About this page...


This page is run by Lundy Bird Observatory (LBO) as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds and wildlife of Lundy, situated 12 miles out in the Bristol Channel, UK. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here. While you're here, check out the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the book of the same name (Davis & Jones, 2007). All bird recording and ringing activities on Lundy are coordinated by LBO and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Saturday, 29 August 2020

27 & 28 Aug – Another 58 shearwaters ringed

Tim Frayling reports on a final two sleep-sapping rounds of ringing shearwaters by night and looking for migrants during daylight hours...

On Thursday (27th) we had a change of team with Bart heading off back home to Cumbria and Mark Worden arriving to help for the last two days of shearwatering. After the rain stopped we had a look around Milcombe and found Pied Flycatcher and Spotted Flycatcher. We opened the nets briefly and caught a Whitethroat and another juvenile Wren. In the evening we headed out to Old Light colony and caught 30 new Manx Shearwaters and 6 retraps.

Pied Flycatcher, Millcombe 27 Aug © Bart Donato

Chiffchaff, Millcombe 27 Aug © Bart Donato

On Friday (28th) we saw a Merlin flying over Millcombe. Other sightings included a Kestrel, 2 Peregrines, and a Dunlin flushed near the Ugly. The final evening had arrived and we started by searching the area south of the main Old Light colony. Only four birds were found, largely due to the moon being visible, so we returned to the main colony. The 'find' rate was slower but got better once the moon had set. It is such a treat to sit on Lundy at night looking at the sky; the orange moon disappearing on the horizon was stunning. We headed home at 03:00hrs feeling absolutely exhausted but with 28 newly ringed shearwaters to show for our efforts. Already looking forward to doing it all again next year!

Fluffy shearwater chick newly ringed, night of 28-29 Aug © Tim Frayling

Manx Shearwater chick nearing fledging, night of 28-29 Aug © Tim Frayling

Looking W from near Old Light shearwater colony, night of 28-29 Aug © Tim Frayling

Thursday, 27 August 2020

26th Aug – Bridled Tern!

Lundy Warden Dean Jones had one of those miraculous birding moments where finding one rare bird led immediately to the discovery of an even rarer bird, in this instance a Bridled Tern! Here's his write-up of an amazing experience.

Whilst saying goodbye to MS Oldenburg and a small number of visitors who were treated to another day on the island due to Storm Francis, I noticed a small flock of rafting Kittiwake offshore along the east side from the Jetty. Then, just before the ship left Lundy’s waters, three Arctic Skuas whipped in together from the north coaxing all the Kittiwakes into the air. Whilst watching the superb aerial displays of two of these birds as they chased Kittiwakes for their crop contents, I noticed a much smaller gull in the midst of the flock. Unfortunately though I couldn’t quite make out the bird's features through my binoculars, so post-shift I made a bee-line to the Ugly with my scope.

Luckily the presence of the Arctic Skuas did not encourage the gull flock to move away from the island, but rather shifted them slightly north of the Landing Bay where they settled again, around 200m out.

Sifting through the flock, I managed to easily pick out the small gull that I had seen from the Jetty – a bird which was seemingly defending a small patch of floating algae from a number of adjacent first-year Kittiwakes. After a minute of trying to pick out all the features of this bird, I was distracted by a brown tern with a dark head immediately next to the gull (which turned out to be an adult Sabine’s Gull!). It was seemingly sat on the water (very rare for terns to do this, which really threw me initially) or at least perched upon another submerged raft of weed.

As soon as I managed to focus in on this bird I knew I was looking at something unusual and quickly began sketching out its features. After 30 seconds or so of watching the bird on the surface – noting its size (slightly smaller than the Sabine’s Gull), brown-grey back and upper-wing feathers edged light brown/buff, giving the bird a scaly appearance, dark hood reaching from the top of the nape to behind the bird's white forehead, and its very long, dark brown-grey primaries – the bird took to the air and flew SE in a steady, purposeful but elegant manner.

