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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.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

3rd to 7th May – Rough weather blocks migration, whilst seabirds get down to breeding and Starlings fledge en masse

Monday 3rd May
 
Strong northerly winds throughout the morning, picking up to gale force by the afternoon (max wind speed 65mph!), bringing with it the first decent bit of rain for quite some time. Max temperature 10°C.
 
Not an awful lot of note on this date due to the very strong winds which – particularly in the afternoon – made it unsafe to go out. Sightings of note from the morning, when winds were less fierce, included two Whimbrel, c200 Manx Shearwater and 18 Gannet offshore along the east, 46 Swallow, two House Martin, five Blackcap, one Whitethroat, the long-staying Song Thrush in Millcombe, a Yellow Wagtail in the Camping Field, 28 Goldfinch, three Siskin, 10 Linnet and two Lesser Redpoll.
 
Tuesday 4th May
 
Another day of strong northerly winds (gusting up to 51mph in the morning); some light bouts of drizzle in the first few hours, becoming beautiful and sunny by the late morning. Max temperature 10°C.
 
Raven hunkering down near Quarter Wall, 4 May © Dean Jones

Another quiet and tricky day's birding due to the strong winds. Sightings of note included two Swift, a Ringed Plover at Quarter Wall, two Whimbrel, just 31 Swallow, singles of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, one Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush (singing his heart out again), three Stonechat, six Chaffinch, 29 Goldfinch, 79 Linnet and a Lesser Redpoll.
 
Wednesday 5th May
 
Cold, moderate northerly winds in the morning dropped away to become light by afternoon – dry but cloudy first thing, giving way to sunshine and blue skies again later in the day. Max temperature 9°C.
 
Highlights included a Stock Dove foraging between the juncus stands in Barton Field, a Lesser Whitethroat along the Lower East Side Path and a Firecrest flickering through Millcombe Pines.
 
Linnets, High Street wall, 5 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included three Teal on Pondsbury, 13 Swift (the highest count so far this year), four Whimbrel (including two in Quarter Wall Copse!), a Merlin, 80 Swallow, two Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, two Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush, four Stonechat, 18 Goldfinch and 40 Linnet.
 
Thursday 6th May
 
Light north/north-easterly winds and overcast in the morning, the winds picking up again through the afternoon and into the evening – lovely sunshine again shortly after noon. Max temperature 10°C.
 
A lovely fall of migrants including a singing male Lesser Whitethroat in St Helen’s Copse, a female Pied Flycatcher in Millcombe, and a nice arrival of Spotted Flycatcher, with a least seven birds scattered across the island. Seabirds too were performing spectacularly, the highlight being numerous Kittiwakes starting to build nests in Aztec Bay. The first visit to the St Mark's Guillemot productivity study plot was also carried out in the afternoon. Despite the storms at the start of the week, good numbers of birds were present and incubating!
 
Kittiwakes building nests at Aztec Bay, 6 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included two Teal, a single Swift, a lone Whimbrel in Brick Field, 177 Kittiwake, a young male Peregrine along the west coast, at least 200 Swallow north, 25 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 19 Sedge Warbler, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler below Government House, 30 Blackcap, a single Garden Warbler, 10 Whitethroat, the Firecrest again in Millcombe Pines, the Song Thrush, a female Black Redstart in VC Quarry, a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, four Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch, one Siskin and 20 Linnet.
 
Grasshopper Warbler, Government House tree nursery, 6 May © Dean Jones

Female Chaffinch having a quick preen in Quarter Wall Copse, 6 May © Dean Jones

Forty-seven birds were caught and ringed: 16 Blackcap, one Whitethroat, 13 Sedge Warbler, seven Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff, three Goldfinch and two Wren.
 
Friday 7th May
 
Light north-westerly winds and blue skies in the morning becoming overcast by 15:00 hrs as the winds picked up from the south-east. Max temperature 11°C.
 
Highlights included a Lesser Whitethroat singing in St Helen’s Copse – probably the same bird as the previous day – and a small arrival of Columbidae, namely Woodpigeon (9), Stock Dove (1) and Collared Dove (3), two of the latter narrowly avoiding the talons of a Peregrine in Jenny’s Cove. The morning also saw a strong movement of hirundines, and the Firecrest was once again in the pine trees at the top of Millcombe.
 
Whimbrel, Brick Field, 7 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included 14 Swift, a single Whimbrel, a female Merlin over Millcombe, 25 Sand Martin, 700 Swallow, 80 House Martin, four Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler, eight Blackcap, six Whitethroat, the Song Thrush, four Stonechat, 23 Wheatear, two Yellow Wagtail in Brick Field, a fly-over Tree Pipit, four Chaffinch (including a pair feeding nestlings in Millcombe), 10 Goldfinch, 44 Linnet and singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
The once-peaceful Village has now become a crèche for dozens of noisy Starling chicks, 7 May © Dean Jones

This one was playing peekaboo in Millcombe, 6 May © Dean Jones

Fifteen birds were caught and ringed: seven Blackcap, two Chiffchaff and singles of Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Swallow, Goldfinch and Dunnock.
 
