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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.

Monday, 16 May 2022

9th to 15th May – An excellent spring for breeding passerines and a brief Bluethroat

Another week with mostly beautiful warm and clear days. Some heavy rain on 10th. Moderate westerly wind for the first half of the week with a shift to the east on the 15th.

At least four broods of Mallards were seen this week with families on Pondsbury, Barton Ponds and Church Field gully. A male Teal was seen on Pondsbury on 11th and 15th and a female on the 14th. It has been an excellent week for Swifts with records every day. The highest count was 18 on the 11th. A male Cuckoo was heard on the 9th and another was seen flying over the East Side on the 15th. A male Collared Dove has been singing in Millcombe Valley all week, being briefly joined by a second bird on the 10th.

There was good variety in waders this week. Singles of Golden Plover were recorded on the 13th, 14th and 15th. Whimbrel were recorded on 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th and a Curlew was heard over Ackland’s Moor on the 13th. Last week’s Bar-tailed Godwit was last seen on the 9th in the rush at the west of High Street Field. Single Dunlin were seen on the 14th and 15th, a Common Sandpiper was in the Landing Bay on the 13th and a Purple Sandpiper was present at Brazen Ward at high afternoon tide on the 15th. The first ever May record of Woodcock was on the 13th as one was chased by a Peregrine over Pondsbury. Unfortunately the Peregrine was successful and it carried the Woodcock off towards the West Coast.

Bar-tailed Godwit, High Street Field © Stuart Cossey

Puffins are back along the West Coast in high numbers with a count of 258 around Jenny’s Cove and St Mark’s Cove on the 15th. There was a count of 61 Shag on the 15th and two and three Cormorants were reported on the 9th and 11th respectively. Paul St Pierre and Antony Bellamy of the RSPB are currently on the island undertaking a population census of the gull colonies. This is very important as many coastal gull colonies are declining.

Manx Shearwater, MS Oldenburg © Richard Campey

The pair of Kestrel are still being seen around the south end of the island and a high count of 10 Peregrine on the 15th suggests at least 5 pairs are present. A Merlin was seen on the 13th and 14th near Halfway Wall. Hobby were seen briefly as they flew over on the 11th and 15th. A Hooded Crow was in the Aerogenerator Field on the 12th.

Hooded Crow, Aerogenerator Field © Richard Campey

There have been several days of strong hirundines passage with totals on the 14th of 28 Sand Martins, 1000 Swallows and 200 House Martins. Another high count of Sand Martins was on the 10th with 32 counted.

Although numbers of warblers are dropping off there is still a good variety. Two Wood Warbler were present on the 15th with a male singing in Millcombe and another seen at the bottom of Gannet’s Combe. One or two Willow Warbler were seen on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th. Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler were singing in Millcombe every morning. High counts of six Chiffchaff were on the 13th and 14th and seven Sedge Warblers on the 14th. A Reed Warbler was seen on the 14th, Grasshopper Warblers were present on the 10th, 11th and 14th and three Garden Warblers were recorded with one on 13th and two on the 14th . Blackcaps and Whitethroats were seen every day with the highest counts on the 15th of five and seven respectively.  A female Goldcrest was present in Millcombe from the 9th to the 11th.

Wood Warbler, Millcombe © Richard Campey

It appears to be an excellent year for breeding Starlings. At the moment chicks are calling from nearly every wall and at least 60 nests have been noted around the Village. There are Stonechats breeding all across the island with at least 15 pairs noted. The first fledgling Blackbirds have been seen in Millcombe this week. It seems that the rat eradication was not only beneficial to the seabirds but also for many breeding landbirds.

Spotted Flycatchers have begun to arrive again after a quiet period between the 4th and 9th. Three were seen on the 10th and 11th, six on the 12th, seven on the 13th, eight on the 14th and 15 on the 15th. A female Redstart was recorded on the 13th and a female Whinchat was ringed on the 9th. Low numbers of Wheatear still seem to be heading north through the island with a high count of 35 seen on the 13th. 

Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Richard Campey

Female Whinchat, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

The best bird of the week was a female Bluethroat seen by Tim Davis and Tim Jones on the Lower East Side path below Gannet’s Combe. Flight views clearly showed the classic tail pattern and brief perched views allowed confirmation with a slight blue throat and strong white supercilium.

One Yellow Wagtail was heard on the 14th over the Lodge and then three were counted on the 15th including a Blue-headed Wagtail and male flavissima in Barton Field. Grey Wagtails were heard over the island on the 12th, 14th and 15th and two White Wagtails were seen from 10th to 13th with three on the 14th and one on the 15th. A Tree Pipit was in Millcombe on the 10th and then two were seen in Millcombe on the 12th.

Yellow Wagtail, Barton Field © Richard Campey

Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Richard Campey

Tree Pipit, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Numbers of Linnet are still high for the time of year with a flock of 70+ being seen in Barton Field on the evenings of 13th to 15th. A Hawfinch was in Millcombe Valley on the 13th and Lesser Redpoll were seen in Millcombe on the 12th and 13th.

In non-avian news, other than the usual butterflies, a Painted Lady was seen on the 15th, Peacock on the 12th and Brimstone on the 9th. The first Small Heaths were recorded on the 12th. The first Green Tiger Beetles of the year were seen on the 15th along the West Coast. Highlights from the moth trap include Galium Carpet (first island record), Small Angle Shades and Pale Tussock as well as numerous Marbled Coronet.

Contributors: S Cossey, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, D Kiatley, J Dunning, R Campey, T Davis, T Jones, P St Pierre, A Bellamy, K Dobie, J Boyle.

Monday, 9 May 2022

2nd to 8th May – Main migration starting to slow down

A mostly dry week with slight to moderate westerly and northwesterly winds.

Starting with wildfowl, seven Mallard ducklings were seen on Barton Pond on the 6th only. Unfortunately with the number of Herring Gulls, Crows and Ravens many ducklings do not survive. Teal have been recorded on a number of occasions at Pondsbury suggesting another breeding attempt this year. An adult Shelduck was seen on the sea off Mouse Island on the morning of the 4th. It was then seen again as it flew high around the Landing Bay and off to the south.

The only Swifts of the week were three singles on the 7th. A male Cuckoo was heard singing on the 2nd and 6th and then seen flying around Pondsbury in the 8th. A Water Rail was heard calling at Pondsbury on the evening of the 7th. A number of Collared Doves were seen over the week with a maximum count of four on the 3rd.

There was good wader passage across the week with Whimbrels logged on the 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 8th. Four Dunlin were seen on the 2nd as well as a Greenshank which was first seen on the Pond outside Brambles. The Greenshank was repeatedly seen up to the 7th in Barton Field and was joined by a Bar-tailed Godwit on the 4th. After the Greenshank left the Bar-tailed Godwit was seen in the wet area in the west of High Street Field with a Whimbrel on the 8th. A Common Sandpiper was heard flying over the Tavern at around midnight on the 2nd.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Barton Field © Rosie Ellis

Greenshank, Barton Field © Rosie Ellis

A few birds of prey were noted with a Sparrowhawk on the 3rd and a Red Kite toured the island on the 8th. The best bird of the week is a Hooded Crow that was seen by the Seabird Assistant Laura Pirateque and Assistant Ranger Rachel Bedwin in Lighthouse Field.

Red Kite, East Coast © Stuart Cossey

The hirundine passage varied throughout the week with an estimated 4000 Swallows on the 2nd dropping off to 30 to 40 on the 7th and 8th. Low numbers of Sand Martins and House Martins were seen with max counts on the 4th of 16 and 21 respectively.

Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff numbers are slowly dropping as most birds are now on breeding territory and no longer migrating through the island. The 3rd was the best day with 20 Willow Warblers, 10 Chiffchaff, 15 Sedge Warbler, two Reed Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, 30 Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and two Common Whitethroat. Two Reed Warbler were also present on the 2nd as well as two Grasshopper Warbler. Garden Warblers were seen on the 7th and 8th and Lesser Whitethroat were also recorded on the 2nd and 8th. Also of interest was a late female Firecrest that was ringed in Millcombe on the 7th.

Spotted Flycatchers were only seen in the first part of the week with one on the 2nd and five on the 3rd. A male Whinchat was seen along the Upper East path on the 8th. Stonechats are busy feeding chicks all across the island with an estimated 10 pairs. A Grey Wagtail was seen down in the Landing Bay on the 8th. Alba Wagtails still seem to be on the move with a total of seven Pied Wagtails on the 4th and a White Wagtail seen on the 7th and 8th in Barton Field.

Most finches appear to be paired up with at least two pairs of Chaffinch in Millcombe. Goldfinch counts are still fluctuating with a high count of 25 on the 4th, though regularly eight are in Millcombe. Two Siskin were seen on the 2nd and a single male was present on the 4th. Linnets are breeding in good numbers across the island, however flocks are still being seen with max counts of almost 60 on the 4th, 7th and 8th. A female Hawfinch was ringed in Millcombe on the 2nd and then retrapped on the 3rd after it had put on 2g weight. This is probably a bird that has spent the winter in the UK and will be heading back to Europe to breed.

The female Snow Bunting that was first seen on the 1st by Quarter Wall was present up to the 8th but was mobile. It was frequently by Quarter Wall but also seen by the Old Hospital and up towards Halfway Wall.

Contributors: S Cossey, C Dee, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, D Kiatley, J Dunning

Monday, 2 May 2022

25th April to 1st May – Easterlies continue to bring in some interesting birds

 25 April

Clear with strong easterly wind

A few common migrants were seen in Millcombe during the morning census. Two Whitethroat were seen, a Sedge Warbler was singing by Millcombe Pond and female Redstart was up by the Casbah. The morning census continued up the track towards Old Light. A Chiffchaff was seen on the fence line by the gate at the burn site. Further up the track a small warbler was seen flying strongly down the wall. Fortunately it landed briefly on the wall so to see the bright white underparts. The immediate thought was Bonelli’s Warbler. Some record shots were taken before it flew over the other side of the wall and despite a search appeared to have gone. Without hearing a call it is very difficult to determine to species level.  But enough diagnostic features were seen to confirm it was one of these rare migrants to the UK. Western Bonelli’s Warbler breed in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, whereas the Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler is found in Greece and Turkey during summer.

Bonelli's Warbler, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

Female Redstart, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Dunlin, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey

Other birds of note were a Dunlin in the pond in Brick Field, a male Kestrel, a Grasshopper Warber and a male Ring Ouzel. The male Blue-headed Wagtail was joined briefly by a Yellow Wagtail.

26 April

Continued strong easterly wind.

An unseasonal Treecreeper was seen briefly in Millcombe along with a female Pied Flycatcher. Two Shelduck were then seen flying over Benjamin’s Chair and were seen drifting east off the Rattles. From there until Quarter Wall it was mainly Wheatear and Skylark seen. Walking along Quarter Wall an Eastern Subalpine Warbler hopped out of the Brambles. It was a male with a lovely blue-grey back and brick red throat. It was very flighty but was seen well on multiple occasions as it moved along the wall between scrub and then moved off towards the Terrace.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Pied Flycatcher, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Also seen were a male and female Redstart, the Blue-headed Wagtail in Barton Field, a male Greenfinch and two Grasshopper Warblers

27 April

Warm and sunny with a moderate southeasterly wind

The first Mallard Ducklings of the year were spotted and a positively huge number of Wheatears were seen all around the island, with 39 seen on the bird survey, and a total of 140 across the entire island. A Whimbrel and two Swift were recorded along with the 30 Sand Martin, 75 House Martin and 4200 Swallow zooming up both sides of the island. Two Sedge Warblers joined the 10 Willow Warblers and 10 Chiffchaff along with 30 Blackcap and five Common Whitethroat and a Pied Flycatcher. Birds of prey seen included a Kestrel and a Merlin. Two Whimbrel were seen by Tent Field.