In flight the bird sported very long and sharply pointed wings, which gave it a small-headed and bodied look. The bird’s mantle and upper wing again showed a uniform brown-grey with lighter, buff-brown edging to some of the feathers, with no contrast between the mantle and upper-wing coverts. One noticeable feature as the bird flew away was its dark secondary feathers compared to the rest of the upper wing, giving a subtle impression of an inner wing bar. Primaries were only slightly darker than the rest of the wing, but not overly contrasting. The bird’s rump too was a brown-grey, like that of its back and upper wing, again with no obvious contrast, and led to a clearly forked tail (I didn’t note any pale edges to the outer tail feathers). The bird’s nape was an off-grey, giving it a collared appearance. This then led to a dark brown-grey hood (slightly darker than the rest of the bird) which extended to a white forehead. The bill was uniform black. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get good views of the underwing as it was flying away from me, but I could still make out all-white underparts.

As I’ve never seen Bridled Tern before, I quickly returned home to consult various ID guides and online articles – but only after enjoying the Sabine’s Gull for a short while longer. Comparing my notes to relevant sources, the white underparts, throat and face ruled out the possibility of juvenile Sooty Tern, while the noticeably forked tailed, uniform brown-grey upperparts, size, jizz and flight ruled out any possible marsh tern species.

If accepted, this will be the second record of Bridled Tern for Lundy (and Devon) following the discovery of the remains of a second-calendar year bird found on the island in 1977.

THERE WAS NO FURTHER SIGN OF THE BIRD YESTERDAY (26TH AUGUST) OR SO FAR TODAY.  PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE LUNDY SHORE OFFICE FOR NEWS.  FOR ANY FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT THE WARDEN.

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ANYONE WISHING TO VISIT THE ISLAND:

The island's passenger vessel has a limited capacity due to current Covid-19 restrictions.

If visiting Lundy, face masks must be worn at all times when visiting the island's General Stores or entering the Marisco Tavern.  

Many thanks to everyone for your understanding and cooperation. 

 

26th Aug – Stormies at North Light

Tim Frayling reports on a quiet day that ended stupendously...

We woke up this morning to find Millcombe very quiet. Mist-netting only produced a Robin, a recently fledged Wren, a Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. Bart went sea-watching and saw a number of tern species too far out to identify with certainty. Whilst looking through a large group of Kittiwakes, one bird stood out as different, and when it took off it was clear it was an adult Sabine’s Gull. When we met up with Warden Dean later, he too had seen the Sabine’s (Lundy's fifth and the first since 10th September 1997).

The main event we had been looking forward to had arrived: a visit to North End to try to catch Storm Petrels. Dean picked us up after 20:00hrs, together with volunteers Sophia, Ben, Matt and Jo. We set a single 12m mist-net and, just a few minutes later, aided by our night-vision scope, we could see we had already caught our first bird at 21:30hrs. Without the aid of a tape lure, we caught a steady flow of birds until around midnight when the catch rate slowed, at which point we put on a tape lure for 30 minutes. The final total was 50 Storm Petrels (30 newly ringed birds and 20 retraps, excluding same-night retraps).

As there was a large team, we also managed to pick up 12 Manx Shearwaters in the vicinity, and together with two caught in the mist-net we added 14 Manxies to our totals.

What an absolute pleasure to spend an evening in such an awesome place and in the company of lovely people and some very special birds.


Dusk settles over North End, 26 Aug © Tim Frayling
North Light glimmers in the darkening sky, 26 Aug © Tim Frayling
One of 50 Storm Petrels caught at North Light, 26 Aug © Tim Frayling

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

24th & 25th Aug – Breath-taking winds, more shearwaters and a wary wader

Tim Frayling updates us on days two and three of his and Bart's week on Lundy in search of Manx Shearwaters and other birds...

Bart woke early on Monday (24th) to check if any migrants had arrived overnight and found 10 Spotted Flycatchers along with 20 Willow Warblers and a Blackcap in Millcombe. After hearing a Dunlin calling in Barton Field in the morning, he was rewarded with great views of the bird in the afternoon.