Report composed of sightings from Ben Arkless, Richard Campey, Rob Duncan, Jamie Dunning, Eleanor Grover, Dean Jones, David Kightley, Matt Stritch and Adam Waters.

Monday, 3 May 2021

25th Apr to 2nd May – First Swift, two Hoopoes, Yellowhammer & Corn Bunting – and a storm brewing!

Saturday 24th April
 
A day of blue skies – moderate/strong easterly winds first thing, which dropped away and swung to the SE by the evening. Max temperature 12.5°C.
 
Lundy's iconic Old Lighthouse is the latest building to receive a new coat of paint, 24 Apr © Dean Jones

A relatively quiet day on the birding front due to the stiff easterly winds throughout the morning. The title of star bird on this date went to a female Great Spotted Woodpecker who found herself in the bottom shelf of a mist-net in the back of the Secret Garden at around 19:30. The 33rd record for Lundy!
 
The female Great Spotted Woodpecker, 24 Apr 2021 © Adam Waters

Other migrants of note included four Ringed Plover in South West Field, four Whimbrel (three of which were together on Ackland’s Moor), three Dunlin, 16 Sand Martin, 52 Swallow, 12 House Martin, just four Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap, two Song Thrush, two White Wagtail in upper Lighthouse Field, three Tree Pipit along the west coast, 10 Goldfinch, 24 Linnet and one each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
Willow Warbler sheltering from strong easterlies along High Street track, 24 Apr © Dean Jones

We also had some late news of a Swift over the Village on the 23rd – the first of the year!
 
Winding down with a beautiful sunset, post woodpecker excitement, 24 Apr © Dean Jones


Sunday 25th April 
 
Blue skies for most and moderate to strong easterly/south-easterly winds throughout. Max temperature 11°C.
 
A rather quiet bird day – due to the winds again – other than a very impressive movement of hirundines throughout. Along the more sheltered west coast, totals of 1,449 Swallow, 101 House Martin and 11 Sand Martin were counted moving north past Threequarter Wall in an hour! Other highlights included the Great Spotted Woodpecker in Millcombe again, a female Cuckoo sheltering from the burly easterly winds in the lee of Threequarter Wall, six Ringed Plover in South West Field, a handsome male Yellow Wagtail in Tent Field and a Reed Warbler in the Secret Garden.
 
Cuckoo sheltering behind Threequarter Wall, 25 Apr © Dean Jones

A stunning male Yellow Wagtail, Brick Field, 25 Apr © Dean Jones

The best of the rest included three Whimbrel, eight Dunlin in South West Field, 225 Herring Gull in Brick and Tillage Fields, singles of Kestrel and Merlin, three Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, one Whitethroat, the singing male Song Thrush, a lone Stonechat in St John’s Valley, six Pied Wagtail, a White Wagtail on the Main Track, two fly-over Tree Pipit, nine Goldfinch and 53 Linnet.  


Monday 26th April
 
Clear skies and moderate north-easterly winds first thing which dropped away to a gentle breeze by the afternoon. Max temperature 10°C.
 
The undoubted highlight was the occurrence of a stunning adult male Yellowhammer foraging on the Main Track next to the Lambing Shed in the early evening. This is only the fifth record of this species in the last ten years – the last of which was seen at Quarter Wall on 29th Apr 2017. Yellowhammers were once a breeding species on Lundy, up until the 1950s at least, and then recorded as migrants almost annually up until the 1970s. Since then, however, there have been widespread population declines due to changing agricultural practices on the mainland (more than 50% decline in the last 25 years) and Yellowhammer has now become a very rare visitor to the island.
 
Yellowhammer near the Lambing Shed, 26 Apr © Dean Jones

Other migrants logged included the Great Spotted Woodpecker for her third day – this time perched upon the lone tree outside Old House North, a Rook in Tillage Field, singles of Swift and Whimbrel, three Dunlin, a Kestrel, 100 Swallow, 10 House Martin, two Willow Warbler, just one Chiffchaff, seven Blackcap, singles of Reed Warbler and Whitethroat, the Song Thrush, a male Common Redstart at the top of Millcombe, 62 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail over the Village, 16 Goldfinch, one Siskin and 53 Linnet.  


Tuesday 27th April
 
Bright and sunny in the morning, becoming overcast by mid-afternoon, with barely a breath of wind throughout the day. Max temperature 12°C.
 
The day started off spectacularly with the first Black-headed Gull of the year hoaking out a meal in Barton Field, and a playful pod of c40 Common Dolphin along the west coast, offshore from Old Light.
 
