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.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

15-17 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

28th to 30th May – long days and nights

Tony Taylor, on Lundy colour-ringing Wheatears by day and ringing Manx Shearwaters by night (and presumably managing to catch some sleep in-between) reports a Reed Warbler and Rook on 28th and 29th, and a Little Egret on 30th (possibly the bird first seen in Landing Bay on 23rd May). The team currently on the island carrying out the count of Manx Shearwater burrows saw a Hobby and seven House Martins at North End on 30th.

On the slopes of the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony, Tony and Richard & Rebecca Taylor have so far caught seven birds ringed as chicks, including one dating back to 2009, and 57 adults. Tony also reports lots of mist!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

27th May – Red-rumped Swallow

A Tweet this evening from Chris Townend, who has just arrived on Lundy to take part in the latest periodic census of Manx Shearwater burrows, brought news of a Red-rumped Swallow:

The bird was also seen above Quarry Beach by Charles Crundwell, who managed to take several long-distance photos of the bird, two of which are included here.

 Red-rumped Swallow, Quarry Beach, 27th May. © Charles Crundwell

In addition, Richard & Rebecca Taylor report lots of Manx Shearwaters and a Storm Petrel on the crossing from Ilfracombe, with a Swift and a singing Collared Dove on the island this afternoon.

20th to 26th May – Two rarities, continued northward migration & news of breeding birds

 Highlights of the past week have included:
  • A Woodchat Shrike along the Lower East Side Path below Tibbetts on Thursday 25th.
  • A Little Egret (Lundy rarity – see record shot below) in the Landing Bay on Tuesday 23rd as MS Oldenburg was leaving.
  • Confirmation of successful breeding by Teal for the third year running.
  • An extremely good night for Manx Shearwaters on 22nd/23rd, with numerous calling birds over Millcombe and St John's Valley and more than 50 handled in the study colony north of Old Light, including three individuals ringed as chicks on Lundy in 2009 and 2013. One of the Manx Shearwater nestboxes checked on 26th contained an incubating bird.
  • Three immature Cormorants thermalling off North East Point before heading for the Welsh coast on 21st.
  • One or two Whimbrels on several dates and a breeding-plumaged Golden Plover on 21st & 22nd.
  • Continuing northward passage of hirundines (especially on 21st), Swifts, Spotted Flycatchers (peaking at 7 on 22nd) and a handful of warblers, among them two Sedge Warblers and several Chiffchaffs, the latter including two mist-netted birds with prominent pollen 'horns' suggesting that they were recently arrived from habitats well to the south of the UK.
  • A Hobby over South West Field and along the West Side on 21st.
  • An influx of seven Collared Doves on 22nd.
  • Further sightings of colour-ringed Wheatears, bringing to 30 the total number of birds ringed in previous years and re-sighted during 2017.
  • Evidence of at least one territorial Water Rail, with persistent calling at night.
  • House Martins visiting crevices on the eastern side of Old House; landing but no sign of nest building as yet.
  • A pair of nest-building Chiffchaffs and potentially territorial Blackcap, Whitethroat and Willow Warbler (though no females of these species were recorded).
  • 40+ singing Wrens holding territory around the island, including at the North Light and along the West Side.
  • Evidence of a particularly good breeding season for the island's Blackbirds (at least 12 pairs) and Robins (up to 8 pairs).
  • Dunnocks feeding young in Millcombe.
  • Two to three breeding pairs of Pied Wagtail, perhaps four or more pairs of Goldfinch, three Chaffinch territories and Linnets gathering nest material.
Compiled from observations by Ryan Burrell, André & Marie Jo Coutanche, Tim Davis, Chris Dee, Paul & Sue James, Dean Jones, Mike Jones, Tim Jones, Seb Loram, Alan & Sandra Rowland, Ann & Tony Taylor.

 Little Egret, Landing Bay, 23rd May. © Alan Rowland

Friday, 19 May 2017

Photos from the first week of May

Below are some great photos from Joanne Wilby, taken during the week of 29 April to 6 May, when Joanne and husband Andrew were part of a working party that stripped fixtures, fittings and untold years worth of accumulated miscellaneous 'items-that-somebody-must-have-thought-might-come-in-useful-one-day' from the Church, prior to the commencement of restoration and renovation works. The birds must have provided light relief! [Click on images for a closer view.]

Dunlins on main track near Halfway Wall, 6th May © Joanne Wilby
Male Whinchat on Tent Field wall below Old Light, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
Female Yellow & Blue-headed Wagtails, Barton Field, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
Male colour-ringed Wheatear near Jenny's Cove, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
Male Pied Wagtail, Barton Field, 5th May © Joanne Wilby
And finally...

A portrait from another working party stalwart, Alan Rowland, of roosting Dunlins at Kistvaen Pond/Rocket Pole Marsh:

Dunlins at Kistvaen Pond, 6th May © Alan Rowland

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

16th & 17th May – Golden Oriole reported in Millcombe

Yesterday (16th) two different visitors reported seeing a male Golden Oriole in Millcombe during the afternoon, but Dean, the Lundy Warden, didn't get wind of these sightings until passengers were boarding the ship back to Bideford at 6pm. He hunted for the bird shortly after that but had no joy.

This morning (Wednesday 17th), the Golden Oriole was seen flying up St John's Valley from Millcombe at approximately 9.30 am. Dean just missed out, by about 10 minutes, and didn't have any luck catching up with it when he looked in the afternoon. Other birds (all in Millcombe) included a few more Spotted Flycatchers and a Garden Warbler, along with a very late Fieldfare.

Monday, 15 May 2017

13th & 14th May – Two 'possibles' and belated news of a 'definite'...

James McCarthy got in touch via Twitter to say that he'd seen between 25 and 30 Spotted Flycatchers on the island on Saturday 13th (one of the higher springtime counts of recent years), along with a Garden Warbler, three Whitethroats and a Blackcap.

The Devon Birds day-trip on Sunday 14th was blessed with fine weather and a short write-up with some photos are to be found on the Devon Birds sightings page here. The account mentions glimpses of a possible Bonelli's Warbler species (which also got a mention on the UK Rare Bird Alert map) and a possible Red-rumped Swallow; it would be great if anyone with further information about these sightings could get in touch – especially as the Lundy Warden, Dean Jones, is off the island for a couple of days.

Today, we opened an email from Dean, sent on Saturday, which contained news of his sighting earlier that morning of an Eastern Subalpine Warbler in Millcombe (just along from the gate at the top of the 'Steps of Doom' to the side of the Ugly). Unfortunately we were not able to report this in time for the Devon Birds trip. Although Dean enjoyed several seconds of very good, close views before the bird flew off, he was unable to relocate it, despite thorough searching for the next 30 minutes before work duties beckoned.

