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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.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Additional post for 1st to 11th May – Windy, cold, wet, but sunny too... all the ingredients for another 'whatever next!' time on Lundy

Former island resident and long-time Lundy aficionado Richard Campey reflects on another stay on his favourite island.

An eleven-day break on Lundy (hopping between the Radio Room and The Vestry) was a real treat post-lockdown and I was hugely excited as I packed my optics and camera equipment before the long drive from my home in Norfolk to North Devon. What followed was quite a challenging stay, given a force 10 storm (which blew the island's tepee out of the Beer Garden!) and, actually worse, a force 8 gale with rain and fog. Thankfully, however, there were some sunny days and some good migration to enjoy, including 3,500 Swallows and 1,500 House Martins on one memorable day. Combined with the arrival of Spotted Flycatchers, Pied Flycatcher, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats, Grasshopper Warblers, Blackcaps and Garden Warblers, some days in Millcombe were alive with sightings and songs. Of course, with the ever changing conditions, the next day would be windy and cold, a stiff north-easterly blowing straight into Millcombe, meaning little in the way of birds to see or hear! Such is the nature of island birding – but I wouldn't change a thing as you never know what awaits you around the next corner.

Below are some of my image captures from my latest Lundy adventure
 
A recently-ringed female Blackcap in Millcombe, 1 May
A glossy male Starling in full song, 1 May
... here another male about to feed a hungry offspring, 9 May
A Sika Deer with attendant Starlings on the Airfield, 2 May
One of three Whimbrels in Tent Field ...
... and in flight, 2 May
A Whitethroat feeding along a path in Millcombe Wood, 2 May
One of two Lesser Redpolls feeding in Barton Field, 3 May
A wet Wheatear after a bath at Rocket Pole, 4 May
A Pied Flycatcher rests a while on a Barton Field fenceline, 6 May
A Dunlin in a wet flash on South West Field, 9 May
One of two Garden Warblers feeding together in Smelly Gully, 10 May
Stealth was needed to get this shot of an immature Peregrine near VC Quarry, 10 May
A Manx Shearwater captured over the waves during the return crossing on MS Oldenburg, 11 May

All images © Richard Campey.
 

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

8th to 17th May — Golden Orioles light up a chilly and damp mid-May

The middle of May saw migrants and breeding birds alike struggling at times in unseasonably cool and sometimes very wet and windy weather (following an extremely dry April), though a few calmer, sunnier days brought pulses of late migration – including some exotic arrivals from the south – and better feeding conditions. So, grab a coffee, sit down and enjoy Lundy Warden Dean Jones's bumper round-up of all the latest news...
 
Saturday 8th May 
 
A very wet day with periods of heavy rain and low cloud throughout. Winds strong and from the south-east first thing, turning northerly by the mid-morning. Max temperature 12°C.
 
The bad weather – which led to cancellation of all transportation to/from the island for the day – made for really difficult birding, and whilst out on the usual morning census it was obvious that the birds were finding it difficult too. The heavy downpours grounded a small number of migrants, including a single Spotted Flycatcher and a small number of Swallows, Sand and House Martins in the unusual location of the Landing Bay beach. Sadly, the persistently cool and unsettled weather during the following week meant that passage Swallows, in particular, were struggling to find sufficient food and a number were found dead in the gas store and Casbah (outbuildings in Millcombe), on several dates, whilst others were seen perching weakly on bramble stems or sitting in the middle of paths, clearly in a parlous state.
 
A Lesser Whitethroat was seen briefly along the Beach Road, and a Swift – which had been grounded next to Government House, though happily still in good health – was taken into care for release post-deluge.

The undoubted highlight of the day, however, was the occurrence of an Osprey above Quarry Beach in the afternoon. Initially picked up by the squawks and cries of numerous gulls and Carrion Crows, and with a Peregrine in tow, the bird quickly flew towards the safety of Quarry Beach before heading back out to sea (into a thick drizzle) after a close run-in with the Warden on Quarry Beach path!
 
Distant record shot of the Osprey with some of its gull & corvid retinue, Quarry Beach, 8 May © Dean Jones

Other birds of note included singles of Whimbrel and Merlin, nine Woodpigeons, three Collared Doves in Millcombe, two Whitethroats and two Chiffchaffs.

Sunday 9th May
 
Overcast in the morning, becoming brighter by the afternoon — a stiff northerly wind first thing switched to the south-west come late morning. Max temperature 13°C.
 
