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This page is run by volunteer contributors as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds of Lundy, in the Bristol Channel, UK.
If you have news to report, please consider signing up as a contributor or send in your sightings here.
See also the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the 2007 book of the same name.
Bird recording and ringing on Lundy are coordinated by the Lundy Field Society and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Monday, 14 October 2019

12th to 14th October – Red-eyed Vireo, Cetti's Warbler and a Blackcap fall

Saturday 12th October

A significant drop in the wind gave migrants a welcome weather window to push south and there was a large overnight fall of Blackcaps, with 150 being a very conservative estimate. There were 60 along the Terrace in the morning and at least 100 in Millcombe during the afternoon, with every bramble and blackthorn clump seeming to hold multiple birds, which had formed into several loose flocks. Alongside the Blackcaps were 50 Goldcrests and 8 Chiffchaffs. There were strong movements of Swallow (100) and Meadow Pipit (600) during the day, whilst other sightings included a Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Water Rail, a Golden Plover, 14 Snipe over Pondsbury, 2 Kestrel, 30 Skylark, 11 House Martin, 3 Redwing, 3 Wheatear, 12 Pied/alba Wagtails, 15 Rock Pipit, 1 Greenfinch, 15 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin and 4 Linnet.

The most unusual species of the day was a juvenile Whooper Swan flying SW over the Castle early in the morning. There was also a Yellow-browed Warbler by the gas store in Millcombe, the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was seen by the lambing shed, and a Snow Bunting was flushed from the track at the Battlements.

Sunday 13th October

An overcast and increasingly damp morning with squally showers gave way to long sunny spells in the afternoon.

Most of Saturday’s Blackcaps and Goldcrests had moved on overnight. Highlight of the day was a Red-eyed Vireo, the 9th for the island, which was discovered in Quarter Wall Copse at around 13.30. After perching prominently in the open for several minutes when it was first seen on the northern edge of the copse, the bird dropped back into the trees and eluded all binoculars for the next hour or so, but was eventually seen by all those present, between 15.00 and 15.30 as it fed in the tree tops, along with several Goldcrest and two Firecrest for company.

Other notable records included the juvenile Dotterel, which was relocated on the Airfield, a Merlin, a Jack Snipe at Pondsbury, a Yellow-browed Warbler in lower Millcombe (Smelly Gully), the Treecreeper, 3 Reed Bunting in the Pondsbury and Quarter Wall area, and a Snow Bunting calling in flight over the Terrace. Among the commoner migrants were 35 Swallow, including some that were clearly struggling in the windy and often very wet conditions and an emaciated juvenile was found dead near Brambles. Also 2 Teal, 1 Grey Heron, 20 Gannet, 1 Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Water Rail, 5 Oystercatcher, 3 Golden Plover, 7 Snipe, 19 Kittiwake, 11 Woodpigeon, 1 Kestrel, 35 Skylark, 10 House Martin, 12 Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap, 15 Goldcrest, 2 Redwing, 17 Robin, 8 Stonechat, 200 Meadow Pipit, 2 Siskin and 20 Linnet.

Monday 14th October

An overcast but mainly dry day, with some patchy light drizzle in the afternoon, and a stiff SE that gradually eased later in the day, falling light by evening.

It was evident first thing that there had been a further clear-out of migrants, which was unsurprising given plenty of clear, moonlit spells overnight. At times it was difficult to find a migrant in Millcombe or along the Lower East Side Path. Nevertheless, there were still new birds to be found, with the highlight being Lundy’s 5th Cetti’s Warbler, which called and showed briefly twice around the edge of Millcombe Pond mid-morning.

Other notable sightings included the Yellow-browed Warbler in lower Millcombe, a late Willow Warbler in the sallows in St John’s Valley, the Treecreeper in Millcombe, the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling in the chicken run, 3 Reed Bunting (one in flight over Castle Hill and two at Quarter Wall), and a Snow Bunting at the western end of Quarter Wall. The supporting cast included 2 Teal, 2 Grey Heron flying north-east off the East Side, a Cormorant, 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 Water Rail, a Golden Plover, 2 Kestrel, a Merlin, 25 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 8 Goldcrest, 8 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 200 Starling, 2 Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, 11 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 7 Pied/alba Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 150 Meadow Pipit, 14 Rock Pipit, 19 Chaffinch, 40 Goldfinch, 6 Siskin and 31 Linnet.

Compiled from observations by Zoe Barton, Tim Davis, Mandy Dee, James Diamond, Darrin Dowding, Ken Ebsworthy, Martin Elcoate, Andy Jayne, Dean Jones, Tim Jones and Ryan Miller.

Friday, 11 October 2019

9th to 11th Oct – Rosy Starling & Dotterel remain; good seawatching

Wednesday 9th October

A day of strong westerlies; overcast with a number of heavy downpours in the afternoon.

Birding highlights included the continued presence of the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling which was seen resting on top of one of the sparrow nestboxes in the farmyard in the mid-afternoon. The young Dotterel also remained on the island for another day in its new favoured spot next to Quarry Cottages.

Other sightings from a rather soggy day's birding included 7 Cormorant past Rat Island, the long-staying Grey Heron, the female Sparrowhawk, 12 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 3 Goldcrest, a Firecrest, a Robin, 2 Stonechat, a Pied Wagtail, just 15 Meadow Pipit, a Chaffinch, 3 Goldfinch and 2 Snow Buntings on the track next to Tibbetts.

Juvenile Rose-coloured Starling in the farmyard, 9 Oct © Dean Jones

Juvenile Dotterel near Quarry Cottages, 9 Oct © Dean Jones

Thursday 10th October

Not much has changed weather-wise since yesterday with strong west-south-westerlies throughout, overcast and a number of showers or out-and-out downpours again...

Star birds from today included the juvenile Rose-coloured Starling, this time feeding within the chicken enclosure in the farmyard. Additionally the first Yellow-browed Warbler of the autumn was seen flitting through the canopy behind the Millcombe gas store, accompanied by a number of Goldcrest and the Treecreeper.  Lastly a Little Egret was seen flying north along the east coast in the late morning. 

Other sightings include the Grey Heron again, a male and female Sparrowhaw, a flyover Golden Plover, a single Snipe, 7 Woodpigeon, 10 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, a Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 7 Robin, a single Stonechat, 2 Pied Wagtail, 33 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 12 Goldfinch, a single Lesser Redpoll, 12 Linnet and a Snow Bunting on the track next to Tibbetts.

Friday 11th October

A morning seawatch produced a nice selection of 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Arctic Skuas, a Mediterranean Gull and a Great Northern Diver, amongst good numbers of auks and Kittiwakes. Records from later in the day will be added in due course.

Report composed of sightings from Zoë Barton, Paul Bullock, Darrin Dowding, Ken Ebsworthy, Andy Jayne, Dean Jones, Pete Lambden, Ryan Miller, Tim Smith and Martin Thorne.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

5th to 8th Oct – Rose-coloured Starling, Dotterel & Snow Buntings head a varied cast

The latest update from Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones on the remarkable variety of birds still managing to make landfall on the island, in spite – or maybe because – of the continuing very changeable, at times stormy, conditions of recent days...