17 May update: Photographs of the "possible Bonelli's warbler species" mentioned above show that it was actually a Garden Warbler feeding high in the sycamores, where it was reportedly flitting around in a Phylloscopus-like manner, showing off its strikingly white underparts. This is a good example of how staging migrants often show unusual behaviour in exploiting the limited habitat and feeding opportunties available on small islands and coastal headlands, meaning extra care is needed with ID, especially if a rarity is suspected. Many thanks to Devon Birds for helping to clear this one up.

Friday, 12 May 2017

News on April ringing controls

Updated 17 May: Details are given below of three movements shown by ringing carried out on Lundy by Chris Dee in the third week of April. The first two show rapid movement to and from the island of newly arrived spring migrants, while the third emphasizes the importance of the coastal wetlands of north-west France as autumn feeding-up areas for Sedge Warblers that migrate through Lundy in spring, presumably heading for breeding grounds elsewhere in Britain or Ireland.

Ring no. S327850 Reed Warbler ringed as an adult at Porth Hellick, St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, 18 April 2017; controlled on Lundy, 20 April 2017 and 22 April 2017 (2 and 4 days after ringing; distance 180 km; bearing 40 degrees).

Ring no. Z981823 Sedge Warbler ringed as an adult on Lundy, 20 April 2017; controlled at Hasfield Ham, Gloucestershire, 22 April 2017 (2 days after ringing; distance 188 km; bearing 63 degrees).

Ring no. 7502526 Sedge Warbler ringed as a first-year bird at Tour aux Moutons, Donges (Loire Atlantique), France, 18 August 2015; controlled on Lundy 20 April 2017 (611 days after ringing; distance 468 km from original ringing site; bearing 337 degrees from original ringing site). Very similar movements, involving exactly the same French ringing site, saw Sedge Warblers ringed at Tour aux Moutons in August 2006 and August 2008 controlled on Lundy in April 2009 and May 2007 respectively, while information posted here by the Teifi Ringing Group mentions 12 exchanges of Sedge Warblers between the Teifi Marshes (on the west coast of Wales) and Donges, or vice versa, as of June 2016. Thousands of Sedge Warblers are ringed annually in Donges during the late summer, as part of a long-running ringing and migration programme; over 9,300 were ringed in 2011 alone! These have generated numerous controls in other countries, the great majority in Britain. See the ACROLA website for further information (mainly in French, though some reports have English abstracts).

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

7th to 10th May – Sunday migrant rush followed by midweek lull

The clear skies, much lighter winds and higher temperatures of Sunday 7th gave a window of opportunity for delayed migrants to flood north. In line with observations along the mainland coast of North Devon, Swallows were particularly abundant, with a "highly conservative" estimate of 1,000 entered in the Lundy logbook, alongside 400+ House Martins and 100+ Sand Martins. Grounded night migrants included 11 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, 5 each of Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler and Blackcap, 9 Willow Warblers, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Whinchats and a Spotted Flycatcher. The Bar-tailed Godwit was still in the Pondsbury area, whilst other waders were represented by 4 Dunlins at the Rocket Pole (see photo of breeding-plumaged bird below) and 3 Whimbrels. A Buzzard (presumably the same bird as during the first week of May) was also seen. The fine weather brought out good numbers of butterflies, among them Small, Green-veined and Large Whites, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells.

Breeding-plumaged Dunlin © Dean Jones
Monday 8th was much quieter, with the more notable sightings comprising: 1 Cormorant, 3 Dunlins, 4 Whitethroats, 5 Sedge Warblers, 1 Wood Warbler (see photo below), 2 White Wagtails and 2 Spotted Flycatchers.

Wood Warbler, 8 May © Dean Jones
The quieter theme continued into Tuesday 9th, which featured a Merlin, 3 Swifts, 4 Sedge Warblers, 3 Whitethroats, a handful of Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers and a Spotted Flycatcher. Dean Jones noted the first fledglings from among the 37 active Starling nests located by Tim Jones last week. Zoë Barton's discovery of a stunning female Emperor Moth sitting on the doorstep of the shop (see photo below, after relocation to a safer spot!) was undoubtedly the sighting of the day though.

Female Emperor Moth, 9 May © Dean Jones
Writing on Wednesday 10th, Dean reported a further quiet day birdwise, with the exception of an arrival of 8 Spotted Flycatchers – the first real influx of the spring – and 2 White Wagtails.

Thanks to Dean for forwarding counts from the log to enable this update.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

6th May – Hard going in strong easterlies

Cold and blustery easterlies once again prevented any ringing and made birding a challenge, except well down over the western sidelands or a few other strategic sheltered spots. There were distinctly fewer migrants than on Friday, especially on the Swift, hirundine and warbler fronts, but still some good birds to be seen, among them: a Kestrel, 10+ Dunlins (including a flock of six seen by Alan Rowland at North End), a Ringed Plover, two Whimbrels (South West Field), a Snipe (at Widow's Tenement Pond), 5 Swifts, 51 Swallows, 16 House Martins, a female White Wagtail (sidelands below South West Field), two flava Wagtails, including a female Blue-headed (M. f. flava) and a female Yellow (M. f. flavissima) in St Helen's/Barton Fields, 2 Whinchats (Tent Field/South West Field wall and Rocket Pole area), a male Whitethroat (Millcombe), a male Blackcap (Smelly Gully), 3 Sedge Warblers (Stoneycroft, Tent Field wall and Smelly Gully), a handful of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, and a female Pied Flycatcher (Millcombe)

A look at the weather map showed why there had been so few overnight arrivals and such little visible migration by day, with rain in the English Channel effectively blocking most migration from the continent.

MS Oldenburg did a 'Splash & Dash', taking advantage of a drop in the wind to do a quick turnaround late in the day, for staying passengers only.

