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, 24 March 2019

22nd to 24th Mar – Cattle Egret: a first for Lundy!

The latest bulletin from Lundy Warden Dean Jones brings news of a much-anticipated 'first' for the island:

Late news for 22nd March

At around 22:00 in the evening the island was briefly enveloped in a spell of low cloud and mist which lowered numerous Redwing on passage north. Frequency of calls was moderate and at times I heard up to 7 birds calling at the same time from various heights across the Village area right across to the Lower Aerogenerator Field. It was hard to quantify the number of birds passing but if I had to estimate I'd say there were at least 100-200. I also heard single Song Thrush and Blackbird calling in the evening murk. After about 25minutes or so the cloud lifted and the calls disappeared. An exciting end to a wonderful day.

23rd March

Another delightful day of migrants on what was a rather chilly and overcast day. Highlights include: the first Curlew of the spring over the Village at first light calling loudly, a single Sand Martin, 5 Pied Wagtails and 2 White Wagtails (also the first of the spring feeding outside the Tavern), 2 Woodpigeon, 4 Wheatear, one of which was in full song and wearing colour-rings on the South West Point, a male Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 1 Redwing, 10 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet and a number of Manx Shearwater calling from over the Village in the evening.

24th March

A day of beautiful sunshine, excellent visibility and chilly north easterly winds, near perfect weather for a complete wrap around the island's coast. The highlight was undoubtedly the presence of a Cattle Egret, which was hiding from the winds on the south side of Lamentor first thing. This is the first ever Lundy record for this species! Today also provided a few more firsts for the year, including a single House Martin over St Marks, a male Firecrest in the Terrace willows and a stunning male Ring Ouzel near the Old Light.

Lundy's first ever Cattle Egret, Lametor, 24 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

Colour-ringed Wheatear, Old Light Shearwater colony, 24 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

Male Ring Ouzel, Old Light, 24 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

Friday, 22 March 2019

20th to 22nd Mar – First Willow Warblers and calling Manx Shearwaters

Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones writes:

"Wednesday and Thursday were both very mucky days with thick fog and mist engulfing the island from dawn to dusk. Unsurprisingly there wasn’t much birding to be had as visibility was really poor, especially Thursday where I struggled to see the Island General Stores from the office window... A few birds did manage to find the island through the murk, however, namely Chiffchaff with a small arrival of 9 on the 20th, (6 on the 21st), Goldfinch (10 on the 21st), a single Sand Martin on the 20th (all from the Millcombe area) and a number of Manx Shearwater which were heard calling from the clag in the late evening.

Today was a much more pleasant affair with warmer temperatures and sunny spells and although the birds lacked the tail winds today, we have had a lovely day of passage.

Birds of note: 2 Peregrines this morning chasing Meadow Pipits through the Helicopter Field (total of 133 today). Additionally there was a beautiful female Sparrowhawk in Millcombe early this morning, 22 Woodpigeon (including a flock of 18 off the East Side), 12 Pied Wagtail (and 5 fly-over alba types), 10 Sand Martin, 1 Swallow, 4 Wheatear (2 males and 2 females), 22 Skylark, 10 Goldcrest, 64 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler in Millcombe (the first of the year), 3 Blackcap on the Terrace (also the first of the year), 1 Song Thrush, 9 Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch and 2 Linnet."

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

3rd to 19th Mar – Puffins ashore in numbers, good pipit passage

Below is a summary of sightings of note covering the period 3rd to 19th March, courtesy of Lundy Warden Dean Jones:

"Unfortunately there weren’t many observations recorded in the logbook whilst I was off the island last week but to be honest I am not really surprised, as akin to elsewhere in the UK Lundy at this time was subjected to the strong winds, thick mist and heavy rain brought forth by Storm Gareth. Thankfully the weather has become much more pleasant now allowing for some nice birdwatching between office work and some notable passage with regards to some species.

Highlights include a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay on a number of dates up until the 16th at least. We also had some small numbers of Red-throated Divers before Storm Gareth hit, with 4 birds on the 4th and 1 on the 6th. Some good numbers of auks have been present along the cliff-sides in the early mornings too, as well some more of the island's breeding gulls (62 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on breeding sites on the 18th). Puffins have been seen periodically throughout this stint, most of which were recorded out on the choppy seas though there were six birds back up on the Jenny’s Cove breeding slope on the 9th and a total of 58 today (19th).

