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Sunday 31 March 2019

25th to 30th March

As already posted the highlight was the two Red Kites over Ackland's Moor (26th).

Red Kites

A total of 39 Manx Shearwaters moved north off the east side on the evening of 25th and, although there were no more sightings, a number of birds were heard around the south end on following nights. Up to six Teal were noted at Pondsbury and nine breeding-plumage Cormorants flew north (26th). As well as the usual Peregrine sightings, a single female Sparrowhawk and male Kestrel were also noted. A Ringed Plover was present most days (with two on 30th) and a Curlew remained around the south of the island, often on St. Helen's Field. Single Golden Plover and Snipe were also present on 26th.


Large numbers of auks were present at the breeding sites. I counted 166 Puffins in Jenny's Cove (26th) with 140 there on 28th plus another six just north of St.Philips Stone. Although not counted, there were some large rafts of Razorbills close inshore on the east side. A Stock Dove was in St.Helen's Field (25th). Sand Martins moved north each day with a maximum of 55 on 26th. Up to seven Swallows were noted with a single House Martin on two dates. Chiffchaffs peaked at 30 or more on 26th with just one or two Willow Warblers and up to five Blackcaps noted most days. A Firecrest was in Millcombe (26th), but much more unexpected was a Treecreeper flitting between rocks in Jenny's Cove the same day. Thrushes included a Ring Ouzel in Millcombe and St.Helens Field (30th), a Mistle Thrush by Quarry Pond (25th) and three Redwings in Millcombe (29th). A female-type Black Redstart was at the Terrace and a first-summer male was around Stoneycroft and Old Light (27th). Two female Stonechats were between Quaterwall and Pondsbury (26th-27th) and two White Wagtails were often present around the village. Two Siskins paused briefly (27th) and a Brambling flew over just after sunrise on 28th. A female Reed Bunting was at 'Pigs Paradise" (25th) and by the Rocket Pole (27th).

Wednesday 27 March 2019

26th Mar – Red Kites

Andy Jayne reports that "two Red Kites were circling over Ackland's Moor for at least ten minutes at 10.40am before drifting off north". In spite of their increasing abundance and expanding range across much of mainland UK, there have only been eight previous records of Red Kite on Lundy and this is the first time that two have been seen together. Andy also made an exceptionally high count, for March, of 166 Puffins at Jenny's Cove.

Sunday 24 March 2019

22nd to 24th Mar – Cattle Egret: a first for Lundy!

The latest bulletin from Lundy Warden Dean Jones brings news of a much-anticipated 'first' for the island:

Late news for 22nd March

At around 22:00 in the evening the island was briefly enveloped in a spell of low cloud and mist which lowered numerous Redwing on passage north. Frequency of calls was moderate and at times I heard up to 7 birds calling at the same time from various heights across the Village area right across to the Lower Aerogenerator Field. It was hard to quantify the number of birds passing but if I had to estimate I'd say there were at least 100-200. I also heard single Song Thrush and Blackbird calling in the evening murk. After about 25minutes or so the cloud lifted and the calls disappeared. An exciting end to a wonderful day.

23rd March

Another delightful day of migrants on what was a rather chilly and overcast day. Highlights include: the first Curlew of the spring over the Village at first light calling loudly, a single Sand Martin, 5 Pied Wagtails and 2 White Wagtails (also the first of the spring feeding outside the Tavern), 2 Woodpigeon, 4 Wheatear, one of which was in full song and wearing colour-rings on the South West Point, a male Blackcap, 11 Chiffchaff, 6 Goldcrest, 1 Redwing, 10 Goldfinch, 2 Linnet and a number of Manx Shearwater calling from over the Village in the evening.

24th March

A day of beautiful sunshine, excellent visibility and chilly north easterly winds, near perfect weather for a complete wrap around the island's coast. The highlight was undoubtedly the presence of a Cattle Egret, which was hiding from the winds on the south side of Lamentor first thing. This is the first ever Lundy record for this species! Today also provided a few more firsts for the year, including a single House Martin over St Marks, a male Firecrest in the Terrace willows and a stunning male Ring Ouzel near the Old Light.

Lundy's first ever Cattle Egret, Lametor, 24 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

Colour-ringed Wheatear, Old Light Shearwater colony, 24 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

Male Ring Ouzel, Old Light, 24 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

Friday 22 March 2019

20th to 22nd Mar – First Willow Warblers and calling Manx Shearwaters

Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones writes:

"Wednesday and Thursday were both very mucky days with thick fog and mist engulfing the island from dawn to dusk. Unsurprisingly there wasn’t much birding to be had as visibility was really poor, especially Thursday where I struggled to see the Island General Stores from the office window... A few birds did manage to find the island through the murk, however, namely Chiffchaff with a small arrival of 9 on the 20th, (6 on the 21st), Goldfinch (10 on the 21st), a single Sand Martin on the 20th (all from the Millcombe area) and a number of Manx Shearwater which were heard calling from the clag in the late evening.