Yellow Wagtails & Lundy Pony, Barton Field, 5 May © Tim Jones

Male Yellow Wagtail, Barton Field, 5 May © Tim Jones

Female Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field, 6 May © Tim Jones

5th May – Big movement of Swifts and hirundines

It was too windy (from the East) on Friday for any ringing to take place, which was frustrating for Rob Duncan & David Kightley on their last full day as there were plenty of migrants around... The highlight was a big passage of Swifts and hirundines, including minima of 145 Swifts, 565 Swallows, 123 House Martins and 30 Sand Martins, with flocks of Swifts arriving into the West Side and crossing the middle of the island towards the north-east, whilst the hirundines tended to stay lower into the lee of the West Side all the way north. Also recorded were: 1 Kestrel, 1 Merlin, 7 Dunlins, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (Pondsbury), 1 Common Sandpiper (bottom of Montagu Steps), 2 or 3 Cuckoos, 40 Willow Warblers,  5 Chiffchaffs, zero Blackcaps (!), 1 Garden Warbler, 5 Whitethroats, 1 Sedge Warbler, 3 Whinchats (Airfield wall and wall between Old Light and Lighthouse Field), 2 Redstarts, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 7 Yellow Wagtails (including up to 4 together in St Helen's/Barton Fields), and 2 Tree Pipits (calling in flight over Ackland's Moor and at Quarter Wall).

Thursday, 4 May 2017

4th May – Yellow Wagtail and flycatchers brighten a quieter day

Tim Jones reports a quieter day for birds. Only one Teal was observed (on Pondsbury), but there was a single Cormorant, and one Buzzard and one Kestrel were still present. Wader numbers increased, with 3 Dunlin and 4 Whimbrel. The Collared Dove count reached 4. At least 14 Swift passed through and a female Yellow Wagtail was located in St Helen's Field. Also present was a female Redstart, 2 female Pied Flycatchers (at the Stonecrusher and the Ugly) and the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year (in Millcombe). Warbler numbers were further depleted as birds presumably moved on: 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 6 Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warbler.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

3rd May – Hoopoe in Gannets' Combe

News for Wednesday 3rd May from Tim Jones on behalf of everyone birding on the island follows.

Tim Davis found a Hoopoe in Gannets' Combe during an all-island perimeter count of large gulls which revealed 535 Herring Gull, 299 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 114 Great Black-backed Gulls, including 34 apparently occupied Great Black-back nests. The ENE wind made it difficult to get mist-nets open safely in Millcombe, so there was little ringing, but there were few grounded migrants in evidence anyway. Reported were 3 Teal, 4 Cormorant, a Buzzard, a female Merlin, 2 Kestrels. Migrant waders were represented by 1 Dunlin, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Whimbrel. Warbler numbers were lower: 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, 10 Chiffchaff and 5 Willow Warbler. There was a male Stonechat on the Terraces, raising the possibility of breeding again this year. Hirundine passage comprised 350 Swallow, 20 Sand Martin and 15 House Martin.

The non-ornithological highlight was a count of 5 male Emperor Moths

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

2nd May – Good hirundine passage and possible Iberian Chiffchaff

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report an overnight clear-out of migrants with few new arrivals, but a good day for hirundine passage.
A tristis-type Chiffchaff was ringed and a potential Iberian Chiffchaff was also caught and ringed in Millcombe by Rob Duncan. Elsewhere there were 3 Teal, the Red-necked Grebe, 5 Cormorant, a Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, and a Merlin. The Bar-tailed Godwit was located on Pondsbury and there were also 3 Whimbrel and a Dunlin. Seabird counts included 340 Kittiwake and 2200 Guillemot. Presumed long-staying, but unusual Lundy birds included a Collared Dove and a Fieldfare. In a better day for hirundine migration, counts of 350 Swallow, 40 Sand Martin and 20 House Martin were recorded. There were also 3 Swift and 5 White Wagtails. Other migrants included 2 Redstart, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler, 6 Blackcap and 3 Sedge Warbler. A brood of newly-fledged Blackbirds was in Smelly Gully.

Monday, 1 May 2017

1st May – Stock Dove, Short-eared Owl and singing Rosefinch

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report (on behalf of many staying observers) fewer migrants with poor early weather improving through the day. Jon Turner was on the Bank Holiday Monday day-trip and his observations are also included.

Four Teal were present, as was the long-staying Red-necked Grebe. Raptors comprised a Buzzard, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit in South West Field, and a Dunlin. In Jenny's Cove there was an impressive count of 92 Puffin on land. Diurnal passage included 5 Swift, 50 Swallow, 6 House Martin and 10 Sand Martin. A single Stock Dove was observed and the Collared Dove count rose to 2. A Short-eared Owl was located near Pondsbury, 2 Jackdaws were in the Lighthouse Field and a late Redwing was seen to fly out of Millcombe.

In the morning only, a Common Rosefinch was heard singing in Millcombe and a Lesser Redpoll was present there too. Counts of other migrants included 6 Redstart, a Grassshopper Warbler, 5 Sedge Warbler, a Garden Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat and small numbers of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

30th April – Plenty of migrants and a Dunlin

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report a good day's birding, with plenty of migrants, especially in Millcombe.

The Red-necked Grebe was still present and there was a single Sparrowhawk and 2 Kestrel. A Dunlin was on Quarterwall Pond, four first-summer Black-headed Gulls were in the Landing Bay and a Cuckoo was on the Terraces. Hirundine passage comprised 40 Swallow, a House Martin and 9 Sand Martin. Elsewhere there was a Black Redstart, 4 Redstart, a Fieldfare, 3 Sedge Warbler, 20 Blackcap, 6 Garden Warbler (including a singing male in Millcombe), 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, a Wood Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 25 Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest and a Jackdaw. With weather retricting mist-netting to a couple of hours, Rob Duncan ringed a further 39 birds, including 4 Redstart and 5 Garden Warblers.

29th April – Brent Goose and Yellowhammer feature

With a lot of birders on the island this week coverage was good. Tim Jones reports the following on behalf of himself, Tim Davis, Chris and Carol Baillie, Rob Duncan, Neil Trout, Martin Thorne, the warden Dean Jones and others.

The Red-necked Grebe was still present in the Landing Bay, along with a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, and a male Yellowhammer was at Quarter Wall. Also reported were 5 Teal, 1 (or maybe 2) Buzzard, a male Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Pied Flycatchers and 1 Lesser Redpoll. There was a steady passage of Swallows, conservatively estimated at 500, plus 4 House Martins and a Sand Martin. Ringing was slower than recent days, with around 30 birds ringed.

Friday, 28 April 2017

28th April – Osprey among a modest movement of migrants

Lighter headwinds seem to have favoured a little more movement today, with Martin Thorne's sighting of an Osprey being mobbed by gulls off South West Point at around 1pm the undoubted highlight. Martin also reports half-a-dozen or so Whimbrels along the East Side and the Red-necked Grebe still in the Landing Bay. Rob Duncan ringed a further 60 birds, including 25 Willow Warblers, 12 Blackcaps, 7 Sedge Warblers, 6 Chiffchaffs, 4 Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Grasshopper Warbler, plus a Goldfinch and a Linnet. With the wind backing SE overnight and into the weekend, after several days of chilly northerlies, will there be a surge of migration?