Saturday 5th October

A beautiful still day throughout – conditions which were a very welcome change from the strong winds as of late. Lots of sunny spells in the early morning up until 11:00, then thick fog for about an hour or so – clearing by the early afternoon, though staying mainly overcast for the rest of the day.

Sightings included the Grey Heron, the female Sparrowhawk, a single Water Rail, a number of calling Manx Shearwater over the Village in the evening, 15 Swallow, 8 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, a lone Firecrest, 10 Goldcrest, 4 Blackbird, 2 Redwing, 8 Robin, 1 Stonechat, a Wheatear, 2 alba wagtails, 50 Meadow Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch and 3 Linnet.

Sunday 6th October

The winds return! Once again it was a day of strong north-westerlies coupled with scattered clouds and sunny spells in the morning – giving way to beautiful clear skies by the afternoon.

Today saw a small overnight arrival of migrants in clear, calm conditions, including a small fall of Goldcrest (40) and Blackcap (30) as well as some decent October Swallow passage throughout the day (totalling 107). Highlights includes a young Dotterel which was found foraging around the Old Hospital in the afternoon, a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling that made a brief appearance in the High Street pig sty, and a total of 3 Snow Bunting were recorded along the main track up to North End.

Other sightings included the Grey Heron in Barton Field, 20 Gannet, a single Cormorant, 2 fly-over Golden Plover, female Sparrowhawk, a calling Water Rail, 30 Kittiwake, 30 Woodpigeon, a Merlin, 5 Skylark, a Sand Martin, 10 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, a lone Firecrest, 6 Blackbird, 1 Redwing, 1 Song Thrush, a late Spotted Flycatcher, 14 Robin, 10 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 12 Pied Wagtails, 6 Chaffinch, 40 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

The long-staying Grey Heron outside Barton Cottages, 6 Oct © Dean Jones

Small Coppers took advantage of some sunny shelter to feed on Yarrow in Millcombe, 6 Oct © Dean Jones

Monday 7th October

A very wet start to the day with frequent squalls and fog rolling in on strong south-westerly winds up until 13:00 at least. The winds then shifted to the west/north-west by the afternoon and the fog gave way to a mix of sunny spells and overcast periods.

The birding highlight today was undoubtedly the presence of a Kingfisher in the late morning – a bird which whizzed past Martin Thorne as he was taking photographs of a number of tagged seals (animals which have been rescued and rehabilitated) in the Devil’s Kitchen.

Other sightings included 7 Fulmar on ledges in Jenny’s Cove, the Grey Heron again, 6 Gannet, a single Cormorant, 19 Oystercatcher, a Snipe, the female Sparrowhawk, 2 Water Rail, a Great Skua, 2 Woodpigeon, 2 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 30 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 2 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Blackbird, 5 Robin, 4 Stonechat, 1 Wheatear, 46 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch and 20 Linnet.

The wind and waves pile into Jenny's Cove on a stormy afternoon, 7 Oct © Dean Jones

Tuesday 8th October

Breezy westerlies again this morning picking up to a strong wind by the afternoon. Lots of lovely sunny weather and scattered clouds today with only one or two brief showers in the late morning.

Highlights included the second Treecreeper of the autumn in Millcombe and the re-appearance of the young Dotterel, this time around the Quarry Cottages.

Juvenile Dotterel, Quarry Cottages, 8 Oct © Ester Spears

Other sightings included the long-staying Grey Heron, 20 Gannet, 2 Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail, 16 Kittiwake, 10 Woodpigeon, 2 Skylark, 80 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, 2 Blackbird, 6 Robin, 2 Stonechat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Pied Wagtail, 50 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch and single Linnet.

Report composed of sightings from Zoë Barton, Paul Bullock, Darrin Dowding, Ken Ebsworthy, Jane Harding, Dean Jones, Ryan Miller, Dawn Murphy, Grant Sherman and Martin Thorne.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

1st to 4th Oct – Stiff winds, a red dawn and birds aplenty

 Lundy Warden Dean Jones sends the latest roundup of bird and other wildlife news.

Tuesday 1st October

Stiff westerly winds during the morning with a switch to strong southerlies in the afternoon; generally overcast, with the occasional shower, particularly in the early morning and late evening.

Highlights include a Clouded Yellow butterfly found by Andrew Cleave in Millcombe just before he boarded the Oldenburg and a Snow Bunting over the Village in mid-morning.

Other sightings include 2 Teal, a calling Water Rail, 2 Golden Plover, a single Cormorant, 43 Shag, the long-staying Grey Heron, 1 Sparrowhawk, 110 Kittiwake, 2 Guillemot, 12 Razorbill, 6 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, 13 Skylark, 70 Swallow, 20 House Martin, a Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 32 Goldcrest, 4 Firecrest, 4 Blackbird, 11 Robin, 4 Stonechat, 4 Wheatear, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 63 Meadow Pipit, 18 Chaffinch, 7 Goldfinch and 6 Linnet.

Wednesday 2nd October

A beautifully clear but very chilly morning turning overcast in the afternoon. Winds remained strong throughout the day from the north-east, dropping to a slight westerly breeze in the late evening.

Despite the cold and blustery start, Meadow Pipit (272), Swallow (127) and Skylark (27) were all passing in moderate numbers throughout the day. The title of star bird however went to the long-staying juvenile Common Rosefinch which was seen feeding on a bounty of blackberries in Millcombe in the late afternoon (with its shiny new leg accessory compliments of Chris Dee – photo below). Additional to this, another Snow Bunting was seen/heard over John o’Groats House shortly after noon.

Other birds logged include a calling Water Rail, 2 Golden Plover, 9 Oystercatcher at North End, a Snipe in South West Field, 23 Shag, the Grey Heron in Lamentry Bay, a male and female Sparrowhawk, 14 Great Black-backed Gull, 20 Herring Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 auk spp, 3 Woodpigeon, a Kestrel, a young Merlin in Gannets' Combe, 14 House Martin, 14 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 31 Goldcrest, 3 Firecrest, 3 Blackbird, 15 Robin, 6 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 4 Rock Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 16 Goldfinch and 52 Linnet.

Thursday 3rd October

Red sky at dawn, 3rd Oct © Dean Jones

Today started off in a blaze with what was probably one of the best sunrises of the autumn so far. However, as the old saying goes – red sky in the morning, shepherds' warning – this stunning light display was a warning of foul weather to come. Shortly after leaving my cosy abode to get ready for an early 'splash-and-dash' ship (no day-trippers), I was immediately met with some very strong southerly winds, and after a short potter through the somewhat sheltered Millcombe Valley, it was evident that there had been a mass exodus of birds from the island in the calm overnight conditions. The best of the bunch from what was a very difficult and very wet afternoon of birding included: 2 Firecrest, a Pied Flycatcher in St Helen’s Copse sheltering from the rough weather, and a handful of Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and Swallow.

Further high points between the rains include a Hummingbird Hawk-moth feeding from the Valerian in the Secret Garden and a stunning Pale Tussock caterpillar, which landed on my shoulder in Quarter Wall Copse whilst I failed miserably at trying to differentiate hundreds of falling leaves from possible flitting Yank vagrants within a very windswept canopy.

