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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.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

A New Decade of Lundy Birding - December 23rd 2019 – January 14th 2020

Calm before the storm; Storm Brendan picking up pace 13th Jan © Dean Jones

Happy New Year Lundy Bird Blog readers!

Highlights from the past three weeks include the re-appearance of the first winter Iceland Gull on December 26th, spotted by Philip Lymbery next to Acklands Moor Marsh. Another first winter bird (perhaps the same bird again), was also seen flying past the North Lighthouse on the December 31st.

Red-throated Divers have now turned up along the east coast albeit in much smaller numbers than the past two winters with singles on the 5th, 6th, two birds on the 10th and three on the 8th.

One of the most surprising observations of this period had to be the continued presence of a Manx Shearwater offshore on the east coast in December. Here a bird, probably the same seen on December 22nd was observed foraging between the swell on both December 29th and again on the December 31st (Dean Jones & Philip Lymbery).

Good numbers of Gannet, Guillemot and Razorbill have also been seen offshore throughout, as has a Cormorant on January 2nd, a Great Northern Diver most days in its favoured spot NE of Rat Island, singles of Harbour Porpoise on days and a delightful pod of ten Common Dolphin on the 10th – which included a small calf. Kittiwakes too have been present in decent numbers pretty much every day (max 518 on Jan 13th) feeding on the odd floating morsel and chasing small shoals of bait fish accompanied by good numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls, up to four Common Gulls and six Mediterranean Gulls on days.

Great Northern Diver in Landing Bay - 29th Dec © Dean Jones
Other sightings of note include a count of 19 Teal on Ponsbury on December 26th, up to two Water Rail which have been hiding out in Smelly Gully and the stream next to Millcombe, a Golden Plover on December 31st, 17 Snipe on the 26th, two Woodpigeon most days, up to five Skylark feeding together in Tillage Field, a Chiffchaff on the January 10th (collybita), up to two Goldcrest, one of which was in full song in upper Millcombe on January 3rd, a Black Redstart on the Camping Field gate on January 10th, up to two Stonechat most days, a Pied Wagtail on January 5th, small numbers of Blackbird (12), Song Thrush (3), Goldfinch (3) and Chaffinch (6) along with singles of Redwing on a number of days within the period.

Report composed of sightings from Rosie Ellis, Dean Jones and Philip Lymbery.

Monday, 23 December 2019

5th - 22nd December 2019

The darkest day of the year has come and gone and Lundy is now very much enveloped in a mid-winter embrace.

A squall passing overhead © Dean Jones
Weather wise, it has been another mixed bag but has mostly been wet and windy, give or take a few settled, milder afternoons. In fact so much rainfall has fallen on the island already this month that we have already surpassed the mean total rainfall for December (1971 – 2018), which has resulted in the island’s shallow soils - particularly in the plateau - becoming absolutely saturated, creating small pools and ponds all over the island and miniature flowing burns along coastal paths. 

Acklands Moor Marsh too has continued to swell, spreading out to areas on both sides of High Street Field wall (to the delight of the gulls), so much so that it is now contending for the title of largest body of freshwater on the island (look out Pondsbury)! 

Acklands Moor Marsh - all we need now is a visitng Spoonbill from
the nearby Isley Marsh © Dean Jones
But despite the frequent squalls creating less than perfect conditions for birding (it is hard to sneak up on the wary gulls in brick field due to the noisy squelches from leaky welly boots), the rain clouds and the afternoon light have provided some beautiful wintery skyscapes at times, complete with breath-taking, technicoloured rainbows on one or two special days. 

Whilst out on my soggy adventures - unsurprisingly being winter - it is noticeably quieter on the island bird wise. Though saying that; there are still some wondrous winter encounters to be had for those willing to venture out in the cold.