Thursday, 27 April 2017

27th April – A bit more on the move

With lighter winds, Rob managed to ring a further 57 new birds, including both Lesser Whitethroat and Grasshopper Warbler. A few Swallows were also on the move.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

26th April – Fair variety but low numbers

This evening's bulletin from Rob confirms that it was "hard work today in a fresh north-easterly", but that he managed to find a sheltered mist-net site below Government House, which caught 12 new birds, including two Grasshopper Warblers, a Whitethroat and a Sedge Warbler. Elsewhere, there were three Whimbrels at Benjamin's Chair, a Dunlin at the Rocket Pole, plus 10 Wheatears in the same general area, a Merlin along the East Side, and a Fieldfare in Millcombe, while hirundines comprised a few Swallows and a couple of House Martins.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

25th April – Northerly blast stops play

The wind was still light enough for Rob to open a few nets in Millcombe first thing, which revealed a small overnight arrival of migrants, with Willow Warblers again making up the bulk of the 39 new birds ringed before the wind picked up suddenly, heralding a northerly squall, so that the nets were closed again at 08.30. Among the other species ringed were a few Blackcaps and Sedge Warblers (but no Chiffchaffs) and a female Pied Flycatcher. A retrap Reed Warbler had gained weight since it was last handled. The only hirundines seen on 25th, as of early afternoon, were 2 House Martins – not entirely surprising given the blast of Arctic air across the country, though it did stay largely dry, the island escaping most of the blustery showers streaming south. This evening the inshore waters forecast is "north veering northeast, 5 to 7, backing north 4 or 5; showers" so another quiet day for migration is on the cards for Wednesday.

Additional news for Monday (24th) concerns a late continental Robin among the birds ringed, while a very grey Song Thrush was singing in Millcombe first thing.

Monday, 24 April 2017

24th April – Getting on for 200 birds ringed; first Spotted Flycatchers & Lesser Whitethroat

During a further excellent day for ringing, Rob Duncan ringed 178 new birds (bringing the total to just over 700 since 19 April!), including: 88 Willow Warblers, 24 Blackcaps, 16 Chiffchaffs, 14 Sedge Warblers, 8 Whitethroats, 2 Grasshopper Warblers and one each of Firecrest, Lesser Whitethroat (first of the year), Spotted Flycatcher (also a first for the year) and male Pied Flycatcher. A male Ring Ouzel would also have featured in the ringing totals had it not managed to find its way out of a mist net... Hirundine passage was down in comparison with Sunday, but other migrants included a Reed Warbler, two more Spotted Flycatchers, 10 Wheatears, and a Yellow Wagtail, the latter flying over Millcombe.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

23rd April – Warbler migration continues apace

Rob Duncan reports another excellent day's ringing and birding. A further 118 birds were ringed, including 41 Willow Warblers, 25 Blackcaps, 17 Chiffchaffs, 12 Sedge Warblers, 3 Grasshopper Warblers and 2 Whitethroats. There was a big movement of hirundines in the afternoon, including 400 Swallows, 50 Sand Martins and 40 House Martins. Other migrants included 45 Wheatears and 2 Ring Ouzels.

22nd April - Little Egret in Millcombe

Despite the wind swinging round to the north, new migrants had arrived on the island overnight. Until handing over to Rob Duncan who will be on the island for the next two weeks, Chris Dee managed to ring a further 61 birds, including 30 Willow Warblers, 14 Blackcaps, 9 Chiffchaffs 3 Sedge Warblers, a Redstart, a Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler. The British-ringed Reed Warbler from Thursday was also recaptured. At least one Green Sandpiper was still present and as M S Oldenburg disgorged her passsengers, a Little Egret was flushed from below the Beach Road and flew up into Millcombe. After spending a while in the pond it retreated to the lawn of Millcombe House. Rob reports that by the end of the day the ringing total had reached 85.

Friday, 21 April 2017

21st April – Another great day's ringing; Night Heron still present

Chris & Mandy Dee report another excellent day's ringing. It was calm and overcast, with plenty of new arrivals, meaning that Chris ringed a further 113 new birds, including: 48 Willow Warblers, 41 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, 2 Grasshopper Warblers, 1 Sedge Warbler and 1 Reed Warbler. Also ringed was a female Bullfinch, perhaps the bird first seen at the end of March. Out and about around the island, other sightings included: 2 Teal, 2 Snipe and a Green Sandpiper at Pondsbury, and a Ring Ouzel in the Brick Field. Mike, of the island staff, saw the Night Heron again in the Landing Bay.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

20th April – Substantial warbler fall

Chris and Mandy Dee confirm that – in common with both Skokholm and Bardsey – Lundy witnessed a substantial fall of warblers and other migrants today, when thick cloud and patchy light drizzle moving south-east across Wales and the Bristol Channel grounded large numbers of birds after days of fine, dry weather. Chris ringed 149 new birds, including 85 Willow Warblers, 29 Blackcaps, 16 Chiffchaffs, 16 Sedge Warblers and two Grasshopper Warblers. A British-ringed Reed Warbler was controlled (Lundy's first Reed Warbler of the year) along with a Sedge Warbler bearing a French ring. Elsewhere there were two Ring Ouzels at the quarries, a female Redstart in Millcombe, a male Pied Flycatcher at Brambles, and of two Green Sandpipers that circled Lower Millcombe, one was later seen at the pond outside Barton Cottages. The single Fieldfare was still in Southwest Field, and a total of 107 Puffins were on land at Jenny's Cove and St Philip's Stone. In addition, Dean Jones photographed a Little Egret (a Lundy rarity) around rock pools off Lametor and a Collared Dove (a regular passage migrant, mainly in spring), which has been present since Tuesday 18th. Dean also flushed the two Green Sandpipers at the Rocket Pole Marsh (alternatively known as Kistvaen Pond) whilst leading a guided walk.

Record shot of Little Egret, Lametor © Dean Jones

Collared Dove, Village © Dean Jones

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

19th April – A good morning's ringing

Chris & Mandy Dee send news of stunning weather and great birds. Chris ringed 62 birds in Millcombe during the morning, mainly Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, but also two Sedge Warblers. Elsewhere, Mandy found two Teal, two Snipe, 17 Sand Martins, a Whitethroat (the first of the year), a Redstart and a Fieldfare (only the third record of 2017, following one on 25 Jan and two on 18 Feb). Two Lesser Redpolls were also recorded and there were 78 Puffins in Jenny's Cove. Among migrant Wheatears was the large and richly coloured, presumed Greenland-race bird in the photo below.