Friday 4th October

Today was a bit of a write-off, with the winds picking up again as the tail-end of Storm Lorenzo met with the South West. There was very little in the way of shelter anywhere on the island despite the wind's westerly orientation – consequently resulting in another very quiet day on the bird front on Lundy.

There was some action out at sea however, with modest numbers of Kittiwake and Gannet navigating the often colossal swell off Rat Island. Present also were 2 Manx Shearwater in the afternoon, a single Arctic Skua and a lone Harbour Porpoise.

Report composed from sightings by Chris & Carol Baillee, Dean Jones, Alan & Sandra Rowland and Alex Sydenham.

Sparrowhawk, 1st Oct © Alex Sydenham

Common Rosefinch, Millcombe, 2nd Oct © Dean Jones

Pale Tussock caterpillar, Quarter Wall, 3rd Oct © Dean Jones

Pied Flycatcher, St Helen's Copse, 3rd Oct © Dean Jones




Thursday, 3 October 2019

28th Sep to 1st Oct – Long-stayers, passers-by and butterflies

Chris & Carol Baillie summarise their recent short stay on Lundy:

Dominated by south-westerlies, birds were mostly on the move during brief lulls and short clear spells. Perhaps aided by the autumn exodus of gulls, a long-staying Grey Heron worked the low tides around Rat Island, Lametry and the southern East Side, and the high tides around the island's ponds. Two Teal remained on Pondsbury, Water Rail were heard daily in lower Millcombe and two Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk were routinely noted, mostly on the East side.

Four (possibly more) Firecrests graced the parties of Goldcrests which were driven to creative wet-weather foraging. A Spotted Flycatcher worked Millcombe on the last and first days of the months, and a Pied Flycatcher chose the quieter air at Quarry Pond on 1st Oct. Swallows and House Martins passed through in modest numbers during breaks in the wind and rain, as did small groups of Meadow Pipits and Chaffinches and a few Wheatears. Stonechats seemed to keep drifting through, with 7 noted on 29th Sep. Blackcaps were mostly hunkered down with a maximum count of 23 on 30th Sep, while a handful of Chiffchaffs and a single Willow Warbler brightened up the first day of October.

29th Sep saw an afternoon build up of Kittiwakes (229 in the main flock) in the Roads [off Lundy's East Side] and this number remained during the rest of the period. A Bonxie passed on the same day.

1st Oct brought a good dose of sunshine and much-reduced wind with a fair amount of north in it for much of the day. This brought out the butterflies, including Painted Lady, Small Copper, Peacock, Small White and Red Admiral, and led to a gentle 'vis mig' of common migrant birds to round off a brief but memorable stay.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

24th to 30th Sep – Birds, seal pups, a fungus foray and a 50th Anniversary celebration

Tuesday 24th September

A day of strong south-westerly winds and frequent showers made for tricky birding conditions. The birding highlight of the day came in the form of a Treecreeper which was found by Mike Jackson in Millcombe Wood in the afternoon.

Other sightings of note include a Grey Heron, a female Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail, 3 Woodpigeon, 60 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 20 Goldcrest, 4 Robin, 5 Stonechat, a Grey Wagtail, 30 Meadow Pipit, 5 Chaffinch, 5 Goldfinch and 9 Linnet.

Wednesday 25th September

The theme of strong south-westerlies and periodic squalls continued on from yesterday. Highlights include the continued presence of the Treecreeper in Millcombe and a stunning male  Common Rosefinch, which ended up in the shelf of Chris Dee’s mist-net – possibly the same bird seen in the Valley on 22nd.

Other birds of note include 2 Teal on Pondsbury, a Water Rail, a Snipe at Brick Field Pond, 4 Woodpigeon, just one Skylark, 50 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 25 Goldcrest, 3 Firecrest, 10 Robin, 2 Wheatear, 1 Pied Flycatcher, 2 alba wagtails, 103 Meadow Pipit, 4 Rock Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch and 13 Linnet.

Thursday 26th September

More strong winds and rain! Unfortunately there was no further sign of the Treecreeper though a juvenile Common Rosefinch – perhaps the same bird as on the 21st – made a brief appearance in Millcombe at around 08:15.

Other sightings include the Grey Heron, a Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail, a flyover Golden Plover, 5 Woodpigeon, a Kestrel, 3 Skylark, 25 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 3 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 15 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 7 Robin, 1 Stonechat, a Wheatear, 325 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch and 95 Linnet.

Friday 27th September

Today saw a shift in the strong winds from south-westerlies to due west and the continued presence of heavy showers throughout the day. The bird of the day came in the form of a young Red-breasted Merganser, which spent most of the late afternoon paddling around the Landing Bay. This is only the 10th record of this superb saw-billed duck for Lundy, a fantastic find! Also present was the first Snow Bunting of the year, photographed along the main track roughly halfway up the island.

Other sightings include the Grey Heron, a female Sparrowhawk, 7 Woodpigeon, 10 Swallow, 2 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest, 2 Robin, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch and 11 Linnet.

On the non-avian front, today brought a mass relocation of Atlantic Grey Seal pups, presumably from more cryptic and hostile areas of the island, into the sheltered Landing Bay. Here a total of 7 white-coat pups (6 large pups and a young’un) and 2 weaners managed to escape the strong winds, hefty swell and high spring tides, to the delight of numerous visitors on the island. So far this season the conservation team has managed to find a grand total of 30 pups (already up on 2018's total of 27), though we expect to find a few more in the upcoming weeks.

Grey Seal pup, Landing Bay © Dean Jones

Today also saw a very special event on the island: the first of the annual Fungi Forays! Here, 30 visitors turned up to learn about all things Lundy fungi from the mushroom legends Professor John Hedger and Mandy Dee, and to try their hands at finding specimens across High Street fields and Quarter Wall. All in all, despite the constant battering of strong winds and it being rather early in the season for some emerging fungal fruiting bodies, it was a spectacular morning of exploration, the team manging to find a total of 30 fungal species in two hours, including some stunning specimens of Goblet Waxcap, Azure Pinkgill, Sphagnum Brownie and a pristine example of the beautiful Petticoat Mottlegill.

Saturday 28th September

The strong westerly winds continued, shifting to southerly in the evening. Luckily it stayed dry for most, though turned very wet from about 16:30 onwards.

Sightings include the Grey Heron, a Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail, 2 flyover Golden Plover, 7 Woodpigeon, 2 Kittiwake, 5 Skylark, 43 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 9 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 8 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 2 White Wagtails at Paradise Row, 10 Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Sunday 29th September

A very wet start to the day gave way to some lovely sunshine by late morning, with strong west/south-west winds throughout.

Today marked a very special day for the island: the start of the Landmark Trust's new 50-year lease of the island from the National Trust. Supplementing this, 50 years ago on this day also marked the 50th anniversary of the original lease, which saw huge developments to the island to ensure its extraordinary character remained, as well as warranting the island accessibility for visitors, and that its rich history and wildlife, above and below the waves, was protected for future generations to enjoy.
  
Although the original plan for the day was to get a boatful of VIPs over for a day of festivities, Mother Nature had another plan, strong winds preventing our beloved Oldenburg from sailing. However, we managed to ferry a small fraction of the original guest list over via the island's helicopter service, and in spite of the blustery weather and reduced the numbers of visitors, the day turned out splendidly. Everyone who did manage to get over was treated to a lovely service in St Helen’s Church, some spectacular speeches by the island's General Manager and associated Directors, a free bar in the Square, and a knees-up in the Tavern with the Devon-based folk legends the Dambuskers.

