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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, 28 November 2022

21st to 27th November – Strong winds bring an American Pipit

 A very blustery week with rain and strong northwesterly winds on the 21st and 22nd. Even stronger winds came from the west for the next two days before calming slightly and remaining dry for the end of the week.

A max count of 14 Mallard on the 23rd includes the nine birds frequently seen at Rocket Pole Pond as well as five at Pondsbury. Five Teal were on Pondsbury on the 23rd and four on the 25th. Two Woodpigeon were recorded in Millcombe on the 22nd to the 25th but went down to one on the 26th. A single Snipe was seen on the 23rd and a single Oystercatcher remains in the Landing Bay.

With the strong winds the number of large gulls recorded increased as flocks formed in the Village fields. Twenty Great Black-backed Gulls were counted on the 24th and 14 on the 26th. The highest count of Herring Gulls was 32 on the 27th and nine Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen on the 24th and 26th. A Kittiwake was seen flying over Quarter Wall on the 26th. Three Great Northern Diver were seen together in the Landing Bay on the 24th and 25th with only one seen on the 26th and two on the 27th.

Great Northern Diver, Landing Bay © Stuart Cossey

Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Tillage Field © Stuart Cossey

A Sparrowhawk and Kestrel remain around the south of the island. The Merlin was seen again this week and on the 27th hunted a Skylark over Millcombe Valley. The Jackdaw is still present, now into its sixth week on the island.

Two Chiffchaff were recorded on the 25th, one on the 26th and three on the 17th. These birds may be new arrivals or could have been on the island for some time but difficult to locate in the strong winds. Two Goldcrest were heard on the 23rd with a single bird the rest of the week. Notable Starling passage was recorded on the 26th with a count of 600. Only a single Fieldfare was recorded on the 23rd and 25th. A single Redwing was recorded on the 21st, 22nd,23rd and 25th.

Two Black Redstart were reported on the 24th and one on the 23rd. A single White Wagtail arrived overnight on the 26th. The number of Meadow Pipit remained in single figures most of the week, and peaked at 17 on the 22nd. There was a surprise record of an American Buff-bellied Pipit flushed up from Pointless Wall on the 25th. If accepted by the British Birds Rarities Committee this would be the first record for the island after the likely contender in November 2021 was declared not proven.

Chaffinch numbers only peaked at 35 on the 27th. A small flock of four Goldfinches was seen by the Paradise Row bird feeders on the 27th after a pair and a single bird were seen on the 22nd.

In non-avian news, a Harbour Porpoise was seen off Rat Island during a seawatch.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Trevor Dobie

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

14th to 20th November – A Long-eared Owl ringed

Moderate westerly and northwesterly winds at the start of the week calmed briefly on the 19th before becoming strong again. It was mostly dry with rain on the 16th.

At least four Teal remained on Pondsbury all week with no other wildfowl of note. A single Woodpigeon was seen in Millcombe on four occasions. A number of Oystercatchers remain around the coast with a maximum of five on the 17th. Rain overnight on the 14th and 15th brought in a few Woodcock. One was in Millcombe Valley on the morning of the 15th and three were recorded on the morning of the 15th along with five Snipe. Two Great Northern Diver were seen on the 15th. One was feeding in the Landing Bay and the other flew low over Rocket Pole heading south.

A Merlin arrived on the 18th and was seen feeding around South West Field again on the 20th. The Hen Harrier was seen up until the 18th with no sign since.  At least one Sparrowhawk and Kestrel continue to hunt around the south of the island, often targeting tired migrant Chaffinch. On the morning of the 18th an alarm calling Blackbird alerted to the presence of something in the Blackthorn at the top of Millcombe. On inspection a Long-eared Owl flew out of cover and tried to land in the Pines before being chased by Crows over towards St John’s Valley. That evening , mist nets were put up in St John’s Valley and a juvenile female Long-eared Owl was ringed. This is only the fifth to be ringed on the island, the last in 2008.

Long-eared Owl, St  John's Valley © Stuart Cossey

Hen Harrier, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Possibly the last Blackcap of the year were seen on the 17th, with three in Millcombe. Five Chiffchaff were counted on the 15th with four on the 19th and 20th. Two Goldcrest are still being seen regularly in Millcombe.

