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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.

Monday, 27 December 2021

20th to 26th Dec – Merry Christmas from Lundy!

Assistant Warden Stuart Cossey provides a festive update.

20th December

Overcast with strong easterly winds.

Four Woodpigeon and five Chaffinches were in Millcombe. Past Quarter Wall there were three Skylarks and a Kestrel, whilst two Common Gulls flew past North Light. A Golden Plover was recorded and a Purple Sandpiper was flushed off pools by Quarter Wall. A Merlin zoomed past Benjamin’s Chair on the lookout for Rock Pipits. An unseasonal male Blackcap was briefly feeding on the feeders by Paradise Row.

The bird of the day, however, was a female Pintail which was flushed off Rocket Pole scrape. The close views allowed the distinctive features to be seen – the long narrow neck and white trailing edge to the primaries.

21st December

Some sunshine but cold with strong easterly winds.

Interesting wildfowl continue to pass through this week with a visitor recording a Pink-footed Goose on the main track north of Quarter Wall in the morning. It then flew east before then heading off west. It was not seen again in the afternoon, although there was a very obliging male Snow Bunting on the track above Pondsbury. In addition there were six Wigeon on Pondsbury.

Four Water Rails were heard squealing in Millcombe today, the highest count so far this December. A Kestrel was seen again and three Fieldfares were recorded across the island. There was a small increase in finch numbers, with 11 Chaffinch and 9 Goldfinch recorded. A very pale Chiffchaff was seen by Paradise Row pond, possibly a candidate for the Siberian subspecies tristis.

Out at sea there was a large feeding flock off the East Side consisting of 15 Kittiwakes, two Common Gulls, 26 Great Black-backed Gulls, 180 Herring Gulls, 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 30 Guillemots and 13 Gannets.

22nd December

Overcast early morning and heavy rain for the rest of the day.

There was a small flock of eight Chaffinches in St John’s Valley in the morning and more interestingly a Hawfinch was calling from above Brambles Villa. It was seen briefly as it flew off calling. The male Blackcap was still around Quarters and the three individual Fieldfares continue to be seen across the island. The usual Merlin was harassing the Starlings in the morning. Finally, two Common Gulls were on the sea below Benjamin’s Chair.

23rd December

Visibility down to 150m in the morning but clearing up in the afternoon. Strong winds from the south.

After heavy rain and fog overnight and in the morning it was no wonder there were a few new arrivals today. The best birds were a Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose which were first seen together in Tent Field in the murky conditions. Fortunately, they were relocated in Brick Field in the afternoon after the fog had cleared and better photos could be taken. Other wildfowl seen included two Wigeon and seven Teal on Pondsbury.
 
The White-fronted Goose (left) and Pink-footed Goose in Tent Field © Stuart Cossey

Four Fieldfare were seen together at Stoneycroft, with another in Tillage Field. Whilst beyond Halfway Wall to fix a drystone wall, Assistant Warden Stuart and Ranger Matt saw a Snow Bunting and Merlin. After the fog lifted, two lone Golden Plovers flew over calling.

24th December

A calm day with periodic rain.

A Siberian ‘tristisChiffchaff was heard calling by Millcombe Pond in the morning and was then seen briefly before heading up the valley. There was a large influx of Chaffinches with 26 counted in Millcombe. The Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose were still around in the east coast fields along with two Fieldfare
 
The two vsiting geese still present in the East Side fields © Rosie Ellis
 
An incredible interaction was witnessed by the pig-sty in the afternoon. A Merlin was constantly diving and harassing a Goldfinch before finally managing to catch it, flying off with its meal towards the Upper East Side Path.

25th December

A wet Christmas Day with persistent rain.

A quick survey was completed in the morning. A Cormorant was recorded flying low over Benjamin’s Chair, most likely having roosted on Rocket Pole Pond overnight. The Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose remained in the east coast fields throughout the day. Also of note were four Golden Plover on the Airfield.

26th December

Mild and calm with beautiful sunshine for most of the day.