Despite the lure of ever flowing prosecco and delightful desserts in the Wheelhouse, a small number of birders did manage to get out between events. By the afternoon the winds were well and truly battering through, which unsurprisingly made the birding up on the island somewhat tricky – thus the sea got most of the attention throughout the day.

Sightings from the Ugly between 15:30 and 17:15 included 3 adult Arctic Tern, an adult Common Tern, 5 distant ‘commic tern’, 3 Arctic Skua amongst good numbers of Kittiwake (229), Shag (23), Razorbill (231) and Gannet (30). The highlight however from this very exciting seawatch had to be the adult Pomarine Skua, which whipped in from the south in late afternoon to harass a number of Kittiwakes for their crop. In addition to this stunning bird, a first-winter Little Gull was also found and watched for around 30 minutes or so as it foraged between the swell in the bay – only the 7th record of this gorgeous little gull for the island.

Other sightings include 2 Teal, a calling Water Rail, a flyover Golden Plover, a Great Skua past Rat Island in the morning, the Grey Heron in the Landing Bay, 5 Woodpigeon, a Kestrel, 2 Skylark, 14 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 2 Chiffchaff, just 2 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 5 Robin, 7 Stonechat, 1 Pied Wagtail, 130 Meadow Pipit, 2 Goldfinch, 29 Linnet and the Snow Bunting again along the main track.

Snow Bunting, High Street, 29th Sep © Alex Sydenham

Monday 30th September

Despite the very breezy south-westerly winds, an overcast sky and frequent downpours, today was surprisingly very good for passage. Meadow Pipits put on quite the show with at least 476 birds passing the island between the bouts of rain. Today also saw the arrival of the first Redwing (6) of the year, perched upon the Barn roof within a flock of Starling, as well as the first decent arrival of Chaffinch (22) of the autumn. Also present was a second Snow Bunting (this time a male), joining the female bird who has been on the island since Friday 27th, both along the main track.

Blackcap (41) and Goldcrest (51) also made landfall, mostly in the island's sheltered bays, copses and valleys, in the calmer and clear overnight conditions.

Other sightings include a calling Water Rail, a Sparrowhawk, the Grey Heron in the Landing Bay, 13 Kittiwake, 19 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 2 Guillemot, 32 Razorbill, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, 9 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 1 House Martin, 6 Chiffchaff, a lone Willow Warbler, a single Firecrest, the first Song Thrush of the autumn, a Spotted Flycatcher in Millcombe, 9 Robin, 1 Stonechat, 5 Wheatear, 1 Pied Wagtail, 3 alba wagtails, 11 Goldfinch,  50 Linnet.

Report composed of sightings from Derek Baggott, Chris & Carol Baillee, Zoë Barton, Richard Breese, Andrew Cleave, Chris & Mandy Dee, Simon Dell, Mike Jackson, Dean Jones, Bob Medland, Claire Mitchell, Ben Rousseau, Alan & Sandra Rowland and Joanne Wilby.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

21st to 23rd Sep – Common Rosefinches and the autumn's first Jack Snipe

Saturday 21st September

A day of strong south-easterlies and sunshine for most. The birding highlight from what was a rather busy boat day had to be a young Common Rosefinch, which found itself in the shelf of a mist-net in Millcombe Valley in the late afternoon. Another bird of note during this lovely late September day was the first Jack Snipe of the autumn, flushed form the north-east corner of Pondsbury in the late afternoon.

Other sightings include 9 Mallard, 3 Teal on Pondsbury, a Sparrowhawk, a single Black-headed Gull circling the Oldenburg as she approached the island, 3 Woodpigeon, a lone Kestrel, 6 Sand Martin, 50 Swallow, just 1 House Martin, a single Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 10 Goldcrest, a Firecrest which was caught and ringed in Millcombe, 2 Robin, a Whinchat near Quarterwall, a flyover Grey Wagtail, 30 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 4 Goldfinch and 90 Linnet.

Sunday 22nd September

A rather soggy one with numerous heavy downpours and squalls moving in throughout the day, coupled with strong south-easterlies again in the morning, veering west by the late evening.

Highlights include a second Common Rosefinch for the autumn, this time a stunning adult male which was proudly perched outside Bramble Villas for around three minutes or so before disappearing down the valley. Additionally, the third Wryneck of the autumn (following birds in Millcombe on 25th Aug and Jenny’s Cove on 30th Aug) was found perched upon one of the Willows just south of the Terrace in the afternoon.

Other sightings include a Grey Heron near Quarter Wall, a flyover Ringed Plover, 3 Sparrowhawk, 5 Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove, a single Merlin, 1 Kestrel, 12 Skylark (some of which were in full song near Pondsbury in the afternoon), 5 Sand Martin, 80 Swallow, 2 House Martin, a single Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, 15 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest, 9 Robin, 2 Stonechat, a Wheatear, 4 Yellow Wagtails, a White Wagtail in Barton Field, 82 Meadow Pipit, 10 Chaffinch, 43 Goldfinch and 80 Linnet.

Monday 23rd September

A breezy but pleasant start to the day turning rather wet and miserable by the early afternoon. Highlights include a superb fall of Goldcrest with an estimated 180 birds scattered across the island. Within these stunning and often noisy fluttering Goldcrest flocks were 5 Firecrest, strewn along the east sidelands from Millcombe as far as the Quarry willows!

Other sightings include a Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail calling from Quarters Pond, 6 Woodpigeon, a Kestrel, 2 Skylark, 10 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 20 Chiffchaff, 30 Blackcap, 9 Robin, a Stonechat, 2 Grey Wagtails, a single flyover alba wagtail, 11 Meadow Pipit, a Tree Pipit over the Village, 3 Chaffinch and 15 Goldfinch.

Report composed of sightings from Derek Baggott, Chris & Mandy Dee, Dean Jones, Bob Medland and Ben Rousseau.

Goldfinch and Storm Petrels among the latest bird ringing highlights

The latest batch of Lundy ringing recoveries and controls, provided by Lundy bird ringing coordinator Tony Taylor, makes for some fascinating reading.

Two controls (recaptures of birds ringed in locations away from the site of ringing), of a Goldfinch and a Storm Petrel, are particularly intriguing.

The Goldfinch (ring no. AVA4847), mist-netted on Lundy on 24th Aug, was ringed as an adult male on Cape Clear Island, Co. Cork, Ireland – 338 km to the west of Lundy – on 22nd April this year. Tony Taylor believes the Goldfinch is very likely to have bred on Lundy this summer, having started its wing moult and been caught in Millcombe together with a brood of recently fledged young.

Between 23rd and 27th Aug Tony and his ringing team caught 86 Storm Petrels – most during two night-time sessions just east of North Light, but 10 on two nights of primarily Manx Shearwater ringing between Old Light and the Battery. In all, 61 ‘Stormies’ were newly ringed, 18 were retrapped Lundy-ringed birds – mainly from 2017 and 2018 – and 7 had been ringed elsewhere. Fourteen were judged on the state of their incubation patches to be young, prospecting birds, while all the others were of breeding age, several carrying full crops of food for chicks.