Puffin, Jenny's Cove, 19 Mar 2019 © Chloe Lofthouse

Up on the island itself we’ve been blessed with some nice Meadow Pipit passage over the past two days with 200 recorded moving north on the 17th, 247 on the 18th and 108 on the 19th.

Other notble passage includes a number of Cormorant (singles on the 5th, 17th & 19th), Kestrel (a female on the 18th), Woodpigeon (max 4 on a number of dates), Sand Martin (4 on the 18th), Wheatear (1 on the 17th & 18th), Skylark (max 28 on the 17th), Pied Wagtail (up to 4 recorded on some days), Grey Wagtail (1 on the 19th), Goldcrest (max 4 on the 17th), Reed Bunting (singles on the 8th, 17th and 19th), Redwing (2 on the 18th), Song Thrush (singles on the 16th & 17th) and a scattering of Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Grey Wagtail, Millcombe, 19 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

And finally, the female Sparrowhawk stayed on the island until the 8th at least."

Report comprised of sightings from Grant Sherman, Siân Cann, Chloë Lofthouse, Zoë Barton and Dean Jones.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

26th Feb to 2nd Mar – Change of month, change of weather, change of cast

In addition to the exceptionally early arrival of Puffins previously reported – see photo added to that post below – the following is a round-up of news since the last full update, courtesy of Warden Dean Jones, who writes as Storm Freya is steaming in off the Atlantic and forecast to bring gusts of 70 mph to Lundy:

"With the change in wind direction back to westerlies, on the evening of the 1st, the rafts of Red-throated Diver have now reappeared along the East Coast. Here 15 birds were recorded feeding and preening between the choppy seas yesterday (2nd). 

Prior to this, Lundy was again treated to some lovely warm weather for the majority of this period which brought on a small number of passage birds including Collared Dove (2 on the 27th), Pied Wagtail (8 on the 27th), Goldcrest (between 1 to 5 birds recorded daily), Goldfinch (max 7 on the 27th), Chaffinch (max 5 on the 27th, one of which was singing in Millcombe), Siskin (max 3 on the 27th), Linnet (singles on a number of dates), Reed Bunting (a female on Tibbetts Hill on the 27th) and a Sand Martin over Pondsbury on the 28th.

We’ve also had the first new Chiffchaff of the spring arriving on the 27th to join the long-staying wintering bird who was in full song at the top of Millcombe on the same date.

Furthermore, the Grey Wagtail found on the 25th lingered for another day at least, singles of Song Thrush have been recorded in Millcombe, joined by a single Redwing yesterday. Finally, a Black Redstart was recorded in Jenny’s Cove on the 27th."

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

27th Feb – Puffins join the record breakers

A mesage from Dean this morning brought news of the first two Puffins of the year, spied on the water below the breeding slopes at Jenny's Cove when counting Razorbills. This constitutes the first February record of Puffins for the island, being a week ahead of the previous earliest date of 6 Mar, a record that was set in 1983. And so this exceptionally warm, exceptionally pleasant, yet somewhat unsettling spell of summer-in-winter weather has yielded another 'first'. It's back to something more akin to business as usual tomorrow, with a big drop in temperature forecast and the first real rain for a while, but February 2019 has certainly left its mark on Lundy ornithology.

Whilst on the topic of Puffins, this summary of new research findings published in Bird Study and reported here by Audubon gives fascinating insights to a Puffin's-eye view of the world (and indeed other Puffins) that is normally invisible to humans...

Heavily cropped shot of distant Puffins in Jenny's Cove, 27 Feb © Dean Jones

Monday, 25 February 2019

22nd to 25th Feb – Record-breaking Wheatear & Sand Martins

Dean Jones's sightings of a male Wheatear at Jenny's Cove and a Sand Martin at Pondsbury (the latter followed by a second bird quartering over South West Field!) during the morning of Sunday 24 Feb are the earliest Lundy records for either species – by 7 and 11 days respectively. Until this year, the long-standing earliest Wheatear date was 3 Mar 1940, whilst the earliest Sand Martin was 7 Mar 1983. With continuing unseasonable warmth forecast for another couple of days at least, will more records tumble?