Calm weather on the 19th encouraged some passerine migration. Thirteen was the highest count of Skylark all week. Starling were also on the move with totals of 485 on the 17th and 450 on the 19th. There was a big arrival of Blackbird on the 19th with at least 59 seen around the southern end of the island. The highest counts of Fieldfare and Redwing were on the 17th with 34 and 229 respectively. A single Mistle Thrush was by Pointless Wall on the 14th and 15th.

There continue to be occasional sightings of Black Redstart . Three were recorded on the 14th, two on the 15th and a single on the 19th. Three Pied Wagtail were seen in Barton Field on the 14th with only single flyovers on the 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th. Rock Pipits are starting to be more common in the fields on top of the island as the rough weather forces them away from their usual coastal feeding grounds. On calmer days small numbers of Meadow Pipits are seen flying south with 25 on the 15th and 22 on the 19th. An Olive-backed Pipit was heard flying over the Stonecrusher on the 18th, if accepted by the British Birds Rarity Committee, this would be the fifth record for Lundy.

Chaffinch are still passing through the island with over 150 counted on the 14th and 16th and a high count of 308 on the 19th. Brambling were occasionally heard with passing Chaffinch flocks including three on the 19th, two on the 14th and singles on the 15th, 16th and 17th. Other finches are less common with two Linnet on the 14th and a Lesser Redpoll on the 29th. Ten Siskin on the 14th was the highest count all week with three days without any records. Five and six Goldfinch were seen on the 14th and 15th.  A female Reed Bunting was by Pointless wall on the 15th and 16th.

Reed Bunting, Pointless Wall © Stuart Cossey

In non-avian news, a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was shooed out of the Shop on the 18th. Without a frequent boat and fewer visitors the Grey Seals in the Landing Bay are hauling out and sleeping all over the place, including the Jetty!

Grey Seal, Jetty © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Richard Ware, Sue Waterfield

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

7th to 13th November – First Barn Owl record since 1981

Strong winds continued from the southwest all week with calmer winds from the southeast on the 12th.

The Wigeon remained on Pondsbury until the 8th with three Teal seen on the 8th and 12th. At least 16 Mallard are present on the island with flocks at Rocket Pole Pond and Pondsbury. A single Woodpigeon was seen in Millcombe on the 8th, 9th and 12th. A flock of 10 Oystercatcher were at the North End on the 12th and a Lapwing was seen over the Village and in Tillage Field on the same date. Snipe were recorded on the 10th, 12th and 13th. The Little Egret was seen again in Millcombe Pond on the 8th. A Purple Sandpiper was seen on Rat Island on the 8th. It is likely that Purple Sandpiper are quite common on Lundy in winter but are difficult to see as the spend most of their time around the back of Rat and Mouse Island.

Flocks of feeding gulls were seen off the East Side on the 9th, 10th and 12th. These mostly comprised of Kittiwakes with 600 counted on the 9th. A single flock of 54 Herring Gulls were on Miller’s Cake on the 13th. Three Manx Shearwaters and a Balearic Shearwater flew past Rat Island on the 10th along with 70 unidentified Auks.

Two Sparrowhawk remain on the island, occasionally being seen together over Millcombe hunting exhausted migrant Redwing and Chaffinch. Two Kestrel have also been seen. The juvenile Hen Harrier has been seen hunting over the Quarter Wall area all week, occasionally flushing up Snipe and thrushes. The Jackdaw has also been seen all this week. Most surprising this week was a Barn Owl, which was heard screeching over the Village at 17:30 on the 13th. This comprises the 10th island record and first since 1981. Most records have been in November and most likely involve young birds dispersing to find new territories.

Hen Harrier, Tillage Field © Stuart Cossey

Single figure counts of Skylark were seen most days with a high count of 20 on the 12th. A Swallow was recorded around Jenny’s Cove and the Earthquake on the 12th and 13th. Blackcap are still being recorded with 10 counted on the 12th. Two were recorded on the 7th, singles on the 8th and 9th and four on the 13th. Single Chiffchaff were recorded on the 7th, 8th and 9th, then four and five were counted on the 12th and 13th respectively. Low numbers of Goldcrest continue to be recorded in Millcombe and Quarter Wall Copse. A Yellow-browed Warbler was seen near the Terrace on the 12th.