Whimbrel, Tent Field © Laura Piratique

In the afternoon the warden team took a journey past Jenny’s Cove to Aztec bay to check on the Kittiwake colonies to be studied. A Ringed Plover was flushed off Middle Park on the way. Nest building was making good progress in some cases and less so in others! Fingers crossed for better productivity for the gulls this year, with 60 spotted at this site but no doubt more over the whole island.

Conservation team at Aztec Bay © Rosie Ellis

The highlight of the day was finding the first egg in one of the nest boxes at the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony.

After a great afternoon with so much to look forward to, we were brought down to earth with a bump with a sighting of a “Substantial rat” in the time keepers hut by a concerned visitor [so far no concrete signs and RSPB have been to check]. The biosecurity plan activated, interviews and the grid set up ensued. Many thanks to all the team for setting up the grid before nightfall. A nervous evening waiting for camera traps, ink traps and nibble marks to confirm or calm our fears.

28 April

A strong cold breeze from the southeast.

A morning survey showed relatively few birds, on the airfield most birds present were huddled in the ditches and out of the way of the wind. The only exceptions were the male wheatears, presumably to defend their turf from a would-be rival. A Water Rail was heard in the valley after a very quiet few weeks.

The camera traps in the time keepers hut had revealed nothing yet and the surveillance grid extended in the quarries area.

Visible migration was much reduced with 3 Swift, 53 Swallow, 14 Sand Martin and five House Martin and one Lesser Whitethroat. The Merlin is still being seen on the island hunting Skylark.

A Puffin survey at 11:30 revealed sixty three birds on the observed slope and 43 out on the water of the cove.

Jenny’s Cove was surveyed, and yielded the usual sightings of Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot, Kittiwake and Fulmar. A Peregrine was observed amidst the puffin burrows, possibly having claimed a prey item. A few pairs of Wheatear were displaying on the slopes of the cove.

29 April

A light wind from the east

Migration picked up again with a Curlew heard calling over the Church and a total of four Whimbrel. A Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper and Lesser Whitethroat were seen.  It was a good day for ringing in Millcombe with 16 Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler and a Reed Warbler ringed. A swift was observed at southwest point and a Sparrowhawk was present. A Siskin was seen near Brambles Villa.

The camera, ink traps and monitoring stations all revealed nothing but ants, slugs and Pygmy Shrews.

House Sparrow, Village © Zach Wait

30 April

Overcast with a slight wind from the southeast

Morning survey revealed a large array of birds, including a Peregrine, two Grasshopper Warblers and a pair of Kestrels. 18+ Sand Martins were observed and three were ringed in the nets at the Bramble accommodation.  Approximately 150 Swallows were observed throughout the day. A Ring Ouzel was also spotted in the morning near Millcombe, and a Common Sandpiper was spotted near the landing bay. A Hawfinch was noticed flying over Millcombe valley.  A Bar-tailed Godwit was seen at the Devil’s Kitchen by Lundy ambassador Frances Stuart and at around 5pm, a Great Northern Diver was sighted off the East Coast, near the Timekeeper’s Hut.

Sand Martin © Zach Wait

Very relieved with the arrival of Jaclyn Pearson from RSPBs biosecurity for life to check our grid and for signs of rats. Eternal gratitude to Jaclyn, the volunteers along with the Sparrow’s project’s Hope Belsham Clay, Meaghan Kendall and the Boy’s Brigade for their help checking the grid for any signs of rats, a fun evening spent checking bones, driftwood and plastic for any nibble marks, with nothing found.