Black-headed Gull, Barton Field, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

From here, the day just got better and better with a superb range of species scattered across the island. These included the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year in Millocmbe, a Stock Dove in Barton Field, at least four Tree Pipits, three of which were foraging together at Quarry Cottages in the evening, a stunning Yellow Wagtail pottering around Barton Field in the late morning, 14 Dunlin, including a flock of 12 past Old Light first thing, a female Black Redstart next to Square Cottage, and two each of Reed Warbler and ‘Northern’ acredula-type Willow Warblers that were caught and ringed during the day.
 
Dunlin, Rocket Pole Pond, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

One of the three Tree Pipits next to Quarry Cottages, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

The undoubted highlight, however, was the presence of two Hoopoes on the Terrace which were observed throughout the afternoon by a number of guests on the island. At least one of these birds remained in the area foraging until dusk, providing some spectacular prolonged views for some of the island staff, post send-off of MS Oldenburg.
 
One of the Hoopoes on the Terrace, 27 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Other sightings of note were a Swift over the Village, three Whimbrel, a young Peregrine at Threequarter Wall, two Sand Martin, 600 Swallow, 20 House Martin, 15 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, six Sedge Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, 15 Blackcap, four Whitethroat, the male Song Thrush, small numbers of Wheatear scattered along the south, three Pied Wagtail, 13 Goldfinch, 35 Linnet and singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
Raven pair scoffing the remains of a Manx Shearwater, east coast, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

68 birds were caught and ringed: 15 Blackcap, 15 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, six Sedge Warbler, four Whitethroat, two Reed Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, two Wren, a Spotted Flycatcher, five Goldfinch, one Linnet and one Swallow.

The day will be remembered though for 'Double Hoopoe!' 27 Apr © Matt Stritch


Wednesday 28th April 
 
A chilly and overcast start, becoming progressively brighter as the day wore on – strong north-east winds in the morning, which gradually dropped off throughout the course of the day. Max temperature 9°C.

The title of star bird went to a very much unexpected Corn Bunting in St John’s Valley first thing – the first record of this delightful bunting since May 2009 and the 20th record overall for the island – 17 of which have been in spring.
 
Record shot of the Corn Bunting, St John's Valley, 28 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Additional highlights included the first Guillemot egg of the year in Jenny’s Cove, a Common Sandpiper next to the Jetty – also the first of the year – and a stonking male Whinchat at Quarter Wall for most of the day.
 
Male Whinchat, Quarter Wall, 28 Apr © Dean Jones

Other birds of note were a single Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, six House Martin, 21 Blackcap, a single Whitethroat, two Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest (the first since 20th Apr), a fly-over Tree Pipit first thing, the male Song Thrush, six Goldfinch, 20 Linnet and two Lesser Redpoll.
 
Non-avian highlights included the first Lundy Cabbage flowers of the year in Millcombe!

Meadow Pipit resting at Quarry Cottages, 28 Apr © Dean Jones


Thursday 29th April 
 
A chilly and overcast start, brightening up by the mid-morning. Light winds but swinging around in all directions throughout the course of the day. Max temperature 9°C.
 
Yet another gorgeous spring day was enjoyed by all those on the island, 29 Apr © Dean Jones

Highlights incuded the second Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler of the year – the latter caught and ringed in Millcombe – a rather late Mistle Thrush in Barton Field in the afternoon, a Yellow Wagtail over St John’s Valley in the morning, and the first Razorbill egg of the year in Jenny’s Cove. Additionally, a decent movement of Blackcap (70), Whitethroat (16) and Sedge Warbler (9) was also logged, most of these caught and ringed in Millcombe by Rob Duncan and David Kightley throughout the course of the day.
 
Other birds included a lone Whimbrel outside the Tavern, a Common Sandpiper next to the Jetty (possibly the same bird as the day previous), one Kestrel, 400 Swallow, 45 House Martin, 30 Willow Warbler, four Chiffchaff, two Grasshopper Warbler, 12 Goldfinch, 34 Linnet and a single Siskin.
 
129 birds were caught and ringed: 64 Blackcap, 27 Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, 14 Whitethroat, nine Sedge Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, the Garden Warbler, two Swallow, a House Martin, one each of Meadow Pipit, Wren, Linnet and Chaffinch, and two Goldfinch. 


Friday 30th April
 
Yet another sunny and calm day – winds were light and from the north-east. Max temperature 10°C.
 
A quieter bird day with much reduced numbers of some of the more common Lundy migrants compared to the previous day. Sedge Warblers, however, were present on the island in decent numbers, with 17 birds logged throughout the day, while two Spotted Flycatchers were logged in Millcombe during the evening – both caught and ringed.
 
The title of star bird however went to the Corn Bunting, which reappeared in St John’s Valley shortly after dawn but then remained elusive for the rest of the day.
 