Among these captures were birds ringed at nearby Hartland Point; Skokholm Island off the Pembrokeshire coast; Wooltack Point, Pembrokeshire (opposite Skomer); The Lizard in Cornwall; Old Head of Kinsale in Co. Cork, Ireland; and, as with the Goldfinch, Cape Clear Island.

Among the list of these controls sent to Tony by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) was one in particular that raised the hairs on the back of Tony’s neck! Storm Petrel 2580670 (pictured below) had been ringed as a young bird on Lundy on 5th Oct 2014 – so far the ONLY chick ever to have been ringed on the island. It was controlled on Burhou Island, Alderney, Channel Islands on 27th Jul this year – 1,756 days after it was found outside its nest burrow on Lundy’s West Side.

Storm Petrel chick, 5th Oct 2014 © Tony Taylor

The ringing team of Tony Taylor, Warden Dean Jones, Paddy Keith, Richard & Rebecca Taylor were joined on different nights by a visiting ringer, Dawn Anderson and her partner Chris, Grant Sherman and Rosie Ellis.

Colour-ringed Guillemot

One other sighting of note concerns a colour-ringed Guillemot seen on the breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove by Dean Jones on 26th Jun this year. Dean has recently received the news that the bird was ringed as a nestling on 8th Jul 2013 on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire. This bird was probably loafing on Lundy rather than breeding (there was no sign of either an egg or a chick). Professor Tim Birkhead, who ringed the Guillemot on Skomer, told Dean that it is actually very rare for birds to breed elsewhere other than their natal colony, adding “we very rarely get birds ringed elsewhere breeding on Skomer. However this year we had a bird found breeding on Skomer that had been ringed as a chick on Saltee in Ireland 35 years ago!”.

Monday, 23 September 2019

17th to 20th Sep – First Lesser Redpoll and Ring Ouzel, and second Lapland Bunting of autumn

Warden Dean Jones sends the latest autumn update.

Tuesday 17th September

Much quieter on the bird front on an overcast day with stiff north-easterlies.

Sightings include 50 Gannet, the male and female Sparrowhawk, 3 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, 18 Skylark, 100 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 35 Goldcrest, 3 Robin, 1 Stonechat, just 10 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 12 Goldfinch and 50 Linnet.

Wednesday 18th September

An absolutely glorious day of sunshine, slight north-easterlies and a diversity of migrants. Highlights include the first Ring Ouzel of the autumn which dropped into the Sycamores below Bramble Villas in the mid-morning. Hirundines also put on a spectacular show from about 11:30 onwards with an estimated 3,200 Swallow, 13 Sand Martin and 500 House Martin passing the island throughout the day – a truly breath-taking sight!

Other sightings of note include a Teal on Pondsbury, a single flyover Grey Heron, the male and female Sparrowhawk, a Water Rail calling from Smelly Gully,  2 Golden Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 6 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, 18 Skylark, 20 Willow Warbler, 50 Chiffchaff, a Grasshopper Warbler flushed from some nettles next to the Lambing Shed, at least 70 Blackcap, a single Garden Warbler, 4 Whitethroat, a Firecrest in the Terrace Willows, 20 Goldcrest, a whopping 20 Spotted Flycatchers, a Pied Flycatcher on the Battlements, 4 Robin, a Whinchat on South West Point, 7 Stonechat, 7 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail over Brick Field, a flyover Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtails and 6 unidentified alba wagtails, 3 Tree Pipit, 162 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch and 30 Linnet.

Thursday 19th September

Another glorious day of sunshine though the cool easterly winds had picked up a bit from the previous day.

Highlights were the first 2 Lesser Redpoll of the autumn and another stunning Ring Ouzel, this time in VC Quarry in the afternoon.

Other sightings of note include 2 Common Scoter past North End, a Golden Plover, a Water Rail, the male and female Sparrowhawk, a Merlin, 4 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 200 Swallow, 10 House Martin, 15 Willow Warbler, 30 Chiffchaff, 25 Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, 10 Goldcrest, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Stonechat, a Whinchat in Brick Field, 6 Chaffinch and 6 Goldfinch.

Friday 20th September

A lovely clear, sunny day with strong south-easterly winds throughout.

Much trickier for birding today, though there were still some nice birds out there for those willing to brave the winds. Highlight of the day was the second Lapland Bunting of the autumn calling loudly over the Village at 08:15.

Other sightings logged included a Water Rail calling from Quarters Pond, the male and female Sparrowhawk, 5 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, a Merlin, 12 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 100 Swallow, 6 House Martin, 6 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 1 Firecrest, 10 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 unidentified alba wagtails, 20 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 6 Goldfinch and 65 Linnet.

Report composed of sightings by Keith Dean, Paul Dean, Chris Dee, Dean Jones, Sue Sabin, Jan Swan and Martin Thorne.

Grasshopper Warbler, High Street, 17th Sep © Dean Jones
Spotted Flycatcher, 19th Sep © Martin Thorne
Spotted Flycatcher hiding from the strong SE wind near Benjamin's Chair, 20th Sep © Dean Jones

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

10th to 16th Sep – Barred Warbler, record Grey Heron passage, first Firecrests and much more besides!

A bumper update follows, courtesy of Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones:

Tuesday 10th September

All in all a rather pleasant, dry day with an accompanying stiff northerly.

The undoubted highlight of the day was the occurrence of a Barred Warbler which was found by Nik Ward in Millcombe in the late afternoon. Unfortunately the bird took off up the valley immediately after it was discovered and was not found again despite searching.

Other sightings of note included 4 fly-by Cormorant, a Water Rail, 8 Woodpigeon, 2 Swift, 20 Sand Martin, 150 Swallow, 6 House Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 35 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 12 Goldcrest, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Robin, 8 Wheatear, 1 Pied Flycatcher, a single fly-over Grey Wagtail, 11 fly-over alba wagtails, 150 Meadow Pipit, 4 Chaffinch, 17 Goldfinch and 30 Linnet.

Wednesday 11th September

A day of strong westerly winds and scattered showers and squalls which resulted in some trickier birding conditions, particularly in the mid-afternoon. Sightings includes a Water Rail, a Grey Heron found dead by Quarter Wall Pond, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Woodpigeon, 1 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Pied Flycatcher, 2 fly-over alba wagtails, 5 Chaffinch  and 3 Goldfinch.

Thursday 12th September

Not much to note on this very wet and windy day, other than a scattering of Blackcap and Goldcrest in Millcombe as well as 2 young Woodpigeons (which have prematurely fledged from a rather late nest, perhaps due to the presence of the two Sparrowhawks in the valley this week), huddling together underneath one of the memorial benches in Millcombe.

Soggy young Woodpigeons sheltering in Millcombe, 12 September © Dean Jones


Friday 13th September

A much better day weather wise, characterised by some lovely sunshine and a NE breeze – perfect conditions for passage hirundines.

Sightings included a Grey Heron at Ladies Beach, 6 Woodpigeon, 20 Sand Martin, 700 Swallow, 50 House Martin, just one Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 30 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat, 14 Goldcrest, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, a single fly-over Grey Wagtail, 4 fly-over alba wagtails, a single Tree Pipit, 94 Meadow Pipits, 3 Chaffinch, 13 Goldfinch and 37 Linnet.