1 May

Rain and wind from the west

The morning survey showed a variety of birds around the southern quarter, including a Whimbrel and two Lesser Whitethroats. Other waders included a Curlew flying over the Quarries. Four Gannets were observed around the landing bay.

The first Cuckoo of the season was sighted around Millcombe.  A Reed Warbler was ringed and a Tree Pipit heard flying over. A Harbour Porpoise was seen off the jetty. Thankfully there is still no sign of a rat.

Many Thanks to Rob Duncan and  for their sightings, enthusiasm demonstrations and talks for visiting university group and visitors, Jamie Dunning for his help with the morning census, birder’s ear and rhododendron searching and all the boy’s brigade for their help and understanding with the biosecurity monitoring.

Monday, 25 April 2022

18th to 24th April – A classic spring week with plenty of new arrivals

The start of the week was sunny with a moderate westerly winds. The wind picked up towards the end of the week and was blowing from the east. On some days the wind died down in the afternoon

A Collared Dove was seen in the Village and Millcombe on 18th and another on 23rd and 24th. A Stock Dove was seen over South West Field on the 22nd. The highest count of Woodpigeon this week was nine on the 22nd.

The first real movement of waders was logged this week with two Whimbrel on Rat Island on the 20th. Five species of wader were then recorded on the 23rd. Along with the usual Oystercatchers around the island, a Ringed Plover was seen on the track by South West Field and was heard calling around the area for most of the morning. A total of four Whimbrel were seen with two in off Benjamin’s Chair, one in the Landing Bay and one landing in front of Stoneycroft. A Snipe flew over Barton Field and a Common Sandpiper was seen down on the Landing Beach. Another Snipe was seen on the 24th up by John O’Groats house.

Common Sandpiper, Landing Beach © Stuart Cossey

Ringed Plover, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

Counts of seabirds have been increasing throughout the week approximately 10,000 Guillemots, 3000 Razorbill, 124 Puffin, 45 Fulmar, 68 Shag and 90 Kittiwake recorded during a full count on the 24th. With the dark evenings, large numbers of Manx Shearwater have been coming to land. Nine new birds were ringed during a short session on the 22nd and another ten were retrapped. The oldest bird caught was ringed in 2012 so quite young compared to the oldest ever found which was 50.

Razorbill, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

Puffin, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

A number of birds of prey have been sticking around this week. A pair of Kestrel have been seen along the East Coast and Castle Hill and may well be breeding on the island. A Sparrowhawk has been seen on the 19th, 22nd and 24th and a female Merlin has been recorded on 19th, 21st and 24th. A Hen Harrier was reported on the 18th over Quarter Wall.

A Rook was seen flying in over Castle Hill on the 19th and a high count of 20 Carrion Crows were seen on the 23rd.

The number of hirundines moving through has been gradually increasingly with many seen heading south rather than north during the easterly winds towards the end of the week. High counts of Sand Martins were nine on 19th and 24th and there were 18 House Martin counted on the 24th. Steady passage of Swallows was seen with 75 on the 18th, 46 on 20th and 91 on 24th.

The number of Willow Warblers and Blackcaps has reduced from last week’s high counts of 60 and 150. This week the most Willow Warblers seen was 10 and only 15 Blackcaps. A very grey tristis type Chiffchaff was seen on the Terrace on the 20th. Although there were lower numbers, new birds have started to arrive with Sedge Warblers seen on the 23rd and 24th, Lesser Whitethroat on the 20th and one singing on the 24th, two Common Whitethroats were seen on the 22nd and 24th and a Reed Warbler was by Pondsbury on the 24th. A Grasshopper Warbler was ringed in Millcombe on the 23rd.