Highlights included a Cuckoo, seen by multiple observers as it made its way between St Helen’s Combe and St John’s Valley, a female Black Redstart in VC Quarry, a Lesser Whitethroat in St Helen's Copse, and a total of seven Spotted Flycatchers scattered along the east and in Millcombe. The Swift taken into care due to the previous day’s wet weather was checked over and released in the early morning. Overall, the bird was in great health, sporting a good weight, and it flew off strongly from St John’s Valley, which was a huge relief. What an incredible privilege it was to see this master of the skies up close!
 
The rescued Swift, just before release in St John's Valley, 9 May © Dean Jones

Other birds of note included two Teal, two Swift, nine Woodpigeon, three Collared Dove, a Golden Plover, two each of Whimbrel and Dunlin, 44 Gannet offshore, four Sand Martin, 350 Swallow, 55 House Martin, 12 Willow Warbler, seven Chiffchaff, four Sedge Warbler, 11 Blackcap, four Garden Warbler, three Whitethroat, the male Song Thrush in Millcombe, four Stonechat, a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, 54 Linnet and 13 Goldfinch.

Monday 10th May 
 
Mostly cloudy with a stiff northerly first thing – dropping off and brightening up by the late morning. Max temperature 13°C.
 
Turkey oaks and alders bursting into leaf, Quarter Wall Copse, 10 May © Tim Jones

Highlights included a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay in the early evening, at least 10 Spotted Flycatcher scattered around the island and two Lesser Whitethroat in Millcombe and along the east.
 
One of the ten Spotted Flycatchers, this one looking for a meal in Millcombe, 10 May © Dean Jones

The best of the rest included a Swift over Quarter Wall Copse, a Stock Dove in upper Millcombe, 37 Oystercatcher (including a roosting flock of 23 birds at Threequarter Wall Bay), two Whimbrel, a Dunlin in South West Field, c100 Manx Shearwater offshore, a male Kestrel, just one Sand Martin, 100 Swallow, 10 House Martin, three Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, four Sedge Warbler, 13 Blackcap, three Garden Warbler, two Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush, six Stonechat, a White Wagtail by North Quarry, a fly-over Tree Pipit, two Chaffinch, 69 Linnet, 13 Goldfinch and singles of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin.
 
Garden Warbler feeding in Battlements sycamores, 10 May © Tim Jones

Tuesday 11th May
 
A mostly overcast day, though a bright start with light south-westerlies first thing, turning easterly by the afternoon – brief light showers at 15:00 hrs. Max temperature 12°C.
 
The Big Sky... view south-west along the Cornish mainland from South End, 11 May © Tim Jones

The day started off brilliantly with a sub-adult Golden Oriole calling and singing in Millcombe Valley. As with most Golden Orioles on Lundy, the bird was very elusive – providing only brief views, mostly in flight, as it made its way through the canopy at the top of the Valley (with an angry Song Thrush in tow at one point). As more birders arrived in hope of a glimpse, it soon became apparent that there were in fact two birds in the Valley, with views of both a bright yellow bird and the greenish sub-adult found earlier. This is the fourth consecutive year that Golden Oriole has occurred on Lundy, with these two birds being the 15th and 16th individuals to be found on the island in the last ten years!

Other sightings of note included a Swift, five Woodpigeon, the South West Field Dunlin, nine Sand Martin, 310 Swallow, 20 House Martin, three Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, seven Sedge Warbler, six Blackcap, singles of Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat, three Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush, nine Spotted Flycatcher, a Pied Wagtail collecting nest material in Barton Field, a fly-over Tree Pipit at the water tanks, four Chaffinch, 28 Linnet, seven Goldfinch and singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
This migrant Dunlin spent several days re-fuelling in South West Field, 11 May © Tim Jones
 
Meadow Pipit, St John's crossroads, 11 May © Tim Jones

Wednesday 12th May
 
Overcast with moderate northerlies in the morning, brightening up and wind dropping off by the afternoon — rain in the late afternoon/evening. Max temperature 12°C.

Highlights included the greenish sub-adult Golden Oriole again in Millcombe first thing, the first Grey Heron of the year along the east coast (being harried by gulls and corvids) and at Pondsbury, and a male Cuckoo in song at the Castle in the morning.   
 