Other migrants logged included two Cormorant along the east, two Whimbrel, four Snipe in Brick Field, a Merlin, a lone Stock Dove in Barton Field, a young female Peregrine along the east coast, a single Sand Martin, 100 Swallow, six House Martin, 25 Blackcap, seven Whitethroat, seven Willow Warbler, nine Chiffchaff, the male Song Thrush, a lone White Wagtail in Barton Field, a handsome male Yellow Wagtail in High Street Field, small numbers of Wheatear, 29 Linnet, eight Goldfinch and a single Siskin.
 
Whimbrel, 30 Apr © Ben Arkless

60 birds were caught and ringed: 23 Blackcap, three Whitethroat, 14 Sedge Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, six Willow Warbler, three Goldfinch, one Wren and the two Spotted Flycatchers.
 
 
Saturday 1st May
 
Yet another beautiful day of blue skies and light north-east winds throughout. Max temperature 10°C.
 
Highlights included the second Minke Whale of the year, surfacing offshore from Jenny’s Cove, and another superb movement of hirundines throughout the day. Here a very conservative estimate of around 150 Sand Martin, 3,500 Swallow and 1,500 House Martin passed the island from dawn to dusk – the latter of which turned out to be the joint second highest ever count for the island (along with May 2004). Impressive stuff but still quite a way short of the highest ever count on May 2008 when 3,500 birds passed through the island.
 
Other birds logged included the first House Sparrow fledglings of the year in the workshop, five Teal on Pondsbury, a Swift over Millcombe, three Whimbrel, seven each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 15 Sedge Warbler, three Grasshopper Warbler, seven Whitethroat, the male Song Thrush in Millcombe, a single Spotted Flycatcher, a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, 15 Goldfinch, 26 Linnet and three each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
 Singing Whitethroat, South West Field, 1 May © Dean Jones

Peering out from its nest at a strange new world...
There should be plenty of Starling chicks fledging in the next few days, 1 May © Dean Jones


43 birds were caught and ringed: 12 Blackcap, five Whitethroats, 12 Sedge Warbler, seven Chiffchaff, two each of Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Goldfinch and Linnet, and singles of Robin and Swallow.
 
Additionally, the first burnet moth of the year was at the Castle (it was seen in flight, so species not determined) and the first Common Blue butterfly was on the wing in Millcombe.
 
 
Sunday 2nd May
 
Another beautiful start to the day with warm temperatures, blue skies and next to no wind first thing – clouds then set in by the afternoon as the winds picked up from the south-west – there’s a storm a-brewing! Max temperature 11°C.

A much quieter day compared to the rest of the period. Highlights included the reappearance of the Corn Bunting in St John’s Valley after a 'no-show' day.

The best of the rest included the first Starling fledglings of the year in the Lambing Shed (a surprising 19 days earlier than the first of 2020), two drake Teal on Pondsbury, a male Kestrel, one Merlin, 43 Skylark, five Sand Martin, 450 Swallow, 45 House Martin, two Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff, seven Sedge Warbler, one Grasshopper Warbler, five Whitethroat, a late Redwing at the top of Millcombe, 23 Wheatear, five Chaffinch, 28 Goldfinch, four Siskin and 105 Linnet.
 
Report composed of sightings from Laïla Akahtar, Ben Arkless, Zoë Barton, Yavanna Burnham, Richard Campey, Rob Duncan, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Claire Gauquelin des Pallieres, Eleanor Grover, Ingrid Helgestad, Dean Jones, David Kightley and Matt Stritch.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

16th to 23rd Apr – Over 900 birds ringed in five days (!) plus first Whinchat & Garden Warbler

Friday 16th April

A glorious, sun-kissed day with clear skies and a light easterly breeze throughout. Max temperature 10°C.

A very nice variety of migrants on the island, highlights including the first two Whitethroats of the year (both caught and ringed in Millcombe), two Ring Ouzels, both males, one at the Earthquake and the other at Threequarter Wall, a female Common Redstart bobbing around Gannets’ Combe, and a Mistle Thrush (the first of the year) together with a rather late Fieldfare in Barton Field in the late morning.   

The star bird however was a ‘control’ Blackcap (i.e. a bird which was already sporting a ring from elsewhere) which had originally been caught as a first-year bird on route to its North African wintering grounds on 29th Sep 2020 at Middle Hill, Gibraltar – a distance of 1,038 miles as the Blackcap flies!  

Other sightings of note included six Woodpigeon, a Collared Dove in Millcombe, a lone Whimbrel at Quarter Wall, 85 Puffins in Jenny’s Cove, four fly-by Cormorants, a Herring Gull sitting tight on eggs below the Earthquake, three Sand Martin, 33 Swallow, one House Martin, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler in Millcombe, 18 Blackcap, two Whitethroat, 28 Willow Warbler, seven Chiffchaff, three Goldcrest, three Song Thrush, eight Stonechat, 61 Wheatear (including a number of burly Greenland-type birds), five Pied and one White Wagtail, two Tree Pipits, eight Goldfinch, three Siskin and 52 Linnet.
 
