About this page...


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, 20 October 2017

18th & 19th Oct – another Yellow-browed Warbler

Chris and Carol Baillie report the autumn's fourth Yellow-browed Warbler on 18th, October's first Woodpigeon and Black Redstart on 19th, along with four Wheatears, one showing features of a Greenland bird, and two Sparrowhawks still present. Sadly, one of the two remaining Hawfinches died on 19th, apparently from starvation. Migrant numbers have generally been modest, but gull numbers are gradually increasing.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Bird photos and storm Ophelia, 14-17th October

Below is a selection of photographs taken by Richard Campey on Lundy from 14th to 17th October, during which storm 'Ophelia' passed over the island.

Red-breasted Flycatcher feeding by Quarry Pond 
(taken in the gathering gloom at 6pm). © Richard Campey
Black Redstart outside Square Cottage. © Richard Campey
 Barred Warbler outside Brambles East. © Richard Campey
 Hawfinch in Millcombe. © Richard Campey
Brambling in Millcombe Valley. © Richard Campey
Redwing outside Brambles. © Richard Campey
 Siskin on the Terrace. © Richard Campey
 Siskin by Quarters. © Richard Campey
 Siskin by Quarters. © Richard Campey
...and finally 'Ophelia' hits the island on Monday 16th October. 
© Richard Campey

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Tue 17th Oct – Little Bunting & Hawfinches

Late-morning on Tuesday – during the calm after the storm of the previous day – Richard Campey had brief, but close views of a Little Bunting on the Terrace. It flew past him (twice), landed briefly, then disappeared up the slope in the general direction of the Timekeeper's Hut and Quarry Pond. It was not seen again.

In addition, Malcolm Shakespeare's notes on yesterday's daytrip, including two Hawfinches in Millcombe and 22 Common Scoters on the return crossing, can be found on Devon Bird sightings.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Mon 16th Oct – Heads down as Ophelia passes by

Unsurprisingly, there was little to report from the island, birdwise, on Monday. Windy conditions from first thing developed into a sustained severe gale, with dangerously strong storm-force gusts, during the late morning, throughout the afternoon and well into the evening, as ex-hurricane Ophelia showed her hand. A message from Alan Rowland, part of the team of Lundy Field Society conservation volunteers working on the island this week said, "I have never seen such seas". Huge quantities of recently cut hay that had been drying out on the Tent Field were liberally distributed around the village and elsewhere, prompting an all-hands-on-deck tidying-up operation today. Otherwise, initial reports suggest that the island may have escaped relatively unscathed, in contrast to the Bird Observatory at Skokholm, which is just about within sight of Lundy on an exceptionally clear day. Our very best wishes to the team there as they assess the damage and get on with the clean-up and emergency repairs.

This morning (Tuesday 17th) Richard Campey reports light winds and a remarkably calm(ish) sea off Lundy, while MS Oldenburg has just set sail from Ilfracombe, bang on schedule; how quickly things can change in less than 24 hours!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Sun 15th Oct – A day of scarce migrants...

After an unpromising start, with very little visible migration in the hours immediately after dawn, things picked up considerably from late morning and it turned out to be a busy day for scarce migrants. The highlights were a Red-breasted Flycatcher, initially just a brief sighting in the Terrace Trap willows but later showing well at Quarry Pond, and a Barred Warbler in Millcombe, both found by Richard Campey (see photos above). The supporting cast included at least 7 Hawfinches (of which one flew out of gorse at Quarter Wall (!) and four flew over the Terrace Trap area), 7 Firecrests (Terrace, Quarter Wall Copse, Millcombe), 1 Black Redstart (outside Square Cottage), 3 Lapland Buntings (flying over the water tanks) and a Snow Bunting (Terrace). Other sightings included 150 Siskins "everywhere", 40 Goldcrests, 40 Blackcaps, 6 Chiffchaffs, a Garden Warbler (Terrace) and a Reed Bunting at Quarter Wall.

Observations from Chris & Carol Baillie and Richard Campey.

All hatches are now battened down for the 60mph+ gusts forecast for Lundy as ex-hurricane Ophelia moves across Ireland...

Note: the blog on the Red-necked Phalarope posted on 3 Oct has been updated with additional information and a nice little GIF.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Sat 14th Oct – More Hawfinches arrive

A grey dawn with murky low cloud and still a stiff SSW wind didn't seem promising for visible migration, but 185 Meadow Pipits were logged within an hour or so and there was a small movement of Chaffinches, with around 50 birds the vanguard of the thousands (hopefully) to come over the next three weeks. With them a couple of Bramblings, a male Greenfinch, five Siskins and a Redpoll. Most of the Goldcrests of the preceding two days had moved on, with only 15 or so logged.

A clearly newly arrived Hawfinch appeared in Millcombe at just before 11.00am and flew from perch to perch calling constantly before eventually settling. By early afternoon it had been joined by two more and all three birds were feeding on blackberries on the side of the Ugly. Other sightings included the first Great Northern Diver of the season (Landing Bay – see photo below), a Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, a Ring Ouzel (Millcombe), several Stonechats, a Grey Wagtail and 35 Swallows. Sadly there was no further sign of yesterday's Olive-backed Pipit. The boat crossing to Ilfracombe brought good views of single Bonxie and Arctic Skua shadowing a small flock of Kittiwakes less than a mile out from the island.

Update: After the Oldenburg had sailed, Dean Jones found that the Hawfinch flock in Millcombe had grown to five birds. Not quite the 70 reported from Scilly, but a total only surpassed on Lundy in October 1988, when there was a maximum of nine on 25th.

Observations from: Chris Baillie, Julian Bowden, Richard Campey, Tim Davis, James Diamond, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and Steve McAusland of MARINElife

Great Northern Diver, Landing Bay, 14 Oct 2017 © Steve McAusland

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday 13 October - Olive-backed Pipit in Millcombe

The highlight of the day was an Olive-backed Pipit found in Millcombe mid-morning by James Diamond and also seen by Tim Davis and Tim Jones. It was observed well over a period of about 20 minutess, in an area from the Secret Garden to the side of the Ugly. On one occasion it flew across the mouth of Millcombe and couldn't be relocated in spite of intensive searching.

Generally many fewer birds in often murky conditions and a strong south-westerly wind. Sightings included: Meadow Pipit 300, Swallow 45, Goldcrest 30, Merlin 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Great Skua 1, Arctic Skua 1, Firecrest 1, Wheatear 2, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Siskin 2, Brambling 1, Redpoll 1, Greenfinch 1, Reed Bunting 2.