There has been a noticeable increase in migrant thrushes, though still not the large numbers expected at this time of year. The highest counts were on the 12th and 13th. 23 Blackbird and 65 Redwing were recorded on the 12th. 160 Redwing were recorded on the 13th along with two Mistle Thrush and 11 Fieldfare. The highest count of Song Thrush was three on the 8th.

Single Black Redstart were recorded on the 8th and 13th. A total of four were seen around North Light on the 12th. A Grey Wagtail was seen at Millcombe Pond on the 12th. A White Wagtail was in Barton Field from the 7th to the 9th. On the 13th, three Pied Wagtails were seen in Barton Field.

Black Redstart, Landing Bay © Stuart Cossey

Finch migration has been steady all week with a big movement on the 12th including 1036 Chaffinch, four Brambling, 178 Siskin and 24 Linnet. Around 100 Chaffinch were counted the rest of the week. A small flock of three Lesser Redpoll were seen on the 9th. A Reed Bunting was by Pondsbury on the 8th.

Siskin, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

In non-avian news, a Small White butterfly was seen in Millcombe on the 12th and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth was in the same area on the 13th. Grey Seals continue to haul out on Landing Bay Beach, allowing good views from the road, if you remain quiet.

Grey Seal, Landing Bay © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Matt Stritch, Ruth Turner, Paul Godwin

Monday, 7 November 2022

31st October to 6th November – A brief window of calm amidst strong winds

Strong winds from the southwest all week until lessening on the 4th and turning northerly on the 5th. Quickly back to strong southwesterlies on the 6th. Rain, sometimes heavy, on most days but usually passing through quickly.

The Wigeon remained at Pondsbury again this week, being seen on the 31st and the 4th. A single Teal was also present on the 4th. Despite the many thousands of Woodpigeon migrating across the country only one was recorded from the 2nd to the 4th. A Stock Dove was seen flying over Ackland’s Moor on the 4th. Also on the 4th, a Lapwing flew over the Village and a Golden Plover was calling over High Street Field. At least two Water Rail continue to be heard in Millcombe Valley. The Jackdaw was still being seen up to the 6th.

216 Kittiwakes were counted during a seawatch on the 2nd along with one Manx Shearwater and 59 Gannet. A Great Northern Diver arrived in the Landing Bay on the 2nd and has been seen up to the 6th, often right under the Jetty. A Little Egret, only the second of the year, was seen roosting in Millcombe on the evening of the 5th and then again in multiple locations on the 6th.

Three Sparrowhawk were noted on the 3rd with two or one the rest of the week. At least two Kestrel were present all week. The juvenile Hen Harrier was seen on the 31st and then again over Pondsbury on the 3rd.

Sparrowhawk, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Kestrel, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

A single Swallow was seen on the 31st and again on the 1st around Quarter Wall. Sadly it seemed to be struggling in the strong winds and was feeding on the ground with a flock of Starlings. Two Chiffchaff were present on the 3rd with singles on the 31st, 1st and 4th. Blackcap are still trickling through, the highest count being nine on the 3rd. Fewer Goldcrest are being seen with high counts of eight on the 31st and the 3rd. The bird of the week has to be the somewhat surprising Pallas’s Warbler which turned up in the mist nets in Millcombe on the 3rd. This 6.2g bird would have come all the way from Siberia and is only the 7th record for Lundy.

Pallas's Warbler, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

With the winds turning northerly on the 4th, thrushes started pushing south. 166 Redwing, 39 Fieldfare, seven Song Thrush, 30 Blackbird, two Mistle Thrush and a Ring Ouzel were counted. Lower counts were had the rest of the week. A Ring Ouzel was also recorded on the 31st. Black Redstart were a common theme of the week with three on the 1st, two on the 3rd and 6th and one on the 2nd.

Redwing, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Black Redstart, Benjamin's Chair © Stuart Cossey

Four White Wagtails were recorded in Barton’s Field on the 31st and one remained on the 1st. Grey Wagtails were seen on the 3rd and 4th. Chaffinch are still on the island in big numbers though they are slowly leaving. 772 on the 31st became 378 on the 1st and then dropped to 76 on the 5th. Flocks were moving through in before a rain front on the 6th resulting in a count of 305. Numbers of other finches are still shockingly low. Single Brambling were recorded from the 1st with two on the 5th. The high count of Goldfinch was eight on the 31st and similarly only two Linnet were seen on the 31st and then the 4th. 25 Siskin were recorded on the 31st but numbers in November have so far peaked at seven on the 3rd. One Lesser Redpoll was seen on the 31st and another on the 1st. A Reed Bunting was seen at Pondsbury on the 31st and again on the 3rd and 4th. A Snow Bunting was on the main track towards the North End on the 3th.