Other birds logged were a Swift, four Woodpigeon, two Collared Dove, a Water Rail calling from Smelly Gully, two Golden Plover (including a stunning male ‘northern’ altifrons raced bird), seven Whimbrel, a single Snipe flushed above North Lighthouse, 245 Kittiwakes building nests along the west coast, 70 Puffin, a young male Peregrine near Threequarter Wall, 30 Skylark, five Sand Martin, 200 Swallow, 30 House Martin, a single Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, two Sedge Warbler, a Reed Warbler at Quarter Wall Pond, six Blackcap, two Whitethroat, 16 Blackbird, the Millcombe Song Thrush, four Spotted Flycatcher, two Stonechat, 48 Wheatear, a female Yellow Wagtail and a White Wagtail both in Brick Field, 76 Meadow Pipit, three Chaffinch, 70 Linnet, 19 Goldfinch and one each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
The stunning breeding-plumaged, northern-race Golden Plover in Barton Field, 12 May © Tim Jones
 
Non-avian sightings included the first Small Copper butterfly of the year and a Black Rabbit below Constable Rock.
 
The first Small Copper of 2021 basking near Quarry Cottages, 12 May © Tim Jones

Black Rabbit below Constable Rock, North End, 12 May © Tim Jones

Thursday 13th May
 
A chilly and overcast start, becoming warmer and brighter as the day went on — light north-easterly/northerly winds throughout. Max temperature 12°C.
 
Highlights included the Golden Oriole for his third day in Millcombe.
 
Colour-ringed male Wheatear (green over yellow R, stripe over metal L), South End, 13 May
Tony Taylor advises that this bird was originally ringed on Lundy in 2018 © Tim Jones

 
Other sightings of note included six Woodpigeon, one Collared Dove, a singing Water Rail near Quarter Wall, four Golden Plover in South West Field, a single Whimbrel, the South West Field Dunlin, a female Kestrel, just 22 Swallow, 12 House Martin, two Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, four Sedge Warbler, six Blackcap, three Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush, a single Spotted Flycatcher, 50 Wheatear (including four colour-ringed birds along the South End and in South West Field), a female Yellow Wagtail in Barton Field, 45 Linnet, eight Goldfinch, a Greenfinch in Millcombe (the first of the year), a male and female Siskin and a lone Lesser Redpoll.  
 
Friday 14th May
 
A grey and drizzly start and end to the day, cloudy with sunny spells in-between — light northerlies in the morning swinging south by the evening. Max temperature 12°C.
 
Highlights included Golden Oriole again in Millcombe, a Wood Warbler on the edge of Quarter Wall Copse (the first of the year), a female Cuckoo being mobbed by Meadow Pipits between the Terrace and Quarter Wall Copse, and a female Whinchat near Threequarter Wall.
 
On a cool, damp morning the Wood Warbler at Quarter Wall Copse was feeding at ground-level,
working its way gradually north along the sidelands, 14 May © Tim Jones


The orioles were typically shy & elusive... 14 May © Tim Jones


These very distant record shots are of the obvious sub-adult, feeding in upper Millcombe,
but photographed from near the gas store in lower Millcombe, 14 May © Tim Jones


It was still extremely wary, even at this range of several hundred metres... 14 May © Tim Jones

Other sightings of note were two drake Teal on Pondsbury, two Swift, two Woodpigeon, a Water Rail at Quarter Wall, 16 Oystercatcher, three Whimbrel, 218 Kittiwakes tending to nests, a female Kestrel, a Merlin over the Village, two Sand Martin, 240 Swallow (including the return of two of our Lundy breeders at St Helen’s Church), 21 House Martin, 12 Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff, three Sedge Warbler, one Reed Warbler in the Secret Garden, five Blackcap, three Whitethroat, 25 Blackbird!, the Millcombe Song Thrush, a single Spotted Flycatcher, three Stonechat, 50 Wheatear, two Yellow Wagtail, four Chaffinch, 28 Linnet, three Lesser Redpoll, 10 Goldfinch and three Siskin.   
 
Saturday 15th May

Cloudy with showers again in the morning, brightening up somewhat later in the day, though mostly overcast — light/moderate south-easterlies throughout the early hours, turning northerly by dawn. Max temperature 12°C.
 
The undoubted highlight was the discovery of a male Subalpine Warbler (probably Eastern) by Tim Jones near the Gas Store in Millcombe. Sightings of this rare bird were unfortunately rather brief and despite extensive follow-up searching, the bird could not be relocated. If accepted, this will be the 24th record of Subalpine Warbler for the island. Bravo Tim!
 
Additional highlights included Golden Oriole for the fifth consecutive day, and a Cuckoo in Millcombe/St Helen’s Copse for most of the day. Careful comparison of another snatched oriole record shot showed a much brighter bird than that photographed on 14th, indicating that both birds from 11th had remained on the island, though they were never seen (or heard together) after their arrival day!
 