Male Northern Wheatear at Jenny's Cove on the extraordinarily early date of 24 February! © Dean Jones

In other news since his last update, Dean writes:

"My afternoon sea-watches have become rather quiet since the last post now that the rafts of Red-throated Diver have seemingly moved on from the East Side (one bird on the 22nd & 25th). Kittiwake numbers on this side of the island have also dropped away to nothing, (perhaps due to the change in winds), though up to 70 birds have been seen periodically perched on their breeding ledges at Jenny’s Cove and St Mark's Stone along with some super numbers of auks. Other gulls of notes include 11 Common Gull feeding off the East coast on the 22nd.

The beautiful, warm spring weather has also spurred on a small passage of passerines over the past few days namely Linnet (4 on the 22nd), Chaffinch (7 on the 22nd), Siskin (1 on the 25th), Pied Wagtail (3 on the 23rd, 2 on the 24th), Grey Wagtail (1 on the 25th) and Stonechat (2 on the 24th). Goldcrest are also starting to make their way North with at least 5 birds on the island on 22nd, 7 on the 23rd dropping to just one on the 24th.

Numbers of displaying Skylark have continued to grow too, with at least 21 birds singing across the island on the 24th as well as the first of the displaying Meadow Pipit of the year parachuting around on Castle Parade yesterday (high count for the period 30 on the 24th).

A second Woodpigeon has arrived on the island, joining our long-staying bird, and nearby our overwintering Sparrowhawk and Chiffchaff are still making themselves known periodically as they navigate the now bud-laden trees in Millcombe."

Non-avian news: A Vagrant Emperor Dragonfly was present above Benjamin’s Chair this afternoon (25th).

Friday, 22 February 2019

9th to 21st Feb – Lundy's earliest ever Swallows, but will they a summer make?

The following is a round-up of records from the LFS Logbook for the period 9th - 21st February, from Lundy Warden Dean Jones:

Out at sea, the presence of a number of Red-throated Divers has continued, with up to 12 birds being recorded each day since my return to the island. There was, however, one very special afternoon where an impressive 22 birds were recorded upon the flat calm seas off the East side (18th) including a stunning new bird in full breeding plumage. High numbers of Kittiwakes continued to linger off the East coast up until the 11th at least where c1000 were noted in the logbook. From this date however numbers dropped rather dramatically (between 2 and 160 recorded on days after this date). The lone Great Northern Diver has also been recorded on a number of dates up until the 21st.

On the Larid front, we’ve also seen the return of a number of our gulls to their breeding territories this week, including some of our Lesser-black Backed Gulls which were seen arguing over nesting sites above Miller’s Cake on the 17th (total of 22). Other gull highlights include 8 Common Gull on 18th, 11 on the 19th & 16 on the 20th, as well as a single adult Mediterranean Gull on the 19th. Shag numbers have also continued to increase with 50 birds recorded feeding in the Landing Bay on 16th.

Away from the sea we’ve also noticed some movement of passerines too, namely Skylark and Meadow Pipit. From the logbook there seemed to be a rather impressive day of February passage with 40 and 20 birds being noted on the 14th. The biggest surprise from the plateau, however, has to be from the morning of the 16th when two Swallows zoomed overhead making their way north, spurred on by some hefty tail winds. After this three more birds were found throughout the day,  together making the earliest record for this species for Lundy. Other passerines of note include singles of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest on most days, singles of Pied Wagtail, good numbers of Stonechat (max 9 on the 21st), a Mistle Thrush in Millcombe on the 17th and small numbers of Linnet, Goldfinch, and Chaffinch on a number of dates. 

And onto the non-passerines, birds of note include 10 Teal on Pondsbury on the 21st, 8 Golden Plover over the airfield on the 21st, up to 3 Water Rail on some days and on the evening of the 8th, six Woodcock and a Short-eared Owl recorded near Quarter Wall by ‘The Rabbiters’ whilst they were out looking for and counting the islands remaining bunnies (a total of six were found in various parts of the island).

Furthermore, two Kestrel were seen on the 14th, our lady Sparrowhawk has remained on the island until the 21st at least, dining on a platter of House Sparrows as we’ve found after discovering a number of her pellets in Millcombe (see photo). The lone Woodpigeon is still kicking about the Millcombe area and was joined by a Stock Dove on the 21st, after a close run-in with two Peregrine Falcons over the South End.