There were plenty of Wheatears posing well along High Street on 16 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Not a bird normally seen under the bird feeders: a female Mallard with ducklings, Paradise Row, 16 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Additionally, we received some late news from Peter Newman via email that a Bar-tailed Godwit had been resting on the tide line in Hell’s Gates on 15th Apr – the first record of this beautiful wader on Lundy since May 2017! Well spotted, Peter.
 
Bar-tailed Godwit, Hell's Gates, 15 Apr © Peter Newman

Finally, the first Emperor Moth of the year was photographed by Ben Arkless near Tibbetts, and the second Holly Blue of the year was on the wing behind Quarter Wall Copse. The moth trap was also deployed overnight, though the number and variety of moths were very low. Inside the Millcombe Heath trap were singles of Dark Sword Grass and Red Chestnut, as well as two each of Early Thorn and Early Grey.  

Saturday 17th April

Another beautiful day with more clear skies, sunshine and a very light south-easterly breeze throughout. Max temperature 10°C.

Yet another perfect day for a sailing, MS Oldenburg gliding into the Landing Bay on a glass-like sea via Ilfracombe come the afternoon. Amongst the few on board were Rob Duncan and David Kightley, ready for three full weeks of bird ringing in Millcombe Valley (hopefully the fair weather will continue for them). Keen-eyed birders and friends Andy Jayne and Chris & Mandy Dee also joined the motley crew of bird brains already on the island.  

Highlights from another exciting day of Lundy birding included three Common Redstarts (two males and a female) scattered across the island, a stonking male Black Redstart briefly in the Camping Field, the first Kestrel of the year and two Ring Ouzels – one at Benjamin’s Chair and the other at Quarter Wall. 
 
Peering through the cattle run, a male Common Redstart at Quarter Wall...

...which allowed for some superb prolonged views throughout the day, 17 Apr © Dean Jones

I spy something wriggling in the undergrowth – a male Black Redstart foraging in the Camping Field, 17 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Other migrants logged were a Whimbrel at Quarter Wall, a male Collared Dove singing in Millcombe, singles of Merlin and Jackdaw, 175 Swallow, 25 Sand Martin, 12 House Martin, a single Sedge Warbler (caught and ringed), two Grasshopper Warblers (both in Millcombe), 73 Willow Warbler, 14 Chiffchaff, 50 Blackcap, the Fieldfare, two Song Thrush (including one continental bird in VC Quarry), 19 Wheatear, including at least three Greenland-type birds at Quarter Wall, a male Pied Flycatcher, four Pied Wagtails, two Tree Pipits, 16 Goldfinch, 38 Linnet and five Siskin.  

A total of 110 birds were caught and ringed: one Pied Flycatcher, 46 Blackcap, 47 Willow Warbler, nine Chiffchaff, one Sedge Warbler, one Grasshopper Warbler and three Goldfinch.  

We also got some exciting news regarding a colour-ringed Lesser-Black backed Gull (NA5M) which was photographed in High Street Field on 26th Mar 2021. It turns out that this bird was found in very poor condition on Malaga Beach on 28th Nov 2019 and subsequently taken into care. The bird made a rather speedy recovery and was released at Pantano del Limonero, Malaga on 17th Feb 2020 – a distance of 1,002 miles from Lundy! We hope NA5M continues to thrive and perhaps drops into Lundy once again in the near future. Special thanks to José Sánchez Cordero for providing all the information on this bird.
 
Lesser Black-backed Gull NA5M, ringed in Malaga, in High Street Field, 26 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Sunday 18th April

Weather much the same as the last two days with clear skies and a light easterly wind for the most part. Max temperature 11°C.

Warblers were the theme of the day with a smashing fall of at least 200 Blackcaps and 150 Willow Warblers across the island. Additionally, at least four ‘reeling’ male Grasshopper Warblers were logged, two in Millcombe Valley and singles on the Terrace and at Quarter Wall Pond.

Other highlights included a Dunlin at Quarter Wall Pond – the first of the year – a decent passage of hirundines throughout the afternoon, two Common Redstarts and a handsome male Yellow Wagtail on Quarters Pond.  

Also logged were a decent movement of Manx Shearwater past Rat Island first thing (c.30 per minute), two fly-by Cormorant, six Woodpigeon, a lone Golden Plover, two Whimbrel in Barton Field, a Snipe at Rocket Pole Pond, three calling Water Rail, singles of Merlin and Kestrel, 400 Swallow, 100 Sand Martin, 40 House Martin, 10 Chiffchaff, two Sedge Warbler, the Barton Field Fieldfare, a male Blackbird with a beakful of wriggly worms in Millcombe, eight Pied Wagtail, one Grey Wagtail, six Stonechat, 36 Wheatear (with at least four Greenland-type birds), 57 Linnet and 11 Goldfinch

Chiffchaff, High Street, 18 Apr © Dean Jones
 
A whopping 239 birds were ringed throughout the course of the day, featuring 129 Blackcap, 83 Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, two Sedge Warbler, eight Goldfinch, four Linnet, two Wren, one Meadow Pipit and one Stonechat.  