An altogether brighter male oriole
was phone-scoped in Millcombe on
15 May © Jamie Dunning

 
There was plenty of breeding bird action too with the first Kittiwake egg of the year in Aztec Bay, and Chaffinches copulating,  Wrens building nests, Robins delivering food to nestlings and a Dunnock removing faecal sacs – all in the Millcombe area.
 
Chaffinches copulating, Millcombe Wood, 15 May © Tim Jones

Other sightings of note included four Woodpigeon, two Golden Plover in Brick Field, two Whimbrel, a female Kestrel, 80 Swallow, 21 House Martin, two Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff, four Sedge Warbler, two Reed Warbler (including a very interesting pale bird in Smelly Gully, perhaps of eastern origin), six Blackcap, one Garden Warbler, five Whitethroat, the Song Thrush singing away, seven Spotted Flycatcher, a White Wagtail in Barton Field, two Chaffinch, 20 Linnet, 15 Goldfinch and a single Lesser Redpoll.
 
Whimbrel, Airfield, 15 May © Tim Jones

The washed-out, greyish Reed Warbler in Smelly Gully, 15 May © Tim Jones
(detailed examination of many other photos ruled out all other species)


Sunday 16th May
 
Heavy rain in the morning gave way to some beautiful weather by 11:00 hrs — light south-westerly winds early on dropped away and shifted to a light north-westerly by the afternoon. Max temperature 12°C.
 
A slightly quieter day for migrants. Highlights included two Sanderling on the far side of Rat Island in the afternoon – the second record so far this spring – and a male Cuckoo calling in St Helen’s Copse.
 
Other birds of note included a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay, two Whimbrel, a Golden Plover in Brick Field, a Snipe at Pondsbury, a female Kestrel, 110 Swallow, 11 House Martin, two Blackcap, two Whitethroat, four each of Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler, a female Yellow Wagtail in Barton Field, a White Wagtail in the Camping Field, the Millcombe Song Thrush, seven Spotted Flycatcher, 40 Linnet (including a few pairs building nests in Millcombe/St John’s), 10 Goldfinch and two Lesser Redpoll in Quarter Wall Copse.
 
Female Starling doing a bit of housekeeping in preparation for a possible second brood,
Barton Cottages, 16 May © Dean Jones


There was no sign of the Golden Oriole.  
 
Monday 17th May
 
Overcast during the morning — light showers throughout the early afternoon, becoming bright and sunny by mid-afternoon — light north-westerly/westerly winds throughout. Max temperature 12°C.
 
Foamy seas... Looking north along the west coast at Jenny's Cove, 17 May © Dean Jones

A very quiet day for migrants, though the antics of thousands of breeding seabirds made for a very exciting day nonetheless. Nearly all of the usual St Mark’s Guillemots are now carefully tending to eggs on this spectacular granite islet, though unfortunately we have already lost a few eggs this season due to the recent heavy rain which flooded some of the lower ledges. More and more Kittiwakes are also putting the finishing touches to their nests. Fulmars were meticulously arranging little stones and vegetation around themselves on their breeding ledges. And good numbers of Puffins were to-ing and fro-ing from burrows in Jenny’s Cove.

Guillemot breeding colony at St Mark's Stone on the west coast, 17 May © Dean Jones

The island’s Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls are also cracking on with the breeding season, though as a whole these birds seem to be having quite a protracted season, with eggs not far off hatching in some nests while others are just starting to collect nest material.
 
Lesser Black-backed Gull pair, Earthquake, 17 May © Dean Jones

Birds of note were a Short-eared Owl flushed from the Rocket Pole area in the evening, a Swift over Ackland’s Moor, a female Kestrel over Middle Park, 104 Puffin in Jenny’s Cove and Aztec Bay, 151 Kittiwake, 50 Skylark (the mapping of territories so far this year suggests that 2021 might be a bumper one for this species), 30 Swallow, 10 House Martin, two each of Blackcap and Whitethroat, four Chiffchaff, two Song Thrush (including a very grey continental type bird at VC Quarry), 30 Wheatear, 28 Linnet and a single Siskin.
 
Non-avian sightings included a Slow-worm near Pondsbury, one of the furthest north yet reported on the island.
 
Report composed of sightings from Ben Arkless, Dave, Helen & Niki Boyer, Richard Campey, Jamie Dunning, Tim Davis, Rosie Ellis, Eleanor Grover, Sue James, Dean Jones, Tim Jones, Sandie Robbens, Matt Stritch, Rob Waterfield and Adam Waters.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

3rd to 7th May – Rough weather blocks migration, whilst seabirds get down to breeding and Starlings fledge en masse

Monday 3rd May
 
Strong northerly winds throughout the morning, picking up to gale force by the afternoon (max wind speed 65mph!), bringing with it the first decent bit of rain for quite some time. Max temperature 10°C.
 