Dunlin, Barton Field, 24 Aug © Bart Donato

After lunch we set three mist-nets in Millcombe and had them open for an hour, catching four Willow Warblers, a Blackcap, a Robin and a juvenile Goldfinch. By mid-evening it had started raining but, undeterred, we went out knowing we would have to stop once the heavy rain forecast for midnight onwards arrived. We headed off to Pilot’s Quay and between 22:20hrs and 23:20hrs caught nine Manx Shearwaters (3 juveniles and 6 adults) including a retrapped bird.

Seeing the lights on in the Tavern on our way back, we went in and were told by staff that there was a shearwater by the church, and so the 10th bird was ringed and taken to the coast to be released.

On Tuesday (25th) we woke to really strong winds. We saw a few Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Spotted Flycatchers tucked into the vegetation, and a steady stream of Gannets out at sea. Other notable sightings were a Kestrel below the Ugly and a male Stonechat on the road up from the Landing Bay. A walk along the East Side didn’t turn up much apart from another Stonechat near the Quarries, and several Swallows and House Martins flying low over the sidelands. Cutting across the top of the island to check out the West Side, the wind was literally breath-taking, and it was impossible to stand up. So instead we decided to go shearwatering on the east coast that evening.

The view from Tibbetts, 25 Aug © Tim Frayling

A wild West Side at Jenny's Cove, 25 Aug © Tim Frayling

With a longer walk to take, we headed off towards the slopes near Tibbetts just after 21:00hrs. Along the way, as it got darker, Bart picked out a wader in the thermal scope. We gradually got closer and, catching the bird in the torch beam, saw it was a Ringed Plover. Still relatively early in the evening, we decided to head back to base to get the B+ rings needed to ring it. However, as we got within a metre of the bird it decided to fly off!

We continued on to Tibbetts in the wind and were relieved to find it was relatively calm on the slopes. Searching for birds in the waist-high bracken was pretty tough going but we managed to catch another 26 new birds – 13 adult shearwaters and 13 juveniles. At around 04:00 hrs we decided to call it a night and head back. En route we came across the Ringed Plover again – and once more it evaded us!

Bart amongst the bracken with a Manx Shearwater at Tibbetts, 25 Aug © Tim Frayling

Monday, 24 August 2020

23rd Aug – In search of shearwaters

Tim Frayling writes that he and fellow Natural England colleague Bart Donato arrived on the island on Sunday (23rd August) looking forward to a few days of helping with the effort of ringing Manx Shearwaters.

“With MS Oldenburg being cancelled the day before, I have to say I was dreading a rough crossing, but happily it was much calmer than expected. Nothing unusual on the bird front from the boat but always nice to see Storm Petrels and Manx Shearwaters at sea. What was very exciting was seeing an Ocean Sunfish – my first sighting for several years.

The crew on board the Oldenburg were fantastic and I felt very safe with all the Covid-19 measures in place. We were all given complimentary tea and coffee. On the island, after checking in and saying hello to Warden Dean, we went to look around and check out the slopes we planned to visit after dark. On the recce we saw a Grey Heron and flushed a Snipe along the way near Old Light. Just a few migrants around in Millcombe: a Spotted Flycatcher, together with a few Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

That night we headed out at 22:30hrs full of excitement and an aim of ringing 20 birds. Due to first-night enthusiasm we not only reached our target but went on to 30 then 40 birds. At 04:30hrs we decided to call it a night, only to find a juvenile bird sitting in the village just metres from our door! So we ringed our 41st shearwater and took it to a safe place to release near the coast, which meant finally turning in after 05:00hrs.”

More from Tim in the coming days…

Thursday, 13 August 2020

7th to 11th Aug – First Pied Flycatcher & Tree Pipit of autumn; Lundy's 7th Great Crested Grebe

Whilst Warden Dean Jones takes a well-deserved short break, Tim Jones and Tim Davis report on the latest avian comings and goings and other recent wildlife sightings. 

The weather during this period has been largely settled and quiet, with light winds, plenty of sunshine and often balmy temperatures, both day and night. Sea fog resulted in murky mornings on both 8th and 11th, but soon gave way to warm sunshine. The exception to the generally fine conditions was the morning of 10th, when spectacular thunder and lightning storms rolled around the island for several hours, though actual rainfall amounts were small.

