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Monday, 7 June 2010

MADEIRAN LITTLE SHEARWATER on Lundy Island, NORTH DEVON

A male NORTH ATLANTIC (MADEIRAN) LITTLE SHEARWATER (baroli) was heard during darkness last night advertising from a chosen potential nest-burrow on the slope not far from the landing quay on Lundy Island in North Devon. The bird was audible 200 yards NW of the quay, close to the cave and NT sign.

This is only the second-ever 'singing male' recorded in Britain and follows a male that returned to Skomer Island (Pembrokeshire) from 26 June to 10 July 1981 and 21 June to 25 July 1982 (British Birds 78: 532 and 79: 28-33, plates 35-36) whilst a female was heard on Skomer on 3 May 1983 (P C James).

The advertising call of 'baroli' is somewhat reminiscent of an Oystercatcher and very different to the night sounds made by Manx Shearwaters.

Very limited accommodation is available on the island. The National Trust wardens have asked that no torches should be used to distract the bird and have indicated that they shall be present keeping a watchful eye over proceedings. As shearwaters choose the darkest nights to advertise their presence, the possibility of seeing the bird is virtually nil.