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.

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

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.”

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