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This page is run by volunteer contributors as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, UK.
If you have news to report, please consider signing up as a contributor or send in your sightings here.
See also the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the 2007 book of the same name.
Bird recording and ringing on Lundy are coordinated by the Lundy Field Society and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Friday, 19 January 2018

12 to 19 Jan – Iceland Gull the highlight of a stormy period

Lundy Warden Dean Jones found an adult Iceland Gull among 72 Herring Gulls in Tillage Field this morning, Friday 19 January – the first record of this Arctic-breeding gull since 2014 and only the ninth for the island.

During what has been a rather cold and very stormy period (again...), other bird sightings have, unsurprisingly, been quite thin on the ground, but have included (for 12th to 19th):

Red-throated Diver – A single bird was present in the Landing Bay on 12th and there were four feeding off the North End on 14th.
Great Northern Diver – Single birds (possibly the same individual) were in the Landing Bay on 12th, 17th and 18th.
Fulmar – A raft of 19 was off the North End on 14th.
Herring Gull – Dean reports "some super roosting flocks in both Barton and Tillage Fields"; 156  on 17th was the highest count of the period.
Kittiwake – A feeding flock of 54 seen from the North End on 14th was the highest count.
Guillemot – A feeding raft of 75 birds was off the North End on 14th.
Razorbill – A count of 52 feeding off the North End on 14th.
Water Rail – Maximum count of two, in Millcombe, on 11th & 18th; oddly, one was calling from the brambles below the Millcombe to Ugly path, near the pines.
Snipe – Three were flushed between Quarter Wall and Pondsbury on 14th.
Skylark – A single bird on 12th & 14th in Tillage Field.
Redwing – Dean notes that thrush numbers seemingly dropped off after the storms at the start of the week; 13 on 14th was the highest count of the period.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Thu 11 Jan – Record count of Red-throated Divers off the East Side

An email in from Dean brings further news of divers from yesterday, Thursday 11 Jan:

"I managed to get in a brief seawatch from the Ugly during my lunch break. The sea was beautifully still yesterday afternoon meaning that most of the birds were rather far out and difficult to ID, but I did get some good views of a roosting flock of 8 Red throated Divers! There were two other divers present too, flying over the flock and heading west, that I didn’t get a good look at. It is amazing how fast these birds go once they get up off the water!"

This is by far the highest number of Red-throated Divers ever recorded from the island (the previous maximum being just three).

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wed 10 Jan – Red-throated Diver and more winter thrushes

Following on from Philip Lymbery's New Year update below, Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports (with masterly understatement) that the weather in early January continued to be "not the best for birding" with westerly gales dominating the start of the month, followed by lots of rain, then bitterly cold winds from the east...

A decent day, today, Wednesday 10th, saw the undoubted highlight of the period, a Red-throated Diver in the Landing Bay during the afternoon. It was preening close-in to begin with, pausing periodically and giving Dean good views. "The bird then powered out of the bay to deeper waters, where it began to search for food."

Other sightings of note between 4 & 10 Jan have included good numbers of wintering thrushes, including a very high midwinter Song Thrush count for the island, but finches have reached their typical winter nadir:

Mallard – Eight were on Rocket Pole Pond on 6th.
Teal – Three males were frantically courting four females on Pondsbury on 5th.
Great Northern Diver – A single bird was in the Landing Bay on 6th & 10th.
Kittiwake – The large feeding flocks present at the turn of the year soon disappeared at the onset of the strong easterly winds; max 68 on 4th.
Herring Gull – Some decent flocks were noted sheltering in Barton Field during the few days of westerly gales; max 172 on 4th.
Water Rail – One has been calling from the iris bed next to Millcombe House on most days.
Goldcrest – One was in Quarter Wall Copse on 5th.
Skylark – Three on 6th was the highest count since three on 28 Dec. To find a day-total of more than three means going all the way back to 16 Nov, when there were nine.
Blackbird – A max of 24 on 5th.
Song Thrush – A max of 21 on 5th.
Redwing – A max of 37 on 5th.
Fieldfare – A single bird in Barton Field on 5th.
Chaffinch – A max of four on 5th.
Goldfinch – A max of two on 7th.
Linnet – A single bird calling over the village on 5th was the first since another singleton on 24 Nov.