Not an awful lot of note on this date due to the very strong winds which – particularly in the afternoon – made it unsafe to go out. Sightings of note from the morning, when winds were less fierce, included two Whimbrel, c200 Manx Shearwater and 18 Gannet offshore along the east, 46 Swallow, two House Martin, five Blackcap, one Whitethroat, the long-staying Song Thrush in Millcombe, a Yellow Wagtail in the Camping Field, 28 Goldfinch, three Siskin, 10 Linnet and two Lesser Redpoll.
 
Tuesday 4th May
 
Another day of strong northerly winds (gusting up to 51mph in the morning); some light bouts of drizzle in the first few hours, becoming beautiful and sunny by the late morning. Max temperature 10°C.
 
Raven hunkering down near Quarter Wall, 4 May © Dean Jones

Another quiet and tricky day's birding due to the strong winds. Sightings of note included two Swift, a Ringed Plover at Quarter Wall, two Whimbrel, just 31 Swallow, singles of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, one Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush (singing his heart out again), three Stonechat, six Chaffinch, 29 Goldfinch, 79 Linnet and a Lesser Redpoll.
 
Wednesday 5th May
 
Cold, moderate northerly winds in the morning dropped away to become light by afternoon – dry but cloudy first thing, giving way to sunshine and blue skies again later in the day. Max temperature 9°C.
 
Highlights included a Stock Dove foraging between the juncus stands in Barton Field, a Lesser Whitethroat along the Lower East Side Path and a Firecrest flickering through Millcombe Pines.
 
Linnets, High Street wall, 5 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included three Teal on Pondsbury, 13 Swift (the highest count so far this year), four Whimbrel (including two in Quarter Wall Copse!), a Merlin, 80 Swallow, two Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff, six Blackcap, two Whitethroat, the Millcombe Song Thrush, four Stonechat, 18 Goldfinch and 40 Linnet.
 
Thursday 6th May
 
Light north/north-easterly winds and overcast in the morning, the winds picking up again through the afternoon and into the evening – lovely sunshine again shortly after noon. Max temperature 10°C.
 
A lovely fall of migrants including a singing male Lesser Whitethroat in St Helen’s Copse, a female Pied Flycatcher in Millcombe, and a nice arrival of Spotted Flycatcher, with a least seven birds scattered across the island. Seabirds too were performing spectacularly, the highlight being numerous Kittiwakes starting to build nests in Aztec Bay. The first visit to the St Mark's Guillemot productivity study plot was also carried out in the afternoon. Despite the storms at the start of the week, good numbers of birds were present and incubating!
 
Kittiwakes building nests at Aztec Bay, 6 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included two Teal, a single Swift, a lone Whimbrel in Brick Field, 177 Kittiwake, a young male Peregrine along the west coast, at least 200 Swallow north, 25 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, 19 Sedge Warbler, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler below Government House, 30 Blackcap, a single Garden Warbler, 10 Whitethroat, the Firecrest again in Millcombe Pines, the Song Thrush, a female Black Redstart in VC Quarry, a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, four Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch, one Siskin and 20 Linnet.
 
Grasshopper Warbler, Government House tree nursery, 6 May © Dean Jones

Female Chaffinch having a quick preen in Quarter Wall Copse, 6 May © Dean Jones

Forty-seven birds were caught and ringed: 16 Blackcap, one Whitethroat, 13 Sedge Warbler, seven Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff, three Goldfinch and two Wren.
 
Friday 7th May
 
Light north-westerly winds and blue skies in the morning becoming overcast by 15:00 hrs as the winds picked up from the south-east. Max temperature 11°C.
 
Highlights included a Lesser Whitethroat singing in St Helen’s Copse – probably the same bird as the previous day – and a small arrival of Columbidae, namely Woodpigeon (9), Stock Dove (1) and Collared Dove (3), two of the latter narrowly avoiding the talons of a Peregrine in Jenny’s Cove. The morning also saw a strong movement of hirundines, and the Firecrest was once again in the pine trees at the top of Millcombe.
 
Whimbrel, Brick Field, 7 May © Dean Jones

Other sightings of note included 14 Swift, a single Whimbrel, a female Merlin over Millcombe, 25 Sand Martin, 700 Swallow, 80 House Martin, four Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, a single Sedge Warbler, eight Blackcap, six Whitethroat, the Song Thrush, four Stonechat, 23 Wheatear, two Yellow Wagtail in Brick Field, a fly-over Tree Pipit, four Chaffinch (including a pair feeding nestlings in Millcombe), 10 Goldfinch, 44 Linnet and singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
The once-peaceful Village has now become a crèche for dozens of noisy Starling chicks, 7 May © Dean Jones

This one was playing peekaboo in Millcombe, 6 May © Dean Jones

Fifteen birds were caught and ringed: seven Blackcap, two Chiffchaff and singles of Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Swallow, Goldfinch and Dunnock.
 