Observers were Chris Baillie, James Diamond, Tim Davis, Tim Jones, Julian Bowden and warden Dean Jones.

Thursday 12th October - overnight arrival of Goldcrests and strong visible migration

James Diamond, Tim Jones, Tim Davis, Chris Baillie and Julian Bowden report a fall of Goldcrests and strong visible migration. Counts included 200 Goldcrests, 850 Meadow Pipits, 150 Linnets, 70 Swallows, 35 Chaffinches (the first noticeable influx of the autumn), 25 Blackcaps, 25 Pied Wagtails, 22 Blackbirds, Also 1 House Martin, 1 Grey Wagtail, 4 Firecrest, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler (Quarry Pond), 2 Song Thrushes, 1 Wheatear, 3 Redpolls, 3 Bramblings (first of autumn), 3 Reed Buntings, 1 Snow Bunting (found by Julian Bowden at the North End), 8 Snipe (including a flock of 5 over Landing Bay!), 10 Golden Plover, 1 Teal.
Also 2 Humming-bird Hawkmoth.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Wednesday 11th October - Balearic Shearwaters, Bonxies and a Pomarine Skua: the reward for lots of seawatching

Tim Davis, Tim Jones, James Diamond and Chris Baillie report a very windy all day, with about 3 hours of rain early pm. They did lots of seawatching from north and south ends of the island, which brought 1 Red-throated Diver, 13 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 50 Gannets, 8 Guillemots, 60 Razorbills, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 3 Great Skuas and a 1st-winter Pomarine Skua (off Castle). Birding on land was tough going, but main sightings were single Merlin, Golden Plover, Firecrest, Song Thrush, Redpoll and Siskin. Also 20 Meadow Pipits, 20 Swallows, 7 Goldcrests, 5 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcap, 17 Goldfinches.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Tuesday 10th October - no significant migration and few seabirds

Tim, Tim and James report that windy weather ruled out any significant movement of land birds, so they did quite a bit of seawatching, but that was super sparse even by Lundy standards, confirming impression of birders on  both Saturday and Tuesday Oldenburg crossings. Best sightings were 5 Manx Shearwaters, 15 Gannets, a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a Common Gull (quite scarce for Lundy). Otherwise, 30 Swallows, 1 House Martin, 80 Meadow Pipits, 3 Skylarks, 30 Goldcrests, 8 Chiffchaffs, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Blackcaps, 2 Stonechats, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Redpoll.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Monday 9th October - a quieter day with light diurnal migration

Tim, Tim and James report a much quieter day, with very little visible migration first thing, compared with Sunday, but picked up for a few hours mid-late morning with a definite turnover of birds. Observations included: Cormorant 8 south, Grey Heron 2, Sparrowhawk 1, Water Rail 7, Merlin 2, Goldcrest 50, Firecrest 1, Swallow 250, House Martin 70, Chiffchaff 13, Willow Warbler 5 (an unusually high count for Oct), Blackcap 30, Ring Ouzel 1, Redwing (first of the autumn) 4 in Millcombe, Blackbird 20, Song Thrush 1, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Robin 32, Stonechat 8, Dunnock 13, Grey Wagtail 1, Pied Wagtail 8, Meadow Pipit 150, Linnet 150, Redpoll 2, Goldfinch 130, Siskin 19, Crossbill 1 in Millcombe late morning, Reed Bunting 4 (1 Quarters, 1 Millcombe, 2 over lower East Side path).

Six Common Dolphins were off Rat Island.

Late news for Sun 8th was a 1st winter Turtle Dove photographed on main track north of Village by a fellow visitor.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Sunday 8th October - an excellent day with strong migration

Tim Jones, Tim Davis and James Diamond report a fabulous day of sun and light winds, with near constant migration. The 2 Hawfinches left high to the east at 7.55am. Two Yellow-browed Warblers were located, one in Smelly Gully and one along the Upper East Side path. One ringtail Hen Harrier passed high over Quarter Wall, a Short-eared Owl was seen near Tibbetts, and there was a Jack Snipe at Pondsbury. A Lesser Whitethroat was seen at Quarter Wall and a Ring Ouzel and a Garden Warbler were in Millcombe. There was a very strong migration of common migrants, including 500 Swallow, 40 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, 700 Meadow Pipit, 300 Linnet, 120 Goldfinch. Also counted were 6 Water Rail, 2 Teal, 13 Oystercatcher, 1 Snipe, 1 Sparrowhawk, 3 Merlin, 5 Wheatear and 8 Stonechat. There were also 60 Goldcrest, 8 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, a Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Siskin and 2 Redpoll. Between 17:00 and 17:45, 3 Grey Herons were seen flying south towards Hartland Point.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Saturday 7th October - Yellow-browed Warbler and two Hawfinches

Tim Jones, Tim Davis and James Diamond arriving on the island for a one week stay report a rough, almost birdless crossing althjough a Storm Petrel close to the island was seen by James McCarthy.
On the island, Tim, Tim and James report 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, a Merlin, 3 Water Rail, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Snipe, 40 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 40 Meadow Pipit, a Grey Wagtail, 8 Dunnock , 25 Robin, 2 Stonechat, a Song Thrush, 30 Blackcap, and 3 Chiffchaff. A Yellow-browed Warbler was located in Smelly Gully, and there were 30 Goldcrest and a Firecrest in Millcombe Wood. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen in Millcombe and singles of Redpoll and Siskin were reported. Two Hawfinch were feeding on blackberries on the side of the Ugly and periodically flying up into trees when disturbed by passing people.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

September Buff-breasted Sandpiper & Snow Bunting gallery

Herewith some gasp-worthy shots, kindly contributed by Mark Worden, of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the Airfield and Snow Bunting near Pondsbury on 11 & 12 Sep.

All images copyright © Mark Worden.






Late news of a Red-necked Phalarope in September – updated

AxeBirder Steve Waite kindly drew our attention to a recent Facebook post that included several grainy photos of what is nevertheless clearly a phalarope species taken on a "small freshwater pond on Lundy" towards the end of September. Close examination of the pics suggests that they in fact showed a Red-necked Phalarope, which, if accepted as such by Devon Birds Records Committee, would be just the third record for Lundy and the first since the autumn of 1960!

Update: We can now confirm that the bird was seen at the northern end of Pondsbury at 11.40am on 23 September by Jean Shotter and Andy Hauser. Many thanks to Jean and Andy for making available the mobile-phone images below and for providing details of the date, time and location. Thanks too to Steve for spotting this in the first place and following up the Facebook post on our behalf.