Happy New Lundy Birds Year!

The following report and photos, covering the Christmas and New Year period, have been contributed by Philip Lymbery.

Helen and I were lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year on Lundy (22nd December 2017 until 2nd January 2018) for the first time. We had a magical time, despite the weather, which seemed a wintry rotation of mist, rain and high winds.

Bird-wise, we were treated to a Firecrest in Millcombe Valley, which showed during a couple of better weather days, on the 24th and 28th. One Goldfinch was seen around Windy Corner on the 30th.

Firecrest, Millcombe, 28 Dec 2017 © Philip Lymbery

A Great Northern Diver toured the east coast of the island, being seen on the sea from the Landing Bay to Quarry Beach (24th, 26th and 31st).

Great Northern Diver off Quarry Beach, 31 Dec 2017 © Philip Lymbery

A feeding party of Kittiwakes were seen each day off the east coast, with 500 or more birds recorded on the 29th. 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also sat on the sea on the same day off The Ugly. A Merlin was seen before dusk on several afternoons over Quarter Wall, Halfway Wall or The Battery. A Fieldfare was seen at Threequarter Wall on the 27th, with a single bird also recorded in Barton Field on the 28th. The field played host to a busy feeding flock of Redwing, with 28 being counted by us on New Year’s Eve. Three female and one drake Teal spent late afternoon on Pondsbury on the 30th. The heavy rain meant that the island was very wet underfoot everywhere, meaning that feeding Snipe were scattered across the island and could be flushed pretty much anywhere, from the north end of the island to Quarter Wall. Our maximum count was of 8 birds accidentally flushed singly from various parts of the island on the 28th. A Stonechat was seen on Tibbett’s Hill on the 31st.

Kittiwake off Lundy, 22 Dec 2017 © Philip Lymbery

Friday, 5 January 2018

22 to 29 Dec – Is that an island out there?

Though thick mist prevented the helicopter from flying, prompting creative transport solutions, Alan & Sandra Rowland spent the Christmas period on Lundy and have sent the following update for what sounds like an ideal week to have been enjoying the fesitvities in the Tavern!

"At dawn on the 22nd, we travelled from Clovelly in small boats with the hope of good seabird sightings. At sea level the air was clear, and as we approached the island, we spotted a handful of Gannets, Guillemots and the odd Fulmar and Great Black-backed Gull. With the exception of the 27th, the week was either extremely windy, wet or misty and really wet underfoot. That said, Barton Field was a really good location for Blackbirds and Redwings with up to a dozen of each when visibility showed them. The North End revealed very few birds, only three Meadow Pipits and a small flock of a dozen Gannets off North East Point. There were just two Fulmars on the nesting ledges at Long Roost. Millcombe revealed the occasional Firecrest to dedicated searchers and a Merlin was seen around Halfway Wall.”

See also photos posted on Facebook by Philip Lymbery.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

4 to 11 Dec – Fulmars back on their breeding ledges

Alan Rowland has sent the following update for the period Monday 4th to Monday 11th December:

The Lapwing was still present on 5th.

Blackbirds and Song Thrushes were common, with up to half-a-dozen of each recorded daily. There appeared to be a small fall of Redwings on 10th & 11th, with up to 20 on both days. Up to a dozen Robins and Wrens were being reported from Millcombe and along the East Side to the Quarries.

Fulmars have already claimed nesting sites at Long Roost, where there were 24 on 5th (though only seven on 9th).

A single Goldcrest was on the wall above Government House on 6th.

A Merlin was on a rubble heap at the Quarries on 6th and a Sparrowhawk appeared outside Little St John's on 9th.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Late Nov & early Dec – Still some late migration but things settling down for winter

Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar – of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and Imperial College London – one of Lundy's indefatigable House Sparrow researchers, reports that members of 'Team Sparrow' (who are seasonal residents when the sparrows are breeding, but only occasional visitors in winter) spent 11 days on the island from 20th November to 1st December. Alfredo writes:

"Lucy Winder, the new PhD student, and I started our sparrow catching on 21st and realized that the population of House Sparrows seems to be doing very well. By the end of our stay we had processed 205 captures of 144 different sparrows, a new winter record for our project."