Today was a much more pleasant affair with warmer temperatures and sunny spells and although the birds lacked the tail winds today, we have had a lovely day of passage.

Birds of note: 2 Peregrines this morning chasing Meadow Pipits through the Helicopter Field (total of 133 today). Additionally there was a beautiful female Sparrowhawk in Millcombe early this morning, 22 Woodpigeon (including a flock of 18 off the East Side), 12 Pied Wagtail (and 5 fly-over alba types), 10 Sand Martin, 1 Swallow, 4 Wheatear (2 males and 2 females), 22 Skylark, 10 Goldcrest, 64 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler in Millcombe (the first of the year), 3 Blackcap on the Terrace (also the first of the year), 1 Song Thrush, 9 Chaffinch, 20 Goldfinch and 2 Linnet."

Tuesday 19 March 2019

3rd to 19th Mar – Puffins ashore in numbers, good pipit passage

Below is a summary of sightings of note covering the period 3rd to 19th March, courtesy of Lundy Warden Dean Jones:

"Unfortunately there weren’t many observations recorded in the logbook whilst I was off the island last week but to be honest I am not really surprised, as akin to elsewhere in the UK Lundy at this time was subjected to the strong winds, thick mist and heavy rain brought forth by Storm Gareth. Thankfully the weather has become much more pleasant now allowing for some nice birdwatching between office work and some notable passage with regards to some species.

Highlights include a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay on a number of dates up until the 16th at least. We also had some small numbers of Red-throated Divers before Storm Gareth hit, with 4 birds on the 4th and 1 on the 6th. Some good numbers of auks have been present along the cliff-sides in the early mornings too, as well some more of the island's breeding gulls (62 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on breeding sites on the 18th). Puffins have been seen periodically throughout this stint, most of which were recorded out on the choppy seas though there were six birds back up on the Jenny’s Cove breeding slope on the 9th and a total of 58 today (19th).

Puffin, Jenny's Cove, 19 Mar 2019 © Chloe Lofthouse

Up on the island itself we’ve been blessed with some nice Meadow Pipit passage over the past two days with 200 recorded moving north on the 17th, 247 on the 18th and 108 on the 19th.

Other notble passage includes a number of Cormorant (singles on the 5th, 17th & 19th), Kestrel (a female on the 18th), Woodpigeon (max 4 on a number of dates), Sand Martin (4 on the 18th), Wheatear (1 on the 17th & 18th), Skylark (max 28 on the 17th), Pied Wagtail (up to 4 recorded on some days), Grey Wagtail (1 on the 19th), Goldcrest (max 4 on the 17th), Reed Bunting (singles on the 8th, 17th and 19th), Redwing (2 on the 18th), Song Thrush (singles on the 16th & 17th) and a scattering of Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Grey Wagtail, Millcombe, 19 Mar 2019 © Dean Jones

And finally, the female Sparrowhawk stayed on the island until the 8th at least."

Report comprised of sightings from Grant Sherman, Siân Cann, Chloë Lofthouse, Zoë Barton and Dean Jones.

Sunday 3 March 2019

26th Feb to 2nd Mar – Change of month, change of weather, change of cast

In addition to the exceptionally early arrival of Puffins previously reported – see photo added to that post below – the following is a round-up of news since the last full update, courtesy of Warden Dean Jones, who writes as Storm Freya is steaming in off the Atlantic and forecast to bring gusts of 70 mph to Lundy:

"With the change in wind direction back to westerlies, on the evening of the 1st, the rafts of Red-throated Diver have now reappeared along the East Coast. Here 15 birds were recorded feeding and preening between the choppy seas yesterday (2nd). 

Prior to this, Lundy was again treated to some lovely warm weather for the majority of this period which brought on a small number of passage birds including Collared Dove (2 on the 27th), Pied Wagtail (8 on the 27th), Goldcrest (between 1 to 5 birds recorded daily), Goldfinch (max 7 on the 27th), Chaffinch (max 5 on the 27th, one of which was singing in Millcombe), Siskin (max 3 on the 27th), Linnet (singles on a number of dates), Reed Bunting (a female on Tibbetts Hill on the 27th) and a Sand Martin over Pondsbury on the 28th.

We’ve also had the first new Chiffchaff of the spring arriving on the 27th to join the long-staying wintering bird who was in full song at the top of Millcombe on the same date.

Furthermore, the Grey Wagtail found on the 25th lingered for another day at least, singles of Song Thrush have been recorded in Millcombe, joined by a single Redwing yesterday. Finally, a Black Redstart was recorded in Jenny’s Cove on the 27th."