Sunrise over the Landing Bay, 9 Aug © Tim Jones

And a few minutes later from Millcombe, 9 Aug © Tim Jones
 

Sea fog burning off, Millcombe, 11 Aug © Tim Jones
  

Star bird of the period was a migrant Great Crested Grebe that stopped off in the Landing Bay close to Rat Island, where it was seen from the Jetty and Obsession II on the afternoon of the 7th. This is only the 7th record for the island, with the most recent previous occurrences being in Feb 2017 and Sep 2003.

Record shot of Great Crested Grebe, Landing Bay, 7 Aug © Jamie Dunning

Among the island's breeding birds, recently fledged later broods of Blackbirds, Wrens, Goldfinches and Linnets are still being fed by adults, whilst a familiar plaintive call coming repeatedly from dense cover near Quarter Wall on 11th was welcome proof that Water Rails have bred successfully in 2020. Increasingly fat – though still grey and fluffy – Fulmar chicks continue to occupy the ledges at Gannets' Rock, Jenny's Cove and elsewhere, and creches of juvenile Shags gather on rocks close to the water's edge eagerly awaiting the next delivery of food from their harassed parents.

The variety of autumn migrants passing through the island has continued to grow, with observations for the 9th, for example, including a stunning adult male Common Scoter below North Light, a flock of 12 Swift flying high to the south over Castle Hill in the morning, a Turnstone at North Light, a Grey Heron at Pondsbury, 6 Sand Martin, 7 Swallow, a House Martin, 8 Willow Warbler, a Chiffchaff, 3 Sedge Warbler, 4 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Pied Flycatcher, a Whinchat, 36 Wheatear and 4 Tree Pipit. Other notable records during the period included a female Teal with two small ducklings on Pondsbury; single, calling, flyover Golden Plover (9th), Ringed Plover (8th) and Greenshank (11th); a ‘feeding frenzy’ of 190 Gannet off the East Side on 8th; a southbound flock of eight Cormorant over the Castle on 10th; the same or another Pied Flycatcher on 10th, and a continuing daily passage of small numbers of Willow Warblers, many feeding avidly around the insect-laden flowerheads of Angelica in Millcombe and St John’s Valley.

Stunning metallic Rosechafer beetle on Angelica flowerhead, near Brambles, 8 Aug © Tim Davis

Storm Petrel ringing near North Light in near-perfect conditions on the night of 10th & 11th resulted in the trapping of 23 different individuals in a single 40’ mist-net (without the use of a tape lure), of which 18 were new, four had been ringed on Lundy in 2018 (two individuals), 2019 (one) and earlier this year (one), and one had been ringed elsewhere (details to follow, once received from the British Trust for Ornithology – BTO). Also ringed were an adult Manx Shearwater caught in the petrel net and a fat, fluffy, but very well-grown Manx Shearwater chick sitting outside its burrow. A memorable night graced by a stunning sunset and moonrise, sheets of stars, frequent meteorites and a spectacular lightning show in the distance, further up the Bristol Channel.

Setting the Storm Petrel net at sunset, North Light, 10 Aug © Tim Jones

This shearwater chick should be in the South Atlantic in a few weeks' time! 11 Aug © Tim Davis


Non-avian news

The Landing Bay area produced a crop of marine wildlife sightings on the 7th, including a pod of 12 Common Dolphins, an estimated 800 Spider Crabs, as well as Compass Jellyfish and Comb Jellies.

Butterflies have been out in abundance during the often very warm, still and sunny conditions, with second-generation Common Blue, Small Copper and Small Heath now on the wing, joining large numbers of Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and whites, alongside a smattering of Gatekeeper, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock. Oak Eggar moths have been very noticeable, a blur of brown and ochre as they zig-zag wildly over the sunny sidelands. Other day-flying moths have included good numbers of Silver Ys and a single Hummingbird Hawk-moth feeding on Red Valerian in Millcombe's Walled Gardens.

The Millcombe Heath trap produced 65 moths of 27 species overnight on the 9th/10th, including Rosy, Dingy and Common Footman, Antler Moth, Crescent Dart, Lackey, Rosy Rustic, Flounced Rustic, Gold Spot, the dark form of Lesser Yellow Underwing that is unique to Lundy and Scilly, and a spectacular Garden Tiger, that went down a storm with some of Lundy’s younger visitors.