Presumed Greenland Wheatear, 19 April © Dean Jones

Lesser Redpoll, 19 April © Dean Jones

11th to 18th April – Logbook highlights

Here is the latest summary of sightings during the past week or so, taken from the LFS Logbook. The more unusual or otherwise notable species are highlighted in blue. Thanks as ever to Dean Jones for updating a digital file of the log – not to mention being responsible for many of the records in the first place!

Teal – up to three on several dates.
Great Northern Diver – One on 14th (likely the long-staying individual).
Red-necked Grebe – The overwintering bird was still present in the Landing Bay on 14th & 17th.
Gannet – Max four on 15th.
Night Heron – A breeding-plumaged adult on 13th & 17th was only the fourth for Lundy (see posts below for further details).
Kestrel – Ones and two on four dates.
Merlin – One on 13th.
Water Rail – Two calling from St Helen's Field on 15th.
Snipe – One on 11th.
Sandwich Tern – One in the Landing Bay on 15th.
Woodpigeon – Max five on 15th.
Sand Martin – Max 42 flying north on 17th.
Swallow – Max 119 flying north on 15th and 146 flying north on 17th (steady passage throughout the day on both dates).
House Martin – Max 20+ on 13th.
Pied Wagtail – Max six on 14th.
Tree Pipit – One below the Battlements on 17th.
Common Redstart – One (male) on 13th.
Ring Ouzel – Singles on 11th & 18th (latter a male).
Song Thrush – One on 17th.
Redwing – Singles on 13th & 14th (rather late for Lundy).
Blackcap – Max five on 18th.
Sedge Warbler – Singles on 17th (iris bed in Lower Millcombe) & 18th were the first of the year.
Grasshopper Warbler – Further singles on 14th (reeling from brambles outside Quarters) & 15th (reeling near top of Ugly steps).
Wood Warbler – One below the pines in Milcombe on 13th was the first of the year.
Willow Warbler – Max 50 on 13th.
Chiffchaff – Max five on 13th.
Goldcrest – Ones and twos on three dates.
Pied Flycatcher – A single male in Millcombe on 12th & 13th was the first of the year.
Chaffinch – An influx of passage migrants included 26 on 13th (flock of 20 flying over Millcombe in the early morning), 15 on 14th and 10 on 17th; the first time that counts have reached double digits this year! A partially built nest was found in Millcombe on 13th (Jon Cox).
Linnet – Max 16 on 13th.
Goldfinch – Max 15+ on 14th.
Siskin – Four near the Ugly flagpole on 13th.

Three more 'first of the year' butterfly records were racked up during the week, namely single Orange-tip and Speckled Wood (both of which are scarce on Lundy), on 14th and two Small Whites on 17th. Also of note was the first Emperor Moth, on 12th.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

17th April – Night Heron seen again

Dean Jones reports that the adult Night Heron reappeared shortly after 4pm on Easter Monday (17th), following three days with no sightings, during which it had presumably managed to tuck itself away quietly somewhere along Lundy's extensive shoreline: "The bird was perched briefly below the Needle & Thread area of the Devil's Kitchen allowing stunning views for myself and around 12 visitors before heading off West".

Thursday, 13 April 2017

13th April – Night Heron in the Landing Bay

Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports a brief sighting of an adult Night Heron (Black-crowned Night Heron) in the Landing Bay area earlier this morning. It initially flew north, past the Beach Road and towards the Ugly, mobbed by gulls. Dean managed to jump out of the back of the landrover in which he was travelling just in time to see the heron flying back south. It flew right past him at a distance of about 25m, across the Landing Bay, through the Devil's Kitchen and turned west, disappearing behind Lametor. This is Lundy's first Night Heron since March 1990 and only the fourth ever for the island.

Update, Good Friday (14th April)

Dean managed to relocate the Night Heron at around 7.30pm on Thursday (13 Apr); it was roosting just above the tideline on the south side of Lametor, below the South Light, and remained tucked up in this location until the light faded. In one of Dean's record shots (see below) the bird is roosting in characteristic Night Heron fashion, with its bill tucked forward into its upper breast, giving it a curiously 'headless' appearance, distinctive even at a distance. Although the legs look yellowish in this photo, during his initial close view of the bird in flight, Dean noticed the pink flush acquired by breeding adults. As of mid-morning on Good Friday, there had been no further sightings, so it may well be that the bird moved on overnight.

Roosting Night Heron, Lametor, 13 Apr 2017 © Dean Jones

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

29th March to 10th April – Modest arrivals of spring migrants including several more 'firsts' for the year

Highlights from the LFS logbook for the last two weeks (29 Mar to 10 Apr) are listed below, with records of more notable species highlighted in blue. Many thanks to Dean Jones for providing a digital copy of logbook entries enabling this summary to be compiled.

Unsettled weather, with showers and longer spells of rain at the end of March gave way to predominantly dry and often sunny conditions during the first ten days of April, with high pressure ruling the roost. Clear skies brought frequently sunny days to the island, but chilly nights (alongside a waxing moon, full on 11th), whilst daytime temperatures were pegged back by winds mainly from the north and west, though there was a short-lived incursion of warmer, continental air during the weekend of 8/9 April. There was another Osprey on 2nd, an influx of Swallows on 6th & 7th, a modest arrival of 20 Willow Warblers on 7th, and first records for the year of single Sandwich Tern (1st), Common Redstart (9th) and Grasshopper Warbler (8th). In general though, visible migration was sluggish, as is often the case in fine weather, when birds tend to overfly Lundy having little need to make landfall on a remote island. Having said that, it is still early in the season and many summer migrants are yet to reach Britain in significant numbers. Lingering winter birds included Great Northern Diver, Red-necked Grebe and the odd Redwing.

Great Northern Diver: One on 1st.
Red-necked Grebe: The overwintering bird was still in the Landing Bay on 30th (Dean Jones), but then looked like it might have commenced its spring migration as there were no reports during the first week of Apr. Confounding any such assumptions, the bird was again in the Landing Bay, off the Sugar Loaf, on 9 Apr (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton).
Fulmar: Max 153 on 31st.
Manx Shearwater: Max 300, flying west off North Light on 1st (Martin Thorne).
Gannet: Max 10 on 1st.
Cormorant: Six flying north on 6th.
Sparrowhawk: A male on 31st.
Osprey: One moving rapidly north-east off the Terrace on 2nd; the second of the spring so far (Solomon Gilbert).
Snipe: Three on 31st and one on 7th.
Kittiwake: Max 137 on 31st.
Black-headed Gull: An adult in the Landing Bay on 28th (Kevin Welsh) and four reported on 3rd.
Sandwich Tern: One on 1st was the first of the year.
Puffin: Max 97 on 29th (of which 77 prospecting on land) and 60+ in Jenny's Cove on 1st.
Guillemot: Max 1,212 on 29th.
Woodpigeon: Max five on 7th.
Sand Martin: Records on six dates; max 16 on 1st and 20 on 7th.
Swallow: Records on seven dates; max 78 on 6th and 100 on 7th.
House Martin: Three on 31st was the only record.
Pied Wagtail: Max six on 8th.
White Wagtail: Two on 31st.
Robin: A bird was carrying nesting material in Millcombe on 7th.
Black Redstart: Records on six dates, with a female-type on 31st, 2m + 1f on 1st, 1f 6th-8th and 1m on 9th.