Common Whitethroat, Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey

Lesser Whitethroat, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

A female Ring Ouzel was seen by the Pig Sties on the 21st and the male Song Thrush continues to sing in Millcombe. A male Common Redstart was on the wall by South West Field on the 18th and a female was above Benjamin’s Chair on the 23rd. The first Whinchat of the year was seen on the 14th foraging along Quarter Wall. Stonechats appear to be doing well with this year with at least eight pairs on the island. A female with food was seen on the East Side meaning it won’t be long before the first chicks fledge. It has been increasingly busy with Wheatear all across the island in the last few days. At least 93 were seen on the 24th with 14 just on Pointless Wall. Many of these were of the larger and brighter Greenland race which will continue north to breed in Greenland and Canada before heading back to Sub-Saharan Africa in autumn.  

Female Ring Ouzel, Pig Sty © Stuart Cossey

Whinchat, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Wheatears, Pointless Wall © Stuart Cossey

Meadow Pipits are mostly now on territory and singing across the island with only a few small flocks likely to be continuing north to breed. A Tree Pipit was seen in Millcombe on 19th and a stunning male Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail was foraging around the Lundy Ponies on Barton Field on the afternoon of the 24th. A White Wagtail was also seen on the 24th.

Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

The highlight of the week in terms of finches was a female Hawfinch ringed in Millcombe on the 18th and seen again on the 21st. Goldfinches were still passing through the island with 34 counted on the 18th. Linnets are showing signs of breeding with singing males in a few locations and females collecting nesting material. Others are still migrating though with counts of 49 on the 19th, 62 on 22nd and 79 on 24th. A male Siskin was seen on the 19th and 21st. At least two breeding pairs of Chaffinch are in Millcombe.

Female Hawfinch, Millcombe © Chris Dee

Contributors: S Cossey, C Dee, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, K Annison, D Dowding, P Bullock, J Cox and M and J Webber.

Monday, 18 April 2022

11th to 17th April – Uncommon spring migrants and excellent ringing days

11 April

Overcast with strong easterly winds.

Strong winds in the morning meant that the morning census was quiet but migration picked up in the afternoon with the first Whitethroat of the year seen in Millcombe Valley. Other warblers seen included four Willow Warblers, one Chiffchaff and 13 male and six female Blackcaps.

Other birds seen include a Dunlin at Pondsbury, a female Merlin, five Swallows and 122 Meadow Pipit including a flocks of 46 and 60.

12 April

Overcast and wet in the morning with moderate westerly winds. Warm and bright in the afternoon.

An excellent day for birds on Lundy. The combination of morning rain and sunny afternoon produced some interesting migrants.

Millcombe was fairly quiet first thing with nine Willow Warblers, six Chiffchaff and 11 male and two female Blackcaps seen. A female Ring Ouzel was seen below Government. Further up the island, a Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit flew over Quarter Wall and four Sand Martin, two Swallows and two House Martin were recorded.

Whilst walking up from the Landing Bay with some students a Sandwich Tern was seen close to the shore. The walk then went to Jenny’s Cove where Warden Rosie pointed out a small grey bird rafting with the Kittiwakes. It was distant but scope and flight views confirmed it as a Grey Phalarope. Only the 15th Lundy record and the first April record.

At Pondsbury were a male and two female Teal, two calling Water Rail, a Snipe  and most unusually a Sanderling. A female Merlin was also seen.

Female Merlin, West Coast © Stuart Cossey

To finish of the day a pair of Canada Geese circled over MS Oldenburg as she was departing and a Redwing went in to roost in Gorse above Quarter Wall Copse.

Other migrants seen included 91 Meadow Pipit, 20 Goldfinch and 41 Linnet.

13 April

Poor visibility all day with light southwesterly winds

Very poor visibility reduced the number of migrant birds seen to nine Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff and eight Blackcaps. A total of 39 Linnet were seen with many of these now likely to be resident birds with a number of male singing amongst the Gorse.

Ringing totals: 6 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 21 Blackcap

14 April

Overcast with light winds from the south

A busier day after yesterday’s fog. Three Grasshopper Warblers were hear ‘reeling’. One was by Rocket Pole, another by Pointless Wall and the third was in Millcombe. Other warblers recorded include 30 Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff and 45 Blackcaps. A male Redstart was new in today and was seen foraging along the wall in South West Field.