The Millcombe Heath trap in action, 10 Aug © Tim Jones
 

Garden Tiger moth trapped in Millcombe, 10 Aug © Tim Jones
 

Finally, both Emperor and Migrant Hawker dragonflies have been on the wing, alongside small numbers of Blue-tailed and Common Blue Damselflies.

Compiled from sightings by Tim Davis, Chris Dee, Mandy Dee, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Tim Jones and Rob Waterfield.

 

The massed blooms of hawkbits, South West Field, 10 Aug © Tim Davis
 

Thursday, 6 August 2020

1st to 6th Aug – Yellow-legged Gull arrival; first mixed fall of autumn migrants

It has been another mixed bag of weather this week, which started with glorious sunshine, high temperatures and gentle winds for the most part, up until the 3rd. Come the afternoon of the 4th, however, things turned rather foul, with the winds picking up to near gale-force by 13:00, bringing with them bouts of rain (particularly on the 5th) and some very poor visibility due to prolonged periods of low cloud and mist. Luckily, things seem to be turning the other way again, with barely a breath of wind this morning (6th) – though the muggy, misty conditions have lingered into the mid-afternoon.

A glorious settled day along the East Side, 3 Aug © Dean Jones

This week, the title of star bird(s) goes to three juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls that arrived on the back of the south-west storms on the 5th. The first of these appeared at the end of a delightful morning’s seawatch from the Ugly. Here, the gull was initially seen swooping close into the east coast, from the north, then hanging in the stiff south-westerly over Rat Island for a few minutes – providing great views – before it disappeared around the South End with a number of juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The other two Yellow-leggeds, again both juveniles, were seen moving along the west coast by Jamie Dunning during an evening seawatch. If accepted, these will be the third, fourth and fifth records for the island.  

Other sightings of note included a Great Skua past Rat Island on the 1st, a single Storm Petrel foraging in the southern races on the 5th, accompanied by some good numbers of Manx Shearwater (2,677 flying west in two hours of observations). Additionally, singles of Grey Heron were logged on the 2nd and 4th, single fly-over Ringed Plovers were seen or heard over the south of the island on the 1st & 6th, two Whimbrel flew along the West Side on the 5th, an adult Black-headed Gull was offshore from Rat Island on the 4th, and lone Puffins were seen out at sea on the 1st and 5th.

Single figures of Willow Warbler have been logged this week on three dates, though come the morning of the 6th it was obvious there had been a small fall, with 55 birds present in Millcombe and along the east coast first thing and a conservative estimate of 110 for the day by the time other parts of the island had been covered. This arrival was accompanied by 23 Sedge Warbler and 8 Spotted Flycatcher, though the first southbound 'Spot Fly' of the year had been logged a couple of days earlier, a single bird on the 4th. Accompanying the grounded migrants on the 6th was a single Swift overhead. A notable feeding flock of 90 Linnet was around Threequarter Wall on the 2nd.

One of the Willow Warblers logged this week, fueling up on aphids outside Paradise Row, 3 Aug © Dean Jones

The first southbound Spotted Flycatcher of the year, Barton Field, 4 Aug © Dean Jones


Moths & butterflies

The obvious lepidopteran highlight of the week was the first Convolvulus Hawk-moth of the year, which turned up in a basket full of shopping left outside the General Stores on the 1st (giving the deliverer, Richard Goodman quite the fright)!

Other highlights included yet another new record for the island, the micromoth Celypha striana which was trapped in the Millcombe Heath trap on the 4th, as well as the first Magpie, Oak Eggar and Double Line moths of the year – the latter of which is a nationally scarce species in the UK.

This beautiful Oak Eggar was a highlight of this week's moth trapping, 4 Aug © Dean Jones


Marine mammals

Marine mammals once again put on a great show this week. Sightings included a small pod of seven Common Dolphin offshore from St Mark's Stone on the 2nd and a super-pod of 50 animals offshore from the Landing Bay on the 4th – a group including a very young calf that couldn’t have been more than a few months old! Finally, up to six Harbour Porpoise were recorded on two dates – all from the southern races – and 189 Atlantic Grey Seals were hauled out along the east coast on the 4th – the highest count so far this year.

