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.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

18th to 21st Sep – Ringers' lament!

A new team of bird-ringers set out for the island on Tuesday 18th, full of the joys of autumn and eagerly looking forward to a fortnight's ringing during the peak of migration for many species. Unfortunately the weather had other ideas and three days of relentless gales and lashing rain not only resulted in cancellation of the boat (and transfer to Hartland for helicopters), but also ruled out any chance of mist-netting. It was even a challenge to see a bird at times...

Emerging from his Brambles bunker during a comparative lull in the stormy conditions, Chris Dee reports that it was: "Still windy today (Friday 21st) but managed a little ringing in the most sheltered sites in Millcombe. Sightings included a Sparrowhawk, two Kestrels, a Water Rail, a Ring Ouzel, two Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaffs, three Blackcaps and 25 Goldcrests."

Monday, 17 September 2018

Pics of the Ortolan & Rosy Starling from early Sep

Below are photos of the juvenile/first-winter Ortolan Bunting seen on 2 Sep and the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling on 6 Sep – see the blogs for those dates for further details. Many thanks to Rich & Rebecca Taylor for providing these images.

Ortolan Bunting above Benjamin's Chair, 2 Sep 2018 © Richard Taylor
Juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, Quarters, 6 Sep 2018 © Richard Taylor
Juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, Quarters, 6 Sep 2018 © Richard Taylor

Friday, 14 September 2018

14th Sep – Something of a clear out

The latest news from David & Elisabeth Price, Peter Slader and Nik Ward, reported by David:

"Last night we trekked up to Pyramid Slope [to ring Manx Shearwaters] and with a lot of energy expenditure managed just 12 new juveniles and no adults. Most young had little or no down, and were ready to leave. Felt like it was getting towards the end of the season.

Nothing significant from us in the way of sightings today. Perhaps 15–20 Blackcaps in all, the bulk of yesterday's birds having moved on. Five Goldcrests and just 2–3 Chiffchaffs recorded. One Teal on Pondsbury, 120 Starlings and 80 Linnets noted on unsuccessful walk round to try and relocate the Pectoral Sandpiper. Nik had a single Sand Martin.

Looking a bit blowy for tonight – certainly too much wind for mist-netting Stormies."

The post for 11th & 12th Sep below has been updated with further details of the Buff-breasted Sandpipers, including photos.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

13th Sep – Pectoral Sandpiper still present; fall of Blackcaps

There was no sign of the Buff-breasted Sandpipers – perhaps not surprising after a fine, clear night with a gentle NW – but the Pectoral Sandpiper was seen at Quarter Wall Pond and Brick Field Pond during the late morning by David & Elisabeth Price. The bird subsequently disappeared for a while but was relocated on Quarters Pond by Andrew Jewels at around 2pm, where it remained feeding actively until at least the late afternoon.

The settled overnight conditions had clearly seen many birds on the move and Millcombe was alive with Blackcaps. Nik Ward reports that 39 were ringed, with an estimated 70 present in total, including few outside Millcombe. Other migrants included a small arrival of 5 Goldcrests, 10 Chiffchaffs and 8 Willow Warblers , along with at least 15 Wheatears, a Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher and a Tree Pipit. Diurnal passage included a modest movement of Swallows, a single Sand Martin, around 50 Meadow Pipits and 20 Skylarks. Pondsbury held 5 Snipe and a Teal, whilst at least one Kestrel ranged widely about the island.

Photos below of juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper at Quarters Pond  © Tim Jones

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

11th & 12th Sep – Buff-breasted & Pectoral Sandpipers


News came in late yesterday (via Birdguides and Rare Bird Alert) of two Buff-breasted Sandpipers on Lundy on Tuesday 11th seen by Gareth Bradbury who reports that, "On Tuesday around 1215 I was watching the linnet/meadow pipit flock around the livestock feeders south of where the main track goes through Quarter Wall when the two Buff-breasted Sands flew low in to land just 20m west of the track and 20m south of the Quarter Wall. They immediately started feeding in the grass and offered great views [see photo below]". A logbook entry by Tony & Celia Sawbridge, visitors staying on the island, indicates that both birds had been in the vicinity of the Airfield since Sunday 9th.

Peter Slader reports that the two Buff-breasted Sandpipers were still present this morning (Wednesday 12th), in the Brick Field near Quarter Wall gate and also on the Airfield. An added bonus was provided by a juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper at Quarter Wall and Brick Field Ponds; quite the trio of Nearctic waders! [See additional photos by Nik Ward below.]

Buff-breasted Sandpipers, nr Quarter Wall, 11 Sep © Gareth Bradbury
Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Brick Field, 12 Sep © Nik Ward
Pectoral Sandpiper, Brick Field Pond, 12 Sep © Nik Ward

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

10th & 11th Sep – An influx of migrants ends badly for a Blackcap

David Price writes:

"Monday morning (10th) dawned fine with a small influx of warblers in Millcombe. Perhaps 30 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, 6 Willow Warblers and a single Whitethroat were flitting around, most of them in Smelly Gully. Whilst Nik was watching them, a Sparrowhawk swept across and crashed into the bushes, emerging a few moments later with an unfortunate Blackcap. Two Tree Pipits recorded, a perky Redstart, a Pied Flycatcher and at least two Spotted Flyctachers. Water Rail calling regularly from the gully. Wind really got up in the afternoon and with rain interspersed it once again ruled out any shearwatering last night.

This morning (Tuesday 11th), wind and rain subdued everything, though probably yesterday's migrants had already headed off. The only significant sightings have been a Wheatear, one Spotted Flycatcher hanging on, at least 80 Starlings, and 75 Meadow Pipits feeding near the lambing shed, presumably recently arrived. Weather improving and should be OK for a visit to the Old Light shearwater colony tonight."

8th & 9th Sep – Relatively quiet as new shearwater team arrives

David & Elisabth Price, Peter Slader and Nik Ward arrived on Saturday 8th to continue the ringing of Manx Shearwaters, taking over from Team Taylor. David reports, "An uneventful crossing and quiet Saturday as most of the migrants had moved out." There was also "an inauspicious start for shearwatering, as wind and rain that night precluded any ringing!"

Sunday 9th was again relatively quiet. The best counts for migrants were 6 Willow Warblers, 12 Chiffchaffs, a Whitethroat, a Spotted Flycatcher, a Pied Flycatcher and a Wheatear. Other notable sightings included a female Sparrowhawk and more than 100 Linnets. On Sunday night (9th/10th) the team "scrambled up and down the steep slopes of Pilot's Quay" catching and ringing a creditable 20 shearwaters (18 young and 2 adults). Most of the young had no down and were ready to fledge. David adds that, "Interestingly, whilst sitting quietly on the slopes waiting for it to get dark properly, we saw the silhouettes of at least three Storm Petrels flitter overhead."