brambles Villa © Angus Croudace

Up to four Wryneck continued their stay until the 21st, but haven't been picked up since. The last day the Rose-coloured Starling was seen was the 20th, but there's a good chance it is still here - the focus has been on ringing in Millcombe and covering the rest of the island away from the village on the hunt for vagrants! Other miscellaneous records of note this week include a Sandwich Tern heard calling from Millcombe on the 23rd, a first-year Osprey headed south over Rat Island on the 18th. The first-year Barred Warbler which was ringed on the 17th was still present on the 18th around the Lower Garden. A very smart Wood Warbler was caught in Millcombe on the 21st. A Little Bunting was seen feeding with a small flock of Linnet on the track near the Lambing Shed on 23rd. 

Wood Warbler ringed at Millcombe © Brittany Maxted

A record shot of Little Bunting (centre) with Linnet © Angus Croudace

After the strong westerlies, the weather calmed a little bit allowing our more typical migrants to continue their journey south. On the 21st we had a big fall of Blackcap with 350+ on the island and over 160 ringed. The bracken was alive with 'flocks' of them making their way along the east coast and ending up in Millcombe. This number had approximately halved by the 22nd, with birds being ringed on day two mostly lighter and with lower fat and muscle scores. This nicely evidences the trend of stronger birds moving on more quickly, with those in less good form remaining to feed up for a another day or two. 

A small supporting cast of four Common Whitethroat, three Reed Warbler  and three Grasshopper Warbler on the 21st. One of the Reed Warbler had been here a little while, retrapped after originally being ringed a fortnight ago, with a whopping weight gain of 10g - 14.5g, and fat/muscle scores of 1 increasing to 6 and 3 respectively! Willow Warbler numbers have decreased dramatically with 20 on the 18th but none on the 23rd. Chiffchaff numbers have been a little steadier with five on the 18th and four on the 23rd, with a peak of 11 on the 21st

The same ringed Pied Flycatcher and single Whinchat above Millcombe have remained present all week, along with a Yellow Wagtail in Barton's Field. Two late Spotted Flycatcher joined on the 21st and 22nd, and two Grey Wagtail on the 21st. About 8 Wheatear most days with a peak of 17 on the 21st. Three Siskin were picked up both the 18th and 23rd with an additional single on the 19th. There were three Firecrest on the terrace on the 20th, with singles in Millcombe on the 18th and 22nd. Goldcrest have numbered around 20 at the start of the week, but by the 22nd we had 38 birds recorded. A Song Thrush was in Millcombe on the 22nd and the first Ring Ouzel of the season were seen above Government House on the 23rd, with three individuals including one male. 

Skulking Pied Flycatcher which has outstayed all others by over a week. © Angus Croudace

Whinchat still above Millcombe most days (here at the allotments) © Angus Croudace

Ring Ouzel north of Castle Cottage © Chris Blackmore

A bit of a Hirundine push midweek with 450+ Swallow and 54 House Martin on the 21st and 250/70 respectively on the 22nd. There were 13 Sand Martin picked up on the 21st and 31 on the 22nd. Swallows continued to move a little on the 23rd with 110 recorded, but single figures of Martins.

Water Rail have been calling intermittently in Millcombe, with up to two birds calling each day since the 18th. A Teal is still occasionally picked up around Pondsbury/Quarter Wall. The Grey Heron is still regularly seen, often flying over the castle down to the Landing Bay. A flock of 12 Cormorant were seen heading south off of the east coast on the 18th with an identical sized flock also seen on the 21st. 

On the 18th 27 Oystercatcher were picked up moving north along the east coast. A flock of 5 Snipe were in the flash in SW Field on the 20th. A Turnstone was heard and seen flying over St John's Valley on the 21st. Rock Pipits have been sheltering in the village this week, perhaps because of the relentless strong winds on the coast, first from the east, then the west and currently from the south! Five were seen from the Lambing Shed to the church on the 22nd.

There were a lot of rainbows between squalls this week. © Angus Croudace

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