All images copyright © Jean Shotter




Sunday, 1 October 2017

29th & 30th September - few nocturnal migrants, but then the pipits started moving

The final two mornings of Chris Dee's ringing visit revealed only a few Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps in Millcombe, with ringing activities curtailed by a blusterly south-westerly.

Friday 29th: one Firecrest wearing a ring was seen by Dean Jones on 29th, presumably the one ringed the previous afternoon. A Ring Ouzel was also feeding on the blackberries below the Ugly.

Saturday 30th: a Snipe was flushed from St John's Valley but few other birds were present until around 10:30 when Meadow Pipit passage started in earnest, despite the incresingly strong SW wind. An estimated 520 passed over the village in the following two and a half hours.

Friday, 29 September 2017

27th & 28th September – Another arrival of Goldcrests, plus two Firecrests

Herewith the latest updates from Chris Dee, now reaching the end of his two-week ringing trip:

Wed 27th: Rain and low cloud from 9am restricted activities. Small numbers of Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Goldcrests. Two Spotted Flycatchers in Millcombe.

Thu 28th: Good numbers of Goldcrests again with an estimate of 150. Two Firecrests ringed and two Spotted Flycatchers still present. Two Stonechats, three Wheatears and light Meadow Pipit passage.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Additional detailed account for 9th to 16th September

Tim Frayling and Nik Ward have kindly sent through the following full account of the week 9th to 16th September, complementing information already posted below. Thanks to Tim and Nik for taking the time to write such a full and lively report.

Relating events during the first part of the week, Tim writes:

"Sat 9th Sep – Peter Slader, Vicky Gilson, Mark Wolden and I met in Bideford. Not much of interest on the crossing, just a few Gannets, Manx Shearwaters and a Fulmar. We put up the mist-nets in Milcombe, with the idea of furling them so they were available for later in the week, but we found it was calm enough to leave the nets open for an hour or so. We caught 9 Blackcaps, a Robin and a Spotted Flycatcher. Later on, we headed out to Old Light colony for some shearwatering with expectations of a good catch, and got back just before 1.00am having caught 15 new chicks and 1 adult retrap. The adult, EY89240, had been ringed as a chick by David Price in September 2013.

Sun 10th Sep – The mist-nets were opened at 7am, and although not masses of birds around there were a lot of Blackcaps moving through the valley. Of the 28 birds processed, more than half of the catch were Blackcaps. Dean, the warden, joined for the morning ringing session, where other birds included a couple of new House Sparrows, a Garden Warbler and 3 Goldcrests.
Very strong winds (40mph, gusting to 60mph) made it difficult to walk on top of the island. As a result we decided going on the slopes would be too dangerous and stayed in the Tavern.

Mon 11th Sep – The winds had not died down much and it was too windy to open the nets, so Mark and I went birding along the East Coast. At Quarry Beach I turned around to walk the same route back to check if it was possible to open the nets as the wind seemed to have dropped. Mark decided to check Pondsbury and fields on top of the island. Mark arrived out of breath to tell us of the Buff-breasted Sandpiper he had found on the Airfield. It was quickly found again near the path and we were given pretty good views before it flew over to the adjacent field. Later that day we had fantastic views of a very obliging Snow Bunting on the path near Pondsbury.

Dean had kindly offered to drive up to the North End for a Storm Petrel and Manx Shearwater ringing session. The winds were still 30mph, so we left the poles and focused on picking up Manxies by hand. We drove up to the far end and walked along Puffin Slope. We ringed 13 new young birds, most with only traces of down, except one very fluffy chick that was almost completely covered in down. As the night was still young and we had wheels, we checked part of the Tibbetts colony on the way home. After an unsuccessful sweep, and with people tiring we decided to call it a night."

Tue 12th Sep – As it was Mark and Vicky’s last day, Mark opened the nets after packing his case. It was actually quite a productive morning with 68 birds processed. Again the majority of the birds (48) were Blackcaps. Other species caught included Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. As it was boat day, a number of interested visitors were given an impromptu ringing demonstration. Mark and Vicky left at 12 noon as it was a 'splash and dash' to avoid the high winds forecast in the afternoon. The winds duly arrived later on and stopped Nik, Peter and me going out shearwatering.

Taking up the story of the second half of the week Nik continues:

"We didn’t have great success numbers wise with Manx Shearwaters whilst I was there but I think in total some 46 were processed during the week, together with Mark & Vicky.

Passerine-wise it was quite good in terms of numbers, if not range of species, considering the NW winds, which had been blowing for two weeks.

Wed 13th Sep – I managed to dip the Buff breasted Sandpiper but had nice views of the Snow Bunting.

Thu 14th Sep – Large fall of Blackcaps with 92 ringed and probably some 300 observed, but seemed like a lot more with the whole of Millcombe covered with them. 43 Goldcrests were ringed and 66 Swallows with a couple of Meadow Pipits, 3 Willow Warblers, 9 Chiffchaffs and a Whitethroat plus a few resident species, giving a total of 230 birds processed on 14th, including some Manxies that night.

Fri 15th Sep – Heavy rain meant we couldn’t open the nets early but standing on the veranda at Brambles, 55 Blackcaps filtered out of the wood onto the bramble patch and sat around in the rain... an amazing sight; I don’t think I have seen so many in such a small patch before! There didn’t appear to be so many Blackcaps around overall (compared with 14th); more like one large foraging flock moving around the valley. We managed to open some nets for a couple of hours in the morning and an hour in the late afternoon, rain permitting, and ended the day with 44 Blackcaps, 50 Swallows and single Sand Martin, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff. 2 Ring Ouzels were knocking around the netting area but managed to evade capture (although I see Chris Dee caught one subsequently).

Sat 16th Sep – Our last day and things began to appear of course... but no ringing due to rain. 2 Whinchats, a Tree Pipit and hundreds of hirundines going through including House Martins, which had been mostly absent until now. From the top path above St Helen's Copse I could hear a Yellow-browed Warbler calling but couldn’t pin it down to get views.

Boat trip back – About 30 mins into the trip a Bonxie flew by giving good views and 8 Common Scoter passed by. About half way, Luke Phillips alerted me to a bird flying high, which was instantly recognisable as an adult Long-tailed Skua with long tail streamers and elegant tern like flight. The other birders in our group also got onto the bird which gave good views as it passed by the boat, circling and gaining height until we lost it moving off towards Lundy. A fitting end to an enjoyable week!"

24th to 26th Sep – Major crest and hirundine passage; Yellow-browed Warbler & Red-breasted Flycatcher

Chris Dee has sent in further updates as follows:

Sunday 24th: "Miserable morning but cleared later. 2 Pied Flycatchers, 1 Tree Pipit, moderate Swallow passage."