In non-avian news, two Painted Lady were seen on the 31st and singles on the 1st and 4th. A Vagrant Emporer Dragonfly was seen at Pondsbury on the 31st. A single Harbour Porpoise was off the South Light on the 1st.

John Hedger and Mandy Dee have been over on the island this week and led a fungus foray on the 3rd with 39 species found including Meadow Puffball, Scarlet Waxcap, Orange Waxcap, Snowy Waxcap and Yellow Club. They have also identified seven new species for the island during their stay.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Chris Baillie, Chris Dee, Mandy Dee, John Sealy, John Hedger

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

24th to 30th October - The final week for our Autumn volunteers.

Angus recalls the sightings on his last week on the island. Unfortunately we said goodbye to both of our autumn volunteers as the last boat of the season left the island on Friday 28th October. Tom and Angus have seen some fantastic birds as well as helped us out by completing the yearly seal pup surveys.

A mild week typically with  moderate to strong south or south-westerly winds.

The Wigeon has remained at Pondsbury all through this week and was sometimes accompanied by up to two Teal. Up to three Water Rail are still heard on a daily basis in Millcombe Valley. Two Grey Herons flew over the south of the island on the 24th and another was harassed by Ravens over Benjamin’s Chair on the 29th.

Compared to last week, this week was far quieter for wader records. The high count for Oystercatchers around the coast was 18. One Golden Plover was recorded calling on the 24th. Single Woodcock have been seen separately on three occasions though, the 25th, 26th and 29th adding a bit more diversity. Six Snipe have been seen in total this week.

Several hundred Kittiwake have been recorded out to sea on most days, with the peak count of 1000+ on 29th. A few Common Gulls featured among the flocks towards the end of the week and a single Mediterranean Gull. A handful of Lesser Black-backed Gulls continue to be recorded most days, but never more than four this week (on the 29th). One Arctic Skua was seen off the east coast on the 26th. The highest count of auk spp. Was 652 on the 28th. Five Manx Shearwater were seen on the 26th. Highest Gannet count was also on the very windy 26th with 150 birds. A Storm Petrel sp. was seen far off the east coast by Chris Baillie on the 30th.

The second ringtail Hen Harrier of last week has stayed with us on the island, favouring the heathland north of Quarter Wall. It is occasionally seen hunting but is generally very elusive. The strong winds sometimes keep it hunkered down in the vegetated gullies near Gannets Coombe. Peak counts of Sparrowhawk and Kestrel remain at three as has been typical this month, and a Merlin has been seen most days. Like the Wigeon and Hen Harrier, the single Jackdaw has outstayed our expectations, also remaining for the week, still sticking to the easterly fields south of Quarter Wall (Tillage, Brick and Barton’s). Another increase in Carrion Crow has been noted, with up to 31 roosting in the top of Millcombe.

Hen Harrier, East Coast © Angus Croudace

Skylark passage has continued despite the wind although numbers have been decreasing as the week progresses. Max of 70 on the 24th. Swallows have followed the same trend with 20 on the 24th. Contrastingly, more and more Starlings are moving through with about 200 at the start of the week and 350 at the end of the week, with a peak count of 600 on the 28th.

The ringed Willow Warbler has been seen a few more times near Quarter Wall up until the 28th, and a second was also seen on the 25th. Chiffchaff counts have numbered between four and six birds all week. Blackcap counts have been in the single figures apart from 20 on the 24th. Two Firecrests were seen on the 24th, with one bird also recorded on the 25th and 27th. There was an influx of Goldcrest on the 24th, with 26 recorded for the first two days this week and then 41 on the 26th. One more late Whinchat was recorded on the 24th on the morning census at Quarter Wall.

