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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.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Sat 17th Feb – A taste of spring

"A beautiful spring-like day" on Saturday 17th February brought a host of interesting sightings, including an influx of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits and an exodus of Redwings, showing that spring passage is already getting underway. Another seasonal first was a Buff-tailed Bumble-bee in flight next to the Upper East Side Path. The following records have been compiled from observations by Dean Jones, Grant Sherman & Martin Thorne.

Great Northern Diver: A single bird was feeding in the Landing Bay during the late morning.
Red-throated Diver: Six were feeding/roosting in the Landing Bay.
Guillemot: 1,541 on the ledges between St Mark’s Stone and Jenny’s Cove.
Razorbill: 600 birds, some on ledges but most out at sea.
Kittiwake: 70 birds, some of which were seen on ledges along the west coast.
Iceland Gull: Presumably the same bird that was seen on Fri 16th was again present on Mouse Island. Prolonged views allowed it to be aged as an adult and though Dean noticed apparent differences in head markings, he couldn't be certain that it was a different individual to the one he saw on 19 Jan.
Snipe: Seven between Quarter Wall and Pondsbury.
Merlin: A single female bird was looking for prey in Tillage Field in the early morning and later in St John’s Valley.
Skylark: There was a very noticeable arrival, with 18 counted during the late morning and early afternoon. These included two small, mobile flocks near Castle Parade and 10 birds "singing their hearts out with some superb in-flight territorial disputes between males" in South West Field (2), Ackland's Moor (4) and between Quarter Wall and Halfway Wall (4).
Meadow Pipit: A small arrival of birds – four were in flight between Tillage Field and the Airstrip.
Redwing: "Seemingly the majority of birds from earlier in the week have cleared out" – only six were seen during coverage of likely habitat south of Halfway Wall.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Highlights for Sat 3rd to Fri 16th Feb – Skylarks start to sing; another Iceland Gull

After a 'blank week', when Lundy Warden Dean Jones was off-island and there were no logbook entries from visitors, highlights during the last few days have included:

Red-throated Diver – six present in the Landing Bay on 12th at around 14:00, followed by four on 15th and six again on 16th; Great Northern Diver – one feeding close in to Rat Island on 14th; Shag – a small southward passage of 13 birds, plus an additional three feeding birds in the Landing Bay, all seen from the Ugly on 12th; Water Rail – Dean reports "rather quiet as of late but I saw two birds chasing each other in Smelly Gully on 15th"; Snipe – three flushed near Quarter Wall on 12th; Iceland Gull – one, thought to be a 3rd-winter bird, was found on Mouse Island, by Martin Thorne, during the early afternoon of 16th (it flew off around Rat Island after being harassed by Herring Gulls, but reappeared in the Landing Bay just 50m off the jetty!); Skylark – two were in South West Field on 15th and this year's first reports of singing birds came from there on 16th and from near the Water Tanks on the same day; Blackbird – max 10 on 15th (Dean notes that numbers of both Blackbirds and Song Thrushes seem to have dropped again); Redwing – 22 scattered between Barton Field and Millcombe on 12th and 14 in Barton Field on 15th; Song Thrush – max seven on 15th; Black Redstart – one below Benjamin's Chair on 15th; and Goldfinch – two birds still regularly around the village area.

The Iceland Gull is the second record for 2018, but only the 10th ever for the island, and follows the sighting of an adult – and therefore a different individual – in Tillage Field on 19 January.

Observations by Dean Jones and Martin Thorne.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Highlights for Tue 30th Jan to Fri 2nd Feb

On Tuesday 30th Jan, Tim Davis and Tim Jones walked the entire island perimeter (including all the ins and outs...) counting birds as they went, starting from the Castle at 8am and getting back there at just after 4pm, after (according to Apple) some 13km and 21,397 steps. Unfortunately, the last section, from the Battery, back south to the Castle, was plagued by incoming thick clag and rain, so sightings for this part of the circuit were negligible. On the plus side, it was calm and sunny on the outbound route via the East Side to North End, and dry and bright along most of the West Side as far as Quarter Wall. The most unexpected sighting was of a female Goldeneye, flying north over the East Side of the island near Tibbetts at around 10.15am. We wondered if it had been on Pondsbury earlier in the morning. There was a single Great Northern Diver again in the Landing Bay and one Red-throated Diver off North Light among feeding Razorbills, Kittiwakes and other gulls. There were 279 Fulmars on the breeding ledges on the north side of Gannets' Rock, at Long Roost and in Jenny's Cove, while Grant Sherman's early morning count of 961 Guillemots on the ledges from Jenny's to St Mark's Stone, when added to what the Tims saw at sites further north, gave a total of just over 1,100 – almost all in full breeding plumage. Conversely, the 38 Razorbills we saw were all in winter plumage and remained offshore. Other higher counts included 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 66 Great Black-backed Gulls and 720 Herring Gulls, as well as 27 Oystercatchers (mainly on the East Side) – the only wader species encountered, and 21 Rock Pipits. The island's breeding Shags have yet to return in any number, with only five seen all day. An adult Cormorant coming into breeding plumage flew north off the East Side and the Coal Tit was in St Helen's Copse as we passed through early on.

Sunrise over South Light on 30 Jan – the start of the perimeter walk © Tim Jones

The last day of January brought blustery NW winds and heavy showers, while February started cold and bright, with plenty of sunshine but a chilly northerly wind, which at least gave a chance for a very soggy island to start drying out. Notable sightings included: four to five Red-throated Divers off Rat Island/South Light on 31st, three Water Rails in Millcombe on 1st, 11 Snipe on 1st, two female-type Black Redstarts at Benjamin's Chair on 31st, two Fieldfares on 2nd and two Meadow Pipits, also on 2nd. The lone overwintering Coal Tit and pair of Goldfinches continued to be seen daily, but there was no sign of the Firecrest after 29th (though it may simply have taken to deeper cover as colder conditions arrived). The same change in the weather, with clear skies at night and a good tail wind for anything wanting to make the short hop to Hartland, seemed to have prompted a partial exodus of thrushes, with numbers of Blackbirds and Redwings noticeably reduced by the end of our visit. On the other hand, numbers of Skylarks appeared to be building up slowly as the first breeding birds return to take up their territories; an almost complete absence, despite thorough searching, was a noticeable feature until the last two or three days. We watched one (first picked up distantly through a telescope whilst seawatching) fly in off the sea at North Light on 30th.

Skylark near Dead Cow Point on 26 Jan © Tim Jones

Flushes of flowering Snowdrops in Millcombe and Primroses in abundance at Quarter Wall Copse, alongside singing Wrens, Robins, Dunnocks, Song Thrush (sub-singing in Millcombe) and Starlings, and a pair of Ravens carrying sticks to their nest site along the East Side on 1st gave a distinct feeling of approaching spring.

Singing male Starling at Barton Cottages, 2 Feb © Tim Jones