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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.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

25th Nov to 4th Dec – Glorious sunsets (and birds) as winter arrives

November 25th – December 4th

It is starting to feel much more like winter on Lundy this week, especially now that the Christmas decorations and twinkling fairy lights have come out of storage and dressed around the windows of the General Stores. Christmas cards and presents too are arriving and filling pigeon holes by the sackful, and overnight – with the temperatures dropping to just below freezing – carpets of frost are forming over the last of the decomposing waxcaps on the plateau. 

Weather-wise this week and a bit has been a tale of two halves, with the stormy weather from the last post raging on up to the end of November. Come the turn of the month however, the strong winds dropped to a very welcome breeze, the dreary rain-laden clouds dispersed into beautiful sunshine, and with it, excellent visibility, glorious sunsets and some slightly warmer temperatures during the daylight hours (but not enough to prevent the long-johns from being unpacked from summer storage).

Onto the birds!

Highlights from the period include a passing flock of five Whooper Swan on 3rd December, seen flying south along the east coast by Assistant Warden Rosie Ellis in the late morning.

Whooper Swans, East Side, 3rd Dec © Rosie Ellis

Red-throated Divers have started to arrive off the east coast now too, with two flying south past the Landing Bay on the 28th and one feeding close in to the Ugly on the 2nd. Additional high points include a Lapland Bunting which was seen and heard in flight over Ackland’s Moor on the 1st and singles of Snow Bunting on six days within this period.

A number of Jack Snipe have also graced the island, with singles flushed on the 27th and 29th, and last but by no means least a Lapwing was present on Ackland’s Moor on 1st December – the first since 2nd February (a very poor year for these beautiful birds on Lundy).

The good numbers of feeding Gannet have continued since the last post (max 105 on the 1st), along with good numbers of Herring Gull (max 600 on the 4th) and auks (1,000+ on the 4th) along the east coast most days.

Supplementing these spectacular flocks have been a number Lundy scarcities, such as Common Gull (a first-winter bird on 28th, an adult on the 2nd and 20 birds on the 4th – most of which were adults), Black-headed Gull (an adult on the 28th) and Mediterranean Gull (one adult on the 28th, two on the 2nd and one adult on the 4th).

Other sightings of note include: up to 14 Eurasian Teal on Pondsbury most days, singles of Cormorant – one along the east coast on the 28th and a young bird on Pondsbury on the 2nd – up to three Common Snipe most days, a Golden Plover feeding with a small flock of Fieldfare on Ackland’s on the 1st, two Woodcock on the 1st, a male Sparrowhawk on the 26th, a Kestrel on the 1st, 3rd and 4th, the female Merlin each day, singles of Water Rail most days (though four were seen/heard on the island on the 1st), two Skylark on the 28th and five on the 4th, singles of Chiffchaff on the 27th & 28th, a male Blackcap on the 1st, a Pied Wagtail on the 27th, singles of Black Redstart on three dates, up to three Stonechat each day, a female Brambling on the 26th, 29th and 1st, two Siskin on the 29th, a Linnet on the 28th and small numbers of Meadow Pipit, Goldcrest, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Goldfinch and Chaffinch most days.

Report composed of sightings by Zoë Barton, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Dean Jones, Andy Trout and Lucy Winder.

Merlin, Main Track, 30th Nov © Dean Jones
Stonechat, Lower East Side Path, 30th Nov © Dean Jones
The end is nigh – apocalyptic sunset! 2nd Dec © Dean Jones
Another glorious sunset, 3rd Dec © Dean Jones

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