Colour rings in a Sparrowhawk pellet confirm that House Sparrows have been on the menu... © Dean Jones

Report compiled from sightings by Alan & Sandra Rowland, Steve Wing, Siân Cann, Grant Sherman & Dean Jones.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

6th to 8th Feb – The first Skylarks sing, but then Erik roars...

A bright and breezy day on Wed 6th saw enough hazy sunshine to stimulate three Skylarks into song in Middle Park; wonderful to hear and the first of the spring, whilst the overall Skylark total of 7 was the highest of the year so far. There also appeared to be something of an arrival of Shags returning to the island, with 31 counted along the East Side, most showing resplendent breeding plumage. Other notable sightings included the Jackdaw, feeding with Crows around the Tillage/Brick Field pig sty (where there was also a flock of 200+ Starlings), two Chiffchaffs, two Goldcrests and the female Great Spotted Woodpecker in Millcombe, a single male Kestrel, and the Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay. The number of Fulmars visiting the Gannets’ Rock ledges had risen to 115 and we counted 42 Grey Seals hauled out at low tide along the East Side, mainly between Gannets’ Bay and Tibbetts Point, including 12 perched atop the inner Knoll Pin. Snowdrops are in full flower in Millcombe, with a few Primroses beginning to show.

Thu 7th was a blustery day with hefty showers passing close by on a stiff westerly, but for much of the morning the island itself was bathed in sunshine and it was actually very pleasant along the Lower East Side Path. The female Sparrowhawk reappeared, over Quarry Beach, after eluding us for a couple of days. There were again plenty of seabirds off the East Side, including an estimated 750 Kittiwakes, a tight flock of 23 feeding Shags, five Red-throated Divers and small numbers of auks. Passerines included a Goldcrest at Quarry Beach, a Chiffchaff in Millcombe and a Stonechat at the head of St John’s Valley. The Jackdaw was in with the pigs again and the Great Northern Diver was still in the Landing Bay.

Our last day for this visit, Fri 8th, coincided with the arrival of Storm Erik and conditions were pretty much unbirdable until a partial clearance around lunchtime. It was touch and go whether we'd be able to leave at all, but before our eventual mid-afternoon departure we managed to see the female Sparrowhawk and the Great Northern Diver, but most species were keeping a low profile in the still strong and gusty winds.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

4th & 5th Feb – Record Kittiwake numbers

After heavy and prolonged overnight rain, Monday 4th saw a murky, misty dawn give way to sapphire skies and warm sunshine by the end of the morning. With just a gentle northerly breeze, the conditions were perfect for basking in the sun on the side of the Ugly and watching the huge gathering of Kittiwakes off the East Side, where an almost continuous flock stretched from off Tibbetts Point/Gull Rock, almost as far as Rat Island. Counts revealed over 3,000 birds – by far the highest number ever recorded from the island, as far as we are aware. The calm seas and clear light gave ideal viewing and with the flocks periodically taking flight and repositioning themselves to stay on the boundary between clear, slack water and the more turbid incoming tide, it was evident that less than 1% were juveniles. Among the Kittiwakes were a few tens of Herring Gulls, a couple of Great Black-backs, three Common Gulls, a Lesser Black-back and a single Harbour Porpoise. A bit further out still, were a group of feeding Shags and six Red-throated Divers, along with scattered rafts of auks. The Great Northern Diver was again in the Landing Bay.

Millcombe held 3 Song Thrushes, 8 Blackbirds, singing Robin and Wren, a Goldcrest and, zipping about after insects in Smelly Gully, a Chiffchaff. The female Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling from the very tops of the sycamores above the Casbah, as if doing everything possible to make contact with another of her kind, though the nearest potential mate must be at least 20 miles away! Further up the island, one Golden Plover remained on the Airfield, and we encountered single Snipe and Meadow Pipit near Quarter Wall.

The evening light on Jenny’s Cove, just before sunset was magical and there were several hundred Guillemots on the breeding ledges at just before 5pm, proving that it’s not always necessary to be up with the lark to catch an auk. We trudged back towards the Village along the main track accompanied by the calls of Carrion Crows gathering to  roost.