189 Grey Seals were along the east coast on 4th – here a small portion of those at Mousehole & Trap © Dean Jones

Report composed of sightings from Jamie Dunning, Richard Goodman, Dean Jones and Sophia Upton.

Saturday, 1 August 2020

20th to 31st Jul – Melodious Warbler and Thresher Shark top the bill

Herewith the latest instalment from Lundy Warden Dean Woodfin Jones, covering the last 12 days of July and detailing a mouthwatering series of wildlife highlights, from marine mammals to scarce migrant birds and new moth species for the island.

Breeding Atlantic Grey Seals are hauling out en masse, migrant birds destined for the warmer winter climes of Africa are trickling through the island more and more each day, the island's Starlings are currently wheeling around the Village in a single flock of up to 100 birds and the bracken up on the plateau is now starting to wilt and brown. As we approach the busy month of August, signs of early autumn are now starting to show their face.

Weather-wise, the period started off gloriously with two days of beautiful sunshine, a slight northerly wind and comfortable temperatures of up to 18C. Unfortunately, the wind then picked up from the west, bringing with it prolonged periods of low cloud, fog, drizzle and the occasional downpour. On the 27th the weather became truly wild, with gale-force westerlies peaking at 47mph battering the island for much of the day. Come the following day, however, the sun made a delightful comeback, the winds subsided and temperatures rose (peak 23C on the 30th) – conditions which have pretty much continued up until present.

The gorgeous weather returns – a perfect sunrise from Millcombe, 29 Jul © Dean Jones

Blue skies, crystal-clear waters and temperatures of 23C
– the perfect weather for a day-trip to Lundy, 30 Jul © Dean Jones


It has been another superb period for marine wildlife sightings, with multiple pods of Common Dolphin being logged from Lundy’s shores on three dates, including three separate pods totalling 50 animals on the 21st. Other highlights included two Minke Whale on the 30th, which were seen travelling in tandem from MS Oldenburg as she approached Bull Point, and the first Atlantic Grey Seal pups of the year are starting to arrive around the coast too, though the first was unfortunately found dead offshore from the South End on the 22nd.   

Although seeing dolphin and fluffy, 'whitecoat' seal pups from the island on any given day is a treat, it was a fish that has topped the list of marine highlights during this period. On the evening of the 21st, whilst checking in on the Puffin productivity plot in Jenny’s Cove, attention was diverted offshore to a pod of Common Dolphin around 20 animals strong. Whilst watching these animals chasing shoals of fish with numerous plunging Gannet in tow, a huge splash caught the eye of myself and Zoë Barton. Luckily, we both managed to train our optics just in time to see a Thresher Shark leap completely out of the water about 20m west of the dolphin pod. We could barely believe our eyes! The fish then fully breached another two times, allowing us to get clear views of its bizarre, elongated upper caudal fin before it disappeared back into the blue – a magical end to what was another superb day on Lundy.  

On a slightly different marine-related note, Lundy’s cliffs are now devoid of Razorbills and all but a small handful of late-breeding Guillemots and Puffins are still tending to chicks in one or two parts of the island.

All but a handful of Guillemot chicks have yet to jump at Aztec Bay, 26 Jul © Dean Jones

Additionally, another eight Kittiwake nests have successfully fledged young since the last blog post. If the rest manage to avoid the hungry Lesser and Great Black-backed Gulls, they too should fledge in the next week or so, give or take a few younger chicks from late/replacement broods – fingers crossed!

Kittiwake fledglings exploring their new world, Aztec Bay, 26 Jul © Dean Jones

This Great Black-backed Gull did not look impressed with the antics of nearby Shags,
27 Jul © Dean Jones


The numbers of portly Fulmar chicks at Gannets' Rock has now increased from 12 to 15 as of the 28th, and the post-breeding rafts of Shag are now starting to form around the island, with a gathering of 71 birds noted offshore from the Quarries on the 22nd.  

