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You're now viewing the old Lundy Bird Observatory blogspot. Explore the new website for all your favourite island news and wildlife updates. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here.

Monday 30 March 2015

Special birdwatchers' day-trip to Lundy on Sunday 10 May

Devon Birds has chartered MS Oldenburg for the Society's annual birdwatchers' day-trip to Lundy on Sunday 10 May, departing Ilfracombe at 8.30am and returning there at approximately 8.30pm.

During the crossing there should be sightings of Manx Shearwaters and auks, with Storm Petrel a distinct possibility.

On the island, enjoy nesting Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Shags, along with large numbers of breeding Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks, and look out for spring migrants such as warblers, hirundines, Swifts, chats and flycatchers and perhaps the odd rarity... During last year's trip there were sightings of Black Guillemot, Golden Oriole, Short-toed Lark and Turtle Dove and at this time of year anything is possible!

Non-members (and indeed non-birdwatchers!) are welcome. Full details of how to order your tickets – priced at £29 for adults and £16 for accompanied children under the age of 16 – are available here.

Sunday 29 March 2015

29/03/15 Still no reports of Puffins

We're still waiting for the first Puffin sighting. Especially since Puffins were reported in the Farne Islands in mid-March. Each time that I've been out recently there have been very few seabirds on the cliffs. This is possibly due to the light winds or colds nights before my visits.

I've been trying to get video of my Guillemot provisioning ledge from a distance with a telescope attached to the video camera. At this time of year the birds are too unsettled to allow me to visit as close as I do in the summer. I'm having to video from further away with a longer focal length ~650mm rather than ~200mm to ~300mm. So I need calmer weather to capture video. Unfortunately, this may not be the best conditions for birds to be attending my survey ledges.

After this gales, it looks like there may be a weather window tomorrow morning. I probably won't be able to get any video, but there should be a chance of seeing a Puffin if there are any around.
  • 25/03/15 179+ Guillemots on ledges. Video of St Philip's Stone breeding survey ledge.
  • 15/03/15 338+ Guillemots on ledges (only Jenny's Cove counted). Video of Jenny's Cove ledge E14:G1
  • 14/03/15 2 Guillemots on ledges.
  • 10/03/15 706+ Guillemots on ledges (only St Philip's - St Mark's count). Video of St Philip's Stone breeding survey ledge.

Tuesday 24 March 2015

24/03/15 Black-tailed Godwit, Barton's Pond

First reported by Kevin Welsh.Feeding in the soft earth around the pond at the back of Barton's Cottages

photo by Grant Sherman

Monday 16 March 2015

Updates to the book 'The Birds of Lundy'

Readers may be interested to know that all notable updates to the information contained in our 2007 book The Birds of Lundy can now be found at http://www.birdsoflundy.org.uk – the companion site to this blog.

It has long been our intention to provide online updates to The Birds of Lundy and after a hiatus of some years we are pleased to announce that goal has now been realised. We are very grateful for the encouragement and technical support provided by both Chris Dee and Ian Farrell.

The new site provides complete updates (to the end of 2014) covering:
  • Unusually high counts or otherwise notable records of common species
  • All accepted records of Lundy, Devon and UK rarities
  • Photos of both rarities and commoner species (more will be added over the coming weeks)
  • Early and late dates for migrants
  • Summaries of current status for breeding species
  • Annual reports for bird ringing on Lundy
  • Links to useful sources of information
  • Corrections to any errors that have come to light since The Birds of Lundy was published
Comments, corrections, and other additional information, including photos from previous years, can be submitted via the 'Contact us' link within the site. We hope you enjoy exploring it.

Tim Davis & Tim Jones

Monday 9 March 2015

2 to 6 Mar – Winter meets spring

Andy Jayne recently returned from a short birding trip (2nd to 6th March) and reports an interesting mixed bag of late winter visitors and early spring migrants:

"The highlight was a Red-throated Diver briefly in the Landing Bay on 4th. Two Great Northern Divers frequently appeared there too, but also went missing at certain times of the day. Up to six Teal (one drake) were at Pondsbury. A female Sparrowhawk was noted on three days and took a Blackbird in Millcombe on 3rd. Just one Water Rail was noted, heard at Pondsbury on 3rd. Up to seven Snipe were between Quarter Wall and Pondsbury. A Stock Dove was flushed from St Helen's Field on 4th. Up to 95 Skylarks were counted feeding among sheep and gulls on the Lighthouse Field and a light passage of Meadow Pipits on 5th totalled 160 birds. A female Black Redstart was at Benjamin's Chair on 2nd, but was not seen again. A pair of Stonechats at Quarterwall on 2nd were joined a by another female on 5th."

08/03/15 Sand Martin on Castle Hill

Sand Martin on Castle Hill near the stile towards Benjamin's Chair. 4pm, 8th March. Seen by Grant Sherman, Shelley Southon.

Saturday 7 March 2015

05/03/15 Highest March count of Guillemots

05/03/15 1697 Guillemots on ledges (highest March count). More than 100 Kittiwakes on land
  • Highest number of Guillemots counted in March (previous record: 1674 birds on 10th March 2012)
  • 104 Kittiwakes on land F16, and one seen on F6, ten on E11
  • At least 400 Razorbills on land, at least 400 on the sea
  • Most Guillemots on ledges are in full breeding plumage, some are in stage Transitional/Breeding
  • Some Guillemots on the sea are still in full winter plumage
  • At least 6 Bridled Guillemots at site E14

25/02/15 682 Guillemots on ledges.