Saturday 14th September

A gorgeous summer-like day, complete with clear skies, scorching temperatures and a slight northerly breeze. The highlight of the day was the occurrence of a south-bound flock of 19 Grey Heron over the island in the early afternoon, shortly after the Oldenburg arrived. This is the highest number of this species ever to be recorded on Lundy in a day smashing the previous record of 16 birds (composed of 4 groups) on July 1975! Another highlight was a Turnstone (an increasingly scarce bird for Lundy) flying along the east coast in the early morning.

Other sightings includes a Teal at Brick Field Pond, a male and female Sparrowhawk, a Dunlin over the Village in the evening, 6 Woodpigeon, 2 Swift, 4 Sand Martin, 200 Swallow, 30 House Martin, 5 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 7 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 12 Goldcrest, a small movement of Skylark (3 over South End first thing), 10 Spotted Flycatcher, a single Stonechat, 10 Wheatear, 3 Pied Flycatcher, a single fly-over Grey Wagtail, a fly-over alba wagtail, 70 Meadow Pipits, 2 Chaffinch and 8 Goldfinch.

Sunday 15th September

A very pleasant day all around, with lots of sunshine and a westerly breeze throughout the day.
Highlights included 2 female Tufted Ducks resting on one of the green islands in Pondsbury (only the 25th record for the island), a stunning male Crossbill perched briefly on top of the spruce trees in Millcombe Valley and the first Lapland Bunting of the year, seen and heard flying over High Street Field at around 08:00am.

Other birds of note include 7 Mallard, a male and female Sparrowhawk, a fly-over Golden Plover, 6 Kittiwake, 6 Woodpigeon, a Kestrel, 8 Skylark, 1 Sand Martin, 800 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 5 Chiffchaff, 23 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 33 Goldcrest, a Spotted Flycatcher, 8 Robin, 3 Wheatear, a Grey Wagtail, 2 alba wagtails, 28 Meadow Pipit, 3 Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch and 167 Linnet.

Monday 16th September

A lovely but gloomy start to the day with thick mist and squalls moving in for much of the afternoon.
Slightly quieter day bird-wise, with sightings of note including 3 Sparrowhawk, 2  fly-over Golden Plover, a calling Water Rail, 4 Woodpigeon, 2 Kestrel, 4 Skylark, 2 Sand Martin, 300 Swallow, 34 House Martin, 2 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, a Whitethroat, 20 Goldcrest, the first Firecrest of the autumn in the Secret Garden, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Robin, a Grey Wagtail, 4 alba wagtails, 60 Meadow Pipit, 6 Chaffinch, 8 Goldfinch and 90 Linnet.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

8th & 9th Sep – Superb visual migration

September 8th

A truly beautiful day of clear skies, warm temperatures and a slight northerly breeze, perfect conditions for some superb visual migration throughout the day, particularly with regard to passage Swallow, Sand Martin and Meadow Pipits which arrived here in their hundreds.

Sightings of note included, 2 Sparrowhawk together in Millcombe, a flyover Ringed Plover, a Dunlin over the Village in the evening, 9 Woodpigeon, 2 Swift, a Kestrel, 4 Skylark, 408 Sand Martin, 1,195 Swallow, 26 House Martin, 20 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler in Millcombe, 30 Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, 18 Goldcrest, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 5 Robin, a Pied Flycatcher, 2 flyover Grey Wagtail, a Pied Wagtail and 12 unraced alba wagtails, 350 Meadow Pipit, a Tree Pipit over the Camping Field in the morning, 3 Chaffinch, 24 Goldfinch and 122 Linnet.

Non-avian sightings included a Migrant Hawker dragonfly outside the General Stores and a small number of By-the-wind Sailors (see photo below) washed up next to Rat Island.

September 9th

Torrential rain in the morning up until around 11:00 but brightening up thereafter with strong northerly winds.

Sightings of note included a Turnstone flying low over Quarter Wall in the morning, a flyover Ringed Plover, 9 Woodpigeon, a Kestrel, just 2 Skylark, 250 Sand Martin, 500 Swallow, 30 House Martin, 10 Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaff, 15 Blackcap, 6 Whitethroat, 22 Goldcrest, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Robin, a single Whinchat, 36 Wheatear, a flyover Grey Wagtail, 3 unraced flyover alba wagtails, 70 Meadow Pipit, 16 Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch and 114 Linnet.

Report composed of sightings from AJ Bellamy, Dean Jones, Peter Slader and Nik Ward.

Above and below: Hirundines in Lighthouse Field, 8 Sep © Dean Jones

By-the-wind Sailor, off Rat Island, 8th Sep © Dean Jones

Sunday, 8 September 2019

7th Sep – No show from the Black-headed Bunting

Thanks to Ivan Lakin for sending in notes on his day-trip to the island yesterday:

Only three birders made it across today to day-trip Lundy and not see the bunting. That was expected (given that it had been seen on Thursday, though not on Friday), but a Green Sandpiper was an unexpected bonus – Lundy  tick for me. Had it calling as it flew along East Side, then it was heard and seen independently by the other two observers on top. One saw it head towards Pondsbury. Other sightings included quite a few Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers, a few Goldcrest and three Woodpigeon.

Oldenburg very quiet outbound, but much better returning with 5 Bonxie, 1 dark Arctic Skua, 7 Manx Shearwater, auks etc, though all well outside the Lundy recording area.

Friday, 6 September 2019

31st Aug to 2nd Sep – Wind, gloom, sun and... Black-headed Bunting!

August 31st

A windy and gloomy day overall and rather quiet bird wise with very few new arrivals to the island. A brief seawatch from The Ugly produced 633 Manx Shearwater, 21 Gannet, 6 Guillemot and 2 Razorbill in an hour. The stunning male Black-headed Bunting appeared again on the track bordering Tibbetts in the late afternoon.

Other than these, birds of note included a Grey Heron sheltering off Lamentor in the early afternoon as well as small numbers of Goldcrest, Swallow, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff scattered throughout Millcombe and the east sidelands.

September 1st

Another blustery day but with a bit more northerly element than yesterday which encouraged a small movement of Goldcrest (19) and Blackcap (12) to the island overnight.

Other sightings of note included a Sparrowhawk in Quarter wall copse, a Merlin hunting Blackbirds near Tibbetts, the Grey Heron in Quarry Pond, singles of Guillemot and Razorbill off the North End, a Whimbrel – which perched upon the Beer Garden wall in the late morning – 8 Swallow, 15 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, a Reed Warbler below St Helen’s Copse (photo below), 48 Meadow Pipit and 6 flyover unidentified alba wagtails.

Grey Heron, Quarry Pond, 1st Sep © Dean Jones
Reed Warbler, below St Helen's Copse, 1st Sep © Dean Jones

September 2nd

A beautifully sunny yet breezy day with some nice migrant birds again. Firstly the long-staying Black-headed Bunting turned up in its favoured foraging spot next to Tillage Field again in the late afternoon.