Male Redstart, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

Whilst showing guests Puffins at Jenny’s Cove, a Collared Dove landed on one of the Cheeses before heading north tailed by a Peregrine. At the end of the day a Tree Pipit was seen in Millcombe.

Collared Dove, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

Other birds of note include a Kestrel, 57 Sand Martin, 19 Swallows, 38 Goldfinch and 28 Linnet.

Ringing totals: 15 Willow Warbler, 13 Chiffchaff, 35 Blackcap including one with a Danish ring, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Robin, 1 Linnet

15 April

Warm with continued light winds from the south.

A busy day for warbler migration with totals of 40 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, two Grasshopper Warbler and 60 Blackcaps. Other migrating birds included six Sand Martin, five Swallows, seven House Martin and a Yellow Wagtail in Barton Field. Finches were also on the move with 38 Goldfinch, two Siskin and 53 Linnet recorded.

A Great Northern Diver was off the East Coast, a Sparrowhawk flew along the Terrace and a female Merlin and Kestrel were over Ackland’s Moor.

Ringing totals: 24 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 57 Blackcap, 1 Robin, 4 Goldfinch, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Stonechat

Sedge Warbler, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

16 April

Calm with slight southerly winds. The hottest day of the year so far with temperatures hitting 16°C.

It was a busy day in Millcombe with warblers everywhere. The final counts across the island were 60 Willow Warblers, 30 Chiffchaff and 150 Blackcap. A Whitethroat was also heard calling at Pondsbury.

At Jenny’s Cove the seabird counts are still low with 140 Kittiwake, 700 Guillemot, 200 Razorbill, 51 Puffin and 42 Fulmar. Other birds of note include a Kestrel over Ackland’s Moor, two Sand Martin, three Swallows, a House Martin and 38 Linnet.

Non avian news a Hummingbird Hawkmoth was unfortunately found dead in the Tavern. This typically day-flying species often migrates to the UK from Southern Europe. Usually fast fliers, this gave a good opportunity to see the species up close.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth © Stuart Cossey

Ringing totals: 47 Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, 104 Blackcap, 3 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Song Thrush

17 April

Overcast with moderate winds from the southwest.

On the morning census a female Marsh Harrier was seen flying north towards Pondsbury. It was then seen heading east over Brick Field mobbed by 12 Herring Gulls. A Collared Dove was sitting on Quarter Wall.

Female Marsh Harrier, Quarter Wall  © Stuart Cossey

It was a slow start to the day with the majority warbler arrival picking up in the afternoon. Totals of 50 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff and 50 Blackcap were recorded. Though the Terrace seemed to be the place to be with Sparrowhawk, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Goldcrest recorded in the Willows. Other migrants include four Sand Martin, 12 Swallows and 41 Linnets.

Numbers of Wheatear have also picked up today with 20 seen away from breeding areas. There also a few individuals showing traits of the Greenland race. These birds were larger and had brighter chests. Greenland Wheatears have one of the longest migratory routes of any land bird, each year traveling from Sub-Saharan Africa to Greenland or Northern Canada to breed.

Ringing totals: 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 17 Blackcap, 2 Goldfinch

Contributors: S Cossey, C Dee, T Taylor, A Taylor, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, S Prettyman, P Murrell, D Dowding, J Cox, P Bullock

Monday, 11 April 2022

4th to 10th April – An odd arrival of geese and Swallows arrive in strength

 4 April

Westerly winds with low cloud and rain all day.

There was very poor visibility today but there was still some visible migration with what is likely to be the last Redwing and Fieldfare of the spring. A total of 66 Redwing were counted across the island with a flock of 40 seen in Millcombe. Four Fieldfare and two Mistle Thrush were also recorded. A Jack Snipe was recorded and only four Willow Warblers and two Chiffchaff were seen. 

