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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.

Monday, 3 May 2021

24th 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 Jenny's Cove 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 20 May 2008 when an estimated 3,600 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.

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