Non-avian sightings included the first Large and Green-veined White butterflies of the year – both singles in Millcombe.  

Monday 19th April

The wonderful and calm weather continued for another day. Max temperature 11°C.

Highlights included a lone Sanderling on the Main Track (the 16th spring record for Lundy) and the first Reed Warbler of the year in the bottom shelf of a mist-net in the Secret Garden. Incredibly the Reed Warbler, like the Gibraltar Blackcap mentioned above, was already wearing a ring when discovered. Results now show that this bird was caught as a young, recently fledged bird (age code 3J) on St Mary’s, Isle of Scilly on 6th Jul 2019 – meaning that this stunning little bird has crossed the Sahara Desert at least four times in its life so far!

The Sanderling lingered on the Main Track for most of 19th Apr, providing superb views for passers-by © Dean Jones
 
The St Mary's Reed Warbler, 19 Apr © Dean Jones

Further highlights included a female Black Redstart in the Village and a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay.  

Other birds logged were two Cormorant, a fly-over Golden Plover, two Whimbrel in Barton Field, a single Merlin, 80 Swallow, 90 Sand Martin, two House Martin, 75 Blackcap, 45 Willow Warbler, nine Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler, three Grasshopper Warblers, singles of Whitethroat and Ring Ouzel, three Tree Pipit, a single Yellow Wagtail, 10 Pied Wagtails, two White Wagtails in Tillage Field, two Song Thrush, two Stonechat, 30 Wheatear along the south up to the Battery, a male Common Redstart (caught and ringed), 18 Linnet, nine Goldfinch, a Lesser Redpoll and three Siskin
 
The year's Puffin productivity studies are now well underway, – here Volunteer Wardens Ben and Eleanor
mapping burrows in Jenny's Cove, 19 Apr © Dean Jones
 
110 birds were caught and ringed: one Common Redstart, 63 Blackcaps, 32 Willow Warblers, nine Chiffchaff, one Sedge Warbler, two Goldfinch, one Linnet and one Wren.

Tuesday 20th April

Overcast in the morning, next to no wind and temperatures of up to 12°C.

These conditions brought with them yet another spectacular arrival of migrants to the island, the bulk involving Blackcap (230) and Willow Warbler (150) once again. The settled conditions also brought the first Cuckoo of the year – a cracking male – which had been seen and heard singing in various parts of the island from St John’s Valley to Quarter Wall Copse throughout most of the day. 
 
One of the many Blackcaps among the day's spectacular arrival, 20 Apr © Andy Jayne

Spot the grumpy-looking Cuckoo, St Helen's Combe, 20 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Other notable sightings included seven Whimbrel, a male Kestrel, 200 Sand Martin, 170 Swallow, two House Martin, 19 Chiffchaff, three Grasshopper Warbler, two Sedge Warbler, four Whitethroat, one Goldcrest, the Barton Field Fieldfare, two Ring Ouzel (one of which was singing briefly near Stoneycroft), the Mistle Thrush, two Song Thrush, two Pied Flycatcher, a male Common Redstart at the top of Millcombe, a single fly-over Tree Pipit, a male Yellow Wagtail in upper Lighthouse Field, two White Wagtail, 35 Wheatear, 18 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch and three Siskin.

A spectacular total of 307 birds were caught and ringed throughout the day: 163 Blackcap, 104 Willow Warblers, 15 Chiffchaff, three Whitethroat, two Grasshopper Warbler, two Sedge Warbler, one each of Goldcrest, Stonechat and Tree Pipit, three Meadow Pipit, one Pied Flycatcher, two Wren, 5 Linnet and a Goldfinch. Excellent work, team!  
 
Male Pied Flycatcher, caught and ringed in Millcombe, 20 Apr
© Rob Duncan
 
Wednesday 21st April

Clear skies and a light easterly breeze first thing which picked up quite significantly from mid-morning onwards. Max temperature 12°C.   

Highlights from a busy day of Fire and Rescue training included a possible Siberian Chiffchaff, caught and ringed in Millcombe first thing, and yet another day of decent Blackcap passage with a least 165 birds logged through the day.
 
Lundy's Fire and Rescue Team posing in front of Old Light after a busy day of
training and equipment checks, 21 Apr © Kobe Garfoot
 
Possible tristis Chiffchaff (left) with nominate collybita Chiffchaff, 21 Apr Dean Jones

Other sightings of note were three Mallard with 12 small ducklings at Pondsbury, six Teal, two Whimbrel, a single Snipe, the male Kestrel, 30 Swallow, 17 Sand Martin, 12 House Martin, 45 Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler on the Terrace, four Whitethroat, three Grasshopper Warbler, two Song Thrush, a male Ring Ouzel at Quarter Wall, a Mistle Thrush in St Helen's Field, two Stonechat, a fly-over Grey Wagtail, three White Wagtail, five Pied Wagtail, 32 Linnet and a single Siskin.