Beautiful late-afternoon light on Jenny's Cove, 4 Feb 2019 © Tim Jones
Not Doñana, but Pondsbury... © Tim Jones
Sunset to the south west, over Old Light, 4 Feb © Tim Jones

Tuesday 5th was something of a contrast, with the island draped in pulses of misty drizzle on and off all day, interspersed with brighter, dry periods and a stiff SW, which brought a band of heavy rain before dusk. Birding highlights included 12 Red-throated Divers off the East Side (somewhat distantly), a Kestrel around Lametor and Castle Hill, the female Great Spotted Woodpecker near the Casbah again, two Chiffchaffs in lower Millcombe, and the Jackdaw perched on the wall of Bull’s Paradise. The Kittiwake flock off the East Side had shrunk to a more typical 380.

Observations by Tim Davis & Tim Jones

Monday, 4 February 2019

1st to 3rd February – More than 7,500 seabirds in one day!

Tim Davis & Tim Jones walked the whole island perimeter on Sunday 3 Feb, beginning from the Castle at just before 8am, walking along the South End and West Side to North Light lookout, then back along the East Side, getting back to the Castle at 4.30pm. An overnight change in wind direction from a biting northerly to a milder WSW seemed to have stimulated huge numbers of auks to come ashore to visit the breeding colonies. Visibility was good throughout, with some warm sunny spells and only a drizzly shower during the afternoon, which helped with counting, though the numbers of auks were almost overwhelming at times. Whilst the Tims were on the West Side during mid-late morning, Dean Jones was scanning the Landing Bay and East Side from the Ugly at the same time, giving combined totals of over 7,500 seabirds for the day!
  • Fulmar 227 (of which 93 on ledges on N-facing side of Gannets’ Rock)
  • Gannet 5 (off North Light)
  • Shag 22 (low numbers as usual in winter)
  • Oystercatcher 52 (an exceptionally high count for winter; no large flocks, but pairs and small groups scattered around the entire coastline)
  • Razorbill 2,159 (a minimum count and certainly an underestimate)
  • Guillemot 3,126 (including 1,790 on ledges at Jenny’s Cove, and hundreds ashore at St Philip’s Stone, St Mark’s Stone and Long Roost)
  • Kittiwake 2,556 (comprising 1,439 off the East Side and 1,117 off the West Side; birds visiting the breeding ledges at Jenny’s Cove and Three-quarter Wall colonies)
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull 14
  • Herring Gull 489
  • Great Black-backed Gull 118
  • Rock Pipit 19
There were 14 Red-throated Divers off the Landing Bay and a Great Northern Diver feeding close to the jetty, also two adult Mediterranean Gulls well out from the Ugly and a total of 20 Common Gulls.

Other notable records during the first three days of February have been: up to six Teal (mainly Pondsbury and Brick Field), the overwintering female Sparrowhawk on 1st & 2nd, a Lapwing on 1st & 2nd, two Golden Plovers on 2nd (one remaining on 3rd), two Snipe on 1st, a single Woodpigeon, the female Great Spotted Woodpecker on 1st & 2nd, a Jackdaw around the farm on 2nd & 3rd, up to two Chiffchaffs and two Goldcrests in Millcombe, one to three Skylarks daily, a Redwing on Ackland's Moor on 1st, a maximum of five Stonechats on 3rd, a female-type Black Redstart below Benjamin’s Chair on 2nd and a lone female Chaffinch in Smelly Gully on 3rd – apparently the only finch of any species on the entire island!

15th to 31st January – Divers and Chiffchaffs to the fore

The following is a round-up of records from the LFS Logbook for the period 15-31 January:

One of the features was Red-throated Divers, with records on nine dates, including a max 12 on 19th. A single Black-throated Diver was in the Landing Bay on 17th & 18th (Dean Jones). Also out at sea have been: a max of nine Gannets (25th), three Cormorants on Great Shutter Rock (19th), Shag max 11 (22nd), Kittiwake max 651 (25th), Common Gull max seven (23rd), Lesser Black-backed Gull max 12 (26th), and mixed auks species max 200 (23rd). On land, there were a male and female Teal (21st), a max of four Oystercatchers (26th), a female Sparrowhawk on three dates, single Water Rails on 17th & 21st, a lone Woodpigeon on three dates, a Kestrel on 16th & 20th, the overwintering female Great Spotted Woodpecker on three dates, one or two Skylarks on four dates, overwintering Chiffchaffs on nine dates, with a max of four on 16th & 17th, one or two Goldcrests on five dates, a single Song Thrush on three dates, one or two Robins on six dates, a male and female Stonechat on 19th, two Meadow Pipits on 19th, a max of 11 Rock Pipits on 19th, only a single Chaffinch on three dates to 25th, and a lone Goldfinch on 16th & 19th.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Cast your mind back to late October...