Like the numerous conspicuous Rock Pipits which have moved up from their seaside settings to feed between the livestock up and around the farm fields. Flocks of Herring Gull and Carrion Crow have now banded together to chase the Farmer each morning as he lays down feed for the sheep. Up to six dapper drake Teal have been busy pulling out all the moves to an audience of 12 ducks on Pondsbury – spring is already in the air for some! Guillemots have too been periodically gracing their guano enriched podiums, particularly at Long Roost. Then out at sea, we’ve had flocks of feeding Kittiwake, small numbers of Harbour Porpoise, a very late Manx Shearwater (one past the North Lighthouse on the 22nd) and a delightful Great Northern Diver most days - patrolling the shallows of the Landing Bay in hope for a hearty catch.

Other than these, there has been a very small number of Chaffinch present, mostly around the Millcombe area, as well as a pair of Goldfinch which have been frequenting Sue’s feeder - adding a welcome splash of colour to the dreary winter days.

Fieldfare, Redwing and Song Thrush are still trickling through too in small numbers, stopping over briefly in Barton’s Field to probe the damp in fields for juicy Oligochaetes to fuel their remaining journeys south.
Singles of Goldcrest have also been reported on a number of days, somehow finding enough food to sustain their energetic lifestyles in the skeleton canopies in Millcombe and Quarterwall copse. Oh, and the odd Meadow Pipit and up to five Skylark have also been reported on days, hiding out in the lee of towering tussocks further up the island. 

Rudolf the red-breasted Robin - carolling away in Millcombe Valley © Dean Jones
With the holidays just around the corner I would once again like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who visited Lundy this year as well as all those who have contributed sightings to the Lundy Field Society Logbook and the Lundy Birds Blog. It has been a truly spectacular year of birds, birders and happy times.
A very Merry Christmas to you all!

All the very best, Dean Woodfin Jones

P.S. On 23rd Dec there was a first winter Iceland Gull this morning and 3 Great Northern Divers in the landing bay. 

Record shot of first winter Iceland Gull © Dean Jones 

Thursday, 5 December 2019

25th Nov to 4th Dec – Glorious sunsets (and birds) as winter arrives

November 25th – December 4th

It is starting to feel much more like winter on Lundy this week, especially now that the Christmas decorations and twinkling fairy lights have come out of storage and dressed around the windows of the General Stores. Christmas cards and presents too are arriving and filling pigeon holes by the sackful, and overnight – with the temperatures dropping to just below freezing – carpets of frost are forming over the last of the decomposing waxcaps on the plateau. 

Weather-wise this week and a bit has been a tale of two halves, with the stormy weather from the last post raging on up to the end of November. Come the turn of the month however, the strong winds dropped to a very welcome breeze, the dreary rain-laden clouds dispersed into beautiful sunshine, and with it, excellent visibility, glorious sunsets and some slightly warmer temperatures during the daylight hours (but not enough to prevent the long-johns from being unpacked from summer storage).

Onto the birds!

Highlights from the period include a passing flock of five Whooper Swan on 3rd December, seen flying south along the east coast by Assistant Warden Rosie Ellis in the late morning.

Whooper Swans, East Side, 3rd Dec © Rosie Ellis

Red-throated Divers have started to arrive off the east coast now too, with two flying south past the Landing Bay on the 28th and one feeding close in to the Ugly on the 2nd. Additional high points include a Lapland Bunting which was seen and heard in flight over Ackland’s Moor on the 1st and singles of Snow Bunting on six days within this period.

A number of Jack Snipe have also graced the island, with singles flushed on the 27th and 29th, and last but by no means least a Lapwing was present on Ackland’s Moor on 1st December – the first since 2nd February (a very poor year for these beautiful birds on Lundy).

The good numbers of feeding Gannet have continued since the last post (max 105 on the 1st), along with good numbers of Herring Gull (max 600 on the 4th) and auks (1,000+ on the 4th) along the east coast most days.

Supplementing these spectacular flocks have been a number Lundy scarcities, such as Common Gull (a first-winter bird on 28th, an adult on the 2nd and 20 birds on the 4th – most of which were adults), Black-headed Gull (an adult on the 28th) and Mediterranean Gull (one adult on the 28th, two on the 2nd and one adult on the 4th).