164 birds were caught and ringed before the wind picked up: 109 Blackcap, 39 Willow Warbler, seven Chiffchaff, three Whitethroats, two Meadow Pipit, two Goldfinches, one Wren and the possible Siberian Chiffchaff.

Thursday 22nd April

Blue skies and a stiff easterly wind for most of the day up until the early evening when it dropped to a gentle breeze. Max temperature 12°C.   

The strong winds made for tricky birding, most birds hunkering down for the majority of the day and out of sight. However, despite the difficult conditions, the team did manage to find the first Garden Warbler of the year in the reasonably sheltered Secret Garden come the afternoon.  

Other birds logged included three Whimbrel in Helicopter Field, a Sparrowhawk over the Laundry Garden, 50 Swallow, nine Sand Martin, six House Martin, 50 Blackcap, 16 Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, the lingering Mistle Thrush, the male Ring Ouzel at Quarter Wall for another day, two Song Thrush in Millcombe, a Tree Pipit, 32 Wheatear (including at least five Greenland birds at Quarter Wall), 23 Linnet, 15 Goldfinch and four Siskin.   

The first of the island’s Starling chicks are not far off fledging now, with at least 51 nests in the Village and Old Lighthouse now containing noisy young birds!

Friday 23rd April

A day of clear skies and a strong east/south-easterly wind throughout. Max temperature 11°C.   

Highlights included the first Whinchat of the year at Quarter Wall and the first three Ringed Plovers – two of which were foraging within a small flock of five Dunlin in South West Field in the afternoon.

Whimbrel enjoying the morning sunshine in Barton Field, 22 Apr © Dean Jones

The first Whinchat of the year, hopefully the first of many! Quarter Wall, 23 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Other birds logged were two Whimbrel at Quarter Wall, six Golden Plover, a female Kestrel, five Woodpigeon, 20 Swallow, seven Sand Martin, 36 Blackcap, the Garden Warbler from yesterday, five Whitethroat, just three Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, the Quarter Wall Ring Ouzel, one Song Thrush in Millcombe, a fly-over Tree Pipit, a Grey Wagtail at Millcombe Pond, four Pied Wagtail, 21 Wheatear (including at least four big Greenland birds), 12 Linnet, 12 Goldfinch and a Lesser Redpoll.   

Report composed of sightings by Ben Arkless, Chris & Mandy Dee, Rob Duncan, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Eleanor Grover, Andy Jayne, Dean Jones, David Kightley, Peter Newman, Tony & Ann Taylor and Mark & Julia Webber.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

11th to 15th Apr – First Redstart, Whimbrel & Yellow Wagtail of the year

Sunday 11th April
 
A beautiful but chilly morning with clear skies and a light north-easterly breeze – sunshine and clear skies for the majority, with the wind picking up slightly and shifting to the north-west come the afternoon. Max temperature 7°C.
 
A relatively quiet day for migrants. Highlights included a handsome male Ring Ouzel at Benjamin’s Chair, a decent movement of 96 Linnet through the morning, and the lingering Common Buzzard which arrived on the island on 7th (see last blog post).
 
Other birds of note included four Teal on Pondsbury, four Woodpigeon, 26 Skylark, four Swallow, 11 House Martin, 16 Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, seven Blackcap, four Goldcrest, two Song Thrush, 27 Wheatear (all south of Halfway Wall), a single Stonechat, four Pied Wagtail, 52 Meadow Pipit, five Chaffinch, 25 Goldfinch and four Siskin.
 
Migrant Willow Warbler resting on gorse, Quarter Wall, 11 Apr © Dean Jones

Non-avian sightings included a pod of at least eight Common Dolphins offshore from Tibbets/Threequarter Wall Bay in the evening (Sue Waterfield).
 
Monday 12th April
 
Another chilly start to the day (the weather station showed wind-chill temperatures around 0°C) with moderate northerlies, partial cloud and sunshine – the winds then dropped off to a gentle breeze come mid-morning though it still felt cold due to their northerly orientation. Max temperature 9°C.
 
Coverage was rather limited due to a cargo-laden MS Oldenburg (including a tower of Domino’s pizzas for all the island staff – thanks Matt and Rob!) and a day of finishing up various bits and bobs for the island's grand reopening the next day!
 
One of the many newborn Lundy lambs enjoying the sunshine, 12 Apr © Dean Jones

Birds of note included a Grasshopper Warbler in Millcombe, the male Ring Ouzel at Benjamin’s Chair again for his second day, a singing Sedge Warbler behind the Walled Gardens, small numbers of Willlow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Wheatear, three Goldcrest, the Song Thrush again singing his heart out in Millcombe, seven Swallow, 20 Goldfinch and three Linnet.
 