Several Ring Ouzels are seen on the east coast most days with a couple of nice males often found around the Terrace. Song Thrush numbers are similar although sightings are distributed between Ackland’s Moor and Millcombe. Blackbird numbers have halved this week, falling from high teens to single figure counts. Fieldfare counts started with about 120 birds at the start at the week and was quickly down to 40 midweek which has remained consistent. Redwing have been more variable with some days just a couple of birds recorded, and others 32 (24th), 90 (27th) and 67 (29th) birds seen. One Mistle Thrush was seen on the 24th. Up to three Black Redstart have been seen, with sightings every day this week.

After 12 Pied/White Wagtails on the 24th here has been minimal passage of wagtails with between one and four birds 25-28th and then seven birds including one Grey Wagtail on the 29th.

One Brambling was seen among a flock of Chaffinches in Barton’s Field, and later by the Lambing Shed on the 24th and two more were picked up on the 27th. Chaffinch counts started the week at 139 on the 24th but bigger movements midweek resulted in totals of 594 and 550 on the 27th and 28th respectively, with 222 on the 29th. More than 70 Siskins were recorded on the 25th and 27th, with lower counts on other days not exceeding the teens. Goldfinch counts have remained low at just a couple most days. A small resurgence of Linnets, mainly from a couple of larger flocks moving through numbered 22 on the 24th and 35 on the 25th.  One bird a day fills out the rest of the row this week, with the exception of the 29th, where there was neither a Linnet nor a single Goldfinch recorded! Two Lesser Redpoll singles were recorded on the 24th and 25th. One Snow Bunting was seen on a few occasions in the first half of this week.

The windy week has been scattered with a few highlights, starting with a Little Bunting on the 24th, which was heard and tracked down by Paul Holt shortly after sunrise but never showed for any of the other birders on the island despite thorough searches of Millcombe. The Bullfinch was also heard calling in Millcombe again on the 24th. A Yellow-browed Warbler was picked up by Government on the 25th. On the 27th Chris Baillie discovered a Red-breasted Flycatcher in the Blackthorn at the top of Millcombe. It was not a particularly showy individual and behaved similarly to the rest of this season’s rarities; teasing and then upping and leaving before the day is out. A Richard’s Pipit was flushed near to Tibbetts in the morning on the 27th. An exciting record for Lundy of a Booted/Syke’s Warbler on the Terrace was picked up by Stuart on the 29th but despite many hours of searching unfortunately the bird was never relocated, and no photographs were obtained.

Little Bunting, Millcombe © Paul Holt

Red-breasted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

After a lull for a week or two in the moth trap, the calm night of the 28th gave us a Convolvulus Hawk-moth and the island’s second record of Olive Tree Pearl Palpita vitrealis.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth © Stuart Cossey

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Angus Croudace, Tom Wright, Paul Holt, Chris Baillie

Monday, 24 October 2022

17th to 23rd October - Huge flocks of Fieldfare

Easterlies on the 18th which strengthened into the 19th. A short period of calm on the 20th allowed incredible migrant passage before some strong southerly winds returned on the 21st. The week finished with moderate prevailing winds.

Coverage has remained excellent this week and we have enjoyed a record breaking passage of winter thrushes, as well as a few nice arrivals of birds that are uncommon on Lundy such as Wigeon, Jackdaw, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Hen Harrier, Hobby and several species of small gull.

Dawn over Millcombe © Tim Jones

The first Wigeon of the year was found on Quarter Wall Pond on the 23rd and a female Teal has been present all week at Pondsbury.

Two Stock Doves were seen on the 18th and just one on the 19th. Water Rail can be heard calling quite regularly in Millcombe Valley, and up to three individuals have been recorded this week.

We have had a subtle influx of Lapwing, with two roosting overnight on the 19th and a flock of six spent the day in various fields in the south of the island. Another single bird was present on the 23rd up by the airstrip. We had four Golden Plover on the 17th and three were seen heading out to sea on the morning of the 18th. One more was heard calling on the 20th. Dunlin singles have been heard most days, and on the 20th three Dunlin flew over Stoneycroft before heading out to sea, accompanied by a single Ringed Plover. One Turnstone was with three Oystercatcher in the Landing Bay on the 21st. High count of Snipe for the week was five individuals present or flying over on the 19th. A single Jack Snipe was by Pondsbury on the 19th.