Continuing with the birds, the island has also been blessed with some nice late-summer migration throughout this period, with the obvious highlight being a gorgeous first-year Melodious Warbler which was caught and ringed in Millcombe on the 31st – the 33rd Melodious Warbler to be ringed on Lundy. What a bird!

Would you look at the bill on that! Melodious Warbler, Millcombe, 31 Jul © Dean Jones

Other avian sightings of note included a few southbound waders like Green Sandpiper on the 20th and 30th, two Redshank that were on Rat Island on the 29th, singles of Whimbrel logged on the 19th and 29th, a lone Curlew on the 22nd and 23rd, and a summer-plumaged Dunlin on the 19th.

Furthermore, singles of Cuckoo were logged on the 19th and the 23rd, a Collared Dove on the 20th and 21st, up to four Grey Heron on nine days, and small numbers of passage Swift (max 28 on the 21st), Swallow, Sand and House Martin on a number of dates. Additionally, the first southbound Sedge Warbler was seen at Quarters Pond on the 21st, followed by another lone bird on the 26th and two on the morning of the 29th (caught and ringed).  

Willow Warbler have also been passing through each day since the last post with a max of 45 birds present in Millcombe, the Village and the East Coast on the 22nd. A single Storm Petrel was seen passing Rat Island on the 25th and two Mediterranean Gulls – a juvenile in the Landing Bay on the 27th and an adult flying west past Rat Island on the 28th – have also been logged.

And the winner of cutest bird of 2020 goes to... this Chiffchaff fledgling! 20 Jul, © Dean Jones

Second broods of Meadow Pipit fledglings have also taken to the wing over the past week
– this one pictured in Millcombe © Dean Jones


Raven at Barton Field trying to keep cool in the hot mid-day sun, 30 Jul © Dean Jones

Butterflies and moths  

Thirteen different species of butterfly have been recorded within this period, highlights including second-generation Small Copper and Holly Blue (male) – both single insects found on the 21st.

This period has also seen an increase in the number of Five-spot Burnet (max 25 on the 19th) and Six-spot Burnet (max 100 on the 22nd) moths across the island, as well as the arrival of a few Hummingbird Hawk-moths – one on the 21st and two 22nd.

Copulating Six-spot Burnets, Middle Park, Jul 2020 © Dean Jones

Small numbers of other moths have been turning up in the Millcombe Heath trap too. 72 species have been caught since the last post, two of which were new records for the island! Namely a Dot Moth (Melanchra persicariae) which was caught on the 26th and a Yponomeuta species (a group of micromoths of which some can only be identified to species level by finding their larvae on the particular foodplant(s) used by the individual species) caught on the 30th.  

Dot moth Melanchra persicariae – a new record for Lundy, 26 Jul © Dean Jones

Yponomeuta species – a genus of moths new to Lundy, Millcombe, 30 Jul © Dean Jones

Other than these very welcome additions to the Lundy moth list, the Millcombe Heath trap has also produced the first Twenty-plume Moth, Dingy Footman, Rosy Footman, Antler, Least Underwing and Blastobasis adustella of the year.  

Rosy Footman Miltochrista miniata added a splash of colour to the moth trap on 23 Jul
© Dean Jones


Other moths are less colourful but equally impressive, like this superbly camflouged
Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata, 23 Jul © Dean Jones


And that's not all! Keen-eyed Sam Bosanquet, who spent six days on the island searching for and identifying numerous bryophytes, diptera and moths (and everything else for that matter), also managed to find three more new micromoths for the Lundy list, as well as a number of others that haven’t been recorded for more than a decade. The new species included Parornix anglicella and Stigmella hybnerella, both identified from leaf mines on Hawthorn in Millcombe, as well as a Cnephasia tortrix species at John O’Groats (species-level identification to be confirmed). Very well done Sam!

A glorious, soothing sunset, post-Thresher Shark excitement! 21 Jul © Dean Jones

Report composed of sightings from: Zoë Barton, Sam Bosanquet, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Derek Green, Peter Hayes, Dean Jones, Kevin Waterfall and Mark & Julia Webber.