Monday 25th: "Finally a decent day for migration. 300+ Goldcrest, 1,500+ Swallow and 100 House Martin through. 2 Firecrest, 1 Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 1 adult Whitethroat and 2 Stonechat. Richard Berridge also saw 1 Whinchat, 1 Redstart and a Red-breasted Flycatcher on the East Side. One Snipe at Quarter Wall Pond area. Small movement of Meadow Pipit, plus 3 Skylark and 2 Grey Wagtail."

Tuesday 26th: "Very few migrants left on the island, but ringed a Redstart. 1 Sparrowhawk and 1 Hobby through. Also a Pied Flycatcher and a few more Meadow Pipits. No hirundine passage.". A Dotterel was reported from the North End.

Friday, 22 September 2017

18th & 19th September – now updated to 23rd

Chris Dee reports for Mon 18th: "Continued Blackcap, Chiffchaff, & Goldcrest migration. 2,000 Swallow south. Reed Warbler ringed. Over 400 Kittiwake off East Side, harassed by 2 Arctic Skua. Ring Ouzel still present. 2 Teal on Pondsbury. 4 Pied Flycatchers Quarter Wall Copse and Terrace."

Tue 19th: "Big Goldcrest arrival (69 ringed) and more Blackcaps (30 ringed). 1 Spotted Flycatcher. 1 Golden Plover. Same Ring Ouzel. 1 Kestrel."

Update for 20th to 23rd: Nothing much about. Single (but different) Pied Flycatchers on 21st & 22nd; one Snipe on 23rd.

Monday, 18 September 2017

16th & 17th September

Chris Dee reports for Saturday 16th: "Plenty of Blackcaps, 1 Whinchat (ringed), 5 Stonechat, small numbers of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest. Decent hirundine passage."

For Sunday 17th: "25 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Ring Ouzel (ringed), 1 Pied Flycatcher, 25 House Martin, 3 Cormorant. 25 Gannet with c.50 Common Dolphin off the Battery."

Thursday, 14 September 2017

27th August–12th September, including a Buff-breasted Sandpiper

Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports some rather nice birding of late, with the highlight being a Buff-breasted Sandpiper on the Airfield on 11 & 12 September. The bird was first seen by Mark Worden who was over with the Natural England team ringing Manx Shearwaters – though unfortunately they didn’t get out much due to the poor weather conditions! The sandpiper was also seen by Dean, Peter Slader, Tim Frayling, Vicky Gilson, and Dean caught up with it again the next morning before it disappeared.

John Duffy, Tim Adcock and Alan Rosney of Glamorgan Bird Club were on the island from 7th to 9th Sep; their highlights are included in the update below (thanks for your records, guys). They added a Great Skua to their trip list on the their way back to the mainland on the Oldenburg.

Aside from the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, notable records for the period 27th August to 12th September were:

Mallard – 11 on 8th Sep.
Gannet – good numbers on most days, with 40 on 8th Sep being the highest daily count.
Cormorant – good numbers on most days, seven the highest count, on 12th Sep.
Grey Heron – one on 5th Sep.
Water Rail – singles on 8th, 11th & 12th Sep.
Oystercatcher – 12 on 6th Sep.
Curlew: – a single on 1st Sep.
Woodpigeon – peaked at six on 31st Aug & 7th Sep.
Swift – a late bird on 11th Sep.
Merlin – one on 8th Sep and another near Quarry Cottages on 9th.
Marsh Harrier – seen a number of times up until 31st Aug.
Goldcrest – good numbers passing through, with 44 on 9th Sep the highest daily count since the last update.
Firecrest – one on 7th Sep.
Sand Martin – a single on 12th Sep.
Swallow – small numbers on most days, 23 on 9th Sep the highest daily count since the last update.
Chiffchaff – small numbers most days, 11 on 13th Sep the max count since the last update
Willow Warbler – two on 6th, one on 7th, one on 12th & one on 13th Sep.
Blackcap – like Goldcrest, some superb passage, including 60 on 10th & 12th Sep, with many ringed over the past few days.
Garden Warbler – four on 10th and one on 11th Sep.
Whitethroat: – two on 8th Sep.
Sedge Warbler – one on 7th Sep.
Grasshopper Warbler – one on 31st Aug.
Spotted Flycatcher – singles on a few days, three on 8th & 11th Sep.
Pied Flycatcher – six on 27th Aug, three on 3rd and one on 12th Sep.
Wheatear – ten on 8th Sep was the highest count of late.
Grey Wagtail – singles on 9th–12th Sep.
White Wagtail – two on 7th and one on 11th Sep; numerous other alba type wagtails have been over the past few days, including 28 on 30th Aug.
Tree Pipit – singles overhead on 30th Aug, 8th & 10th Sep.
Greenfinch – one on 8th Sep.
Linnet – 120 on 12th Sep was highest daily count since the last update.
Snow Bunting – a single bird on 11th & 12th Sep.

Many thanks for the update, Dean. All the best to you and Zöe for your well-deserved island-hopping trip to Croatia; hope you manage to see those Griffon Vultures!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

27th August – North End Dotterel

One of two juvenile Dotterels photographed at the North End
by David White and Alice Hasted on 27th August.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

26th August – Rose-coloured Starling & late(ish) Swifts

The night of 25th/26th saw 9 adult and 9 Manx Shearwater chicks ringed, whilst the oldest of the 16 adults retrapped was from 2006. Incidentally, a recent shearwater ringing recovery involved an adult ringed by Steve Wing on Lundy in 1996 and found dead (leg only) on the Pembrokeshire island of Skokholm in spring 2017. From the state of the remains, it was thought that the bird had probably died in 2016, but was still over 20 years old.

The main highlight of Saturday 26th August was a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling in Lower Millcombe from 12.00 to 13.30 hrs. It was feeding on the slopes below the Ugly and visiting the walled gardens around Millcombe Gates. Later on it was seen in St Helen's and Tillage Fields.

Other sightings included 3 ad & 2 juv Woodpigeons, 2 Swifts, the Rook, 2 Goldcrests, 20 Sand Martins, 200 Swallows, 2 Chiffchaffs, 40 Willow Warblers, 3 Blackcaps, 10 Whitethroats, 1 Reed Warbler, 30 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Pied Flycatchers, 6 Wheatears and a Tree Pipit calling in flight over Lower Millcombe. Finally, a Grey Heron, flying low over the sea towards Lundy, passed MS Oldenburg just five minutes out from the island on the return crossing to Bideford.