There was a large movement out to sea off of the east coast on the 21st and 1550 Kittiwake were recorded along with three Arctic Skua, six Mediterranean Gulls, 10 Common Gull, 30 Great Black-backed Gull, 70 Gannets and 1500 Auks spp. Another single Mediterranean Gull was seen on the 17th and single Arctic Skuas were seen on the 18th and 19th. 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were recorded on the 19th, with small numbers present every day this week. A Great Skua was picked up off of the west coast on the 19th as well as six Manx Shearwaters and 124 Gannets, while three ‘Commic Terns’ were seen on the east coast. Four Cormorants were seen flying together on the 18th.

This week three Sparrowhawks have been seen every day (one male and two females). Most excitingly we have had two separate ringtail Hen Harriers passing through, one juvenile male briefly seen and then heading out to sea on the 18th. Another bird was seen in the afternoon of the 23rd working its way along the west coast. It was then seen again low over Bartons Field at 6pm before heading north to roost for the night. A late juvenile Hobby also spent the night on the island on the 19th, seen from Government at dusk and picked up at first light from Millcombe on the 20th. Merlins have been noticeably moving through too with some seen arriving in off of the sea or departing south. The highest count for Merlin was three birds on the 17th, with two individuals on the 19th and 21st. The high count for Peregrine Falcon was five on the 23rd, which is the most for a while.

Merlin, Halfway Wall © Tom Wright

A single Jackdaw was seen near Quarter Wall on the 22nd, another for the year list(!). It has moved towards the village on the 23rd, also seen in Barton’s Field and even found in the garden of the lodge in the evening of the 23rd! Furthermore, a Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen flying east over Lighthouse Field on the 19th, another uncommon bird on Lundy – a description species no less!

Jackdaw, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey

Skylarks have still been moving over on the less windy days, with 70 on the 18th and 40-50 towards the end of the week. Swallows have continued to trickle through with 10-20 most days and 49 on the 23rd. One House Martin was seen on the 18th.

A couple of very late Willow Warblers have popped up with one ringed in Millcombe on the 20th and seen at Quarter Wall just a couple of hours later. Up to seven Chiffchaffs have been present, mostly in Millcombe and along the lower east path. Max Blackcap count has reduced to 20. A Firecrest continued to be present all week, with two birds seen on the 18th. Goldcrest numbers have dropped substantially though with 22 on the 17th reducing to totals between 4 and 9 for the rest of week, with the exception of Saturday when 15 were recorded. The week has seen quite a few sightings of Yellow-browed Warblers, sometime with two in Millcombe as well as one Spotted Flycatcher on the 20th.

Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Tim Jones

Yellow-browed Warbler, Smelly Gully © Tim Jones

The weather system in the North Sea this week has opened the floodgates to migrants coming south, and the UK has been flooded with huge numbers of thrushes. Here on Lundy we have seen an unusual balance of substantially more Fieldfare than Redwing, with 4000 Fieldfare passing over on the 20th along with 700 Redwing. This more than doubles the last previous maximum daily total for Fieldfare. The bird movements on this day was an out and out spectacle, and picking through the masses of thrushes also resulted in: 23 Song Thrush, 20 Ring Ouzel, a Mistle Thrush, 1200 Chaffinch, 75 Siskin and 8 Reed Bunting. Starlings have been moving through as well with a peak of 350 on the 19th and 200 most other days. Our resident flock typically numbers about 130.

Ring Ouzel, Millcombe © Tim Jones

Fieldfare © Tim Jones

Fieldfare, Tillage Field © Tom Wright

Increased numbers of Black Redstart have been recorded on the 19th-21st, with four individuals on the 20th. Another very late Whinchat was picked up on the east coast on the 21st and later seen by rocket pole. Stonechats number between 10-20 each day. One perhaps final Wheatear was recorded near Tibbets on the 17th. About 80 Meadow Pipits have been moving through each day after a strong start to the week with 400 on the 18th.

Whinchat, St Helens Copse © Stuart Cossey

A few Yellow Wagtails were moving through towards the end of the week with one or two every day since the 20th. There was a smattering of Grey Wagtails too with a couple most days, one that was tantalisingly close to mist nets in Millcombe but unfortunately wasn’t successfully caught. Highest count of Pied/White Wagtails was 39 on the very busy 20th October!