Report composed of sightings from Ben Arkless, Richard Campey, Rob Duncan, Jamie Dunning, Eleanor Grover, Dean Jones, David Kightley, Matt Stritch and Adam Waters.

Monday, 3 May 2021

25th Apr to 2nd May – First Swift, two Hoopoes, Yellowhammer & Corn Bunting – and a storm brewing!

Saturday 24th April
 
A day of blue skies – moderate/strong easterly winds first thing, which dropped away and swung to the SE by the evening. Max temperature 12.5°C.
 
Lundy's iconic Old Lighthouse is the latest building to receive a new coat of paint, 24 Apr © Dean Jones

A relatively quiet day on the birding front due to the stiff easterly winds throughout the morning. The title of star bird on this date went to a female Great Spotted Woodpecker who found herself in the bottom shelf of a mist-net in the back of the Secret Garden at around 19:30. The 33rd record for Lundy!
 
The female Great Spotted Woodpecker, 24 Apr 2021 © Adam Waters

Other migrants of note included four Ringed Plover in South West Field, four Whimbrel (three of which were together on Ackland’s Moor), three Dunlin, 16 Sand Martin, 52 Swallow, 12 House Martin, just four Willow Warbler, one Chiffchaff, 13 Blackcap, two Song Thrush, two White Wagtail in upper Lighthouse Field, three Tree Pipit along the west coast, 10 Goldfinch, 24 Linnet and one each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
Willow Warbler sheltering from strong easterlies along High Street track, 24 Apr © Dean Jones

We also had some late news of a Swift over the Village on the 23rd – the first of the year!
 
Winding down with a beautiful sunset, post woodpecker excitement, 24 Apr © Dean Jones


Sunday 25th April 
 
Blue skies for most and moderate to strong easterly/south-easterly winds throughout. Max temperature 11°C.
 
A rather quiet bird day – due to the winds again – other than a very impressive movement of hirundines throughout. Along the more sheltered west coast, totals of 1,449 Swallow, 101 House Martin and 11 Sand Martin were counted moving north past Threequarter Wall in an hour! Other highlights included the Great Spotted Woodpecker in Millcombe again, a female Cuckoo sheltering from the burly easterly winds in the lee of Threequarter Wall, six Ringed Plover in South West Field, a handsome male Yellow Wagtail in Tent Field and a Reed Warbler in the Secret Garden.
 
Cuckoo sheltering behind Threequarter Wall, 25 Apr © Dean Jones

A stunning male Yellow Wagtail, Brick Field, 25 Apr © Dean Jones

The best of the rest included three Whimbrel, eight Dunlin in South West Field, 225 Herring Gull in Brick and Tillage Fields, singles of Kestrel and Merlin, three Willow Warbler, two Chiffchaff, 20 Blackcap, one Whitethroat, the singing male Song Thrush, a lone Stonechat in St John’s Valley, six Pied Wagtail, a White Wagtail on the Main Track, two fly-over Tree Pipit, nine Goldfinch and 53 Linnet.  


Monday 26th April
 
Clear skies and moderate north-easterly winds first thing which dropped away to a gentle breeze by the afternoon. Max temperature 10°C.
 
The undoubted highlight was the occurrence of a stunning adult male Yellowhammer foraging on the Main Track next to the Lambing Shed in the early evening. This is only the fifth record of this species in the last ten years – the last of which was seen at Quarter Wall on 29th Apr 2017. Yellowhammers were once a breeding species on Lundy, up until the 1950s at least, and then recorded as migrants almost annually up until the 1970s. Since then, however, there have been widespread population declines due to changing agricultural practices on the mainland (more than 50% decline in the last 25 years) and Yellowhammer has now become a very rare visitor to the island.
 
Yellowhammer near the Lambing Shed, 26 Apr © Dean Jones

Other migrants logged included the Great Spotted Woodpecker for her third day – this time perched upon the lone tree outside Old House North, a Rook in Tillage Field, singles of Swift and Whimbrel, three Dunlin, a Kestrel, 100 Swallow, 10 House Martin, two Willow Warbler, just one Chiffchaff, seven Blackcap, singles of Reed Warbler and Whitethroat, the Song Thrush, a male Common Redstart at the top of Millcombe, 62 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail over the Village, 16 Goldfinch, one Siskin and 53 Linnet.  