Black Redstart © Dean Jones

Common Redstart: A single male on gorse near the Rocket Pole on 9th was the first of the spring (Dean Jones & Zoë Barton).
Wheatear: Max 25 on 1st and 21 on 9th; several more colour-rings were read.
Redwing: Singles on 31st and 7th (latter in Millcombe).
Song Thrush: Three on 31st but no Apr records so far.
Blackcap: Ones and twos on six dates, plus the max of five on 3rd.
Grasshopper Warbler: One reeling from cover in St John's Valley on 8th was the first of the spring.
Willow Warbler: Records for six dates, with a max of 20 on 7th.
Chiffchaff: Records for five dates, with a max of seven on 1st & 7th.
Goldcrest: Records on three dates, with a max of three on 7th.
Linnet: Max 11 on 6th.
Goldfinch: Max 10 on 31st and 13 on 6th.

Invertebrate records have included a Black Oil Beetle (3rd), 11 Dor Beetles and 3 Minotaur Beetles (5th); the first Peacock (6th) and Green-veined White (8th) butterflies of the year; and two Diamond-back Moths (9th).

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

28th March – A change in the weather and a lull in migration

After several days of clear blue skies and a stiff easterly, Tuesday saw the wind veering south, then south-west, bringing cloud and showery rain during the afternoon. Although there was a good scattering of Phylloscopus warblers along the East Side combes and on the Terrace (totalling an estimated 30 Chiffchaffs and 15 Willow Warblers), the range and volume of migrants was generally reduced. Among the more notable sightings were about a dozen Pied Wagtails and 4 White Wagtails, 2 Blackcaps, flocks of 6 + 8 Cormorants (all except one were breeding-plumaged adults) flying north, and a handful of Sand Martins and Swallows. Several Song Thrushes may have been lingering from Monday's influx, whilst the female Bullfinch certainly was, having apparently not moved from her favourite blackthorn bush for 24 hours! Record shots below:

Female Bullfinch, head of St Helen's Combe © Tim Jones

Two of the Robins seen during the day had the greyish tones and pallid orange breasts associated with continental birds (see the Skokholm Observatory blog for 28th March). The 1st-summer Great Northern Diver and the Red-necked Grebe (now showing quite extensive signs of breeding plumage) continued their sojourns in the Landing Bay, the grebe taking to the air briefy as MS Oldenburg, on her first scheduled sailing of the year, hove into view.

MS Oldenburg was heavily booked for her first sailing of 2017 © Tim Jones

The Red-necked Grebe flew behind Rat Island as the ship arrived © Tim Jones

Birds seen during the late-afternoon crossing back to Ilfracombe included a single Manx Shearwater, 5 Common Gulls, and a few Fulmars, Gannets, Kittiwakes and auks. A Sandwich Tern was flying around Ilfracombe harbour to greet disembarking passengers, just as the rain began to fall in earnest...

Monday, 27 March 2017

27th March – Osprey through and first Blackcaps of the year

Tim Davis, Tim Jones and Tony Taylor report excellent views of an Osprey arriving low below Castle Hill before climbing as it moved north along the East Side, mobbed by gulls and corvids (record shot below).

Osprey mobbed by crow over East Side 27 March ©Tim Jones

An influx of thrushes included 2 male Ring Ouzels on the Terrace, up to 15 Song Thrushes and a noticeable increase in Blackbirds. Auk numbers totalled 99 Puffins in Jenny's Cove, with 900 Guillemots on the ledges and a further 200 on the water and 400 Razorbills. Puffins were later seen on land for the first time this season, exploring nesting burrows. There was a Golden Plover calling in flight over the Airfield and the Jackdaw count increased to four, all of which were seen apparently leaving the island to the NNE over the Terrace during the morning. A female Bullfinch feeding on blackthorn buds at the head of St Helen's Combe was unusual for the island, though most recent records are for March and April. Hirundine passage comprised 75 Sand Martins and 4 Swallows. There was a count of 20 Willow Warblers and the first Blackcaps of the year were recorded; a female and two males – the female feeding on rocky slopes at North Light! Two Siskins were present on feeders in the Village, there were several White Wagtails alongside migrant Pieds and the Red-necked Grebe was still in the Landing Bay. Finally an extremely dark-mantled adult Lesser Black-backed Gull – as dark as the adult Great Black-back standing next to it and therefore presumed to be of the continental breeding race L. f. intermedius – was at Pondsbury in the afternoon.

Male Ring Ouzel, VC Quarry 27 March © Tim Jones
White Wagtail at Quarter Wall 27 March © Tim Jones

Seven Manx Shearwaters were caught at the Old Light study colony between 9.30pm & 11.00pm, comprising four new birds and three retraps.

The lighter winds and warm sunshine made it a good day for invertebrates:

Common Carder Bee, Terrace willows © Tim Jones
Common Plume moth, Upper East Side Path © Tim Jones
Minotaur Beetle, Upper East Side Path © Tim Jones

26th March – Grey Heron and three Jackdaws

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report 58 Puffins in Jenny's Cove. In the strong easterly wind, 110 Sand Martins and 25 Swallows were counted moving north in the lee of the West Side. A Grey Heron flew across the South End and there were 3 Jackdaws in Lighthouse Field. The Meadow Pipit count totalled 400 and 20 Linnets and a Siskin were observed. The Red-necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver were still present.

Jackdaws in Lighthouse Field, 26 March © Tim Davis

Male Starling on farmyard song post © Tim Jones

Sunday, 26 March 2017

25th March – Strong Meadow Pipit passage

Tim Davis and Tim Jones report 41 Puffins in Jenny's Cove and a strong passage of Meadow Pipits amounting to 500 birds, including 300 moving north in the lee of the West Side in the early morning. Other sightings included 22 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, a Lapwing flying in off the sea at Jenny's Cove, 2 Jackdaws over the East Side and a female Siskin in the camping field. The Great Northern Diver and Red-necked Grebe were still present in the Landing Bay.

Meadow Pipits in Middle Park © Tim Jones

A brief visit to the shearwater study colony near Old Light, on a beautiful, moonless but starlit night, revealed the presence of calling Manx Shearwaters and birds of breeding age already visiting their nesting burrows. Two individuals ringed in previous years were retrapped. During the afternoon, Tony Taylor, Dean Jones and the two Tims had completed a pre-season check of the shearwater nestboxes installed in 2016, some of which already showed signs of visitation this year.

Lundy Warden Dean Jones maps and marks a shearwater nestbox © Tim Davis
Nestboxes in situ, the entrances are buried piping to one side © Tim Davis
Lundy shearwater maestro Tony Taylor out on patrol © Tim Davis

Saturday, 25 March 2017

24th March – Wheatear seen on Guernsey back on territory

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report 250 Razorbills off the South End, but a big clear-out of Chiffchaffs and Meadow Pipits with only 12 and 70 respectively logged. A total of 240 Kittiwakes were counted at the two remaining West Side colonies. Of note were 2 Black Redstarts, a "singing" Water Rail, 6 Teal, 4 Snipe and a Song Thrush. The day's highlight was confirmation that the colour-ringed male Wheatear seen on Guernsey on 13 March (see blog post dated 14 March) was back on its territory near the Earthquake, in hot pursuit of a female and fending off another male – record shots below.

Lundy colour-ringed Wheatear 'pale blue over black' © Tim Davis

Now on its Lundy breeding territory, this bird was seen on Guernsey on 13 Mar

Friday, 24 March 2017

23rd March – Chiffchaff fall and returning female Wheatears

Tim Davis and Tim Jones report 60+ Chiffchaffs hopping around on the fields and walls. Meadow Pipit numbers totalled 300, with 5 Black Redstarts, 2 Redwings, a Song Thrush, a Sand Martin and 2 Swallows seen. Three more Wheatear colour rings were read, including two females – the first known returning females for the year. Rafts totalling 500 Razorbills were counted off the South End in the early morning. The Red-necked Grebe was still present.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

22nd March – Significant migration

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report significant overnight and diurnal movement. Over 20 Wheatears were counted, including the first three females of the year and three returning colour-ringed Lundy breeding males. The 5 Teal were a little early to start making predictions of breeding again this year, but counts of 130 Meadow Pipits, 19 Rock Pipits, 46 Skylarks and 6 Stonechats presumably included local breeders, whilst 8 Cormorant and 3 Kestrel were probably migrants. Other migrants included 12 alba Wagtails, 7 Sand Martins, 3 Black Redstarts, 6 Chiffchaffs, an early Willow Warbler, 10 Goldcrests, a Firecrest and 2 Redwings. Linnet numbers increased by 100% to two. The Great Nothern Diver and Red-necked Grebe were still present in the Landing Bay.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

19th & 20th March – Good on variety, low on numbers

Alan and Sandra Rowland report two Canada Geese on 19th. Tim Davis and Tim Jones arrived on the island on 20th, despite a weather delay, and saw Red-necked Grebe and Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay. There was a Merlin along the Upper East Side path and a Black Redstart at the Earthquake. Other notable sightings included 1 Wheatear, 1 Chiffchaff, 8 Woodpigeon, 10 Pied Wagtail, 1 Redwing and the first Linnet record of the year (a single bird).

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Tue 14 to Fri 17 Mar – First Puffins and a flurry of other migrants

Spring migration is really beginning to get going in earnest with some great sightings over the past few days. In an update to the previous post, there was a notable arrival of 20 House Martins on 14 March (followed by single birds on 15th & 16th), in line with observations from elsewhere in the country that bear witness to an unusually big influx for so early in the month. This has been linked to a spell of strong southerly and south-westerly winds bringing birds further north, earlier in the season than normal, conditions also consistent with this year's very early records of Tree Pipit and Willow Warbler on Lundy.

The first 7 Puffins of the season were rafting in Jenny's Cove on 16th, and on the same date the first Sand Martin, Willow Warbler and Ring Ouzel of the year were found (the latter a "stunning male" near the Timekeeper's Hut above the Terrace), whilst a Red-necked Grebe was on the sea off the Ugly on 15th (possibly the same individual as recorded earlier in the winter). There was a small fall of 21 Chiffchaffs and 13 Goldcrests on 16th, adding volume to the increasing diversity of migrants being logged. Also recorded were: Great Northern Diver (1 on 16th), Cormorant (8 on 16th), Water Rail (2 on 16th), Woodpigeon (3 on 16th & 17th), Grey Wagtail (1 on 16th), Pied Wagtail (9 on 16th – the first significant influx of the spring), Robin (max 4 on 16th), Wheatear (1 on 15th – the second of the spring), Blackbird (max 5 on 16th), Song Thrush (1 on 16th), Redwing (2 on 17th), Chaffinch (4 on 16th & 17th) and Goldfinch (2 on 16th & 17th).

Based on information provided by Dean Jones, Lundy Warden – thanks Dean!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Wed 8 to Tue 14 Mar – First Wheatear, Swallow, Chiffchaffs & Firecrest and a very early Tree Pipit

Highlights from the LFS logboook for the last week, kindly forwarded by Lundy Warden Dean Jones, include the first arriving summer migrants, with single Wheatear (near Tibbetts) and Swallow on 13th and three Chiffchaffs, a Firecrest and an exceptionally early Tree Pipit seen by Dean on the side of the Ugly on 14th. Other records of interest include:
Teal 7 on 9th, Great Northern Diver 1 on 14th, Kestrel 1 on 14th, Merlin 1 on 9th, Snipe 2 on 9th, Kittiwake 17 on 9th, Lesser Black-backed Gull max 66 on 9th, Herring Gull max 268 on 9th, Great Black-backed Gull max 22 on 9th, Guillemot max 1,124 on 9th, Woodpigeon max 3 on 14th, Grey Wagtail singles on 10th & 14th, Pied Wagtail 1 on 13th, Meadow Pipit max 31 on 14th, Dunnock max 2 on 14th, Robin max 4 on 9th, Stonechat 8 on 9th, Blackbird max 8 on 14th, Redwing 1 on 13th, Goldcrest 1 on 14th, Starling max 79 on 9th, Goldfinch max 3 on 9th and Chaffinch max 9 on 14th.

Tue 14 Mar – First Lundy colour-ringed Wheatear seen elsewhere...

A Lundy colour-ringed Wheatear was seen on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, yesterday, 13 March (note it was not the bird in the photo below). Photos can be found on the Lundy Wheatear Study Facebook page and on the Twitter feed of the observer on Guernsey. This is the first time that one of the birds from the Lundy study, coordinated by Tony Taylor & Richard Taylor, has been reported away from the island since the project began in 2013. The bird involved was ringed as a breeding male near the Earthquake, on the West Side, on 3 June 2015. Since Wheatears show high breeding-site fidelity, there is every chance that the bird seen on Guernsey will be back on Lundy, around the Earthquake, in the next day or two – if it's not already there today!

This exciting news makes it timely to renew the request for all visiting birdwatchers to submit details of any colour-ringed Wheatears they may see during 2017. Colour-marked birds are most likely to be encountered in the main study area, which runs from the Castle, around South West Point, to the Battery and on to Halfway Wall, including adjoining areas of the plateau, but could be encountered elsewhere.

Lundy colour-ringed Wheatear © Elisabeth Price

Each bird has a standard BTO metal ring plus a striped ring (which signifies the Lundy project) on one leg, and two colour rings on the other leg. Please take care to note which rings are on which leg and make sure you specify the order of rings on each leg. The bird in the photo above, for example, would be recorded as: "Left leg, striped over metal; Right leg, yellow over green". Please record sightings in the Tavern logbook, via the Lundy Wheatear Study Facebook page, or send them to Tony Taylor using the link here. In addition to the ring sequence, date, time and specific location, the bird's sex and any notable activity (e.g. singing, mating, nest-building, feeding young) would also be useful. Photos are particularly welcome.

In 2016, there were resightings (on Lundy) of 29 Wheatears marked during the three previous seasons (2013–2015), whilst 48 new birds were colour-ringed. Many thanks from Tony and Richard to all those who contributed records.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Thu 2 to Tue 7 Mar – No summer migrants just yet

Latest news from Dean is of 1–2 Great Northern Divers in the Landing Bay on 6th & 7th, a count of 103 Fulmars on 4th, 1–2 Gannets on 4th & 7th, 3 Cormorants on 4th, a single Kestrel on 4th & 5th, a Water Rail on 6th, 10 Oystercatchers on 4th, a Redwing on 7th, single Pied Wagtails on 4th & 5th and 18 Meadow Pipits on 4th.

Conditions here on the mainland near Ilfracombe were often quite wet, or very windy, or both (!) during the first week of the month, so hardly ideal for either spring migrants or anyone out trying to look for them. Although the first Wheatear has yet to put in an appearance on Lundy, blooming Primroses at both South Light and Quarter Wall Copse since the last week of February hold out the promise of the season to come. 21 Grey Seals were between Quarry Cottages and Gannets' Rock on 4 March.

Monday, 6 March 2017

A quiet start to March

Dean Jones reports the following on 1st March: Great Northern Diver 1, Snipe 6, Lesser Black-backed Gull 19, Stonechat 5, Blackbird 12, Redwing 10, Goldcrest 3 and Goldfinch 2.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Fri 24 to Tue 28 Feb – Some good birds to close out the month

Martin Thorne was over on the island 24th–27th Feb, though his trip was curtailed by persistent clag, which prevented the helicopter from flying on four previous attempts last week and played havoc with plans for a week-long Lundy Field Society conservation work party.

In spite of having only two full days and further rough weather to contend with, Martin notched up some good birds, reporting two Red-throated Divers off Mouse Island and a Black-throated Diver and two Common Scoters in the Landing Bay, as well as a 'white-winged gull' (there has been a significant UK-wide arrival of both Glaucous and Iceland Gulls in recent weeks) around the Airfield. There was also a noticeable arrival of passage Stonechats, with four on Ackland's Moor and up to 20 along the East Side. Dean Jones (Lundy Warden) also picked up the Stonechat influx, seeing seven below Quarry Cottages on 27th and 11 around the Rocket Pole area on 28th. Both Martin and Dean also detected a small passage of Redwings, including 20+ on 27th.

A pukka Lundy vagrant to end the month, and the first since Sep 2003, was a Great Crested Grebe in full breeding plumage, found by Dean in the Landing Bay this morning (28th); a bird he describes as "quite the treat". And so say all of us!

We now look forward to the first half of March, with its promise of the first migrant Wheatears, Chiffchaffs and Sand Martins – and who knows what else?

Monday, 27 February 2017

28 Jan to 26 Feb 2017 – New Year, New Lundy Warden

New Lundy Warden, Dean Jones, took up his post at the end of January and has already logged a variety of interesting late-winter sightings, among them:

Teal – two on 18 Feb
Great Northern Diver – two on 13 Feb
Red-necked Grebe – one on 13 Feb (Lundy rarity)
Woodcock – two on 2 Feb
Snipe – one on 2 Feb
Kittiwake – 304 on 18 Feb, 400+ off the Landing Bay on 23 Feb (the day Storm Doris blew through)
Woodpigeon – two on 10 Feb (scarce in winter)
Merlin – one on 18 Feb
Skylark – six on 4 Feb
Goldcrest – one on 17 Feb (scarce in winter)
Fieldfare – two on 18 Feb
Redwing – six on 5 Feb, 13 on 16 Feb
Stonechat – three on 28 Jan, one on 4 Feb
Black Redstart – singles on 28 Jan & 4 Feb
Meadow Pipit – five on 4 Feb (scarce in winter)
Pied Wagtail – one on 17 Feb (scarce in winter)
Goldfinch – four on 16 Feb

At Jenny's Cove on Sunday 26th February there were 17 Gannets, 34 Fulmars, 2 Cormorants and 30 Kittiwakes all flying South and 365 Guillemots on the ledges.

On behalf of Lundybirds contributors and readers, welcome to Dean and happy Lundy birding!

Two rarities from the end of last year

Below are photos of the Red-necked Grebe (Lundy vagrant) and Red-throated Pipit (national rarity) found by Philip & Helen Lymbery on 18th December and 18th & 19th December, respectively. The grebe was in the Landing Bay and came remarkably close to shore, while the pipit was in the vicinity of the Church and Castle. Although Red-throated Pipit is significantly rarer at national level, there have actually been more Lundy records of this species than there have of Red-necked Grebe! Great records Philip & Helen; sorry to be late uploading the photos.

Red-necked Grebe, Landing Bay 18 Dec 2016 ©Philip Lymbery
Red-necked Grebe, Landing Bay 18 Dec 2016 ©Philip Lymbery
Red-throated Pipit, Castle Hill area, 19 Dec 2016 ©Philip Lymbery
Red-throated Pipit, Castle Hill area, 19 Dec 2016 ©Philip Lymbery