Friday, 25 August 2017

25th August – A compensatory Nightingale

On the night of 24th/25th, Richard & Rebecca Taylor, Rosie Hall and Warden Dean Jones visited the North End, where they caught 18 Storm Petrels (six of which were not sound-lured), including one bearing a ring from elsewhere and one carrying food. They also ringed 14 Manx Shearwater chicks and two adults.

Tony Taylor ringed a first-year Nightingale in Millcombe during the early morning of Friday 25th August, which, as he says, "was some compensation for missing a great night". Many regular Lundy birders will heartily agree as this is the first island record of Nightingale since one was ringed on 1 May 2010. Prior to that, one was seen one in St John's Valley in May 2005, whilst there were two  occurrences in 1996, in May and June respectively. This iconic, charismatic yet elusive species was a more regular passage visitor to Lundy in earlier decades of the twentieth century. Sadly, it became a real rarity as the UK breeding range contracted progressively towards the south-east, though doubtless some go undetected, given their typically skulking behaviour, especially in autumn. Tony's was the tenth Nightingale to be ringed on Lundy.

[NB this entry was updated on 29 August to include mention of the 2010 bird, inadvertently excluded from the original text.]

Thursday, 24 August 2017

22nd to 24th August – Night manoeuvres & daylight reconnaissance as migration gathers pace

At Old Light colony during the night of 21st/22nd, Tony, Richard & Rebecca caught 52 Manx Shearwaters, including 24 retraps, among them chicks ringed in 2007 & 2008. They also caught one Storm Petrel (not sound-lured) "with a big, bare brood patch".

The following night, 22nd/23rd, the team visited the gully north of Sunset Butress (W side of Ackland's Moor) and caught 26 new Manx Shearwaters and three retraps originally ringed in the same area from 2004 onwards. They caught another Storm Petrel, again with no lure and showing a good brood patch.

Movement during the day on Tuesday 22nd included a Buzzard, a few Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, single Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Blackcap, and several Spotted Flycatchers.

Team Shearwater were out again at the Old Light colony on the night of 23rd/24th, when more chicks were starting to emerge. 17 new birds were ringed, along with 10 retrapped adults.

By day on Wednesday 23rd, migrants included 17 Cormorants, a Marsh Harrier, a Goldcrest, 41 Wilow Warblers, 4 Whitethroats, single Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler, 21 Wheatears, 55 Swallows, 20 Sand Martins, 12 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher, a Tree Pipit and the long-staying Rook.

For Thursday 24th Tony reports "a nice tame Dotterel on the Airfield", seen earlier in the day by Alan & Sandra Rowland. Other notable sightings included single Turtle and Collared Doves, 9 Willow Warblers, single Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler, 30 Swallows, 8 Sand Martins and 4 Spotted Flycatchers.

Monday, 21 August 2017

21st August

The night of 20th/21st August saw Richard & Rebecca Taylor clambering about the slope above the Pyramid (West Side), where they caught 14 Manx Shearwaters, of which three were chicks and one had been ringed as a chick at the Old Light colony in 2013.

During the day on Monday 21st, Millcombe held a variety of late summer / early autumn migrants, including 2 Goldcrests, 7 Willow Warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs, 1 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcaps, 5 Spotted Flycatchers and a Tree Pipit.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

20th August – a small influx, including first Tree Pipit of 'autumn'

Overnight on 19th/20th, 14 adult Manx Shearwaters were trapped at the Old Light colony, whilst the morning of 20th brought a single Tree Pipit, nine Swallows, a Whitethroat, three Willow Warblers, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Rook (the Rook!) before the rain set in...

Saturday, 19 August 2017

18th & 19th August – updated

During the night of Thu 17th/Fri 18th Richard & Rebecca Taylor braved wind and showers to ring 30 Manx Shearwaters at the Tibbetts colony; all but one were adults. They also handled two retraps, one of which was originally ringed at the Old Light colony.

Daytime sigthings on 18th included: the Rook, one Chiffchaff, two Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and two Goldcrests.

During the night of Fri 18th/Sat19th: Tony, Richard & Rebecca ringed a further 15 Manxies along the South End, including three chicks, two of which were on the point of fledging.

There were no new arrivals on 19th, but the Marsh Harrier was still present.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

16th & 17th August

Tony Taylor, Richard & Rebecca Taylor and Dean Jones visited the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony during the night of 15th/16th, and ringed one chick and seven adults. They also retrapped six shearwaters ringed on Lundy in previous years, including two ringed as chicks in 2005 and 2013 respectively. During the day on 16th, sightings included three Teal, the Marsh Harrier, a Green Sandpiper, the long-staying Rook, and single Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher. Two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests were ringed.

Thursday 17th proved to be a quiet day, with the more notable sightings involving 7 Cormorants migrating south, the Rook, one Blackcap, one Goldcrest and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

28 July to 15 August – Seawatching and early autumn migration highlights

Warden Dean Jones has managed to fit in some early morning and evening seawatching during the recent run of unsettled weather, recording some impressive numbers and the odd scarcity. Migration of raptors, waders, gulls and landbirds is also underway, with several 'Lundy rarities' putting in recent appearances.

Seawatching:

3rd August 06.30–08.30 hrs, from SW Point

Manx Shearwater 538
Storm Petrel 1
Gannet 145
Shag 5
Kittiwake 19

5th August 18.30 hrs onwards, from North End

Manx Shearwater 10,000+ (all moving N, apart from a rafting flock of c.1,100 birds)
Gannet 100+
Shag 30
Great Skua 1 (in pursuit of Gannets, trying to to force them to regurgitate fish...)

Also at least 5 Storm Petrels coming into their burrows at around half-past midnight, in spite of a full moon.

6th August 06.30–10.00 hrs, from North End

Fulmar 13
Sooty Shearwater 1
Manx Shearwater 1,121
Gannet 136
Great Skua 1 or 2, harrying Kittiwakes
Puffin 1 (likely to be the last record for the year from the island) 
Kittiwake 127

Dean picked out the Sooty Shearwater sitting on the water as he watched "a spectacular mixed species feeding frenzy that started around 7.30am, with numerous Gannets and Manx Shearwaters diving for prey." After 10 minutes or so, the Sooty Shearwater flew off to the east with Manxies.