Goldfinches and Linnets have been in very low numbers this week, with singles or pairs of Goldfinches only amounting to a weekly max of 25 on the 22nd, and a minimum of 3 on the 23rd. There were 22 Linnets on the 18th, but just 6 on each of the following three days. A couple of Lesser Redpoll were picked up towards the end of the week in what seems to be a poor year for this species.  However Chaffinches were consistently moving through in fairly high numbers (several hundred every day and 2000 on the 18th), and there are good numbers of Siskin too, with a high count of 125 on the 22nd. More Brambling have also been recorded with a cumulative total of 21, most of which were early in the week (max daily total of seven on the 19th). One Greenfinch flew over on the 23rd and the weak call of what is proving to be an extremely elusive Bullfinch has been heard on the 19th and 20th, with just one sighting alerting us that it is a male.

Up to eight Snow Buntings were seen this week, delighting visitors on the main track with their apparent fearlessness. There were 19 records of Reed Bunting this week, with a max of eight on the 20th.

Reed Bunting, Millcombe © Tim Jones

A few late Small Copper butterflies have been recorded this week as well as up to four Hummingbird Hawk-moths in Millcombe on the 17th.

Contributors: Stuart Cosset, Rosie Ellis, Angus Croudace, Tom Wright, Tim Jones, Tim Davis, Tim Worfolk, Paul Holt, Chris Baillie, Nik Ward, Greg Conway, David Lindo, Andy Jayne

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

10th to 16th October - Snow Buntings and the start of finch migration

Angus reports on a week busy with birders but not necessarily the birds. A team of ringers have been operating in Millcombe and St Johns Valley all week and a whole host of frequent Lundy birders have been on the island.

Mixed spells of weather this week with calm days on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 13th and a strong sustained south-westerly on Saturday 15th.

A high count of 16 Mallard were seen on the 13th, with some popping up near Rocket Pole on several mornings. A female Teal has been at Pondsbury for most of the week. Five Water Rail were recorded on the 13th, mostly in Millcombe with another at Quarter Wall.

26 Oystercatcher were recorded around the island on the 15th and 16th. A couple of Golden Plover left us early this week but one has remained in the fields near to the village. Dunlin singles were picked up on the 13th and 16th, and a Woodcock burst out of cover near to Rocket Pole in the afternoon of the 11th. Snipe were recorded most days, usually picked up individually flying over with totals of four on the 12th and the 13th.

Strong winds meant several pairs of eyes were fixed on the sea on the 15th, resulting in: 380 Kittiwake, 1 Black-headed Gull (with another seen on the 16th), four Common Gull, nine Great Black-backed Gull (max count 18 on the 14th), three Herring Gull (max counts of 17 on both 11th and 16th), two Lesser Black-backed Gull (three also recorded on the 11th, and two on the 12th), two Fulmar, 12 Manx Shearwater, 11 Shag and five ‘commic’ terns. A high count of 125 Gannets was recorded on the 15th, and another 82 were recorded on the 12th. Nine Guillemot were recorded on the 12th, with 6 on the 15th. Razorbill numbered 16 on the 12th and 15 on the 15th. There were 101 unidentified Auks on the 12th, 41 on the 14th, 335 on the 15th and 11 on the 16th.

An Arctic Skua was recorded on the 14th off of Rat Island and a Great Northern Diver flew past north light heading southeast on the 16th, close enough to be identified with binoculars. One Cormorant was recorded on the 11th, and two Grey Herons slowly flew over Millcombe and the south of the island on the 12th.

Two Sparrowhawks are seen most days, with three each day at the weekend (three females on Saturday 15th and two plus a male on Sunday 16th). We still have two Kestrels and one was seen brawling with a Merlin together with a Peregrine early in the week. Two Merlins were recorded 13th-15th, and four Peregrines on 16th, with three interacting over the church mid-morning. 21 Carrion Crows and 22 Ravens were recorded on the 16th with slightly increased numbers and flightier behaviour perhaps representing some new arrivals.

The calm days this week saw large hirundine and finch passage, with 600 Swallows on both 11th and 13th, and 160 on the 14th. There were 200 House Martins on the 11th and 300 on the 13th, and five Sand Martins on the 11th. Skylarks numbered 50 on the 11th and a huge 170 on the 13th, with numbers in the teens on the other windier days. 300 Meadow Pipits on the 11th and 600 on the 13th. Good island coverage has resulted in up 40 Rock Pipits this week, with a flock of 18 in the north-west and 12 near to Quarter Wall in the west recorded on the 16th.

