About this page...

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, 23 December 2019

5th to 22nd Dec 2019

The darkest day of the year has come and gone and Lundy is now very much enveloped in a mid-winter embrace.

A squall passing overhead © Dean Jones
Weather wise, it has been another mixed bag but has mostly been wet and windy, give or take a few settled, milder afternoons. In fact so much rain has fallen on the island this month that we have already surpassed the mean total rainfall for December (1971–2018), which has resulted in the island’s shallow soils – particularly on the plateau – becoming absolutely saturated, creating small pools and ponds all over the island and miniature flowing burns along coastal paths. 

Acklands Moor Marsh too has continued to swell, spreading out to areas on both sides of High Street Field wall (to the delight of the gulls), so much so that it is now contending for the title of largest body of freshwater on the island (look out Pondsbury)! 

Ackland's Moor Marsh – all we need now is a visitng Spoonbill from
the nearby Isley Marsh © Dean Jones
But despite the frequent squalls creating less than perfect conditions for birding (it is hard to sneak up on the wary gulls in Brick Field due to the noisy squelches from leaky welly boots), the rain clouds and the afternoon light have provided some beautiful wintery skyscapes at times, complete with breath-taking, technicoloured rainbows on one or two special days. 

Whilst out on my soggy adventures - unsurprisingly being winter - it is noticeably quieter on the island bird wise. Though saying that; there are still some wondrous winter encounters to be had for those willing to venture out in the cold.

Like the numerous conspicuous Rock Pipits which have moved up from their seaside settings to feed between the livestock up and around the farm fields. Flocks of Herring Gull and Carrion Crow have now banded together to chase the Farmer each morning as he lays down feed for the sheep. Up to six dapper drake Teal have been busy pulling out all the moves to an audience of 12 ducks on Pondsbury – spring is already in the air for some! Guillemots have too been periodically gracing their guano enriched podiums, particularly at Long Roost. Then out at sea, we’ve had flocks of feeding Kittiwake, small numbers of Harbour Porpoise, a very late Manx Shearwater (one past the North Lighthouse on the 22nd) and a delightful Great Northern Diver most days - patrolling the shallows of the Landing Bay in hope for a hearty catch.

Other than these, there has been a very small number of Chaffinch present, mostly around the Millcombe area, as well as a pair of Goldfinch which have been frequenting Sue’s feeder - adding a welcome splash of colour to the dreary winter days.

Fieldfare, Redwing and Song Thrush are still trickling through too in small numbers, stopping over briefly in Barton’s Field to probe the damp in fields for juicy Oligochaetes to fuel their remaining journeys south.
Singles of Goldcrest have also been reported on a number of days, somehow finding enough food to sustain their energetic lifestyles in the skeleton canopies in Millcombe and Quarterwall copse. Oh, and the odd Meadow Pipit and up to five Skylark have also been reported on days, hiding out in the lee of towering tussocks further up the island. 

Rudolf the red-breasted Robin - carolling away in Millcombe Valley © Dean Jones
With the holidays just around the corner I would once again like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everyone who visited Lundy this year as well as all those who have contributed sightings to the Lundy Field Society Logbook and the Lundy Birds Blog. It has been a truly spectacular year of birds, birders and happy times.
A very Merry Christmas to you all!

All the very best, Dean Woodfin Jones

P.S. On 23rd Dec there was a first-winter Iceland Gull this morning and 3 Great Northern Divers in the Landing Bay!

Record shot of first-winter Iceland Gull © Dean Jones 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for all the posts it is great to enjoy Lundy even when we are not there.