Other sightings of note include: up to 14 Eurasian Teal on Pondsbury most days, singles of Cormorant – one along the east coast on the 28th and a young bird on Pondsbury on the 2nd – up to three Common Snipe most days, a Golden Plover feeding with a small flock of Fieldfare on Ackland’s on the 1st, two Woodcock on the 1st, a male Sparrowhawk on the 26th, a Kestrel on the 1st, 3rd and 4th, the female Merlin each day, singles of Water Rail most days (though four were seen/heard on the island on the 1st), two Skylark on the 28th and five on the 4th, singles of Chiffchaff on the 27th & 28th, a male Blackcap on the 1st, a Pied Wagtail on the 27th, singles of Black Redstart on three dates, up to three Stonechat each day, a female Brambling on the 26th, 29th and 1st, two Siskin on the 29th, a Linnet on the 28th and small numbers of Meadow Pipit, Goldcrest, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Goldfinch and Chaffinch most days.

Report composed of sightings by Zoë Barton, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Dean Jones, Andy Trout and Lucy Winder.

Merlin, Main Track, 30th Nov © Dean Jones
Stonechat, Lower East Side Path, 30th Nov © Dean Jones
The end is nigh – apocalyptic sunset! 2nd Dec © Dean Jones
Another glorious sunset, 3rd Dec © Dean Jones

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

18th to 24th Nov

Monday 18th to Sunday 24th November

A round-up of the last week's sightings from Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones:

Wet and windy has been the theme of the week with strong southerly and easterly winds for the most part, accompanied by frequent showers, mist and/or prolonged heavy downpours. There have been one or two really nice periods between the squalls, however, that have allowed for some decent birding, a trickle of migrants and the appearance of some scarce and rather surprising Lundy birds.

The most unexpected bird from this period came in the form of a very late Barn Swallow, a bird which was seen whizzing through the Village, dodging unfurled mist-nets, by Sparrow Researchers Lucy Winder and Jamie Dunning during the late morning of the 24th.

Snow Buntings have also been recorded throughout this period – all single birds apart from a very obliging pair on High Street track on the 24th.

Snow Buntings, High Street track 24 Nov © Dean Jones
Snow Bunting bathing in puddle on High Street track © Dean Jones
Snow Buntings, High Street track 24 Nov © Dean Jones

Chaffinches are still pushing through too in lulls in the wind – mostly in small numbers. There was, however, a decent late-autumn passage of 184 birds heading south on the morning of the 24th.

This week has also seen a number of late Manx Shearwater with three recorded on the 19th, one on the 20th and four on the 24th, all from the east coast of the island.

The last of these dates also saw a mass feeding frenzy of seabirds offshore from the Landing Bay in the first few hours of daylight – here a spectacular 327 Gannet were seen dive-bombing multiple shoals of bait-fish accompanied by three Shags, 626 Kittiwake, three Black-headed Gull, two Common Gull, two Mediterranean Gull, eight Great Black-backed Gull, 224 Herring Gull, four Lesser Black-backed Gull, two Great Skua and 186 auks.

Other notable sea-bird sightings from the period include addirtional Common Gulls (two on the 19th, six on the 20th, two on the 23rd), Mediterranean Gulls (two on the 19th and 24th, one on the 20th and 23rd) and a Great Skua on the 19th.

Further observations of note included: two Teal on the 21st and 3 on the 24th, two Water Rail on the 18th and singles on the 19th, 21st and 24th, 44 Fulmar on ledges in Jenny’s Cove on the 24th, a Sparrowhawk near St Helen’s Copse on the 24th, singles of Woodcock near Tibbetts on the 19th and one in Jenny’s Cove on the 24th (flushed from behind the Cheeses), two Snipe on the 24th, a Woodpigeon in Millcombe on the 19th, a male Kestrel on three dates, a Merlin hunting Chaffinch over High Street Field on the 20th, two Skylark on the 18th, 2 Chiffchaff on the 24th, a male Blackcap on the 19th and 24th, a Firecrest on the 20th, up to seven Goldcrest each day, a small scattering of Blackbird (max 15 on the 24th, Fieldfare (max 3 on the 22nd) and Redwing (max 27 on the 22nd), a single Mistle Thrush on the 22nd, Stonechat (max 4 on the 24th), up to three Meadow Pipit on some days, a lady Brambling at Sue’s feeder since the 22nd, a Greenfinch on the 20th, a Linnet on the 24th and up to four Goldfinch daily.