It was great to have some sunshine after a few overcast and wet days. The Pink-footed Goose and White-fronted Goose were in the east coast fields for their fifth day. Eight Teal were at Pondsbury as were a Water Rail and two Reed Buntings. The Reed Buntings may be the pair that were first seen on 25th Nov. A Chiffchaff was in Millcombe along with a further three Water Rails. Four Goldcrest were recorded, two in Quarter Wall Copse, one in Millcombe and one on the Terrace. 
 
The Pinkfoot and Whitefront photographed in sunnier conditions…
... and the Whitefront (still relaxing on one leg!) on its own © Rosie Ellis
 
At sea there was a large feeding flock of 2,000 seabirds. The majority seemed to be Herring Gulls and Kittiwakes. There has been a further increase in Fulmars on the West Coast, with 87 counted.
 
Jenny's Cove in bright West Side sunshine © Rosie Ellis
 
Additional observer: Kevin Waterfall.

Monday, 20 December 2021

13th to 19th Dec – Some brief sunshine but cold easterly winds

13th December

Low cloud throughout the morning with some visibility possible in the afternoon.

Three Woodpigeon were in Millcombe and a Water Rail was seen below Brambles Villa. A Fieldfare was in Barton Field and a Merlin was seen in a few locations south of Quarter Wall.

The main interest was down by the coast with 15 Oystercatchers along the East Side, three Purple Sandpipers in Devil’s Kitchen and a Black Redstart on scree below South Lighthouse. The Great Northern Diver is still in the Landing Bay for its 7th day.

14th December

More low cloud in the morning and again clearing up around 10am.

Down at Pondsbury, 17 Great Black-backed Gulls were having a wash with five Teal hiding at the pond's edge. A Kestrel hunting below Tibbets flushed three Skylarks. A Mistle Thrush was seen in St Helen's Copse.

Fulmar numbers are steadily growing with 38 seen at Jenny’s Cove and singles seen along the east coast and over the Landing Bay. Three Great Northern Divers were also recorded.

15th December

A clear day with little wind.

A few new birds were around today, keeping things interesting. A Short-eared Owl was seen in the morning on the steep West Side near Monatagu Steps. It was not seen again despite searching at dusk around Ackland's Moor. Other birds of prey included two Kestrel and a Merlin. The Mistle Thrush seen yesterday was in Millcombe Valley, as were three Fieldfare. Two Pied Wagtails were noted and four Woodcock were also recorded.

Out to sea a 2cy Yellow-Legged Gull was close in off the East Side, and a Sooty Shearwater was reported off South West Point. Two Great Northern Divers were seen together in the Landing Bay.

Great Northern Divers were a feature of the week, this one in the Landing Bay on 15th © Stuart Cossey

16th December

Another clear and mild day with a slight wind from the east.

There was an obvious increase in migrants today. Millcombe was busy with 43 Redwing roosting in the trees before heading out to Barton Field. They were joined at one point by six Fieldfare. The Mistle Thrush was seen again, this time up at Stoneycroft. A Chiffchaff was seen feeding behind the Casbah. 

An increase in Meadow Pipits was noted with 11 birds present, and a large flock of 280 Starlings were counted in Upper Lighthouse Field, with small groups flying over from the north throughout the morning; the final count was 377. Also of note were three Linnets flying south over Threequarter Wall and a flock of 12 Turnstones in Devil’s Kitchen.

Eleven of the 12 Turnstones passing through Devil's Kitchen, 16 Dec © Martin Thorne

A large feeding flock of around 1,000 seabirds was distant off the East Side late morning, mostly consisting of large gulls.

17th December

Dry and overcast with moderate winds from the east.

A quiet day with few new migrants. Five Woodpigeons were in Millcombe Valley and one of the Great Northern Divers was still in the Landing Bay despite the easterly winds. A Fieldfare and 10 Redwings were in the scrub at the bottom of Barton Field.

18th December

Some winter sunshine but cold with strong winds from the east.

A female-type Wigeon was seen on Quarter Wall Pond and a Jack Snipe was flushed from nearby. Two Skylark were in Brick Field and a Fieldfare and four Redwings remained near Barton Field. Three Goldcrests were recorded along the East Side and in Millcombe.

A pod of around 30 Common Dolphins was seen off the West Side in the morning with 15 diving Gannets.

19th December

Low cloud for the majority of the day with winds still blowing from the east.