Tuesday 13th April
 
A glorious spring day with a light south-westerly breeze throughout, clear blue skies and noticeably warmer temperatures (Max 10°).
 
A day of big smiles, socially distanced greetings and catch-ups, and oodles of excitement as the island welcomed back its first staying guests and day-trippers since the end of 2020. Stowed onboard the MS Oldenburg on this magical day were a number of special visitors too, including Tony & Ann Taylor from the Lundy Field Society who will spend the best part of the next week looking for colour-ringed Wheatears as part of the island's Re-trapping Adults for Survival (RAS) studies. Our first long-term volunteers also made landfall, among them drystone waller extraordinaire Adam Waters as our new Assistant Ranger, as well as keen-eyed birders and all-round seabird nuts Ben Hanson and Eleanor Grover as our new Assistant Wardens. PhD student Jamie Dunning from Imperial College London also arrived with a ladder at the ready in preparation for a busy season of checking House Sparrow nestboxes (with a bit of noc-migging on the side), and last but by no means least, Angus, Siss and Colin from the Ropeworks team who will be bravely abseiling down the East Side cliffs over the next five days in search of, and removing, any sneaky Rhododendron seedlings which have rooted there.
 
And there she goes! MS Oldenburg departing the jetty, bound for Ilfracombe,
with a small band of happy day-trippers on board, 13 Apr © Dean Jones

 
On top of all the wonderful, socially distanced catch-ups, it was an exciting day on the birding front too! Highlights included the lingering Buzzard and male Ring Ouzel, a Merlin low over Castle Parade, 47 Swallow, six Sand Martin, two House Martin, two singing Sedge Warbler, a single Grasshopper Warbler (flushed from the brambles near Millcombe House), 51 Willow Warbler, six Chiffchaff, 68 Blackcap, two Goldcrest, four Pied and one White Wagtail, a Robin with nesting material in Millcombe Wood, 13 Goldfinch, 30 Linnet, four Chaffinch and three Siskin.
 
Common Buzzard over the Upper East Side Path, 13 Apr © Dean Jones

There was a nice flurry of Lepidoptera in the afternoon, with the first Small White (three) and Holly Blue (one) butterflies of the year on the wing in Millcombe.
 
Wednesday 14th April
 
A morning of very light but chilly south-easterlies – which picked up slightly and swung round to the north by the evening – and clear blue skies throughout. Max temperature 10°C.
 
The weather this week has been superb – Earthquake looking north, 14 Apr © Dean Jones

There were lots of migrants about again, Willow Warblers making up the bulk with at least 100 moving through the island over the course of the day. The first two Common Redstarts of the year, both males, also made landfall – one in South West Field (Tony Taylor) and another along the lower east (Colin Charles).
 
Other birds of note included a Manx Shearwater calling repeatedly from its burrow in South West Field in the afternoon, five Woodpigeon (the four Lundy breeders plus one migrant at Jenny’s Cove), a Stock Dove in Millcombe, a female Merlin, the long-staying Buzzard again over Pondsbury, a Jackdaw over Barton Field, 97 Puffins from Jenny’s Cove to St Mark's Stone, 17 Skylark, 18 Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, four House Martin, singles of Grasshopper Warbler and Sedge Warbler in Millcombe, 22 Blackcap, just eight Chiffchaff, one Goldcrest, 58 Wheatear (which including six Greenland-type birds), one Stonechat, two Ring Ouzel, two Song Thrush (including one very grey, likely continental bird at Quarter Wall Pond), eight Goldfinch, four Chaffinch, 11 Linnet and four Siskin.
 
Lundy’s breeders were also keeping busy, with a number of House Sparrow nestboxes and Starling nests in the Village already containing hungry young chicks. It looks like it is going to be an early fledging date for some!
 
Thursday 15th April
 
Another chilly start to the day – blue skies and a moderate easterly wind throughout. Max temperature 9°C.

A much quieter day for migrants, with an obvious clear-out of birds overnight. Birds of note included the spring's first Whimbrel (next to Old Light) and Yellow Wagtail (two individuals, by the Lambing Shed and in Tillage Field). Also a single Snipe flushed from Lower Lighthouse Field, the Jackdaw again over the Farm, 19 Swallow, 12 Sand Martin, two House Martin, a Sedge Warbler singing next to Quarters, 20 Blackcap, just five Willow Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, a single Goldcrest, 13 Wheatear along the South End (which included at least one Greenland-type bird), one Stonechat, a Fieldfare next to the Black Shed, three Song Thrush, 12 Goldfinch and 45 Linnet.
 
Skylark, High Street, 14 Apr © Dean Jones

Report composed of sightings from Ben Arkless, Colin Charles, Jamie Dunning, Eleanor Grover, Dean Jones, Tony & Ann Taylor and Sue Waterfield.