Monday, 18 November 2019

11th to 17th Nov – Typical late-autumn migrants...and a lurking Cetti's Warbler

Monday 11th November

A driech aul day throughout composed of very strong NNW winds all day (perfect conditions for a helicopter ride), chilly temperatures and sporadic showers throughout.

Not much to shout about bird wise unfortunately, though a Kestrel, two Skylark, a Chiffchaff calling from the Laundry Garden Privet, a Goldcrest, and a smattering of thrushes and finches made it into the LFS logbook by the evening.

Tuesday 12th November

Yet another wild day of downpours and strong north westerlies. Highlights from this difficult day of birding comprised the appearance of a female Wigeon on Pondsbury and a total of six Manx Shearwaters past the island through the day.

Other sightings included four Mallard, seven Teal, at least 100 Fulmar off the West Coast, 20 Gannet, two Woodcock, one Guillemot, a Chiffchaff, three Redwing and four Stonechat.  

Wednesday 13th November

A gentler day today wind-wise though rather sporadic in its direction – swinging from the north to south west in the morning, back again by the afternoon and then north easterly in the evening. A few odd showers also occurred in the afternoon but all in all, a much nicer day than yesterday!

Birds of the day were the female Wigeon again – tucked away on the western side of Pondsbury – and a single Snow Bunting feeding in Tillage Field.

Other birds included: four Mallard, six Teal, two Woodcock, two Snipe enjoying the new Ackland's Moor marsh, 20 Herring Gull, two Merlin whirling together over Millcombe, a single Skylark, nine Goldcrest, 14 Blackbird, four Fieldfare, two Song Thrush, 31 Redwing, 14 Robin, a Black Redstart, a Stonechat, ten each of Dunnock and Meadow Pipit, 193 Chaffinch, six Brambling, seven Siskin and seven Linnet.

The seasonal wetland that forms near the water tanks in wet winters has filled up early this year... © Dean Jones

Redwing on the farmyard wall, Nov 2019 © Dean Jones

Thursday 14th November

A truly miserable day weather wise with strong and chilly north-easterlies coinciding with a constant deluge of rain throughout the day. Unsurprisingly due to these poor conditions, bird sightings were few and far between. The best of the bunch included a Sparrowhawk, two Stonechat, four Brambling and a Snow Bunting.

Friday 15th November

The strong and chilly north-easterlies continued though luckily dropped away somewhat by the afternoon. A rather quiet day bird wise with an adult Common Gull in the Landing Bay taking the crown of star bird for the day.

Other birds recorded included a single Teal, a Sparrowhawk, one Kestrel, four Skylark, five Blackbird, 11 Fieldfare, two Song Thrush, 17 Redwing, three Stonechat, a Pied Wagtail, three Meadow Pipit, 12 Brambling, four Linnet and a Snow Bunting

Song Thrush on Halfway Wall, Nov 2019 © Dean Jones

Saturday 16th November

The winds continued to drop away overnight leaving a very welcome breeze come the morning – conditions which encouraged a decent arrival of thrushes overnight. Thankfully the weather stayed like this for the daylight hours at least with the winds only picking up slightly from the west during the dark hours of the evening.

Highlights from today included a stunning Mistle Thrush, probing the now sodden earth in Barton’s Field in hope for a meal and a rather startling Cetti’s Warbler – flushed from the thick brambles above St Helen’s Copse on the Upper East Side Path in the afternoon (next to the stream). Unfortunately views of the little beauty were rather brief and therefore I did not manage to see whether the bird was ringed or not. Could this little sneak be the same Cetti’s as the one from October in Millcombe, hopefully it’ll show itself again!