During an autumn rich in national, Devon and Lundy rarities, one particularly nice sighting that didn't make it onto the blog pages at the time concerned a flock of eight Greenland White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons flavirostris that dropped into the island on 27 Oct.

Dean Jones's logbook entry and two of a series of photos that he managed to fire off are reproduced below. This is one of the larger groups of White-fronts ever seen on the island, and by far the largest number of birds of the Greenland-breeding race.

Greenland White-fronted Geese, 27 Oct 2018 © Dean Jones
Greenland White-fronted Geese, Airfield, 27 Oct 2018 © Dean Jones

Intriguingly, Paul Holt saw a flock of distant grey geese flying along the East Side at 09.42 hrs on 27 Oct (see photo below). Were these also Greenland Whitefronts? And, if so, did they include the same birds seen by Dean a little earlier? To add further to the mix, Paul saw a flock of eight grey geese flying NE when he was at the Airfield at 15.50 hrs the same day!

Unidentified grey geese over the East Side, 27 Oct 2018 © Paul Holt

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

8th to 14th Jan – A beguiling whiff of spring...

Herewith the latest update from Dean: 

“We’ve been very lucky again weather wise as the mild winter conditions continued for the majority of last week. This lovely weather coupled with the first flowering Primrose below Quarter Wall Copse and a Red Admiral on the wing in Millcombe on 14th gave the island an early spring feel rather than a period in the middle of winter. The only exception to this mild weather was on the weekend, when we were hit with some burly westerlies and colder temperatures.

Again seawatching has provided most of the excitement, especially coming into the end of the week as the great visibility and flat-calm seas allowed fantastic views of hundreds of feeding Kittiwake (631 on the 10th) from the Ugly as well as near daily records of Common Gull (two on the 10th, three on the 11th, one on the 13th & 14th). I’ve also been treated to a number of Mediterranean Gulls this week (three on the 9th, singles on 10th & 14th), as well as six Common Scoter on the 8th, a pod of 10 Common Dolphin on the 10th and a few Harbour Porpoise (possibly the same mother and calf seen on a number of occasions). Unfortunately there have been no further sightings of the Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay since the 8th but there have been up to nine Red-throated Divers recorded every day since the last post.

Continuing the seabird theme, there has also been lots of Guillemot activity on ledges throughout the week (Grant Sherman) and lots of other auks (mostly Razorbill) feeding offshore from the Landing Bay every day (ca.800 auk spp on the 10th).

Other highlights away from the sea include 25 Lesser Black-backed Gulls roosting on Pondsbury along with seven Teal (three drakes & four ducks) on the 13th. 

A Kestrel has also been seen daily, hunting around the Castle Parade, and the Sparrowhawk was present in Millcombe until the 11th at least within the Millcombe area, as well as the single Woodpigeon on the 14th.

Up to three Chiffchaff have been recorded, including a good candidate for the Siberian race (see photos below), though the bird has been way too busy feeding to call yet, which would clinch the ID. There have also been some good numbers of wintering Goldcrest (max seven on the 13th) spread over the east sidelands and Millcombe.

The best of the rest include a single Pied Wagtail on the 11th, small numbers of Redwing (three on 10th) and Song Thrush (up to two daily) in Millcombe and not forgetting the female Great Spotted Woodpecker seen/heard right up until the 14th.”

Potential 'Siberian' Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis, Millcombe, 14 Jan 2019 © Dean Jones
Potential 'Siberian' Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita tristis, Millcombe, 14 Jan 2019 © Dean Jones

Dean's updates so far this month have mentioned unusually high (though not entirely unprecedented) numbers of wintering Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs, perhaps as a result of the generally mild and quiet weather. It's also interesting that Red-throated Divers are being seen in some numbers again, as was the case from January onwards last winter. With colder conditions predicted over the next few weeks, will we see a change of cast?

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

9th Jan – A New Year round-up

Hello and Happy New Year! Below is a bumper update from Lundy Warden, Dean Woodfin Jones, bringing news of a host of quality winter birds:

"As always on Lundy, 2018 came to an end in a wonderful festive fashion and luckily for all the staff and visitors, was blessed with some beautiful mild winter weather (give or take one or two breezy days). This naturally provoked the perfect motivation to get out exploring in order to try and obtain a few more last-minute records for the island's 2018 logbook, and of course to kick off this year’s bird list.