It was fairly quiet in Millcombe with the five Woodpigeon remaining in the valley and nine Redwing. A small flock of 13 Golden Plover were hunkered down in Tent Field before flying off north calling. During a guided walk in the late morning, a Linnet, a Skylark and a Pied Wagtail were in Brick and Tillage Fields.

Out to sea there were six Common Gulls, four Great Northern Divers, 80 Guillemots, 250 Herring Gulls, 90 Great Black-backed Gulls and 35 Gannets.

Part of the Golden Plover Flock in Tent Field on 19th © Stuart Cossey

Observations contributed by Stuart Cossey and Martin Thorne.
 

Monday, 13 December 2021

6th to 12th Dec – Another storm hits Lundy!

6th December

Low cloud and rain to start the day before strong westerlies left blue skies.

It was a fairly standard winter day on Lundy with very few new birds around. A Fieldfare and 26 Redwings were with some 150 Starlings in Barton and Tillage Fields. Three Goldcrests were seen,  including one making its way up Millcombe. A Skylark was seen South of Old Light and a Kestrel was briefly hovering along the Upper East Side.

Birds were still moving out at sea with a brief scan producing 2,500 Kittiwakes.

7th December

Strong gusts of over 60mph from the south in the morning with heavy rain. Winds staying strong but changing to the north-west in the afternoon.

With very poor visibility and strong winds very few birds were recorded. Large gulls continued to congregate in the fields above the East Side, with 40 Herring Gulls, five Lesser Black-backed Gulls and three Great Black-backed Gulls. The only passerines seen were a Goldfinch sheltering in Millcombe and a Redwing and two Blackbirds in Barton Field.

8th December

Continued strong winds from the north and west but dry and clear.

A small flurry of migration was recorded today with a Pied Wagtail outside the Marisco Tavern first thing, and late morning a Snow Bunting was briefly on the track in front of St Helen’s Church. Other passerines recorded included six Chaffinch, 10 Redwing and three Song Thrush. The number of gulls in Tillage Field has increased, including 170 Herring Gulls and four Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

It was busy off the East Side with a fishing vessel taking shelter from the strong winds. There were four Shags and a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay, with a further two Shags out at sea. Around 1,000 Kittiwakes, 20 Gannets and 70 auks were recorded flying past 400m offshore.

There are quite a few pipits in the wet fields at the moment but with the strong winds it has been near impossible to hear them or get good views or photographs! Many are likely to be Rock Pipits that have moved south from further afield or are part of the local breeding population moving away from the rough seas.

9th December

Finally some calm weather with less wind and only a few showers.

Another excellent day of winter migration with a large flock of 50 Chaffinches in Millcombe in the morning along with nine Bramblings and a Siskin. A further 15 Chaffinches flew south over Rocket Pole later on. Four Woodpigeons were also in Millcombe. Also of interest were three Fieldfare and a Pied Wagtail which flew over the East Side.

A Merlin gave excellent views as it sat on the wall above Ackland's Moor. The few Rock and Meadow Pipits that were around kept a low profile!
 
Merlin, Ackland's Moor, 9Dec © Stuart Cossey
 
10th December

The wind picked up again today with 40mph gusts from the north-west.

It was a lot quieter today with only six Chaffinches in Millcombe. A pair of Goldcrests were in Quarter Wall Copse and there were 10 Blackbirds and three Song Thrushes along the Lower East Side. The most interesting sighting was a large male Grey Seal off Quarry Beach with a 1m-long Skate in its mouth.
 
Grey Seal with a Skate off Quarry Beach, 10 Dec © Stuart Cossey
 
A walk down to Pondsbury revealed the female Reed Bunting is still clinging on despite the recent high winds. There were also 159 Herring Gulls in Tillage Field in company with six Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

11th December

The island was covered in a thick fog, visibility dropping to only 20m in the afternoon.

Millcombe was quiet first thing with two Chaffinches and a Woodpigeon amongst the possible migrants. Two Water Rails were heard squealing from the dense vegetation. Down at the Landing Bay, visibility improved and a Great Northern Diver was seen along with five Shags and four Oystercatchers.

12th December

The fog lifted today thanks to a moderate wind coming in from the west.