9th August 07.00–10.00 hrs, from North End

Fulmar 13 
Manx Shearwater 639
Gannet 124
Shag 74
Razorbill 4
Guillemot 1
Kittiwake 86

Also Harbour Porpoise 6

Other notable records from 28 July to 15 August (mainly migrants and post-breeding dispersal):

Little Egret – one in the Devil's Kitchen and Landing Bay area on 13 & 14 Aug (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton)
Marsh Harrier – juvenile on 7 Aug and daily from 9th to 13th (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton et al.)
Ringed Plover – one on 3 & 4 Aug
Whimbrel – singles on 2 & 15 Aug
Turnstone – one in Landing Bay on 29 Jul (Dean Jones)
Common Sandpiper – one on Rat Island on 13 Aug (Dean Jones, Rob & Sue Waterfield)
Guillemot – two on 12 Aug
Black-headed Gull – three juveniles on Rat Island on 13 Aug (Dean Jones)
Woodpigeon – seven on 12 Aug 
Collared Dove – three on 7 & 8 Aug
Swift – one on 31 Jul
Kestrel – singles on 29 Jul and 3 & 4 Aug
Sand Martin – up to three on six dates, 29 Jul to 15 Aug
Willow Warbler – higher counts were six on 4 & 8 Aug and 13 on 12 Aug
Blackcap – singles on 8 & 13 Aug
Whitethroat one on 6 Aug,  two on 7th and one on 13th
Reed Warbler – one on 7 Aug (Dean Jones)
Spotted Flycatcher – two juvs along the Terrace on 4 Aug, two in Millcombe on 12 Aug
Linnet – 100+ on 6 Aug
Crossbill – a juvenile in Millcombe on 10 Aug (R.M.R. James)

In addition, three Sunfish were seen from the island on 6 Aug (Emily Trapnell & Mike Jones), while Tony Taylor and Richard & Rebecca Taylor saw 5 Storm Petrels and good numbers of Guillemot adult-and-chick twosomes from MS Oldenburg on the crossing from Ilfracombe on 15th.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

27th & 28th July sea-watches

Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports a good sea-watch on the morning of 27th July: “No scarce tubenoses or skuas but around 300+ Manx Shearwaters, 23 Gannets and a handful of Shags and Kittiwakes. Watching the Manxies pass through the stormy sea was breathtaking.”

Dean got out again twice on 28th. The morning’s attempt was thwarted by heavy bouts of rain and mist. As Dean says: “There really isn’t much shelter on the SW point in a Force 7 oncoming wind!” However, a combination of a brief morning watch and an afternoon watch produced some 300 Manx Shearwaters, most of which were moving west, 80 Gannets, a single Fulmar and Guillemot and eight Kittiwakes. In addition, Dean had some amazing views of a Storm Petrel very close in off the South End in the afternoon. “I was able to follow the bird for a few minutes as it navigated the towering swell – definitely the highlight of all the birding I’ve done so far on Lundy; a spectacular show it was!”

Dean also had “some smashing views of five Harbour Porpoises feeding in the SW races in the afternoon, and in the morning a pod of 15 Common Dolphins which included two small calves. One of them was way in front of the rest of the pod, launching itself from the swell, seemingly loving life”.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

17th to 25th July – including successful breeding by Spotted Flycatchers

Dean Jones has scoured the Lundy Field Society logbook for the latest July records from the island. As Dean says, "there have been some really nice birds about of late". Along with a Marsh Harrier, perhaps the best news is of successful breeding by a pair of Spotted Flycatchers for the first time since 1997.

Storm Petrel – two on 3rd July seen offshore from the Oldenburg near Bull Point (Martin Thorne) and one on  25th again from the Oldenburg but much closer to Lundy, about 20 minutes out from the island (Dean Jones).
Cormorant – three on 23rd.
Little Egret – one on 23rd (Mike Thurner).
Whimbrel – one on 18th.
Curlew – one over Rat Island on the evening of 25th.
Black-headed Gull – a single 2nd-year bird in the Landing Bay on 25th (Dean Jones).
Cuckoo – singles on (Martin Thorne) and 24th (Philip & Helen Lymbery).
Swift – four on 17th, one on 18th and three on 24th.
Marsh Harrier – seen on a few occasions from North End to the South Light on 23rd & 24th (Philip and Helen Lymbery) and possibly also on 22nd, though noted in the logbook as a female Hen Harrier but with no supporting text or observer name.
Kestrel – one on 23rd & 24th.
Merlin – one on 23rd, normally a very rare summer visitor on Lundy (Martin Thorne).
Rook – the long-staying bird was near the Quarters pig pen on 23rd (Philip & Helen Lambery).
Swallows & Sand Martins – small numbers on most days.
Willow Warbler – five on 17th, seven on 23rd, three on 24th and one on 25th.
Sedge Warbler – one on 17th and one on 23rd.
Spotted Flycatcher – three fledged young being fed by parents in Quarter Wall Copse on 17th (Dean Jones).
Goldfinch – 12 on 25th, ten of which were juveniles.

With wet and windy weather on 26th July and more of the same forecast for the morning of 27th, Dean is contemplating a sea-watch from the south-west. Watch this space!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Storm Petrel fly past

Steve McAusland, working for MARINElife on board MS Oldenburg on 12th July, reports "a Storm Petrel passing by about an hour out from the island". He wasn't sure if this counted as a Lundy bird tick, but he did say that "it was heading in the direction of Lundy!" Who knows, perhaps it was one of the two birds found at North End on 9th July by Warden Dean Jones using a tape call-back!

9th to 13th July – A confusing Starling!

Thanks to House Sparrow researchers Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar and Antje Girndt for sharing their observations and photos from their recent stay on Lundy.
“On 9th July we observed a male Stonechat sitting on a fence-post along the path from the shop down to Millcombe. On 12th we enjoyed close views of a juvenile Teal by Quarter Wall Pond (photo below) and two others, possibly also juveniles, on Pondsbury. On the same we watched what looked like a juvenile Sand Martin sitting on the fence close to the main track at Quarter Wall (photo below), and also 60+ Linnets (mostly juveniles) on the track from the Black Shed to Old Light.
On our last day, 13th, the whole sparrow team were at the campsite from where we were very lucky to hear a Water Rail (our first on Lundy) calling around Pigs Paradise. We tried, unsuccessfully, to locate it using the ‘scope. 
One or two Chiffchaffs were singing every day in Millcombe. Down by the Heligoland Trap on the Terrace a ringed Dunnock was seen and heard singing on 8th and a singing Whitethroat was there on 12th. We saw a Rook (photo below) on several days, always by the pig-sty on the way to Quarter wall.
Lastly an interesting observation. On 10th we were highly confused by a juvenile Starling. At first we really thought we had found a ‘mega’ as we could not identify a starling-like bird with an orange forehead. After a few minutes we realized that it was feeding from flowers, and the orange forehead was the result of accumulated pollen (photo below). Definitely a very interesting and unexpected behaviour!”
With his House Sparrow fieldwork on Lundy now behind him, Alfredo is currently writing up his PhD thesis. Lundy birders wish you every success, Alfredo!