As the turn of 2019 came and went and the New Year cobwebs were wafted on, all minds were focused on a very important period for the island, 'Shut down', the only time within the year in which we say goodbye to all of our visitors. Flashes of blue from staff attire are now whizzing about the island as they administer some well-deserved T.L.C. to all the properties, potholed tracks, squeaky gates and rickety fences in anticipation of this year’s guests. The Conservation Team have also been keeping themselves very busy finishing reports, planting trees in Millcombe and preparing all the special visitor events for the sailing season ahead.

Unsurprisingly it is still rather quiet here on the bird front but lucky for us there have been some really nice Lundy rarities dotted witihin the limited numbers of common winter birds to help us through the short winter days.

Small scatterings of Goldcrest (up to five logged), Chiffchaff (one or two on most days), Pied Wagtail, Meadow and Rock Pipit are still hanging on in parts, along with a beautiful female Reed Bunting that has been sheltering in the Molinia tussocks around Pondsbury since January 2nd. Furthermore we’ve had single Skylarks on a number of dates (one of which was in full song on January 1st), as well as a small arrival of thrushes on the night of 5th, traversing their world from afar to join the wintering birds already on the island (13 Blackbirds were noted on this date, most of which were feeding together at Quarter Wall with two Redwings).

Female Reed Bunting, Pondsbury, 6 Jan 2019 © Dean Jones

The best of the passerine bunch however has to be a stunning male Bullfinch, which was seen briefly checking out the newly planted blackthorn scrub in Millcombe by Nick the Ranger and myself on the 5th before disappearing south.

Non-passerine highlights have also been aplenty, with two Lapwings being sighted on the 31st, one of which was still present on the 2nd flying over Ackland's Moor, and again on the 6th. A single Woodpigeon was also found in Millcombe on the 5th and a lovely night’s walk on the 4th produced a total of 3 Woodcock and 8 Snipe from both Tillage and Brick fields.

Raptor wise there have been up to four Peregrines (two pairs) on some days, mostly recorded from the Jenny’s Cove & Halfway Wall areas, as well as a gorgeous female Kestrel who has been hovering outside the St Helen's Centre and Castle Parade periodically. The long-staying female Sparrowhawk has continued to terrorise the Village area, providing some superb views at times, especially for the housekeeping team (their Laundry Garden bird list is off to a good start) as she chases House Sparrows and Blackbirds through the Laundry yard.

Contenders for 'best birds' of the period have to be the two Wigeon (a drake and a duck) on Pondsbury, found by Alan & Sandra Rowland on New Year’s Day. Luckily for me the drake was still present the following day (but no sign of the female), paddling alongside a number of Mallard and Teal at the far end of the pond. Unfortunately there were no further sightings of this stunning bird after this date.
Drake Wigeon, Pondsbury, 2 Jan 2019 © Dean Jones

Other than this beautiful quacker, seawatching has probably provided most of the excitement over the past few days. Highlights include good numbers of Kittiwake (487 on 6th), Razorbill and Guillemot (450 auk sp. on 30th) and Herring Gull on some days as well as. Also present between the minimal swell at times have been some of the scarcer Lundy gulls, including Common Gull (an adult and two 1st-winter birds on 31st), Black-headed Gull (two on 30th) and Mediterranean Gull (an adult on 2nd).

Between these Larid lunacies, a lone Great Northern Diver has also been present at times, often seen foraging for flatfish just off the Sugar Loaf, along with numerous Red-throated Divers which have started to arrive along the East Side coast now that temperatures up north have started to drop. Here between two (Jan 7th) and nine birds (Jan 4th) have been recorded, all of which have been showing off their pristine winter plumage as they preen and rest on the water’s surface between bouts of feeding – stunning birds!

Finally, our lady Great Spotted Woodpecker has continued to be been seen periodically, most recently on 5th, mainly from the Millcombe area. At the moment she looks to be in very good condition so is obviously finding plenty of food in Millcombe and its adjacent copses.

Fingers crossed this run of Lundy rarities continues into spring!

Happy New Year from Lundy."

Report comprised of sightings from Alan & Sandra Rowland, Robert Pell, Grant Sherman, Zoe Barton & Dean Jones.