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.