Tuesday 27th April
 
Bright and sunny in the morning, becoming overcast by mid-afternoon, with barely a breath of wind throughout the day. Max temperature 12°C.
 
The day started off spectacularly with the first Black-headed Gull of the year hoaking out a meal in Barton Field, and a playful pod of c40 Common Dolphin along the west coast, offshore from Old Light.
 
Black-headed Gull, Barton Field, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

From here, the day just got better and better with a superb range of species scattered across the island. These included the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year in Millocmbe, a Stock Dove in Barton Field, at least four Tree Pipits, three of which were foraging together at Quarry Cottages in the evening, a stunning Yellow Wagtail pottering around Barton Field in the late morning, 14 Dunlin, including a flock of 12 past Old Light first thing, a female Black Redstart next to Square Cottage, and two each of Reed Warbler and ‘Northern’ acredula-type Willow Warblers that were caught and ringed during the day.
 
Dunlin, Rocket Pole Pond, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

One of the three Tree Pipits next to Quarry Cottages, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

The undoubted highlight, however, was the presence of two Hoopoes on the Terrace which were observed throughout the afternoon by a number of guests on the island. At least one of these birds remained in the area foraging until dusk, providing some spectacular prolonged views for some of the island staff, post send-off of MS Oldenburg.
 
One of the Hoopoes on the Terrace, 27 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Other sightings of note were a Swift over the Village, three Whimbrel, a young Peregrine at Threequarter Wall, two Sand Martin, 600 Swallow, 20 House Martin, 15 Willow Warbler, 16 Chiffchaff, six Sedge Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, 15 Blackcap, four Whitethroat, the male Song Thrush, small numbers of Wheatear scattered along the south, three Pied Wagtail, 13 Goldfinch, 35 Linnet and singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
Raven pair scoffing the remains of a Manx Shearwater, east coast, 27 Apr © Dean Jones

68 birds were caught and ringed: 15 Blackcap, 15 Willow Warbler, 15 Chiffchaff, six Sedge Warbler, four Whitethroat, two Reed Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, two Wren, a Spotted Flycatcher, five Goldfinch, one Linnet and one Swallow.

The day will be remembered though for 'Double Hoopoe!' 27 Apr © Matt Stritch


Wednesday 28th April 
 
A chilly and overcast start, becoming progressively brighter as the day wore on – strong north-east winds in the morning, which gradually dropped off throughout the course of the day. Max temperature 9°C.

The title of star bird went to a very much unexpected Corn Bunting in St John’s Valley first thing – the first record of this delightful bunting since May 2009 and the 20th record overall for the island – 17 of which have been in spring.
 
Record shot of the Corn Bunting, St John's Valley, 28 Apr © Dean Jones
 
Additional highlights included the first Guillemot egg of the year in Jenny’s Cove, a Common Sandpiper next to the Jetty – also the first of the year – and a stonking male Whinchat at Quarter Wall for most of the day.
 
Male Whinchat, Quarter Wall, 28 Apr © Dean Jones

Other birds of note were a single Sand Martin, 31 Swallow, six House Martin, 21 Blackcap, a single Whitethroat, two Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest (the first since 20th Apr), a fly-over Tree Pipit first thing, the male Song Thrush, six Goldfinch, 20 Linnet and two Lesser Redpoll.
 
Non-avian highlights included the first Lundy Cabbage flowers of the year in Millcombe!

Meadow Pipit resting at Quarry Cottages, 28 Apr © Dean Jones


Thursday 29th April 
 
A chilly and overcast start, brightening up by the mid-morning. Light winds but swinging around in all directions throughout the course of the day. Max temperature 9°C.
 
Yet another gorgeous spring day was enjoyed by all those on the island, 29 Apr © Dean Jones

Highlights incuded the second Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler of the year – the latter caught and ringed in Millcombe – a rather late Mistle Thrush in Barton Field in the afternoon, a Yellow Wagtail over St John’s Valley in the morning, and the first Razorbill egg of the year in Jenny’s Cove. Additionally, a decent movement of Blackcap (70), Whitethroat (16) and Sedge Warbler (9) was also logged, most of these caught and ringed in Millcombe by Rob Duncan and David Kightley throughout the course of the day.
 
Other birds included a lone Whimbrel outside the Tavern, a Common Sandpiper next to the Jetty (possibly the same bird as the day previous), one Kestrel, 400 Swallow, 45 House Martin, 30 Willow Warbler, four Chiffchaff, two Grasshopper Warbler, 12 Goldfinch, 34 Linnet and a single Siskin.
 
