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Monday 29 January 2018

Highlights for Fri 26th - Mon 29th Jan

Tim Jones and Tim Davis report Teal 7 daily, Great Northern Diver 1-2 daily, Red-throated Diver 1-2 on 27th-29th (Landing Bay & North Light), Fulmar max. 123 on ledges on 28th, Woodcock 1 near Pondsbury on 29th, Snipe max. 22 on 28th, Kittiwake max. 320 on 29th, Common Gull 1 1st-winter on 29th, Guillemot max. 300 on 26th, Razorbill max.  60 on 28th, Merlin female on 26th, Coal Tit 1 on 26th & 27th, Skylark max. 3 on 26th in spite of thorough searching, Firecrest 1 female in Smelly Gully 27th-29th, Goldcrest 1 on 27th & 28th, Fieldfare 2 at Old Light on 26th, Blackbird max. 26 on 27th, Song Thrush max. 24 on 27th, Redwing max. 14 on 29th, Stonechat 1 female (first of the year) at Pondsbury on 29th, Pied Wagtail 1 (first of the year) on 26th, Goldfinch 1-2 most days, Reed Bunting 1 female at Pondsbury on 26th.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Wed 24 Jan – A blustery but productive afternoon

On yet another blustery afternoon, Dean made it up to North End on Wednesday 24th, enjoying some good birding by January standards:

Black-throated Diver – The star of the show! A single bird feeding and preening just off North West Point.
Red-throated Diver – 2 birds feeding off North End, just out from the Virgin’s Spring area.
Fulmar – Total of 88: a raft of 30 off North End, 44 on Gannets Rock, 8 on ledges in Long Roost and 6 on Jenny’s Cove ledges.
Gannet – A single bird off North End.
Shag – 2 off North End feeding near Kittiwake Gully.
Great Black-backed Gull – 24 (14 of which were preening on Pondsbury).
Lesser Black-backed Gull – 4 preening on Pondsbury.
Herring Gull – 143, most of which were feeding and roosting in Tillage Field.
Kittiwake – 245 off North End.
Common Gull – A single 1st-winter bird resting with a few Herring Gulls just off from North Light.
Oystercatcher – A total of 4 consisted of 3 in the Landing Bay and 1 in Gannets' Bay.
Guillemot – A feeding raft of 230 off North End.
Razorbill – A feeding raft of 53 off North End.
Carrion Crow – 35 feeding in Tillage Field.
Skylark – 3 birds in Middle Park.
Redwing – 6 in Barton Field.
Blackbird – 6 from the Village to Quarter Wall.
Chaffinch – 2 feeding along track next to Tillage Field.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Mon 22 Jan – PS: things that go "squelch" in the night...

In a further bulletin from the Misty Isle, Dean says of last night, Monday 22 Jan:

"As it was a relatively calm night here I went for a late night jaunt through the fields to look for feeding birds. Altogether I saw 3 Woodcock, 8 Snipe, a single Jack Snipe next to Quarter Wall Pond, a roosting Mallard in Tillage Field and a rabbit! The first I’ve seen in quite a while."

Just goes to show what's there for the finding if the lure of a muddy field on a damp January night exceeds the lure of a warm living room!

20 to 22 Jan – Between the rain, mist & wind...

Dean has sent through a few records from Saturday 20th and Monday 22nd, writing that "Sunday was miserable – thick mist all day/night".

Teal – 5 females and 2 males on Pondsbury on 22nd.
Great Northern Diver – In the Landing Bay on the morning of 22nd and again in the afternoon below the Ugly with a rather big Monkfish in its bill.
Oystercatcher – 9 in the Landing Bay on 20th; highest count since 19 Nov 2017.
Snipe – 16 on 20th (higher than any count in 2017) and 3 on 22nd – flushed between Quarter and Halfway Walls.
Herring Gull – 151 roosting in Barton Field on 22nd.
Merlin – one off the Terrace on 20th.
Blackbird – 24 on 20th (Village, high street, Lower East Side Path and Millcombe).
Song Thrush – 16 on 20th (Village, high street, Lower East Side Path and Millcombe).
Redwing – 16 feeding in Barton Field on 20th.
Robin – 11 on 20th (Village, high street, Lower East Side Path and Millcombe).
Chaffinch – 4 on 22nd.

Friday 19 January 2018

12 to 19 Jan – Iceland Gull the highlight of a stormy period

Lundy Warden Dean Jones found an adult Iceland Gull among 72 Herring Gulls in Tillage Field this morning, Friday 19 January – the first record of this Arctic-breeding gull since 2014 and only the ninth for the island.

During what has been a rather cold and very stormy period (again...), other bird sightings have, unsurprisingly, been quite thin on the ground, but have included (for 12th to 19th):

Red-throated Diver – A single bird was present in the Landing Bay on 12th and there were four feeding off the North End on 14th.
Great Northern Diver – Single birds (possibly the same individual) were in the Landing Bay on 12th, 17th and 18th.
Fulmar – A raft of 19 was off the North End on 14th.
Herring Gull – Dean reports "some super roosting flocks in both Barton and Tillage Fields"; 156  on 17th was the highest count of the period.
Kittiwake – A feeding flock of 54 seen from the North End on 14th was the highest count.
Guillemot – A feeding raft of 75 birds was off the North End on 14th.
Razorbill – A count of 52 feeding off the North End on 14th.
Water Rail – Maximum count of two, in Millcombe, on 11th & 18th; oddly, one was calling from the brambles below the Millcombe to Ugly path, near the pines.
Snipe – Three were flushed between Quarter Wall and Pondsbury on 14th.
Skylark – A single bird on 12th & 14th in Tillage Field.
Redwing – Dean notes that thrush numbers seemingly dropped off after the storms at the start of the week; 13 on 14th was the highest count of the period.