Juvenile Teal. © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
Sand Martin. © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
Male Linnet. © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
Rook. © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar
'Orange-headed' Starling. © Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

2017 summer fieldwork update


Peregrines
Dean Jones reported the finding of two rings from Peregrine kills on 12th July, whilst out with researchers Luke Sutton and Seb Loram. One was from a freshly predated Manx Shearwater ringed as an adult in 29th August 2011. The other ring, an AA ring inscribed HRC365 and found in a pellet on the West Side, came from a very unexpected prey item for a Peregrine: a Long-tailed Tit ringed by Rob Duncan on 3rd April 2016. It was one of a small flock that was on the island that spring, and was perhaps most likely predated when flying along the East Side or even heading off towards the mainland.

Luke Sutton remarks: “Over the seven years I have been studying Peregrine diet in Devon these are the first remains/pellets I've found with rings. So to get two in the space of five minutes was unusual. I've recorded Long-tailed Tit once before at a South Devon coastal site – not much of a meal at just 8 grams! Elsewhere, the remains of a Razorbill pullus found in a Peregrine territory on the West Side suggests that this prey item was taken off a breeding ledge. We have now finished our fieldwork on Peregrine diet. Over the past four seasons we've collected more than 500 prey samples, the largest sample size for any study on coastal Peregrine diet in the UK. Data analysis will start over the winter with the aim of having a paper written by this time next year for publication. My thanks to Seb (Loram) and Ryan (Burrell) for putting in the time and effort to help collect such a substantial sample size.”

Wheatears
Tony Taylor reports an excellent season for breeding Wheatears, in spite of the grim weather during Richard & Rebecca Taylor’s second week on the island in early June. A total of 99 colour-ringed birds were located in the study area (extending from Castle Hill to Halfway Wall), with 51 birds newly colour-ringed (two of them ringed as chicks in 2016) and 48 from previous years. 61% of last year’s birds were re-sighted – a good survival rate for the species – and this may rise if the study team catch up with other birds next year. The estimate for the whole island in 2017 is 121 breeding pairs, the highest so far.

Manx Shearwaters
Tony Taylor arrives on Lundy on 15th August to start the annual autumn ringing programme, which runs from mid-August through to mid-September.

1st to 15th July – Highlights


Lundy Warden Dean Jones provides an update on bird sightings during the first half of July.

Teal – two juveniles on Quarter Wall Pond on 8th.
Fulmar – 64 on 2nd.
Manx Shearwater – 110 past The Battery in a ten-minute count on 12th.
Storm Petrel – two found by tape call-back at North End on 9th.
Gannet – lots throughout the month with a high of 23 off Mouse Island on 14th.
Cormorant – one below Puffin Slope on 9th & 12th.
Grey Heron – singles on 2nd & 6th (Alan & Sandra Rowland) and two juveniles on 7th flying south from St Mark’s Stone.
Water Rail – one calling from Quarters Pond on 13th.
Puffin – 253 on 1st.
Kittiwake – 236 during a ‘round-the-island’ count on 12th and 202 off St Mark’s Stone on 2nd.
Herring Gull – 295 during a ‘round-the-island’ count on 12th.
Lesser Black-backed Gull – 123 during a ‘round-the-island’ count on 12th.
Black-headed Gull – a single juvenile in Gannets’ Bay on 9th.
Common Gull – an adult perched on Mouse Island on 12th.
Great Black-backed Gull – 44 during a ‘round-the-island’ count on 12th.
Woodpigeon – five from 4th–6th.
Collared Dove – one on 4th.
Swift – four on 5th, ten on 6th & six on 9th.
Rook – still present, seen by a number of people on 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th & 12th.
Swallow – small numbers on most days, with 11 on 5th.
House Martin – a single bird on 4th.
Sand Martin – one on 12th and three on 13th.
Chiffchaff – an adult and three juveniles on 3rd.
Whitethroat – a single male singing below the Terrace on 2nd, 9th & 12th.
Stonechat – a male on 9th.
Pied Wagtail – a pair with three chicks in the Landing Bay on 15th.
White Wagtail – one female on 9th.
Linnet – 60 on 12th, the highest count of the month to date.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

15th to 17th June – News of breeding birds

Highlights for Thursday 15th to Saturday 17th June sent in by Chris & Carol Baillie.

Teal – two well-grown ducklings, so an increasingly good chance for successful fledging.
Water Rail – bird calling from Quarters/Pig's Paradise Pond.
Puffin – 253, most of which were ashore, between Jenny's Cove and North End on 16th, with 14 ahore to the south of Jenny's Cove on 17th.
Oystercatcher – two well-grown young on Rat Island.
Kittiwake – the colour-ringed bird wearing a green ring, inscribed in white 'AV', is again nesting in the colony below the western end of Threequarter Wall and had two downy chicks.
Swift – eight heading south over the island in three groups on 17th.
Chiffchaff – three singing males.
Whitethroat – one singing male (recorded by Dean Jones).

Finally, there is a tantalising recent entry in the LFS logbook for a Woodchat Shrike, but unfortunately there are no supporting details. If you were the lucky observer (or know the person that was), please do get in touch so that this important record for Lundy and Devon doesn't slip through the net.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

2nd June – Red-rumped Swallow resighted

In the evening, a Red-rumped Swallow, possibly the same bird as first seen on Saturday 27th, was observed by Tony Taylor, near the South Light.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

1st June – Rose-coloured Starling

Dean Jones reports the finding, by Tony Taylor, of a summer-plumage Rose-coloured Starling in St Helen's field, right next to Barton Cottages. Dean, who managed to capture the photo below, said the "poor wee thing looked wrecked (he/she kept falling asleep on the wall) but all and all in OK looking health".
Rose-coloured Starling, Barton Cottages/St Helen's Field, 1st June. © Dean Jones

28th to 30th May – Long days and nights

Tony Taylor, on Lundy colour-ringing Wheatears by day and ringing Manx Shearwaters by night (and presumably managing to catch some sleep in-between) reports a Reed Warbler and Rook on 28th and 29th, and a Little Egret on 30th (possibly the bird first seen in Landing Bay on 23rd May). The team currently on the island carrying out the count of Manx Shearwater burrows saw a Hobby and seven House Martins at North End on 30th.

On the slopes of the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony, Tony and Richard & Rebecca Taylor have so far caught seven birds ringed as chicks, including one dating back to 2009, and 57 adults. Tony also reports lots of mist!


