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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.

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

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Fri 17 Nov – Major Starling migration, Mistle Thrush & Snow Bunting

Friday 17th, Tony Taylor's last day on this particular visit, saw a clear, chilly dawn, following the passage of a cold front from the north on Thursday afternoon, with plenty of the birds on the move. Totals for the day were: Merlin 1, Peregrine 2, Skylark 4, Starling 1,260 mainly moving south towards Hartland, Fieldfare 14, Song Thrush 4, Redwing 80, Mistle Thrush 2 (scarce on Lundy), Stonechat 2 (m&f), Meadow Pipit 5, Brambling 3, Chaffinch 70, Linnet 3, Siskin 3 and a Snow Bunting flying over the stonecrusher area.

Tony says: "The raptors were very active, with the Merlin targeting feeding flocks of Starlings and Chaffinches around the Lighthouse Field, a female Peregrine making two unsuccessful attempts on Starling flocks, and a pair cooperating to take a thrush-sized bird, eventually caught after diving from flying high up to low on the west side of Castle Hill. Then came a Raven stealing a bird (and plucking it, still alive) from a male Peregrine that had it on the ground in the Tent Field. The Peregrine mobbed the Raven to no avail."

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Thu 16 Nov – A high count of Common Scoters

Today, 16 Nov, saw 30 Common Scoters moving north up the East Side – one of the higher counts on record for the island in recent years. Otherwise, in Tony Taylor's words, "several species seemed a mix of leftovers from previous days and new movement", and included: 9 Skylarks, a Coal Tit, 18 Fieldfares, 75 Redwings, 2 Stonechats, 8 Bramblings, 95 Chaffinches, a Greenfinch (arriving from the east) and 12 Siskins.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Wed 15 Nov – A quieter day but late news of a Brent Goose on 14th

Tony Taylor reports that today, 15 Nov, was generally quieter, although migrants were still in evidence, including: a lone Golden Plover, 8 Goldcrests, 2 Chiffchaffs, 4 Blackcaps, 8 Fieldfares, 9 Song Thrushes, 90 Redwings, 26 Brambings and 80 Chaffinches. There was no sign of yesterday's Olive-backed Pipit.

Tony has also relayed additional news, from other visitors, for yesterday, 14 Nov: a Brent Goose was flying around the North End, and further Brambling sightings in the north and west of the island resulted in a revised day total of 52!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tue 14 Nov – Olive-backed Pipit and Brambling influx

Tony reports "a very interesting day", ending with an Olive-backed Pipit in St John's Valley; the second confirmed sighting of the autumn, following one on 13 Oct, but there have been tantalizing 'possibles' in recent weeks (see posts for 28/29 Oct and 3 Nov). Bramblings were "amazing: 37 birds, feeding in lots of unexpected places". This is by some margin the highest one-day total since 'The Birds of Lundy' was published in 2007, but still a long way off the all-time record of 510 on 25 Oct 1973! Also of note today were a Great Skua heading south off the East Side, 3 Woodcocks, a Coal Tit in Quarter Wall Copse, a Firecrest in Millcombe, one Blackcap, three Chiffchaffs, 115 Redwings, 16 Fieldfares, a Ring Ouzel in Millcombe, 47 Siskins, 90 Chaffinches and a Reed Bunting. So just as it seemed that migration might be starting to tail off, another wave of new arrivals keeps up the excitement!

Incidentally, there was a notable passage of Bramblings, Chaffinches and thrushes over the North Devon coast near Ilfracombe this morning, in drizzly, murky conditions; clearly part of the same influx noted on Lundy.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Mon 13 Nov – A good variety of migrants still in evidence

Tony Taylor reports a morning movement of thrushes, finches and starlings, including 370 Redwings, 35 Fieldfares, 30 Blackbirds, 10 Song Thrushes, 105 Starlings, at least 105 Chaffinches (though Tony points out that there were probably more around but his attention was focused on ringing), 5 Bramblings, 5 Siskins and a lone Greenfinch. Also logged for the day were: 3 Teal (one, unusually, was in St Helen's Field), a Great Northern Diver, 5 Water Rails (one of which was ringed), 3 Snipe, 2 Merlins, a Firecrest, a Chiffchaff and 3 Blackcaps.