Friday 12 January 2018

Thu 11 Jan – Record count of Red-throated Divers off the East Side

An email in from Dean brings further news of divers from yesterday, Thursday 11 Jan:

"I managed to get in a brief seawatch from the Ugly during my lunch break. The sea was beautifully still yesterday afternoon meaning that most of the birds were rather far out and difficult to ID, but I did get some good views of a roosting flock of 8 Red throated Divers! There were two other divers present too, flying over the flock and heading west, that I didn’t get a good look at. It is amazing how fast these birds go once they get up off the water!"

This is by far the highest number of Red-throated Divers ever recorded from the island (the previous maximum being just three).

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Wed 10 Jan – Red-throated Diver and more winter thrushes

Following on from Philip Lymbery's New Year update below, Lundy Warden Dean Jones reports (with masterly understatement) that the weather in early January continued to be "not the best for birding" with westerly gales dominating the start of the month, followed by lots of rain, then bitterly cold winds from the east...

A decent day, today, Wednesday 10th, saw the undoubted highlight of the period, a Red-throated Diver in the Landing Bay during the afternoon. It was preening close-in to begin with, pausing periodically and giving Dean good views. "The bird then powered out of the bay to deeper waters, where it began to search for food."

Other sightings of note between 4 & 10 Jan have included good numbers of wintering thrushes, including a very high midwinter Song Thrush count for the island, but finches have reached their typical winter nadir:

Mallard – Eight were on Rocket Pole Pond on 6th.
Teal – Three males were frantically courting four females on Pondsbury on 5th.
Great Northern Diver – A single bird was in the Landing Bay on 6th & 10th.
Kittiwake – The large feeding flocks present at the turn of the year soon disappeared at the onset of the strong easterly winds; max 68 on 4th.
Herring Gull – Some decent flocks were noted sheltering in Barton Field during the few days of westerly gales; max 172 on 4th.
Water Rail – One has been calling from the iris bed next to Millcombe House on most days.
Goldcrest – One was in Quarter Wall Copse on 5th.
Skylark – Three on 6th was the highest count since three on 28 Dec. To find a day-total of more than three means going all the way back to 16 Nov, when there were nine.
Blackbird – A max of 24 on 5th.
Song Thrush – A max of 21 on 5th.
Redwing – A max of 37 on 5th.
Fieldfare – A single bird in Barton Field on 5th.
Chaffinch – A max of four on 5th.
Goldfinch – A max of two on 7th.
Linnet – A single bird calling over the village on 5th was the first since another singleton on 24 Nov.

Happy New Lundy Birds Year!

The following report and photos, covering the Christmas and New Year period, have been contributed by Philip Lymbery.

Helen and I were lucky enough to spend Christmas and New Year on Lundy (22nd December 2017 until 2nd January 2018) for the first time. We had a magical time, despite the weather, which seemed a wintry rotation of mist, rain and high winds.

Bird-wise, we were treated to a Firecrest in Millcombe Valley, which showed during a couple of better weather days, on the 24th and 28th. One Goldfinch was seen around Windy Corner on the 30th.

Firecrest, Millcombe, 28 Dec 2017 © Philip Lymbery

A Great Northern Diver toured the east coast of the island, being seen on the sea from the Landing Bay to Quarry Beach (24th, 26th and 31st).

Great Northern Diver off Quarry Beach, 31 Dec 2017 © Philip Lymbery

A feeding party of Kittiwakes were seen each day off the east coast, with 500 or more birds recorded on the 29th. 30 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were also sat on the sea on the same day off The Ugly. A Merlin was seen before dusk on several afternoons over Quarter Wall, Halfway Wall or The Battery. A Fieldfare was seen at Threequarter Wall on the 27th, with a single bird also recorded in Barton Field on the 28th. The field played host to a busy feeding flock of Redwing, with 28 being counted by us on New Year’s Eve. Three female and one drake Teal spent late afternoon on Pondsbury on the 30th. The heavy rain meant that the island was very wet underfoot everywhere, meaning that feeding Snipe were scattered across the island and could be flushed pretty much anywhere, from the north end of the island to Quarter Wall. Our maximum count was of 8 birds accidentally flushed singly from various parts of the island on the 28th. A Stonechat was seen on Tibbett’s Hill on the 31st.

Kittiwake off Lundy, 22 Dec 2017 © Philip Lymbery

Friday 5 January 2018

22 to 29 Dec – Is that an island out there?

Though thick mist prevented the helicopter from flying, prompting creative transport solutions, Alan & Sandra Rowland spent the Christmas period on Lundy and have sent the following update for what sounds like an ideal week to have been enjoying the fesitvities in the Tavern!

"At dawn on the 22nd, we travelled from Clovelly in small boats with the hope of good seabird sightings. At sea level the air was clear, and as we approached the island, we spotted a handful of Gannets, Guillemots and the odd Fulmar and Great Black-backed Gull. With the exception of the 27th, the week was either extremely windy, wet or misty and really wet underfoot. That said, Barton Field was a really good location for Blackbirds and Redwings with up to a dozen of each when visibility showed them. The North End revealed very few birds, only three Meadow Pipits and a small flock of a dozen Gannets off North East Point. There were just two Fulmars on the nesting ledges at Long Roost. Millcombe revealed the occasional Firecrest to dedicated searchers and a Merlin was seen around Halfway Wall.”

See also photos posted on Facebook by Philip Lymbery.