A Cetti’s Warbler started the week off well, as only the 7th record for the island. Seven Chiffchaffs have been recorded almost every day, with the exception of 15 on the 11th and six on the 16th. Blackcap number 20-30 most days, with a high count of 40 on the 14th. Three Firecrests have been present since the 11th, although only one has been recorded over the weekend. About 25 Goldcrests are noted each day, with a max of 34 on the 16th. A high count of 52 Wrens were recorded on the 14th, perhaps due to birds moving south down the island as the weather turns colder. A Treecreeper has been in Millcombe since the 10th. A Wryneck hung around in the gorse by Rocket Pole on the 10th and 11th, and was even more elusive than our previous records this autumn, with no photographs captured of this individual.

Treecreeper, St Helens Copse © Stuart Cossey

Max Starling count this week was 173, with the Rosy-coloured Starling only sighted on the 10th this week. One Ring Ouzel was observed on the 14th, and there were a lot of Blackbirds also around on this day, with 23. A few Redwings have been picked up each day flying over or feeding among the brambles at the top of Millcombe. The highest count was 21 on the 11th. With recent large movements of thrushes in the north and strong easterlies forecast for the middle of the coming week it is expected that many more will be recorded next week. Over the 12th-15th three Song Thrushes were recorded in Millcombe.

One Spotted Flycatcher was present by the gas shed until the 12th, with a Pied Flycatcher also on the 11th. 30 Robins were recorded on the 14th. Black Redstart was recorded once on the 11th and once on the beach road on the 15th. Two Common Redstarts were in Millcombe on the 10th (one male and one female), and another female was seen on the 13th. A very late Whinchat was seen by Quarter Wall on the 16th (last recorded was Sept 22nd). Top of the week for Stonechat was on the 13th with 30, the highest count thus far this season. Another lone Wheatear popped up on the 12th, and three were seen on the 14th (two in South-west Field and one by Benjamin’s Chair).

Black Redstart, South West Field © Tim Williams

Most days had Yellow Wagtail flying over, with three on the 12th. Five Grey Wagtails on the 10th and six on the 13th. One White Wagtail each day 10th-13th. Unidentified Pied/White Wagtails flying over peaked at 35 on the 13th with good numbers most other days too.

Yellow Wagtail, South West Field © Tim Williams

Chaffinches are moving through in big numbers this week, with 90 on the 13th and 350 on the 16th! One female Brambling was in Millcombe on the 11th. Greenfinches are occasionally heard, with five on the 11th. Goldfinch numbers are variable with 40 and 52 on the 12th and 13th respectively, but just 8 later in the week on the 15th. Siskin numbers are now up, with counts of 1, 145, 200, 30, 29 and 100 stretching from Monday to Sunday respectively. The 11th and 13th were the best for Linnets with 87 and 122, and counts between 17 and 39 on other days. Only one Lesser Redpoll was recorded on the 11th over Millcombe.

Buntings have started passing through, with one Lapland Bunting over the Airfield on the 13th, 3 Snow Buntings over the weekend and two or three Reed Buntings often around St John’s Valley between 11th and 14th, with a count of 12 on the 16th! A single Yellowhammer calling flew over the church on the 16th.

Snow Buntings, Main Track © Stuart Cossey

Angus and Tom catching up with the Snow Buntings © Tim Jones

The resulting shots! Snow Bunting © Tom Wright

Highlights of birds ringed this week include: three Firecrests, three Yellow-browed Warblers, Cetti’s Warbler, male Common Redstart, one Treecreeper, one Redwing and a few Siskin.

Clockwise from top left: Male Redstart, Cetti's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, Firecrest © Tom Wright

In non-avian news a few Painted Ladies have been recorded this week, a Clouded Yellow on the 11th, 45 Red Admiral on the tranquil 13th as well as up to five Hummingbird Hawk-moths in Millcombe. 11 Rush Veneer were scattered across the island too on the 16th. Harbour Porpoise have also been seen around Rat Island with two on the 12th, one on 13th and one of the 14th.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Tom Wright, Angus Croudace, Tim Davis, Tim Jones, Tim Worfolk, Nik Ward, Greg Conway, Andy Jayne, Paul Holt, Andrew Cleave, Tim Williams.