This weekend we had a visit from RSPB Biosecurity Officer Jacklyn. The Conservation Team and a few of the other islanders learnt more about what to do in case of a rat sighting. On a trip down to the North End today she recorded a Redshank on one of the West Side pools, and a Little Egret flying past North Light.

Down in the Landing Bay the Great Northern Diver was around for another day. A Merlin was also seen bombing around the southern end of the island. There was a big movement of Redwing off the island, with only two left in Barton Field.
 
Update by Stuart Cossey, Assistant Warden
 

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

1st to 5th December – An interesting pipit and farewell to Eleanor

Stuart Cossey summarises the start of December.

1st December

40mph winds from the north-west.

A relatively quiet day with an influx of large gulls in Tillage and Brick fields with 114 Herring Gulls, seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls and three Great Black-backed Gulls. Two Oystrecatchers were hanging around the Landing Beach, a Skylark was seen at Rocket Pole and a Merlin was still hunting thrushes around the East Side.

2nd December

Continued high winds from the north-west.

On a brief seawatch from the Ugly, a large flock of 160 Kittiwakes was seen feeding just off Rat Island. The female Reed Bunting remains around Pondsbury and there was a small influx of 56 Redwing, 16 Fieldfare and three Skylark. A Stock Dove was seen again in Barton Field.

Whilst out ringing House Sparrows, Jamie Dunning and Eleanor Grover heard an interesting pipit fly east over the Lodge Garden. From the description in the logbook, the call was “slightly drawn out, almost tree pipit/olive-backed”. It was located in Barton Field and seen through binoculars at 50m. “Nape and mantle greyish with no streaking, wing as upper parts but with pale/buffish wing bars on the greater and lesser coverts and fringes of tertials. Subtle streaking on breast but absent on belly which was clean whitish. Size was larger than Meadow Pipit but the behaviour was similar.” It has been identified as a probable Buff-bellied Pipit, which if accepted will be the first for Lundy.

3rd December

Calm and overcast.

After several checks during the day there was no sign of yesterday’s putative Buff-bellied Pipit. A good number of thrushes were still in Barton Field, including 28 Redwings and five Fieldfares. A Goldcrest was seen feeding along Quarter Wall and a Chiffchaff was in the Lodge Garden.

Sadly it was time to say goodbye to our long-term volunteer, Eleanor Grover. After arriving in April to monitor the seabirds, she stayed on and has been amazing, helping out with all sorts of tasks. She has also found some excellent birds during her stay.

4th December

More winds from north-west with some heavy showers.

With the flooding in Lower Lighthouse Field it was unsurprising that a Teal and Snipe were flushed out during the morning census. The Stock Dove was still in Barton Field, along with 25 Redwing and a Fieldfare.

A Brambling was calling in Millcombe at dawn and a visitor reported a Snow Bunting on the cliff below South Light.

An afternoon seawatch from the Ugly included over 3,000 Kittiwakes heading north, 219 Herring Gulls, 300 auks and 36 Gannets. An Oystercatcher was heard calling in the Landing Bay.

5th December

Continued strong winds from the north-west with rain and hail in the morning.

There were still large numbers of Kittiwakes moving north along the east coast, with approximately 1,500 along the tide line. A walk along the East Side produced four Woodpigeons in St Helen’s Copse and a Goldcrest and Chiffchaff in Quarter Wall Copse.

The best bird of the day was a Corn Bunting seen taking shelter in the lee of the Tillage Field wall before flying off, calling, towards the Upper East Side Path.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

21st to 30th Nov – Feeling wintry and Storm Arwen

The Lundy birds blog welcomes newly appointed Assistant Warden Stuart Cossey who rounds ups the last ten days of November birding on the island.

21st November

A calm day, remaining mild.

The majority of interest was over on the East Side with a Merlin, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk seen hunting amongst the copses. A Woodcock and Mistle Thrush were also flushed. An Oystercatcher also flew along at sea level.

At Pondsbury there were two Teal, a Water Rail and two Snipe. A Grey Heron was also seen in the mist-net ride below Government House. Two Bramblings were very confiding along the main track near Quarter Wall.

22nd November

Another calm and clear day with northerly winds.