Colour-ringed female House Sparrow, Nov 2017 © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar

"Lucy and I also spent some time searching for non-sparrow avifauna. To my surprise, we found a Coal Tit and a Goldcrest around Millcombe, my first on Lundy. We walked the East Side Path up to the Quarries quite a few times and encountered a Sparrowhawk (likely a 1st-year bird) and a Chiffchaff on several occasions. During the first days of our visit we saw two Merlins trying to hunt a small passerine, but none were seen later on, raising the question of whether they had left already. Thrush migration was astonishing. Dozens of Redwings invaded the island, and Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes were also a very common sight. There still seemed to be some Chaffinch migration going on as flocks of up to 10 were seen a few times. We also saw 3 Goldfinches, single Siskin, Meadow Pipit and Skylark, 3 Dunnocks, tons of Wrens and Robins, a Water Rail (heard), a Lapwing, 2 Peregrines, and a Jack Snipe at the Rocket Pole."

Coal Tit, Millcombe, Nov 2017 © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
Goldcrest, Millcombe, Nov 2017 © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar

Lundy Warden Dean Jones also reports the following sightings of note entered in the LFS logbook since the last blog update on 17 Nov:

Mallard – Max of 11 in St Helen's Field on 24 Nov.
Great Northern Diver – One in the Landing Bay on 3 Dec.
Manx Shearwater – Two off the East Side on 23 Nov, plus two shearwater sp. on 22 Nov (Dean Jones).
Gannet – Seen on most days, with a max of 19 on 1 Dec.
Water Rail – Recorded on most days; max 4 on 23 Nov.
Lapwing – The single bird reported by Alfredo has remained in Barton Field since 30 Nov.
Jack Snipe – Presumably the same bird that Alfredo saw (on 1 Dec) had been flushed by Dean at Kistvaen Pond on 30 Nov.
Woodcock – One in South West Field on 2 Dec.
auk spp. – Recorded on most days, with a max of 200+ on 1 Dec.
Great Skua – One chasing Kittiwakes in the Landing Bay on 27 Nov (Dean Jones).
Kittiwake – Max of 400+ in the Landing Bay on 23 Nov.
Mediterranean Gull – Three adult winter birds in the Landing Bay during the afternoon of 3 Dec (Dean Jones).
Firecrest – Singles on 2 & 3 Dec (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton).
Coal Tit – The same very mobile bird present until at least 2 Dec (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton).
Blackbird – Good passage; max 29 on 2 Dec.
Fieldfare – Seen on most days; max 16 on 30 Nov.
Song Thrush – Good passage; max 7 on 2 Dec.
Redwing – Present every day; max 100+ on 30 Nov.
Stonechat – Two on 29 Nov; singles on other dates.
Black Redstart – A female-type bird near North Light on 29 Nov (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton).
Chaffinch – A big drop in numbers since mid-Nov, with 50+ on 24th the highest count and numbers since then rarely exceeding half-a-dozen.
Linnet – One on 24 Nov.
Brambling – Two on 24 Nov.
Reed Bunting – Six next to Quarter Wall on 24 Nov.

Stop press! Referring to the Mediterranean Gulls seen yesterday (3 Dec), Dean has just written: "I had four more today (Monday 4 Dec), all adult birds feeding in a superb mixed seabird frenzy this afternoon. Alongside them were Harbour Porpoise, 400+ Kittiwakes, two adult winter Black-headed Gulls, one 2nd calendar-year Common Gull, 200+ Herring Gulls, eight Great Black-backed Gulls, a single Lesser Black-backed Gull, seven Gannets, three Shags and 363 auk spp. (mostly Razorbills). Really exciting stuff; it was hard to get up and go back to the office after that!"

Many thanks to Alfredo and Dean for the news and a warm welcome to Lucy; we hope your sparrow studies on Lundy are academically rewarding but also hugely enjoyable!

Robin, Millcombe, Lundy, Nov 2017 © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar