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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.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

19th Jun to 6th Jul – A Summery Summary from the Sun-kissed isle

The following comprehensive update has been prepared by Lundy Warden Dean Jones. Many thanks to Dean for fitting this in at one of the very busiest times of year.

"Sun kissed would be the phrase I would use if I were to describe this period on Lundy. Only 10.6ml of rain has fallen (all within four days) which has left the island rather parched. Although this has made evenings in the staff ‘nook’ that much nicer, the lack of rain is really starting to show across the island, resulting in it looking more like a mini-Serengeti than an island in the Bristol Channel, as the grass turns straw-like as it retreats from the sun.

It has been a magical period on Lundy for wildlife sightings as of late, with the logbook filling up with lots of interesting sightings from both above and below the waves. The star of the show bird-wise has to be the beautiful Rose-coloured Starling which remained on Lundy from the start of this period until 29 June at least. This bird put on quite the show, turning up in some very conspicuous areas of the Village to the delight of many visitors.

Rose-coloured Starling on the Black Shed, 19 June © Dean Jones

It has also been a great month for raptors: A lone female Marsh Harrier (numerous sightings of this bird from 28 June until 5 July), a Red Kite (1 cruising south near Tibbetts on 20th), a female Hen Harrier (quartering North of Quarter Wall on 16th), Kestrel (singles on 18, 20 & 25 June, 2 & 3 July) and a Sparrowhawk (1 on 20 & 24 June & 2 July) have all made appearances during the period.

The island’s seabirds have also been very busy with the first Kittiwake chicks making their arrival on 15 June. So far the birds in the Aztec Bay productivity site are doing OK with at least 48 nests still active. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for our Threequarter Wall Buttress site, with only 8 nests remaining out of an initial 44. Fingers crossed the remaining birds will be able to withstand the heat and constant pestering from the larger gulls and will manage to get a few chicks at least out this year. Only time will tell.

On a better note, our Puffins are doing well with the island’s long-term volunteers observing numerous adult Puffins taking fish into nesting burrows every day. From one auk to the others… and our Guillemots and Razorbills are nearly finished for the year (where does the time go?!), with the first ‘jumplings’ making the leap of faith on 27 June from St Mark’s Stone. This productivity site is now looking somewhat bare as the majority of birds have now disembarked and made their way out to sea."

Adult female and fledgling Wheatear, West Side near St Mark's Stone, 3 July © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note from 19 June to 6 July:

  • Mallard: 3 females with very young ducklings on 4th & 5th: 6 ducklings on Quarry Pond, 7 on Quarters Pond & 9 at Barton Pond.
  • Common Scoter: 2 in close to Gannets’ Rock on 20th.
  • Manx Shearwater: 421 moving north in 30 minutes, counted from near St Mark’s Stone on 2nd. 
  • Gannet: 50 birds in ‘feeding assemblage’ with gulls, auks, shags and shearwaters on 30th.
  • Grey Heron: One on 24th and 3 on 25th, flying past Aztec Bay.
  • Little Egret: The bird seen on 13th in Barton Field remained until the morning of 14th at least.
  • Curlew: One was heard calling over the Village at around 22:00 hrs on 28th and one was seen in Middle Park (possibly the same bird) on the morning of 29th.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull: The first fledglings on the wing were seen near the Church on 30th.
  • Turtle Dove: One flying over the Old Hospital on 2nd.
  • Woodpigeon: The first fledgling was noted in Millcombe on 20th.
  • Collared Dove: One on 30th and one on 2nd.
  • Puffin: A count of 243 birds on 2nd has been the highest number recorded of this hardy little seabird this year so far.
  • Cuckoo: One reported on 2nd (no further details entered in the log).
  • Swift: Birds have been logged on most days. The highest counts were 29 wheeling around the Church on 2 July and 29 birds quartering the East Side on 4th.  
  • Swallow: The first fledglings were perched on the fence in Brick Field on 1st. The highest count has been 11 on 21st.
  • House Martin: 2 on 21st and 4 on the 22nd.
  • Skylark: 21 on 22nd and 21 on 4th have been the highest counts of the period.
  • Stonechat: 2 males at Quarter Wall on 29th.
  • Spotted Flycatcher: One bird with a rather deformed bill was seen in Millcombe on 21st.
  • Blackcap: At least two males were recorded singing up until 23rd (no further records).
  • Chiffchaff: The first fledglings were seen in Millcombe on 20th.
  • Willow Warbler: One was calling loudly from the top of Millcombe on 20th.
  • Whitethroat: A single male has been singing at the top of Millcombe every day since 23rd.
  • Reed Warbler: One bird heard singing from within Smelly Gully on 19th.
  • Wren: The first fledglings were seen in Smelly Gully on 20th.
  • Grey Wagtail: One flying over Millcombe Gardens on 26th.
  • Linnet: Lots of youngsters around now; 50 birds on 4th was the highest count of the period.  
  • Lesser Redpoll: Single birds heard overhead on 3rd and 4th.

Flock of Common Swifts inspecting the newly completed St Helen's Centre, 2 July © Dean Jones

Non-avian highlights:

We have had some great moth trapping sessions as of late. Highlights include Lundy rarities like Shoulder-striped Wainscot, two Nationally Scarce B species (Double Line & Thyme Pug) and a Nationally Scarce A species  (Devonshire Wainscot) along with a number of potential new species for the island.

The butterflies have also been benefiting from the dry, windless weather. The 4th saw a super day for Large Whites (100+ recorded) and Meadow Brown (426) as well as some of the island’s day-flying moths like Six-spot Burnets (272) and Silver Y (46).

Numerous damselflies have been noted (e.g. 25 Blue-tailed Damselflies and 10 Common Blue Damselflies on 4th) as well as two Emperor Dragonflies at Quarter Wall Pond during the period and a lovely female Common Darter on the Terrace on 4th.

Emperor Dragonfly, Quarter Wall Pond, 3 July © Dean Jones

To further the excitement, Helen Booker and other members of RSPB staff are over again this week, this time to try and survey the island for possible Storm Petrel sites following the discovery of burrows at North End last year. Watch this space!

Report composed of sightings from: Peter Lambden, Kirsty Neller, Grant Sherman, Kevin Welsh, John Hutchinson, Kevin Waterfall, Robert Andrew, Kathryn MacKinnon, Joshua Harris, Alan & Sandra Rowland, Zoë Barton and Dean Jones.

Friday, 15 June 2018

8th to 14th June – Young birds abound; another Rosy Starling sighting

Here is the latest round-up of bird news from Lundy Warden Dean Jones, covering 8th to 14th June:

"It has been a very busy period for both the birds (most are now looking after small chicks and young fledglings) as well as the conservation team who’ve been out most days to survey them. Millcombe has seen the arrival of some more youngsters in the past week, namely Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and House Sparrow, and the island’s plateau is now busy with the fluttering of young Skylarks, Wheatears and Meadow Pipits.

The island's Guillemots and Razorbills have all been very busy too, repeatedly heading out to sea in order to provision their adorable newly hatched chicks with a bounty of sandeels and sprat. Wednesday 13th saw the team head out to Jenny’s Cove for a dawn to dusk Puffin survey aimed at trying to identify all the burrows with pufflings in them by noting instances of feeding by parent birds. Unfortunately the last shift had to be cancelled due to the earlier-than-expected arrival of rain and strong winds, but despite this minor setback the team was able to identify at least 95 burrows which had fish delivered to them throughout the day.

Additionally the productivity slope in Jenny’s Cove swarmed with birds in the late afternoon, 164 in fact, which is the highest number reported yet for this site this season."

Other sightings of note:
  • A Rose-coloured Starling on 9th was seen initially with Common Starlings near the Old Light in the morning by one of the Manx Shearwater survey team, then by Frances Stuart and Rebecca & Richard Taylor in the afternoon, when it was wheeling around Millcombe (see photos below). Potentially one of the birds seen on 3rd, but perhaps more likely a new arrival given the exceptional 'invasion' of this species into western Europe this summer.
  • The Little Egret reported by Mark Kelly on 7th lingered around Barton Field pond until the afternoon of 8th at least.
  • A single Dunlin was seen next to Kistvaen Pond on 9th by Andrew Cleave and his Naturetrek group.
  • Swift: Small numbers recorded most days including two birds on 13th seemingly prospecting for a nest site on the church tower in the early morning.
  • Our beautiful Blackbirds have now started incubating their second load of eggs for the year in Millcombe and two of the Swallow pairs are now busily feeding small young (the other is still on eggs). 
  • Whitethroat: One on 13th.
  • Spotted Flycatcher: Three on 13th.
  • Lesser Redpoll: One flying over the High Street on 10th and one flying around Millcombe on  13th.
Rose-coloured Starling, Millcombe, 9th June © Richard Taylor
Rose-coloured Starling, Millcombe, 9th June © Richard Taylor

Details of colour-ringed Oystercatcher

Ringing details have come through for the colour-ringed Oystercatcher (right leg: orange ring with black digits 52; left leg: plain orange ring over metal ring) seen in Gannets’ Bay on 6th June and therefore presumed to be one of Lundy’s breeding population.

It was ringed on 17th February this year as a full adult (meaning that it was hatched in 2015 or earlier) on the Gann Estuary, Dale, Pembrokeshire. This is the first re-sighting of this individual, marked as part of a study that began in the autumn of 2015 and which has already shown that the Gann is a feeding and roosting site for many Oystercatchers that breed on Skomer and Skokholm.

This is the first Oystercatcher ringing movement involving Lundy for many years and it will be fascinating to see if there are any further exchanges involving the Pembrokeshire colour-marking scheme, perhaps shedding light on where those birds that leave the island – for at least part of the winter – go to.

Thanks to Paddy Jenks of Pembrokeshire Ringing Group and to Tim Frayling of Natural England for making this information available so promptly.

Map showing location of Gann Est, Dale, Pembs.

Friday, 8 June 2018

7th June – Little Egret

During the late morning of 7th June, island engineer Mark Kelly found a Little Egret – still a scarce species on Lundy – in the pond outside Barton Cottages. It took a short flight over the Village, including the Tavern garden, before returning to the same pond, though it was later seen from the Jetty, flying up the East Side. Hopefully, if it sticks around, it will quickly figure out that Lundy's numerous low-tide rock pools offer much better feeding than the freshwater ponds on the island itself. Lundy's ornithological history is punctuated with the corpses of herons and egrets that did not discover this fact...

Mark also saw what sounded very much like an adult Roseate Tern about halfway across to the island during the morning crossing of MS Oldenburg from Ilfracombe.

Other sightings during the day included 89 Puffins in Jenny's Cove, a feeding flock of 100 adult Kittiwakes off the West Side (though it seems Kittiwakes are having a very poor year breeding-wise), five Collared Doves, two Swifts heading north-east over the Tent Field, and a Whitethroat in Millcombe.

Little Egret, Barton Pond, 7 Jun 2018 © Tim Davis

Thursday, 7 June 2018

5th & 6th June – Mass fledging from the 'Starling Factory'

The continued fine, dry weather and light, predominantly north-easterly winds have been ideal for enabling the surveys of Manx Shearwater burrows and nesting large gulls to continue apace. One of the team members found a colour-ringed Oystercatcher on 6th; it will be fascinating to see what the ringing details reveal, once available.

Migration has pretty much come to an end, with just a single Swift on 5th and none at all on 6th, whilst Spotted Flycatchers were only present in ones and twos, contrasting with double digits at the start of the month. A dozen-or-so late Swallows, a singing Chiffchaff on the western sidelands at the Old Light Shearwater colony, and two House Martins heading north off North Light, provided the only evidence of ongoing movement.

The Lundy 'Starling Factory' has been in full swing, with a mass fledging from nests around the village, farm and Old Light, particularly on 6th, when 22 fledglings were lined up on the Lambing Shed door. A survey a few days ago revealed 39 active nests, but as a couple of broods had already fledged, it's safe to say that this year's population was in excess of 40 breeding pairs – the highest of recent times.

Two female Cuckoos were seen on 6th – one staking out Meadow Pipit nests at Quarter Wall and one at Threequarter Wall. Finally, there was a female Teal with a brood of six small ducklings on Pondsbury on 6th.

The Starling Factory production line – 6th June © Tim Jones

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

4th June – Hobby & Mistle Thrush; surveys continue

During a very warm and sunny day, with just a light NE wind, the surveys of breeding Manx Shearwaters and large gulls continued, with good coverage achieved in both. Rich & Rebecca Taylor also continued their work on colour-ringed Wheatears.

There was no sign of the Rose-coloured Starlings seen on 3rd (although there was no particularly thorough searching for them).

A Hobby drifted north over Millcombe early in the morning, whilst a Mistle Thrush at Halfway Wall in the afternoon was probably more unusual in Lundy terms – particularly at this time of year. Also surprising was a singing Chiffchaff in Gannets' Combe! A handful of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts continued to trickle north.

Monday, 4 June 2018

3rd June – Rose-coloured Starlings, shearwater and gull surveys

Two adult Rose-coloured Starlings (presumed m & f, as one a distinctly brighter, sharper bird) were seen at Quarter Wall gate by Tim Jones at 06.15 hrs. At 08.30 they were flying down St John's Valley and then perched on the Church before dropping down into the Tent Field, where they were still present 09.40–10.00, though by 10.00 the two birds appeared to have split up, with only the (presumed) female seen later in the day (e.g. Tilllage Field pig sty at 18.30).

Other sightings included further light northbound passage of Swallows, House Martins, a Sand Martin and five Swifts. 1 Reed Warbler was along the Terrace and one Turtle Dove in Millcombe.

Teams from RSPB and Natural England began all-island censuses of Manx Shearwater burrows and large gulls – Herring, Lesser Black-back, Great Black-back.

Record shot of one of the Rose-coloured Starlings on the Church, with Common Starling © Tim Jones

Saturday, 2 June 2018

2nd June – Montagu's Harrier, Hawfinch, Yellow Wagtail

Tim Davis & Tim Jones watched a ringtail Montagu's Harrier circling over North End before it headed off north and out to sea, at about 14.20 hrs.

Other sightings included the male Hawfinch, male Pied Flycatcher, Reed Warbler, Turtle Dove and female Bullfinch – all still in the Millcombe area – and a stonking male Yellow Wagtail feeding around a Lundy Pony in St Helen's Field during the evening (plus the same or another heard in flight over Pondsbury).

A steady northward trickle of Swallows totalled 45 by the end of the day, along with 21 House Martins and 3 Swifts. Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and a Willow Warbler continued to sing in Millcombe and St Helen's Copse and there were at least 7 Spotted Flycatchers, including one at Puffin Slope (North End).

Observations by Ann & Tony Taylor, Ivan Lakin, Tim Davis & Tim Jones.

Friday, 1 June 2018

1st June – Plenty of late migrants still in evidence

The plateau was blanketed in sea fog for much of the day, which restricted birding to the sidings and shoreline, though a clearance eventually arrived during the afternoon.

Good numbers of Spotted Flycatchers were still evident with a minimum of six in Millcombe, two in St Helen's Combe and three along the West Side, but quite a few others must have been missed elsewhere. An unusually late male Pied Flycatcher was in Millcombe, along with the female Bullfinch, the Turtle Dove and the singing Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler. A Sedge Warbler also put in an appearance. Other migrants included four singing Blackcaps (two Millcombe, one St Helen's, one Hanmers Copse), four Chiffchaffs (of which three singing – two Millcombe, one at the Rocket Pole), 17 Swallows, three House Martins, two Siskins and a Redpoll.

Migrant lepidoptera included Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, Silver Ys and Diamondback Moths.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

31st May – Golden Oriole, Hawfinch, Bullfinch & Spotted Flycatchers

Tony Taylor discovered a first-year male Golden Oriole singing in Millcombe first thing. It afforded good views and was seen flying north over the valley at 10.30 hrs, but not subsequently.

The Hawfinch and singing Reed Warbler were still in Millcombe. At least 12 Spotted Flycatchers were present, including three together near the Terrrace Trap. A female Bullfinch in Millcombe flew a circuit high over the Village, calling constantly, during the late afternoon, before landing again in Millcombe.

There was a singing Willow Warbler in Millcombe. Singing Chiffchaffs were heard in Millcombe (two), Quarter Wall Copse, and above Quarry Beach. Single Blackcaps were singing in Millcombe and at Quarter Wall Copse. Other records included a female Sparrowhawk (East Side), six Collared Doves, two Swifts, 10 Swallows, 3 House Martins and single Redpoll (East Side) and Siskin (Millcombe).

Observations by Ann & Tony Taylor, Rebecca & Richard Taylor, Dean Jones, Tim Davis & Tim Jones.

29th & 30th May – Hobby, Turtle Dove

On 29th Richard & Rebecca Taylor saw a Hobby at South End and the Reed Warbler was still singing in Millcombe.

On 30th there was a Siskin over Millcombe and the Turtle Dove was seen again. The second adult bird at the occupied Manx Shearwater nest box in the Old Light colony was also confirmed as a returning individiual from 2017.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

28th May – A quiet day

Tony Taylor reports that during an otherwise quiet day there was a Reed Warbler singing in upper Millcombe and a late Tree Pipit flew north.

Monday, 28 May 2018

27th May – Woodchat Shrike relocated

The Woodchat Shrike, first reported on 24th, was relocated at the western end of Quarter Wall on Sunday 27th, where it was on view for much of the day. Also on 27th a Dunlin flew north, there were two Cuckoos in the St Helen's Combe/Millcombe/St John's Valley area, a Turtle Dove near the Lodge, a Whitethroat and singing Reed Warbler in Millcombe, and a singing Sedge Warbler at the Rocket Pole, whilst Richard & Rebecca Taylor found an unseasonal Black Redstart at The Battery.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

26th May – No sign of the rosefinch

Tony Taylor reports that there was no sign of the Common Rosefinch and Millcombe (along with the rest of the East Side) was exposed to a fresh easterly wind, which made birding difficult. The only observation of note was the Hawfinch, which was seen again by Dean Jones.

Friday, 25 May 2018

25th May – Singing male Common Rosefinch in Millcombe

Earlier this morning Tony Taylor discovered that yesterday's report from another visitor, of brief views of a singing male Redpoll, in fact referred to a "stunning red male Common Rosefinch shouting out his presence" at the top of Millcombe, near to the start of the Upper East Side Path. It was seen later in Millcombe by Lundy Warden Dean Jones and others.

Tony has also confirmed successful breeding by Teal for the fourth successive year, whilst other records for the day included: 7 Collared Doves, a reported Turtle Dove, 18 House Martins, 12 Swallows, 2 Whitethroats, a Blackcap, 4 Spotted Flycatchers and Manx Shearwaters flying north off the East Side during the evening at a rate of nearly 20 per minute. Update: The Woodchat Shrike was photographed by Jo Alexander.

Male Common Rosefinch, Millcombe, 25 May 2018 © Dean Jones

Thursday, 24 May 2018

24th May – Woodchat Shrike & good news from the Wheatear colour-ringing project

In his latest bulletin, for 24th May, Tony Taylor advises that other observers saw a Woodchat Shrike (see photos below) on the eastern end of Quarter Wall during the afternoon and a Redpoll singing in Millcombe [Update: this bird was seen only briefly on 24th, but Tony caught up with it on 25th and was able to confirm it as a male Common Rosefinch – see above]. Single Curlew and Ringed Plover flew north up the West Side.

In an excellent development, given the often difficult conditions for birds and birdwatchers alike earlier this spring, Tony confirms that resightings of Wheatears colour-ringed on Lundy in previous years have now reached the target of 30 required under the BTO's Retrapping Adults for Survival scheme.

Woodchat Shrike, 24 May © Martin Thorne
Woodchat Shrike, 24 May © Martin Thorne
Woodchat Shrike, 24 May © Martin Thorne

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

22nd & 23rd May – A late(ish) Osprey

Tony Taylor sums up Tuesday 22nd with that most telling of birding adjectives: "quiet".

Today, 23rd, brought sightings (by others) of an Osprey flying north past Millcombe and up the East Side and the Hawfinch was seen again. Other observations included a female Sparrowhawk, a Golden Plover in South West Field, a female Kestrel, a Yellow Wagtail flying north over Benjamin's Chair, and a Dunlin that Tony advises, "narrowly escaped capture by a male Peregrine".

A check of the nestboxes in the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony revealed that one of last year's successful pair was incubating a fresh-looking egg.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

21st May – News of the Old Light shearwater colony

Tony Taylor reports that the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony was surprisingly busy on the night of 20th/21st (Sunday/Monday) in spite of the bright light cast by a waxing moon. There were many calling birds and 21 individuals were captured, including eight ringed in previous years, of which two were ringed as chicks in the same colony in 2014.

During the day on Monday 21st there was a calling Cuckoo in Millcombe. Other migrants included two singing Blackcaps, a Sedge Warbler and five Spotted Flycatchers. The Dotterel and Hawfinch were both still present.

In other news, the record of the Red-throated Pipit found by Andy Jayne in October 2017 has recently been accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Mary Gade 1933 – 2018

We learnt with much sadness of the death yesterday (a few days short of her 85th birthday) of Mary Gade, daughter of Felix and Rene Gade, who grew up on Lundy having made her first crossing from Bideford at the tender age of just 18 days, and spent much of her adult life living and working on the island. She inherited her father's love of birds and over the years amassed what may very well remain the longest list of species seen on Lundy by any one person, among them numerous rarities, such as Great Spotted Cuckoo, American Robin and Common Yellowthroat. For a whole generation of Lundy birdwatchers and ringers (whose plumage may be a little more greyish and abraded these days) Mary was an island fixture and someone to whom the maxim "once met, never forgotten" surely applies. She will be remembered with deep fondness by those in the Lundy birding community that knew her (not to mention the many birdwatchers that will have met her more recently on Cape Clear, off the coast of County Cork). Our thoughts are with Mary's partner Steve and Annie, her daughter.

Mary pictured on Lundy in October 2015 © Tim Davis

Sunday, 20 May 2018

20th May – Iceland Gull, Turtle Dove, Dotterel & Hawfinch

The annual Devon Birds day-trip charter of MS Oldenburg took place today and among the birds on offer were an adult Iceland Gull (off the West Side) and a Turtle Dove (Millcombe), in addition to the Dotterel, singing Firecrest and Hawfinch, all of which were still present (see Jon Turner's report on Devon Bird Sightings here and photos on Bri Thompson's and Cliff Smith's Twitter feeds). Tony Taylor, back on the island for Wheatear and Manx Shearwater ringing studies, reports that the supporting cast included Whimbrel, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and a male Redstart. There were some hirundines and Swifts on the move but numbers were lower than on 18th & 19th. Tony notes that the Wheatear breeding season is significantly later this year than in 2017 and that there are still Greenland Wheatears passing through.

Dotterel, South West Point © Jon Turner

Saturday, 19 May 2018

15th to 19th May – Dotterel, Firecrest, Hawfinch & major hirundine passage

Below are highlights for Tuesday 15th to Saturday 19th May, excluding James Diamond's sightings covered in the previous post. Dean Jones writes:

"The star of the show was undoubtedly the stunning lady Dotterel who dropped onto the SW point of the island this afternoon (19th). Initially found by Barbara Harrington & Kim Brett, the bird stuck around for quite a while and was enjoyed by numerous island twitchers."

Greenshank: One flying over the South End heading SE was seen and heard calling repeatedly (probably flushed from Kistvaen Pond) whilst I was on a Bumblebee identification course with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust!
Ringed Plover: 4 on 17th.
Dunlin: 1 by Rocket Pole Pond today (19th).
Collared Dove: 1 on 15th, 18th and 19th and 2 on 17th.
Swift: 28 on the 18th & 17 today (19th).
Kestrel: One male and female again on 18th.
All three Raven nests have now fledged young adding another 9 chicks (at least) to the island population.
Firecrest: A lone male was seen and heard singing his heart out in Millcombe wood on 18th and again early this morning (19th).
Skylark: A few more territories were found up beyond Threequarter Wall on 18th, bringing us to 46 territories so far for 2018.
Sand Martin: Single digit numbers on most days. 26+ traversed the island on 18th.
Swallow: Double digits up until 18th when a very conservative estimate of 3,000+ birds was noted. Birds were travelling over the island for the majority of the day averaging around 298 birds every 30 minutes (from sample counts at the North End). Today (19th) was a bit slower but still very impressive: sample count of 2 hours produced 310 birds.
House Martin: Similar to the Swallows, a very conservative estimate of around 124 birds were counted on 18th.
Chiffchaff: 4 recorded on each day within this period. There have been at least 2 birds singing in Millcombe every day during this period. Fingers crossed they will stay and breed.
Willow Warbler: 2 on 18th
Blackcap: 1 male and female on the 16th, 1 female on 17th & 18th.
Whitethroat: 4 on 16th and 2 on 18th.
Reed Warbler: 1 in Millcombe Gardens in the late afternoon of 18th and 2 today, 19th (one in Smelly Gully and 1 in the Secret Garden).
Spotted Flycatcher: 1 on 15th, 5 on 16th, 2 on 17th and 9 on 18th.
Redstart: A lone female was seen catching flies at the top of Millcombe on 18th.
Stonechat: The SW pair are still present and were seen collecting food from within the short heather on the morning of 18th – 7 were recorded in total for this date, six of which were recorded from Gannets Bay.
Wheatear: 36+ on 18th, most of which were singing males.
Grey Wagtail: A very late individual was noted in the logbook on 16th (no additional information).
Pied Wagtail: 4 on 16th.
Chaffinch: 3 on 16th & 17th.
Linnet: 40 on 17th and 41 on 18th. 
Lesser Redpoll: 2 feeding within a patch of dandelions in tent field on 18th.
Hawfinch: Present again in Millcombe on 18th near the Secret Garden in late afternoon, seemingly feeding on lichen (or fallen seeds caught in lichen) – see photo.

Female Dotterel, South West Point, 19th May © Dean Jones
Female Dotterel, South West Point, 19th May © Dean Jones
Hawfinch, Millcombe, 18th May © Dean Jones

Thursday, 17 May 2018

17th May – A gorgeous day

James Diamond took the 07.30 "pleasure cruise" aboard MS Oldenburg out of Bideford in beautiful sunshine, hoping for something tantalising on the island, perhaps a Bee-eater, a shrike or a Bluethroat. No joy on that front, but an entertaining day nonetheless with the following sightings:

Nine Blackbirds (including three on the plateau at Quarter Wall and one feeding young in Millcombe), Goldcrest (1 in Millcombe), Blackcap (1), Whitethroat (1), Chiffchaff (4), Collared Dove (2), Woodpigeon (2), Dunlin (1), Ringed Plover (1), Golden Plover (1), a Hawfinch around Millcombe House, House Martin (21), Sand Martin (3), Swift (10), Kestrel (2), White Wagtail (1), a Water Rail singing from juncus in Lighthouse Field and 50 Puffins in Jenny's Cove.

Late in the day the wind dropped away, making for a pleasant return crossing and fish and chips in Bideford before the drive home to Exminster. Thanks James.

12th to 14th May – Short-toed Lark and Purple Sandpipers

The latest news from Lundy Warden Dean Jones:

"The obvious highlight for this period has to be the super Short-toed Lark which was found by Sam Bosanquet on the afternoon of the 13th, feeding along the Old Light track. Sam was fortunate enough to see this bird at least three times throughout the day from 15:20 – 19:25 as he passed to and from his accommodation at Old Light." See Sam's Twitter post here and record shot below:

Short-toed Lark, South West Field/Old Light track, 13 May © Sam Bosanquet

Notes from the LFS logbook 12th – 14th:

Whimbrel: 2 on 12th (South Light and west coast).
Dunlin: 1 was seen flying north on the 12th.
Purple Sandpiper: 4 at Brazen Ward on 14th, one of which was in full breeding plumage and allowed for superb prolonged close up views. (NB This is a notable record for what has never been a commonly reported species on Lundy, but sightings have been particularly few and far between in recent years.)
Collared Dove: 2 on 12th and 1 on 14th.
Swift: 1 on 12th & 14th and 2 on 13th.
Kestrel: A beautiful lone female was seen quartering the south end on 12th – the highlight of the island's second World Migratory Bird Day guided walk.
Swallow: 76 on the 12th, 200+ on 13th and 142 on 14th.
Sand Martin: 14 on 13th and 8 on 14th.
House Martin: 1 on 12th, 30+ on 13th and 11 on 14th.
Chiffchaff: 3 on 12th, 8 on 13th and 6 on 14th.
Willow Warbler: 1 bird on each day throughout this period.
Blackcap: Numbers have dropped dramatically compared to the start of the month. 1 on 12th, 2 on  13th and 3 on 14th.
Whitethroat: 1 on 12th & 13th and 4 on 14th.
Grasshopper Warbler: 1 flushed from the bracken alongside the track beyond Threequarter Wall on  13th.
Sedge Warbler: 4 on 12th, 1 on 13th and 2 on 14th.
Spotted Flycatcher: 2 late arriving birds on 12th were seen catching flies from the fence posts next to the Tavern.
White Wagtail: 1 male was seen feeding on the grass near Old Light in the evening of 12th (S Bosanquet).
Linnet: 5 on 12th, 21 on 13th and 22 on 14th.
Lesser Redpoll: One on 14th calling loudly whilst in flight above Millcombe.
Goldfinch: 14 on 12th, 11 on 13th and 14 on 14th.
Siskin: 2 beautiful birds (1 male & 1 female) were present in Millcombe on 14th.

"The weather is looking very exciting for the upcoming week! All the fingers and toes are crossed for something special."

Sunday, 13 May 2018

7th to 11th May – A promising start but then migration stopped

Dean Jones, the warden, reports that the period started off very promising with a lovely diversity of long distant migrants arriving on the island throughout the morning of the 7th. Unfortunately this buzz of passage did not continue over the next few days and the birds that were already here quickly moved off before the wind picked up and the rains arrived. There was however a few super birds to continue the excitement of spring.

Highlights from the period include:

May 7th

  • Whimbrel: 4
  • Kestrel: 1 hovering over SW field in the afternoon.  
  • Hirundines: 26 Sand Martin, 120+ Swallow and 7 House Martin.
  • Swift: 5 over the south end of the island in the afternoon.
  • Chiffchaff: 10 including a number of singing individuals in Millcombe and St Helen’s Copse.
  • Willow Warbler: 7
  • Blackcap: 7
  • Garden Warbler: 1
  • Whitethroat: 4 in the Millcombe/St John’s area.
  • Sedge Warbler: 9 in the Millcombe/St John’s area.
  • Whinchat: 1 female perched on a fence post at the top of Millcombe.
  • Finches: 20 Linnet, 8 Goldfinch, 1 female Chaffinch and a lone male Lesser Redpoll singing his heart out on Government House roof.

May 8th

  • Whimbrel: 2
  • Dunlin: 2
  • Collared Dove: 1
  • Swift: 3
  • Hirundines: 8 Sand Martin, 66 Swallow and 2 House Martin.
  • Phylloscs: 8 Chiffchaff and 3 Willow Warbler.
  • Blackcap: 7
  • Sedge Warbler: 1
  • Yellow Wagtail: A beautiful female was found feeding with the ponies in Barton’s Field, the first of the year.
  • White Wagtail: 1 female in Barton’s Field.
  • Finches: 37 Linnet, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch, the female Bullfinch again and a stunning male Hawfinch was seen on the Laundry Garden wall in the afternoon (Z Barton).

May 9th (Someone has turned off the migrant tap)

  • Whimbrel: 1
  • Dunlin: 1
  • Collared Dove: 1
  • Hirundines: 1 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow and 3 House Martin.
  • Phylloscs: 3 Chiffchaff and 1 Willow Warbler.
  • Blackcap: 1
  • Finches: 30 Linnet, 14 Goldfinch and the male Hawfinch again, this time from the top of Millcombe in the early morning and subsequently on Sue Waterfield’s feeders on a number of occasions up until the late afternoon.

May 10th (Another very quiet day)

  • Whimbrel: 3
  • Manx Shearwater: 23 past Rat Island in 5 minutes.
  • Collared Dove: 1
  • Hirundines: 3 Sand Martin, 44 Swallow and 3 House Martin.
  • Chiffchaff: 2
  • Willow Warbler: 1
  • Blackcap: 2
  • Sedge Warbler: 1
  • Yellow Wagtail: 1 male & 1 female, both in Barton’s Field.
  • Linnet: 35
  • Goldfinch: 20

May 11th. Don’t the birds know that it is World Migratory Bird Day this weekend?

  • Collared Dove: 1
  • Chiffchaff: 2
  • Willow Warbler: 1
  • Blackcap: 1 female
  • Spotted Flycatcher: 2 in the Sycamores near Bramble Villas. 

Hawfinch © Dean Jones

Yellow Wagtail © Dean Jones

Yellow Wagtail © Dean Jones

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

World Migratory Bird Day – Lundy events

This weekend Lundy will be helping celebrate World Migratory Bird Day – an event aimed at raising awareness into the plight of migratory birds around the globe.

To celebrate this important day the conservation team will be hosting two special bird related guided walks on Friday 11th May (10:30am from the Tavern) and Saturday 12th May (12:00pm from the Jetty). Additionally we will be hosting a special illustrated talk on Saturday evening in the wheelhouse (5:00pm) about bird migration and the fantastic work of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter, who save thousands of birds each year from illegal hunting and trapping in Europe!

For more information on Migratory bird day and for information on other events around the country why not have a look at the event's official website

We hope to see you on the weekend!

Monday, 7 May 2018

4th to 6th May

The warden, Dean Jones reports "It’s been very warm and muggy on the island as of late, which has been great for insects who are now starting to emerge in good numbers, but not very good for migrants, as the warm air on the island coupled with a cool oceanic breeze has cloaked the island in a near continuous blanket of fog for the majority of this period. We were still luckily enough to get some beautiful sunny spells with next to no winds at parts, which allowed for a superb passage of Hirundines on the afternoon of the 4th. Here a very conservative estimate of 1200+ swallows, 200+ sand martins and 38 house martins passed over Lundy on route to their breeding grounds in the north."

Other avian highlights from the period include (excluding birds from Rob Duncan’s previous post):
  • Whimbrel: 8 on the 5th & 1 on the 6th.
  • Snipe: One flushed from a small patch of rush in SW field on the 6th.
  • Swift: One over Millcombe on the 4th and 3 on the 6th.
  • Goldcrest: One on the 4th & 5th.
  • Swallow: 200+ on the 5th, & 80 on the 6th.
  • Sand Martin: 10 on the 5th & 51 on the 6th.
  • House Martin: 10 on the 5th & 7 on the 6th,
  • Stonechat: One male near the Rocket Pole on the 4th and the 6th.
  • Pied Wagtail: 2 on the 4th & 5th. One of which (a young male) was caught and ringed in Millcombe on the 5th. 5 on the 6th.
  • Chiffchaff: 21 caught and ringed from the Millcombe area which included a highly probable Siberian bird (see photo).
  • Willow Warbler: 14 birds caught and ringed on the 5th.
  • Blackcap: 30 (21 females & 9 males) on the 5th.  
  • Whitethroat: 1 caught in St John’s on the 5th.
  • Sedge Warbler: 8 on the 5th - all caught and ringed from the Millcombe/St John’s area.
  • Reed Warbler: 1 caught and ringed from St John’s Valley on the 5th.
  • Chaffinch: 2 females on the 5th.
  • Linnet: 33 on the 6th which included 4 females with nest material. 
  • Bullfinch: One female in Millcombe on the 5th.
I was also lucky enough to join the guys from Obsession 2 charters for a round the island trip on the afternoon of the 6th. The beautiful calm sea state allowed for perfect conditions for counting some of the islands seabirds.

Totals include:
  • Shag: 38
  • Oystercatcher: 22
  • Kittiwake: 192
  • Great Black-backed Gull: 63
  • Herring Gull: 479
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull: 237
Possible Siberian Chiffchaff © Dean Jones
Swallow having a quick preen before departure © Dean Jones

Lesser Redpoll along the Beach Road © Dean Jones

Stonechat in Southwest Field © Dean Jones

Saturday, 5 May 2018

4th May – Garden Warbler present and good hirundine passage

Rob Duncan reported that the morning had potential but was killed off by the thick fog so only 22 birds were ringed. A Garden Warbler was the best bird. Also saw Whimbrel and Great Northern Diver in the landing bay. A pretty big hirundine passage got under way around lunchtime - numbers to follow.

Friday, 4 May 2018

3rd May – Singing Wood Warbler

Rob Duncan reports a much better day on Thursday 3rd. The highlight was a singing Wood Warbler in Lower Millcombe first thing, but only very briefly. A total of 53 birds, mainly Willow Warblers, were ringed during the morning. Three Shelducks were seen on Pondsbury by Cyril Matthews' daughter. Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Garden Warblers and 2 Lesser Redpolls were also around Millcombe and a Whimbrel at the South End.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

29th Apr to 2nd May – Slow!

Dean Jones reports: “It’s been a rather blustery period of late, with strong winds battering the island from all directions. Despite these unfavourable conditions some super migrants have braved the gales and joined us for a brief period. However, things are still very slow with regard to some of our migrant species. Still no Lesser Whitethroat or Yellow Wagtail and only a trickle of Whitethroat, Garden Warbler etc. We are hoping with the calm conditions forecast for the coming weekend that we will start seeing better numbers.”

Whimbrel: One heard calling in the Landing Bay on 29th and one on Lamentor on 30th (Rob & Sue Waterfield).
Sanderling: One feeding on the edge of the ‘Lundy Carwash’ (the big puddle on the track next to the Old Hospital) in the morning by (Pete Lambden).
Woodpigeon: Six in Millcombe on 30th – the highest count of the period.
Collared Dove: One seen coming in off the sea near Rat Island on 30th (Zoë Barton).
Willow Warbler: 20 on 29th, 25 on 30th and five on 1st.
Chiffchaff: Six on 29th, two on 30th & 1st.
Blackcap: 30 on 29th & 30th and 15 on 1st.
Garden Warbler: One at the top of Millcombe on 29th, and one caught and ringed on 30th.
Sedge Warbler: Four caught and ringed in Millcombe on 29th & 30th.
Whitethroat: Three on 29th and two on 30th.
Reed Warbler: The first of the year was caught and ringed in Millcombe on the afternoon of 30th.
Wheatear: 34 (composed of two gatherings of birds on SW Point and North end) on 29th and 48 on 30th.
Pied Flycatcher: One young male at the top of Millcombe on 29th.
Spotted Flycatcher: One on 29th and two on 30th. 
Redstart: A lone female was seen on the fence of Barton Field on 30th.
Swallow: 200+ on 29th, 82 on 30th and 10 on 1st.
House Martin: One on 29th and five on 30th.
Sand Martin: 10 on 29th and five on 30th.
Ring Ouzel: Three on 29th.
Goldfinch: 36 on 29th and 24 on 30th.
Linnet: 35 on 29th, 40 on 30th. 
Redpoll: A female was caught and ringed in Millcombe on 30th.

Dean also reports a Chaffinch “putting the finishing touches to a beautiful nest in Millcombe Valley, while the first of three pairs of Blackbirds with eggs has now started feeding their tiny chicks”.

Rob Duncan sent the following note on 2nd May: “A tough couple of days in which we ringed 17 birds on 1st May and 10 on 2nd – but looking good for the rest of the week. As well as watching  Puffins today, the best birds were Redpoll, Spotted Flycatcher and a Bullfinch in Millcombe.”

Mallard with ducklings, Quarters Pond, 29th Apr. © Dean Jones
Whimbrel, Lametor, 30th Apr. © Sue Waterfield
Pied Flycatcher, Millcombe, 29th Apr. © Dean Jones
Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe, 29th Apr. © Dean Jones
Whitethroat, Millcombe, 30th Apr. © Sue Waterfield

Sunday, 29 April 2018

26th to 28th Apr – Seabird breeding underway; first Garden Warbler & Spotted Flycatcher

Below is the latest news from the island during the period 26–28 April, compiled from sightings by Chris Baillie, Alison Bunning, Rob Duncan, Dean Jones, David Kightley & Martyn Roper.

Dean reports "Lots of seabird activity as of late with numerous copulating pairs (Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Herring Gull) along the west coast. Most of the Shags, Herring Gulls, Lesser Black-backed and Great Black-backed Gulls are now on eggs."

Mallard: A count of 17 birds on 26th – which included 8 ducklings with parents on Rocket Pole Pond.
Water Rail: Single males calling from both Quarters Pond on 26th and from St John’s on 28th.
Golden Plover: One on 25th.
Whimbrel: One calling from below the Terrace on 26th and two feeding on Heather Hill on 28th (see photo).
Kittiwake: 50 birds on territories on 26th including an odd-looking red-legged bird in Jenny's Cove (see photo).
Woodpigeon: Eight on 25th was the highest count of the period, including the long staying tail-less bird that has been hanging around Millcombe – probably the result of a narrow escape from the talons of a Peregrine.
Swift: Three on 26th.
Peregrine: A female was observed numerous times trying to take Fulmars in Jenny’s Cove on 26th.
Goldcrest: One male and one female were caught and ringed in Millcombe on 26th and four birds were seen/heard in Millcombe on 28th.
The past few days have seen some good hirundine passage (finally) including 1,000+ Swallow on the 25th, 600 on 26th, 15 on 27th (a very wet day on the island) and 250+ on 28th. Sand Martins and House Martins have been moving too but in much lower numbers: 25 on 26th and 20 on 28th was the highest count of the period for each species respectively.
Chiffchaff: 32 on 28th, the highest count.
Willow Warbler: 25 on 28th, the highest count.
Blackcap: 30 on 28th, the highest count.
Garden Warbler: The first bird of the year was seen in the Secret Garden on 28th.
Whitethroat: One on 27th.
Grasshopper Warbler: One reeling from the top of Millcombe on 28th was the only record of the period.
Sedge Warbler: Four caught and ringed in Millcombe on 28th.
Spotted Flycatcher: The first birds arrived on 28th (total of three), one of which was caught and ringed in Millcombe (see photo).
Common Redstart: A wonderful adult male was present in Millcombe on 27th and was subsequently caught and ringed on 28th.
White Wagtail: Two birds were recorded in Barton Field on 25th.
Tree Pipit: Two on 26th seen/heard from the Millcombe area.
Greenfinch: A lone female was present in Millcombe during the morning of 28th (see photo).
Bullfinch: At least one female has been recorded in Millcombe every day throughout this period.
Some reasonable passage of both Linnet and Goldfinch throughout the period too, both peaking at on 26th, with 65 and 38 birds, respectively.

During a lull in the wind, Rob Duncan managed to ring 75 birds on 28th, but today, Sun 29th, has brought a chilly north-easterly and Rob reports few migrants around, with a lone Swallow being the only hirundine of the day so far. The most notable sightings have been three Whitethroats, and a Common Sandpiper seen in the Landing Bay by Martyn Roper.

Aberrant Kittiwake, Jenny's Cove, 26 Apr © Dean Jones
Whimbrels, 28 Apr © Dean Jones
Female Greenfinch, Millcombe, 28 Apr © Dean Jones
Ringed female Linnet, Millcombe, 24 Apr © Dean Jones
Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe, 28 Apr © Dean Jones

Thursday, 26 April 2018

21st to 24th Apr – Additional sightings, including a Little Egret

Phlip Lymbery writes:

"Helen and I have just returned from what felt like a very short 3-night stay on Lundy. Weather was variable; from glorious summer-style sunshine on the 21st to showers, to a fogbound departure day on the 24th. Our highlights on the beautiful isle this time were:

21st April

Manx Shearwater: Small rafts of about half a dozen birds were seen on the sea as we approached on the Oldenburg.
Snipe: Two were flushed in the Quarter Wall area.
Swallows: A constant trickle of birds heading north late afternoon at the rate of about one bird each 3.5 minutes.

22nd April

Golden Plover: A single bird flew south calling over the west side of Halfway Wall.
Whinchat: One was near the helipad opposite The Quarters.

23rd April

White Wagtail: A male and three Pied Wagtails were seen in Barton Field and the horse paddocks.
Lesser Redpoll: A single male accompanied a dozen Goldfinches in Millcombe.
Sand Martin: 3 were seen with Swallows and a single House Martin.
Goldcrest: 2 were frequenting Millcombe.

24th April

Little Egret: One flew south across the Landing Bay at 3.15pm."

Puffins were around their burrows in the Jenny’s Cove area. © Philip Lymbery

Rafts of Manx Shearwater were seen just offshore. © Philip Lymbery

Skylarks were vocal across the island. © Philip Lymbery

24th Apr – Firecrest and good Swallow passage despite cool & breezy conditions

Rob Duncan reports for Tuesday 24th (At least I think these notes apply to 24th... There is some sort of mysterious telecoms time vortex between Lundy and Ilfracombe.)

"Still rather windy but sheltered nest in Millcombe gardens allowing for some ringing. Still small numbers of warblers passing through but Goldfinches have taken a liking to the sunflower hearts, which is helping. We ringed a Firecrest yesterday, as well as 8 more Willow Warblers. Of interest, the proportion of male Willow Warblers seems to have gone up since the wind picked up (it was virtually all females on Sat & Sun). Is it possible that they are more determined to get on territory despite the weather but the females can hold back? I may play with the data and dig a bit deeper. The Pied Flycatcher is still here along with at least one Bullfinch. 2 Stonechats at the Rocket Pole were new in. Reasonable Swallow passage first thing, with 1,000 counted for the day. Also two White Wagtails and a Golden Plover. Lighter winds and warmer please!"

Sunday, 22 April 2018

22nd April – Continued warbler passage, but hirundines scarce

Rob Duncan reports a good start to his two-week ringing trip, with a total of 128 birds ringed on Saturday 21st April, including what Chris Dee caught in the morning (see previous entry). Rob ringed a further 69 birds this morning, Sunday 22nd, before rain set in – mainly Willow Warblers, with good numbers of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and three Sedge Warblers. Other migrants appear to have been rather sparse, with "only a handful of hirundines so far" and one Whimbrel in the Landing Bay.

21st April - more Willow Warblers

On another day of calm weather, Chris Dee reported increased numbers of Willow Warblers and continued passage of Chiffchaff and Blackcap. Another Sedge Warbler was present in Millcombe, as was a female Firecrest. Meanwhile with clearer conditions on the West Side, Mandy Dee counted 73 Puffins on the water in Jenny's Cove with five or so on land. The Merlin was still present and small number of Swallows were seen. On leaving the island a Great Northern Diver was seen from M S Oldenburg in the Landing Bay.
Before handing over to Rob Duncan who arrived for a two-week stay, Chris had ringed a further 98 birds, including 57 Willow Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and the Firecrest.

20th April - more common migrants, a few firsts for the year and a Minke Whale

Chris Dee reports more common migrants on Lundy today, but fewer than yesterday. There were an estimated 30 Chiffchaff, 40 Willow Warbler and 40 Blackcap in Millcombe. Also in Millcombe were single singing Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler, a Whitethroat and the first Firecrest of the year. A Tree Pipit flew over during the morning, another first for the year, and the warden Dean Jones found a Nightingale in the afternoon. Very light hirundine passage was observed during the afternoon, with 30 Swallow and a House Martin noted. These were accompanied by 2 Swift hacking north low over the plateau. There were no auk counts today due to heavy sea fog obscuring the cliffs despite the top of the island being in bright sunshine.
Dean also found a Minke Whale that breached twice as it crossed the landing bay and headed round Rat Island in mid-morning.
In perfect conditions for mist-netting, 75 birds were ringed, including the Sedge Warbler.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

19th April - good arrival of common migrants in calm conditions

Chris Dee reports a good arrival of common migrants. Estimated minima of 40 Chiffchaff, 60 Willow Warbler and 60 Blackcap, with much activity in Millcombe and on the Terrace. A female Merlin was seen and there were 8 Woodpigeons in Millcombe. Also 2 Swallow and 6 Goldcrest.
Arriving for the day trip, Martin Thorne reported 3 Great Northern Divers in the Landing Bay.
A total of 97 birds were ringed.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

10th to 13th April – Variety and numbers; the first real influx of spring migrants

In his latest update, Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports: "Some super birds about the past few days on the island."

Tuesday 10th April Very little was noted in the logbook for the 10th as the weather was a tad rubbish, with thick fog & mist dominating the day along with a few light downpours.

A single Puffin at Jenny's Cove.
One Snipe, flushed near Halfway Wall.
One female Black Redstart in Barton Field.

Wednesday 11th April Wednesday morning was much the same as Tuesday, with thick fog lingering on the island up until mid-afternoon. As the day brightened there were some good birds to enjoy, including:

Blackcap: 23 in Millcombe Valley.
Chiffchaff: Just four  birds.
Willow Warbler: 16.
The beautiful female Great-spotted Woodpecker again in Millcombe.
Ring Ouzel: A very handsome male below Benjamin's Chair.
Pied Flycatcher: Two second calendar-year males in Millcombe Valley – see photo.
And a lovely male Linnet in song outside Paradise Row.