It was an excellent day for migration with large numbers of birds on the move: 73 Blackbirds, the majority likely to be from northern Europe, 41 Redwing, 37 Fieldfare and a Mistle Thrush were counted across the island. Finches were also on the move with 78 Chaffinch, 23 Brambling, 26 Goldfinch and six Siskin recorded.

The Oystercatcher was still present and a small group of three Lapwing flew over Airfield. Two Woodcock were flushed along the East Side. The housekeeping team saw a Snow Bunting on the track below Old Light during the morning.

23rd November

A more overcast day but cold winds remained from the north.

After the big movement of birds yesterday it had quietened slightly, with only 35 Blackbirds and 154 Redwing seen. The Mistle Thrush was seen again, this time in Millcombe Valley. Four Bramblings were seen along with 34 Chaffinches and 12 Siskins, and a surprisingly high count of five Chiffchaffs was made.

Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen off the Landing Bay, the first since the 18th. The Woodcock and Sparrowhawk were still along the East Side.

24th November

A mild day with some showers.

A day off meant that Stuart was able to walk up to the North End of the island. At Jenny’s Cove 30 Fulmars were gliding around the clifftops and 17 Guillemots were resting on the ledges. A short seawatch from the North End produced three Puffins, 35 Kittiwakes and 14 Gannets. An unfortunate Guillemot fell prey to one of the five Peregrines seen today. Also on one Peregrine's menu was a Woodcock along the East Side which managed to escape by diving into clifftop scrub.
 
A Peregrine on the look out for prey along the East Side © Stuart Cossey
 
A Pied Wagtail was heard flying north and three Skylarks were seen beyond Halfway Wall. Numbers of Redwing were still high with 122 seen across the island.

Also of note was a Small Tortoiseshell seen in VC Quarry.

25th November

Strong winds from the Northwest with low cloud and rain.

The highlight of the day was a pair of Reed Buntings at Pondsbury – the sixth record of the year. Four Teal were also seen on the pond. It was otherwise quiet with two Woodpigeon in Millcombe along with the Mistle Thrush. A Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were seen around the Village, and the Merlin remains around the East Side.

26th November
 
The calm before the storm, with moderate winds from the north.

A quiet day, with three Teal on the scrape by Rocket Pole and a female Blackcap in Millcombe Valley being the highlights. A single Fieldfare, seven Redwing and six Blackbirds were the only thrushes seen.

Four of the Lundy Sparrow research team arrived today and will spend the week trapping House Sparrows. After the Galapagos Finches, the Lundy House Sparrows are probably the most intensely researched group of birds in the world!

27th November

Storm Arwen hits with 40mph winds through most of the day.

Very few birds were noted given the strong winds. The only species recorded were five Jack Snipe and three Snipe which were seen by Jamie Dunning in Lower Lighthouse field in the evening by torchlight.

28th November

A calmer day with winds of 20mph and showers.

It was time to see what the storm had left, with many branches off the trees in Millcombe. Two Woodpigeons were seen in the Valley as well as five Water Rails and a Brambling. A Great Northern Diver was in the Landing Bay, at times only 100m off the Jetty. A friendly Pied Wagtail was at Quarry Pond and another Brambling was along the track with a male Chaffinch. Six Snipe were flushed off Lower Lighthouse field in the evening.
 
The friendly Pied Wagtail near Quarry Pond © Stuart Cossey
 
29th November

A calm, dry day with winds picking up in the afternoon.

An excellent day to be out on the island, with several scarce species being recorded. At around 10:00hrs at the North End, Jamie Dunning watched a Whooper Swan fly in. This was later seen at Pondsbury and then over the Village. A Snow Bunting was heard at Brazen Ward. The female Reed Bunting was still present during a trip to Pondsbury in the afternoon. Five Teal, a Jack Snipe and three Snipe were also seen. A Stock Dove was in Barton Field and two Chiffchaffs were noted. Two flocks of Siskin totalling 35 birds were seen along the East Side.

 
A female Reed Bunting at Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey
 
30th November

Moderate winds from the west.

Another quiet day to finish off the month, with the Great Northern Diver heard calling all the way up to the top of Millcombe Valley during the early morning. Other sightings of note were a Brambling heard in the Lodge garden and small flock of six Siskin.