Other sightings included nine Mallard, two Oystercatcher, a single Snipe, ten Great Black-backed Gull, 43 Herring Gull, a single Lesser Black-backed Gull, four Skylark, a male Blackcap in Millcombe, c300 Starling, 41 Blackbird, 29 Fieldfare, 24 Song Thrush, 64 Redwing, five Robin, three Stonechat, nine Dunnock, six Meadow Pipit, 15 Rock Pipit (most of which were feeding together next to the Earthquake), 26 Chaffinch, a fly-over Greenfinch and two Goldfinch.

Sunday 17th November

The day started off with a whirlwind of wing beats as a flock of around 900 Starling arrived together from the south to forage in Barton Field. The noise of these calling birds as they arrived to the island came very suddenly and was near deafening at times – so much so that it startled poor Bill (one of our Lundy Ponies) making him rear up on his hind legs and bolt across the field as the birds alighted at his hooves.

Part of the early-morning Starling influx to Barto Field on 17 Nov © Dean Jones

Weather-wise, the island was blessed again with some beautiful late-autumn conditions with next to no wind, warm sunny spells and zero precipitation.

Highlights from this glorious autumnal day included a Cetti’s Warbler, this time calling from the vegetation in Millcombe Pond. A beautiful ringtail Hen Harrier – looking for a meal along Pyramid Slope, two Mistle Thrush upon the Sycamores in Millcombe first thing, a Firecrest in North Wood, 5 Reed Bunting (three together at Quarter Wall Pond and two at Pondsbury) and two Snow Bunting – feeding on the track at the top of St John’s Valley.

Other birds of note were: ten Mallard, nine Teal on Pondsbury, five Fulmar (four of which were on ledges in Jenny’s Cove), three Shag, singles of Woodcock and Water Rail in Millcombe, two Oystercatcher, two Snipe, 56 Herring Gull, a male Kestrel with Starling in talons over Barton Field, a female Merlin at Tibbetts, three Skylark, a male Blackcap in Millcombe, eight Goldcrest, 40 Blackbird, 18 Fieldfare, 17 Song Thrush, 77 Redwing, three Robin, three Stonechat, seven Dunnock, five Meadow Pipit, six Rock Pipit, 64 Chaffinch, four Brambling, a Greenfinch, six Goldfinch and a Linnet.

Report composed of sightings from Zoe Barton, Mike Jones, Pete Lambden and Martin Thorne.

Monday, 11 November 2019

10th Nov – Buntings & Bramblings

Sunday 10th November

Richard Campey reports a gloomy start to the day, with a small movement of thrushes and finches over Millcombe, including 19 Redwing, 16 Chaffinch, two Brambling and four Goldfinch. Out and about under clearing skies and increasing sunshine later in the day, Richard found: a Brambling in the High Street, two on the wall of Lighthouse Field and three more overhead; two Snow Buntings just to the west of the main track next to Tillage Field; a single Linnet near the pig sty; a Lapland Bunting calling in flight at Quarter Wall; a calling Golden Plover; a female Sparrowhawk off the East Side Path in the late afternoon; a male Blackcap at the top of Millcombe; and totals of six Stonechat and five Blackbird. Other visitors logged two Teal, two Gannet, plus a Buzzard being mobbed by Carrion Crows and a Peregrine at mid-day.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

9th Nov – A quiet day

Richard Campey reports a quiet day birdwise, with blustery conditions limiting birding opportunities. His few sightings during the day comprised: a Snipe, five Goldcrests, two Chiffchaffs, a Redwing and a Song Thrush around the Terrace and Quarries; 11 Lesser Black-backed and 23 Herring Gulls on Pondsbury; and a Feral Pigeon and 18 Carrion Crows. Other visitors had logged six Redwings.