Male Pied Flycatcher, Millcombe, 11 Apr © Dean Jones

Thursday 12th April A beautiful sunny day, complete with a strong easterly breeze. Lots of lovely birds to enjoy including:

The female Great spotted Woodpecker was again seen feeding in Millcombe Wood.
Treecreeper: Seen feeding in the trees below Brambles (P Bullock & J Cox).
Cormorant: A single bird was noted in the logbook.
Sand Martin: Three birds quartering over High Street field along with 12 Swallow.
Collared Dove: 2 seen together in Millcombe in the morning and then later in the Village area.
White Wagtail: A lone male feeding in Barton Field in the afternoon.
Blackcap: 66 birds – most of which were recorded in the Millcombe area, including two in song.
Chiffchaff: 15+ scattered throughout the south of the island.
Willow Warbler: 20 birds.
Grasshopper Warbler: The first of the year was reeling away behind the Secret Garden (lower Millcombe) first thing.
Common Redstart: Four stunning males (Millcombe, Benjamin's Chair, Terrace & Barton Field) and a single female (Benjamin's Chair) – see photo below.
Stonechat: A male and female were seen together in South West Field, showing signs of possible breeding.
The handsome male Ring Ouzel below Benjamin's Chair still.
Song Thrush: Two birds outside Government House in the early morning.
Linnet: 33 over South West Field in the early morning.
Bullfinch: A lovely female seen and heard numerous times throughout Millcombe.
Snow Bunting: A very bold and very beautiful female, seen initially by Peter Lambden, spent the morning feeding along the High Street track across from the pig pen (photo below).

Snow Bunting, High Street, 12 Apr © Dean Jones
Male Common Redstart, Terrace, 12 Apr © Dean Jones

Friday 13th April A muggy day overall, lots of low-lying fog carpeting the island with intermittent spells of lovely sunshine. The lengthy periods of fog grounded quite a few migrants throughout the day which provided us with a super day's birding on the island!

Teal: A single male and two females were on Pondsbury in the early morning.
Oystercatcher: 33 birds around the island's coastline, including 10 roosting at Brazen Ward.
Ringed Plover: A rather handsome male was feeding on a monster worm at the North End in the early morning.
Snipe: Four flushed from the Pondsbury area.
Woodpigeon: 7 from Millcombe and Quarter Wall Copse.
Collared Dove: Two birds again in Millcombe Valley.
Merlin: A single female bird looking for prey along the east coast in the early morning.
Goldcrest: 25 birds scattered over the island.
Skylark: 35, which included at least 29 territories spanning the plateau area.
Sand Martin: A total of 14 were logged throughout the day.
Swallow: 20.
House Martin: 40.
Chiffchaff: 37.
Willow Warbler: 50.
Blackcap: 80.
Whitethroat: The first bird of the year was seen perched on Threequarter Wall next to a Robin around mid-morning.
Grasshopper Warbler: A single bird was heard reeling in Millcombe in the afternoon.
Pied Flycatcher: Two seen on the Castle Parade wall.
Redstart: At least four males and two females (Benjamin's Chair and the Terrace).
Black Redstart: A male and a female at the top of Benjamin's Chair.
Stonechat: Two males (one of which was singing its heart out in St John's Valley) and one female.
Wheatear: 26+ birds – most of which were noted from the south west.
Pied Wagtail: One on the ground and four other 'fly-overs'.
Meadow Pipit: 119 scattered over the island.
Chaffinch: Just three birds.
Linnet: A superb day of passage for this species with a total of 271 birds.
Goldfinch: 30, which included a lovely little flock of 25 at South West Point.
Snow Bunting: Seen along the High Street track again at 18:45 (E Angseesing & S Evans).
Great-spotted Woodpecker: Still in Millcombe (P Bullock & J Cox).
A predated Guillemot egg, complete with albumen (freshish), was found beneath one of the lighthouse track stones near the North End.

Male Northern Wheatear, South West Point 13 Apr © Dean Jones 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

7th to 9th April – A singing Black Redstart to kick off the day

Here’s the latest news from Lundy Warden Dean Jones, covering the period 7th to 9th April.

7th April: A very dreich start to the day with thick mist and light downpours from first light. Fortunately the weather improved by mid-afternoon which opened the gates for the first proper pulse of Swallows (61) and Sand Martins (15).

Other migrants included:
Collared Dove: One in Millcombe/Village area.
Stock Dove: Two feeding in Barton Field (see photo below) along with five Woodpigeons.
Meadow Pipit: Small arrival of 94 birds to the South End (count composed of two feeding flocks).
Pied Wagtail: Three feeding in upper Lighthouse Field alongside the Lundy ponies.
Goldcrest: 15 scattered throughout Millcombe and the Village area.
Chiffchaff: Seven from the South End and Millcombe.
Willow Warbler: 10 from the South End and Millcombe.
Blackcap: 12 males and four females in Millcombe.
Pied Flycatcher: A stunning male busily feeding at the top of Benjamin’s Chair (see photo below) – the first of the year.
Stonechat: A male on the wall of the camping field.
Wheatear: Seven along the south track.
Song Thrush: One in Millcombe Wood.
Linnet: Five (one in Millcombe and four in South West Field).

No sign of the Treecreeper though the female Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen numerous times throughout the day from the Millcombe/Brambles area and once perched on a tree outside the Laundry room in the Village (super office tick that one!), which the House Sparrows were really not happy about.

Stock Doves, Barton Field, 7th April. © Dean Jones

Male Pied Flycatcher, above Benjamin's Chair, 7th April.
© Dean Jones

8th April: A beautiful sunny day with low winds – the first day the sun cream’s been out! Migratory species somewhat sparser.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: The female bird still present in Millcombe Valley and seen numerous times throughout the day. It also visited Sue Waterfield’s garden feeder throughout the morning period (see photo below).
Sparrowhawk: One female past the Terrace in the late morning, seen whilst on a guided walk.
Merlin: A female being harassed by Carrion Crows next to Old Light.
Collared Dove: One in Millcombe.
Feral Pigeon: A single bird, the first of the year.
Puffin: 72 in Jenny’s in the late morning, counted mostly from the water.
Goldcrest: 12, most of which were recorded from Millcombe and the Lower East Side Path.
Swallow: 22 overhead throughout the day.
House Martin: Five past Jenny’s Cove in the early afternoon.
Stonechat: A male in South West Field (possibly the same bird from the 7th).
Blackcap: 21.
Meadow Pipit: 59.
Linnet: 26.

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Quarters,
8th April. © Sue Waterfield

9th April: Weather similar to Sunday’s with the wind picking up in the late afternoon coupled with an obvious drop in temperature. The full Conservation Team (including our two new long-term volunteers) were out counting our semi-wild stock all day, which meant we were able to get some good counts of birds as we trekked the entire island. Unfortunately numbers of migrants were surprisingly low considering the super conditions for passage.

Black Redstart: One singing loudly on the roof of Paradise Row first thing.
Merlin: A female at North End.
Peregrine: A total of seven, including a copulating pair and a young female.
Feral Pigeon: One predated bird (possibly the bird from the 8th) found on the Terrace.
Goldcrest: 20 scattered all over the island, including three at the North Light.
Swallow: Only four birds.
Chiffchaff: Five.
Willow Warbler: Six.
Blackcap: Eight.
Fieldfare: A predated bird found next to Halfway Wall.
Wheatear: 38, the highest count yet this year, most likely an underestimate as birds along the West Side were surprisingly thin on the ground as the temperature dropped.
Stonechat: One male in South West Field again.
Meadow Pipit: 55.
Linnet: 50.