Goldcrest numbers continued to grow with at least 31 birds scattered across the island – most of which were found in Millcombe and along the east sidelands. Additionally the first Lesser Whitethroat of the autumn was found in the gnarled elder at the top of Smelly Gully in the early morning.

Other sightings of note included a flyover Golden Plover, 27 Swallow, 22 Sand Martin, 10 Blackcap, 10 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, a Sedge Warbler, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 alba  wagtails, 23 Meadow Pipits and a flyover Tree Pipit.

Report compiled by Dean Woodfin Jones.

STOP PRESS

Below is a Tweet from Antony Bellamy showing the latest photos of the Black-headed Bunting, taken yesterday, Thursday 5th Sep.


Saturday, 31 August 2019

27th to 30th August – Black-headed Bunting reappears!

August 27th

A very noticeable clear-out of migrants from the day before, which gave the island a rather quiet feel. Despite this there were still some great birds present on the island, including the first Merlin and Common Redstart of the autumn.

Other sightings of note on this lovely yet breezy day include: a Teal, 2 southbound Cormorant, the Grey Heron, a Kestrel, just 5 Willow Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, singles of Sedge Warbler and Blackcap, 2 Garden Warbler, 3 Goldcrest, 4 fly-over Tree Pipit, just 1 Pied Flycatcher, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, a single Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtails (plus 5 fly-over alba types), 184 Meadow Pipit, 2 Chaffinch, 15 Goldfinch and 28 Linnet.

A reasonably settled and dry evening allowed for another Storm Petrel ringing session on the North End too. Here the team managed to catch a total of 39 petrels, 15 of which were either a re-traps or controls.

August 28th

A driech aul day with thick mist and downpours for much of the morning up until 14:00 at least. Sightings of note include the Grey Heron, 7 Woodpigeon, a fly-over Ringed Plover, 2 Willow Warbler, singles of Blackcap, Whitethroat, Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Goldcrest, a single Pied Wagtail, a fly-over Tree Pipit, 65 Meadow Pipits, 2 Chaffinch, 23 Goldfinch and 120 Linnet.

August 29th
A very windy day throughout, though a pleasantly warm dry day. Birds of note include a Ringed Plover over the church in the afternoon, a Water Rail calling outside Paradise Row, single Swift, 2 Sand Martin, a House Martin, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 7 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap and a single Goldcrest.

August 30th

With the winds picking up again overnight, all attention in the morning was focused out at sea. Here a super 2,538 Manx Shearwater were recorded passing Rat Island within 2 hours of observations, along with small numbers of Gannet (63), Razorbill (2), Guillemot (1) and Fulmar (2). The highlight from the morning sea-watch however came in the form of a stunning Sooty Shearwater which passed Rat Island within a flock of Manx at 08:21.

The undisputed bird of the day though had to be the reappearance of the male Black-headed Bunting, this time feeding along the track bordering Brick and Tillage Fields. Found at around 13:35, the bird stuck around for a least an hour and a half, allowing some superb close-up views before disappearing into Tillage Field and out of sight.

Other sightings of note include a fly-over Ringed Plover, the Grey Heron again munching on diving beetles in Quarter Wall Pond, a single male Blackcap, 4 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest and a lone Stonechat on the Terrace.

The Black-headed Bunting reappeared close to Brick & Tillage Fields, 30 Aug © Dean Jones



Report composed of observations from Zoë Barton, Dean Jones, Patrick Keith, Rebecca Taylor, Richard Taylor and Tony Taylor.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

26th August – Black-headed Bunting headlines another superb day of migration

August 26th

Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones sums up a truly spectacular day of early-autumn birding:

Another beautiful summer’s day with next to no wind in the morning, cloudless skies, pleasant temperatures and a fantastic number and diversity of common migrants, mixed in with some truly magnificent rarities.

The day started off well with a very busy morning manning mist-nets, as a superb movement of Willow Warblers made their way through the Valley from about 06:30 to 10:00. Here an estimated 250 birds were thought to have been dotted across the island throughout the day; they were literally everywhere you looked! Within this flurry of Willow Warbler, the Icterine Warbler that has been on the island since the 23rd finally ended up in the shelf of a mist-net in Millcombe Valley in the early morning – the 19th Icterine Warbler to be ringed on the island.

Icterine Warbler, Millcombe, 26 August © Dean Jones

Then, post late-breakfast, I was making my way to pick up and empty the moth trap when I noticed an odd bird perched upon the roof of Paradise Row at around 11:45... As soon as I put my binoculars up, my eyes were graced with a superb male Black-headed Bunting!! This then led to a very quick and panicked rush home to grab my camera (luckily I only live two doors down from where the bird was perched), and managed to fire off a few quick record shots before the bird disappeared off the roof and down towards the allotments outside Paradise Row. Fortunately, Zoë Barton and I were able to relocate the bird perched on one the end of a raised bed full of Red Onions where it allowed for some smashing close up views before flying off to a nearby dry-stone wall to get a bit of shut eye – obviously knackered from its long journey. Whilst the bird was resting I managed to herd most of the birders on the island up to the allotments where they all managed some decent but somewhat brief views of the bird before it disappeared down towards Millcombe at around 13:00. By this time the bird was looking much more alert and well rested so fingers crossed he’ll manage to find his way to his wintering grounds in western/central India. This is the fourth record of this stunning bunting for Lundy, with the last bird being seen 22 years ago on the 15th July 1997. A very exciting bird to top off what was a truly superb day of Lundy birding!

The male Black-headed Bunting perched on the roof of Paradise Row, 26 August © Dean Jones

The bird stayed in the same general area for over an hour, enabling others to see it © Grant Sherman

The bunting spent time foraging in the allotments outside Paradise Row © Dean Jones

But that wasn’t all... Later on in the afternoon Nicola Saunders (a previous Lundy Warden) managed to find another Wryneck in Jenny’s Cove and between all the birders on the island we managed to find the first Whinchat (a total of six birds in various locations), Collared Dove (one ‘singing’ in Millcombe), Grey Wagtail (a single fly-over) and White Wagtails (five in Tent Field) of the autumn.
It was also a great day for wader passage with singles of fly-over Golden Plover, Ringed Plover and Whimbrel, 9 fly-over Curlew (a flock of 7 over the Old Light in the morning followed by another 2), at least two fly-over Greenshank, a Redshank calling from the Landing Bay and a fly-over Black-tailed Godwit.

Other observations of note includes: 9 Mallard, a lone Grey Heron, 3 southbound Cormorant, 2 Sparrowhawk, a Guillemot in the Landing Bay, 11 Sand Martin, 40 Swallow, 4 Chiffchaff, 7 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler trapped and ringed in Millcombe, 8 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 14 Whitethroat, 4 Goldcrest, 12 Spotted Flycatcher, 70 Wheatear, 10 Pied Flycatcher, 5 Pied Wagtails and 2 Tree Pipit.

Report composed of observations from Zoë Barton, Dean Jones, Patrick Keith, Nicola Saunders, Rebecca Taylor, Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor and Martin Thorne.

Monday, 26 August 2019

24th & 25th August – A feast of migrants, common and not-so-common...

