Sunday, 3 May 2009

Escape to Lundy

28 April - 2 May 2009

A brief trip away to Lundy Island and a chance to see some migrants. My first Swifts and House Martins of the year, plus loads of Grasshopper Warblers, Pied Flycatcher hundreds of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs moving through the island.
Perhaps most exciting of all for me was while listening to a squealing Water Rail, I also heard some high pitched squeaking which turned out to be a couple of Water Rail chicks, little black fluffy balls, with a bald crown and ivory bill.
Adult Water Rail seen above eating a worm and below one little black fluffy chick. These pictures were taken in a small gulley at the bottom of Millcombe Valley, which is very aptly called smelly gulley ! I managed to slither down this grassy bank and get these shots without the birds getting spooked. I was delighted to get pics of the young birds and after an hour or so went to the island Tavern to celebrate with a beer. I told a few people and while initially they were interested, gradually they all went and sat somewhere esle. I assumed I was boring them with Water Rail talk so sat with my beer and reveiwed my pictures. After a while someone I didn't know walked past me and announced to the pub there was a nasty smell - Hmm it was me , and the result of spending an hour in smelly gulley, the island domestic sewage outlet ! Still I was over the moon with having seen and photographed my first ever Water Rail chick.

On the seabird cliffs some fifteen hundred Guillemots had returned to breed and at least fourteen Puffins. Fulmars also cruising at eye level height.

A couple of Whimbrel were around for a few days. Unfortunately however no major rarity.