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.
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
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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.
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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.