129 birds were caught and ringed: 64 Blackcap, 27 Willow Warbler, three Chiffchaff, 14 Whitethroat, nine Sedge Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, the Garden Warbler, two Swallow, a House Martin, one each of Meadow Pipit, Wren, Linnet and Chaffinch, and two Goldfinch. 


Friday 30th April
 
Yet another sunny and calm day – winds were light and from the north-east. Max temperature 10°C.
 
A quieter bird day with much reduced numbers of some of the more common Lundy migrants compared to the previous day. Sedge Warblers, however, were present on the island in decent numbers, with 17 birds logged throughout the day, while two Spotted Flycatchers were logged in Millcombe during the evening – both caught and ringed.
 
The title of star bird however went to the Corn Bunting, which reappeared in St John’s Valley shortly after dawn but then remained elusive for the rest of the day.
 
Other migrants logged included two Cormorant along the east, two Whimbrel, four Snipe in Brick Field, a Merlin, a lone Stock Dove in Barton Field, a young female Peregrine along the east coast, a single Sand Martin, 100 Swallow, six House Martin, 25 Blackcap, seven Whitethroat, seven Willow Warbler, nine Chiffchaff, the male Song Thrush, a lone White Wagtail in Barton Field, a handsome male Yellow Wagtail in High Street Field, small numbers of Wheatear, 29 Linnet, eight Goldfinch and a single Siskin.
 
Whimbrel, 30 Apr © Ben Arkless

60 birds were caught and ringed: 23 Blackcap, three Whitethroat, 14 Sedge Warbler, eight Chiffchaff, six Willow Warbler, three Goldfinch, one Wren and the two Spotted Flycatchers.
 
 
Saturday 1st May
 
Yet another beautiful day of blue skies and light north-east winds throughout. Max temperature 10°C.
 
Highlights included the second Minke Whale of the year, surfacing offshore from Jenny’s Cove, and another superb movement of hirundines throughout the day. Here a very conservative estimate of around 150 Sand Martin, 3,500 Swallow and 1,500 House Martin passed the island from dawn to dusk – the latter of which turned out to be the joint second highest ever count for the island (along with May 2004). Impressive stuff but still quite a way short of the highest ever count on May 2008 when 3,500 birds passed through the island.
 
Other birds logged included the first House Sparrow fledglings of the year in the workshop, five Teal on Pondsbury, a Swift over Millcombe, three Whimbrel, seven each of Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 15 Sedge Warbler, three Grasshopper Warbler, seven Whitethroat, the male Song Thrush in Millcombe, a single Spotted Flycatcher, a fly-over Yellow Wagtail, 15 Goldfinch, 26 Linnet and three each of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.
 
 Singing Whitethroat, South West Field, 1 May © Dean Jones

Peering out from its nest at a strange new world...
There should be plenty of Starling chicks fledging in the next few days, 1 May © Dean Jones


43 birds were caught and ringed: 12 Blackcap, five Whitethroats, 12 Sedge Warbler, seven Chiffchaff, two each of Willow Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Goldfinch and Linnet, and singles of Robin and Swallow.
 
Additionally, the first burnet moth of the year was at the Castle (it was seen in flight, so species not determined) and the first Common Blue butterfly was on the wing in Millcombe.
 
 
Sunday 2nd May
 
Another beautiful start to the day with warm temperatures, blue skies and next to no wind first thing – clouds then set in by the afternoon as the winds picked up from the south-west – there’s a storm a-brewing! Max temperature 11°C.

A much quieter day compared to the rest of the period. Highlights included the reappearance of the Corn Bunting in St John’s Valley after a 'no-show' day.

The best of the rest included the first Starling fledglings of the year in the Lambing Shed (a surprising 19 days earlier than the first of 2020), two drake Teal on Pondsbury, a male Kestrel, one Merlin, 43 Skylark, five Sand Martin, 450 Swallow, 45 House Martin, two Willow Warbler, five Chiffchaff, seven Sedge Warbler, one Grasshopper Warbler, five Whitethroat, a late Redwing at the top of Millcombe, 23 Wheatear, five Chaffinch, 28 Goldfinch, four Siskin and 105 Linnet.
 
Report composed of sightings from Laïla Akahtar, Ben Arkless, Zoë Barton, Yavanna Burnham, Richard Campey, Rob Duncan, Jamie Dunning, Rosie Ellis, Claire Gauquelin des Pallieres, Eleanor Grover, Ingrid Helgestad, Dean Jones, David Kightley and Matt Stritch.