5 April

Overcast with moderate westerly winds. 

A varied day with migrating birds including eight Swallow a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff. A few finches were on the move with15 Chaffinches and a Brambling recorded. A Snow Bunting was heard flying over Rocket Pole and a Great Northern Diver was in the Landing Bay.

There were a few small birds of prey around including a Sparrowhawk and a female Merlin. A total of seven Common Scoter were seen from the MS Oldenburg during the crossing to Lundy along with numerous Manx Shearwater.

6 April

Strong winds from west with occasional rain and hail.

A quiet day with a four Swallow and a Chiffchaff the only notable migrating birds. There were fewer finches moving too with only two Chaffinch and a Brambling. The Great Northern Diver was still in the Landing Bay and a Merlin was seen. 

7 April

Clear with continued strong winds from the west. 

It was a still day out of the wind on the East Coast with a Bullfinch calling in Millcombe and the female Great Spotted Woodpecker still in Quarter Wall Copse. A single Tree Pipit was on the ground by Quarter Wall Gate. The Great Northern Diver was still regularly feeding in the Landing Bay. It was otherwise quiet with only one Swallow, a Chiffchaff, a male Blackcap and a Goldcrest.

8 April

Overcast with winds from northeast

There was a better wind direction for migration with two House Martin, six Swallow, 40 Meadow Pipits, a Brambling, 43 Linnets and a Lesser Redpoll seen. Five Willow Warblers, two Chiffchaff and six male Blackcap were in Millcombe. Along the West Coast nine male and four female Wheatear were counted. Also of note was a Merlin, male Kestrel and a Cormorant flying north. The Great Northern Diver remains in the Landing Bay.

The first Breeding Bird Survey of the year was completed this morning. This involves mapping the singing and resident breeding birds to monitor how many pairs are on the island. Surveys will also be done in May and June. The Manx Shearwater nest boxes were also checked with one box containing the pair that were successful last year. 

9 April

Clear and warm with moderate winds from northwest

It seemed to be a day for uncommon island birds. A pair of Canada Geese was seen in Barton Field before flying north. This is only the 18th record for the island. Other birds that are more common on the mainland include a Collared Dove in the Village and a Greenfinch in Millcombe. There seemed to be a slight passage of hirundines with a Sand Martin, two House Martin and ten Swallows. Three Willow Warblers and eight male and two female Blackcap were seen in Millcombe.

Canada Geese, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

Linnets are still on the move with 47 counted across the island. Also of note were five Cormorant flying north, a Black Redstart, a male and female Kestrel and a Merlin.

10 April

Clear and bright with moderate southeasterly winds 

The best bird of today was the 12th island record for Barnacle Goose. The bird flew in over Tent Field calling before circling with Herring Gulls. The Collared Dove remained in the Village and the female Great Spotted Woodpecker was on the Terrace.

Barnacle Goose © Stuart Cossey

Birds were arriving throughout the day aided by the southeasterly wind direction. There was a constant stream of Swallows with at least 109 counted along with 17 House Martin and 7 Sand Martin. Warblers were also present in high numbers. There were Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff all across the island including several feeding in the rocks at the North End. Final counts were 19 Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, ten male and five female Blackcap and a Goldcrest. A total of 74 Meadow Pipits were seen with a large flock of 54 in High Street Field. Goldfinch and Linnets were also on the move with counts of 25 and 55 respectively. Along the West Coast 18 male and five female Wheatear were seen along with two female Ring Ouzel above Jenny’s Cove and four White Wagtails.

Female Ring Ouzel, Jenny's Cove © Stuart Cossey

Chiffchaff, North End © Stuart Cossey

Other birds of note include a Golden Plover, Grey Heron, female Kestrel and a male Merlin.

Contributors: S Cossey, C Dee, T Taylor, A Taylor, J Dunning, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, S Prettyman