24th August

A very warm and sunny day throughout with a stiff SE wind belting in during the morning and afternoon which switched westerly by the evening. Migration has continued to pick up with the first fly-over Yellow Wagtail of the autumn, 5 fly-over Cormorant, 2 Tree Pipit in Millcombe, an increase to 55 Meadow Pipit along the East Side and South End, 2 Swift, 23 Swallow, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Pied Flycatcher  – including one inside the office perched on the rafters! Visiting ringers ringed two Manx Shearwater chicks from the nestboxes installed at the Old Light colony, and caught an interesting Goldfinch, which was in moult and so probably had summered on Lundy, but had been ringed elsewhere (details to follow later).

One of the Pied Flycatchers, near the top of the 'Steps of Doom', 24 August © Dean Jones

25th August

A spectacular day of beautiful calm weather, species diversity and Lundy rarities.

Highlights included the re-appearance of the Icterine Warbler (last seen on 23rd August) in various parts of Millcombe between 07:00 and 13:20. Additionally, whilst ringing passerines in lower Millcombe, Richard Taylor found a very showy Common Nightingale at the top of Smelly Gully in the late morning, a bird which provided some beautifully clear and prolonged views as it flitted up from the gully to forage on the ground near Millcombe Pond. Then, whilst waiting for the Nightingale to reveal itself again for another view, a Wryneck (perhaps the same bird seen on the 23rd), flew out from Smelly Gully and up to the rocks just behind the Walled Gardens where it hopped around for five minutes or so before disappearing back into the gully. Three super Lundy birds in the span of a few hours!

The unusually showy Nightingale in Millcombe, 25 August © Dean Jones

The Wryneck, competing with the Nightingale for the Warden's attention, Millcombe, 25 August © Dean Jones

Other birds of note included the first Reed Warbler and Garden Warbler of the autumn, a female Teal on Brick Field Pond, 7 Grey Heron (including a flock of six birds and a lone bird in Brick Field), 6 fly-by Cormorant, a fly-over Ringed Plover, a flock of 12 Curlew, a lone Whimbrel calling from the Landing Bay, a Dunlin, 1 Swift, 1 Sand Martin, 60 Swallow, 1 House Martin, a nice arrival of 31 Willow Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler, 3 Blackcap, 3 Whitethroat, 7 Goldcrest, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, a lone Stonechat, 11 Pied Flycatcher, a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, 8 Pied Wagtails (as well as 15 unraced flyover alba types) and 4 Tree Pipit.

Juvenile Grey Heron, Brick Field, one of seven recorded on 25 August © Dean Jones

Report composed of observations from Dean Jones, Patrick Keith, Rebecca Taylor, Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor and Martin Thorne.

Stop press...

As users of Twitter and BirdGuides etc. may already be aware, Lundy's Bank Holiday Purple Patch continued on Monday 26th with the trapping of the Icterine Warbler and the sighting of a male Black-headed Bunting on the roof of Paradise Row! Full details to follow in the next blog update! At the time of posting, there had been no further sightings of the bunting since around 13.00hrs on Monday, when it flew towards Millcombe.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

21st to 23rd August – Icterine Warbler & Wryneck seen, Storm Petrels ringed – updated

August 21st & 22nd

The stiff westerly winds raged on! Not much to report from either date, other than a small scattering of Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Goldcrest from the Millcombe area, a fly-by Storm Petrel seen from MS Oldenburg on the 22nd (about 30 minutes from Lundy) and an admirable catch of 26 Manx Shearwater on the evening of the 22nd (22 chicks ringed, and 4 adult re-trapped).

August 23rd

The burly westerlies and periodic showers finally gave way to a slight easterly breeze and some beautiful sunshine and warm temperatures.  This much-awaited change in conditions allowed for some great visible migration throughout the day, which included an increase in passage Swallow (66), the first Pied Flycatcher of the autumn (5 in Millcombe and along the Terrace) and two magnificent Devon rarities.

One of five Pied Flycatchers present in Millcombe and along the Terrace on 23 August © Dean Jones

The first of these star birds came in the form of an Icterine Warbler, which was seen at around 13:30 foraging within and upon the scrub at the top of Millcombe, bordering St Helen's/Barton Field. From here, the bird allowed for some smashing but brief views before disappearing for most of the afternoon. Then, at around 17:00, it was relocated slightly south of its original location, flitting through the willows just below Government House.

The Icterine Warbler in the willow plantation just below Government House on 23 August © Dean Jones

Shortly after the initial sighting of the Icterine Warbler, news arrived of a Wryneck just outside Bramble Villas, where it was watched foraging for a meal for 10 minutes or so at around 14.40 before flying up into Millcombe Wood and out of sight.

Other birds of note on this exciting day included: the long-staying Grey Heron, a Water Rail outside Paradise Row, a fly-over Golden Plover, a Whimbrel calling from the Landing Bay, 3 Swift, lone Sand Martin and House Martin, 3 Blackcap, 4 Whitethroat, 5 Willow Warbler, 5 Goldcrest and 8 Chaffinch.

The perfect evening conditions also allowed for a Storm Petrel ringing session at North End. Here, 30 new birds were caught and ringed as well as 9 retrapped or controlled birds* – a superb end to a fantastic day of birds!

Finally, the first Migrant Hawker dragonfly of the autumn was seen quartering around Millcombe in the beautiful afternoon sunshine.

Report composed of observations from Dean Jones, Patrick Keith, Rebecca Taylor, Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor and Martin Thorne.

*Update

Tony Taylor adds that seven of the nine Storm Petrels that were already wearing rings had been ringed on Lundy in  2017 and 2018. The other two birds were controls (i.e. they had been ringed elsewhere); details to be confirmed in due course.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

15th to 20th August – First Fulmar fledges but migration remains sluggish

Dean Woodfin Jones (Lundy Warden), looks back on an often wet and windy few days, 15th to 20th August:

The burly westerlies and showers have continued for the majority of this period with the exception of a beautiful calm and dry morning on the 20th. Unsurprisingly in these conditions it has been very quiet up on the island's plateau, with many birds seeking shelter out of sight in the undergrowth, dry-stone walls and along the East Sidelands.

The highlight of the period came in the form of an adult winter Mediterranean Gull, which flew west past the North Lighthouse at around 13:00 on the 18th.  Other than this Lundy rarity, the rest of the afternoon’s seawatch, post Grey Seal survey, was rather quiet with only a handful of passing Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Fulmar and Kittiwake along with three Harbour Porpoise foraging between the Hen and Chickens.

Other sightings of note include the first fledging Fulmar on the 17th from Gannets' Rock (though there are still a number of big fluffy chicks on ledges), a female Teal on Brick Field Pond on the 15th, a Ringed Plover over the South End on the 19th, the young Grey Heron again at Pondsbury on the 15th, 15 Swallow and 3 Sand Martin on the 18th, the first two Goldcrest of the autumn on the 15th, two Spotted Flycatcher looking for breakfast in the Secret Garden sycamore on the 20th and up to two Stonechat along the East Sidelands on a number of days.

Spotted Flycatcher in the morning light, Secret Garden, lower Millcombe, 20 August © Dean Jones

Finally, we've also had the continued presence each day of small numbers of Blackcap (peak 4 on the 20th), Whitethroat (peak 3 on the 18th), Willow Warbler (peak 8 on the 18th) and Chiffchaff (2 on the 20th).