Saturday, 27 May 2017

27th May – Red-rumped Swallow

A Tweet this evening from Chris Townend, who has just arrived on Lundy to take part in the latest periodic census of Manx Shearwater burrows, brought news of a Red-rumped Swallow:


The bird was also seen above Quarry Beach by Charles Crundwell, who managed to take several long-distance photos of the bird, two of which are included here.


 Red-rumped Swallow, Quarry Beach, 27th May. © Charles Crundwell

In addition, Richard & Rebecca Taylor report lots of Manx Shearwaters and a Storm Petrel on the crossing from Ilfracombe, with a Swift and a singing Collared Dove on the island this afternoon.

20th to 26th May – Two rarities, continued northward migration & news of breeding birds

 Highlights of the past week have included:
  • A Woodchat Shrike along the Lower East Side Path below Tibbetts on Thursday 25th.
  • A Little Egret (Lundy rarity – see record shot below) in the Landing Bay on Tuesday 23rd as MS Oldenburg was leaving.
  • Confirmation of successful breeding by Teal for the third year running.
  • An extremely good night for Manx Shearwaters on 22nd/23rd, with numerous calling birds over Millcombe and St John's Valley and more than 50 handled in the study colony north of Old Light, including three individuals ringed as chicks on Lundy in 2009 and 2013. One of the Manx Shearwater nestboxes checked on 26th contained an incubating bird.
  • Three immature Cormorants thermalling off North East Point before heading for the Welsh coast on 21st.
  • One or two Whimbrels on several dates and a breeding-plumaged Golden Plover on 21st & 22nd.
  • Continuing northward passage of hirundines (especially on 21st), Swifts, Spotted Flycatchers (peaking at 7 on 22nd) and a handful of warblers, among them two Sedge Warblers and several Chiffchaffs, the latter including two mist-netted birds with prominent pollen 'horns' suggesting that they were recently arrived from habitats well to the south of the UK.
  • A Hobby over South West Field and along the West Side on 21st.
  • An influx of seven Collared Doves on 22nd.
  • Further sightings of colour-ringed Wheatears, bringing to 30 the total number of birds ringed in previous years and re-sighted during 2017.
  • Evidence of at least one territorial Water Rail, with persistent calling at night.
  • House Martins visiting crevices on the eastern side of Old House; landing but no sign of nest building as yet.
  • A pair of nest-building Chiffchaffs and potentially territorial Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler (though no females of these species were recorded).
  • 40+ singing Wrens holding territory around the island, including at the North Light and along the West Side.
  • Evidence of a particularly good breeding season for the island's Blackbirds (at least 12 pairs) and Robins (up to 8 pairs).
  • Dunnocks feeding young in Millcombe.
  • Two to three breeding pairs of Pied Wagtail, perhaps four or more pairs of Goldfinch, three Chaffinch territories and Linnets gathering nest material.
Compiled from observations by Ryan Burrell, André & Marie Jo Coutanche, Tim Davis, Chris Dee, Paul & Sue James, Dean Jones, Mike Jones, Tim Jones, Seb Loram, Alan & Sandra Rowland, Ann & Tony Taylor.

 Little Egret, Landing Bay, 23rd May. © Alan Rowland

Friday, 19 May 2017

Photos from the first week of May

Below are some great photos from Joanne Wilby, taken during the week of 29 April to 6 May, when Joanne and husband Andrew were part of a working party that stripped fixtures, fittings and untold years worth of accumulated miscellaneous 'items-that-somebody-must-have-thought-might-come-in-useful-one-day' from the Church, prior to the commencement of restoration and renovation works. The birds must have provided light relief! [Click on images for a closer view.]

Dunlins on main track near Halfway Wall, 6th May © Joanne Wilby
Male Whinchat on Tent Field wall below Old Light, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
Female Yellow & Blue-headed Wagtails, Barton Field, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
Male colour-ringed Wheatear near Jenny's Cove, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
Male Pied Wagtail, Barton Field, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
And finally...

A portrait from another working party stalwart, Alan Rowland, of roosting Dunlins at Kistvaen Pond/Rocket Pole Marsh:

Dunlins at Kistvaen Pond, 6th May © Alan Rowland

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

16th & 17th May – Golden Oriole reported in Millcombe

Yesterday (16th) two different visitors reported seeing a male Golden Oriole in Millcombe during the afternoon, but Dean, the Lundy Warden, didn't get wind of these sightings until passengers were boarding the ship back to Bideford at 6pm. He hunted for the bird shortly after that but had no joy.

This morning (Wednesday 17th), the Golden Oriole was seen flying up St John's Valley from Millcombe at approximately 9.30 am. Dean just missed out, by about 10 minutes, and didn't have any luck catching up with it when he looked in the afternoon. Other birds (all in Millcombe) included a few more Spotted Flycatchers and a Garden Warbler, along with a very late Fieldfare.

Monday, 15 May 2017

13th & 14th May – Two 'possibles' and belated news of a 'definite'...

James McCarthy got in touch via Twitter to say that he'd seen between 25 and 30 Spotted Flycatchers on the island on Saturday 13th (one of the higher springtime counts of recent years), along with a Garden Warbler, three Whitethroats and a Blackcap.

The Devon Birds day-trip on Sunday 14th was blessed with fine weather and a short write-up with some photos are to be found on the Devon Birds sightings page here. The account mentions glimpses of a possible Bonelli's Warbler species (which also got a mention on the UK Rare Bird Alert map) and a possible Red-rumped Swallow; it would be great if anyone with further information about these sightings could get in touch – especially as the Lundy Warden, Dean Jones, is off the island for a couple of days.

Today, we opened an email from Dean, sent on Saturday, which contained news of his sighting earlier that morning of an Eastern Subalpine Warbler in Millcombe (just along from the gate at the top of the 'Steps of Doom' to the side of the Ugly). Unfortunately we were not able to report this in time for the Devon Birds trip. Although Dean enjoyed several seconds of very good, close views before the bird flew off, he was unable to relocate it, despite thorough searching for the next 30 minutes before work duties beckoned.

17 May update: Photographs of the "possible Bonelli's warbler species" mentioned above show that it was actually a Garden Warbler feeding high in the sycamores, where it was reportedly flitting around in a Phylloscopus-like manner, showing off its strikingly white underparts. This is a good example of how staging migrants often show unusual behaviour in exploiting the limited habitat and feeding opportunties available on small islands and coastal headlands, meaning extra care is needed with ID, especially if a rarity is suspected. Many thanks to Devon Birds for helping to clear this one up.