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18th to twenty fourth April – A basic spring week with loads of new arrivals

The start of the week was sunny with a
moderate westerly winds. The wind picked up towards the end of the week and was
blowing from the east. On some days the wind died down in the afternoon

A Collared
Dove was seen in the Village and Millcombe on 18th and another on 23rd and
24th. A Stock Dove was seen over South West Field on the 22nd. The highest
count of Woodpigeon this week was nine on the 22nd.

The first
real movement of waders was logged this week with two Whimbrel on Rat Island on
the 20th. Five species of wader were then recorded on the 23rd. Along with the
usual Oystercatchers around the island, a Ringed Plover was seen on the track
by South West Field and was heard calling around the area for most of the
morning. A total of four Whimbrel were seen with two in off Benjamin’s Chair,
one in the Landing Bay and one landing in front of Stoneycroft. A Snipe flew
over Barton Field and a Common Sandpiper was seen down on the Landing Beach.
Another Snipe was seen on the 24th up by John O’Groats house.

Common Sandpiper, Landing Beach © Stuart
Ringed Plover, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

Counts of
seabirds have been increasing throughout the week approximately 10,000 Guillemots,
3000 Razorbill, 124 Puffin, 45 Fulmar, 68 Shag and 90 Kittiwake recorded during
a full count on the 24th. With the dark evenings, large numbers of Manx
Shearwater have been coming to land. Nine new birds were ringed during a short
session on the 22nd and another ten were retrapped. The oldest bird caught was ringed
in 2012 so quite young compared to the oldest ever found which was 50.

Razorbill, Jenny’s Cove © Stuart Cossey
Puffin, Jenny’s Cove © Stuart Cossey

A number of
birds of prey have been sticking around this week. A pair of Kestrel have been
seen along the East Coast and Castle Hill and may well be breeding on the
island. A Sparrowhawk has been seen on the 19th, 22nd and 24th and a female
Merlin has been recorded on 19th, 21st and 24th. A Hen Harrier was reported on
the 18th over Quarter Wall.

A Rook was
seen flying in over Castle Hill on the 19th and a high count of 20 Carrion
Crows were seen on the 23rd.

The number
of hirundines moving through has been gradually increasingly with many seen
heading south rather than north during the easterly winds towards the end of
the week. High counts of Sand Martins were nine on 19th and 24th and there were
18 House Martin counted on the 24th. Steady passage of Swallows was seen with
75 on the 18th, 46 on 20th and 91 on 24th.

The number
of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps has reduced from last week’s high counts of 60
and 150. This week the most Willow Warblers seen was 10 and only 15 Blackcaps. A
very grey tristis type Chiffchaff was seen on the Terrace on the 20th. Although
there were lower numbers, new birds have started to arrive with Sedge Warblers
seen on the 23rd and 24th, Lesser Whitethroat on the 20th and one singing on the 24th, two Common
Whitethroats were seen on the 22nd and 24th and a Reed Warbler was by Pondsbury on the 24th. A Grasshopper
Warbler was ringed in Millcombe on the 23rd.

Common Whitethroat, Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey
Lesser Whitethroat, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

A female
Ring Ouzel was seen by the Pig Sties on the 21st and the male Song Thrush
continues to sing in Millcombe. A male Common Redstart was on the wall by South
West Field on the 18th and a female was above Benjamin’s Chair on the 23rd. The
first Whinchat of the year was seen on the 14th foraging along Quarter Wall.
Stonechats appear to be doing well with this year with at least eight pairs on
the island. A female with food was seen on the East Side meaning it won’t be
long before the first chicks fledge. It has been increasingly busy with
Wheatear all across the island in the last few days. At least
93 were seen on the 24th with 14 just on Pointless Wall. Many of these were of the larger and brighter Greenland
race which will continue north to breed in Greenland and Canada before heading
back to Sub-Saharan Africa in autumn.  

Female Ring Ouzel, Pig Sty © Stuart Cossey
Whinchat, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey
Wheatears, Pointless Wall © Stuart Cossey

Pipits are mostly now on territory and singing across the island with only a
few small flocks likely to be continuing north to breed. A Tree Pipit was seen
in Millcombe on 19th and a stunning male Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail was foraging
around the Lundy Ponies on Barton Field on the afternoon of the 24th. A White
Wagtail was also seen on the 24th.

Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey
Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

highlight of the week in terms of finches was a female Hawfinch ringed in Millcombe
on the 18th and seen again on the 21st. Goldfinches were still passing through
the island with 34 counted on the 18th. Linnets are showing signs of breeding
with singing males in a few locations and females collecting nesting material.
Others are still migrating though with counts of 49 on the 19th, 62 on 22nd and
79 on 24th. A male Siskin was seen on the 19th and 21st. At least two breeding pairs
of Chaffinch are in Millcombe.

Female Hawfinch, Millcombe © Chris Dee

S Cossey, C Dee, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, K Annison, D Dowding,
P Bullock, J Cox and M and J Webber.

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