About this page...

You're now viewing the old Lundy Bird Observatory blogspot. Explore the new website for all your favourite island news and wildlife updates. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here.

Monday 31 January 2022

24th to 30th January – The final week of January and a complete circumnavigation of the island

24 January

Overcast and calm

The week started slowly with the Millcombe Valley Bullfinch the only bird of note. The usual wintering species seen included a Water Rail, two Stonechat and 13 Redwing.

25 January

Cloudy and cold.

A Great Northern Diver was seen in the Landing Bay this morning. Also off the East Coast, three Harbour Porpoise were seen moving south and then spotted again off Benjamin’s Chair. A small flock of 12 Golden Plover flew south over Ackland’s Moor calling. A high count of three Water Rail were heard squealing in Millcombe.

26 January

Mostly overcast with cold winds from the southwest.

One of the first birds of the day was a Stock Dove flying from behind St Helen’s Church down into Millcombe Valley. A total of five species of wader were recorded today with four Oystercatchers down in the Landing Bay, a Golden Plover calling over Brick Field, a Jack Snipe and two Snipe by Quarter Wall and a Lapwing in Barton Field. 


Lapwing, Barton Field ©Stuart Cossey

 27 January

Mild with fog until 13:30 when it completely cleared to blue skies.

Few birds were around in the morning fog but Song Thrush, Wren, Robin and Dunnock were singing in Millcombe Valley in the afternoon sunshine. A Chiffchaff was also seen flycatching at the bottom of Millcombe Valley.

A large feeding flock of 1600 Kittiwakes were counted off the East Coast in the afternoon and 13 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on Miller’s Cake.

28 January

Overcast in the morning with fog from midday. Strong winds from the west.

Another varied day on Lundy, the most interesting sighting of the day was a Woodcock roosting in the Casbah in Millcombe Valley. Also in Millcombe was the Stock Dove, and yesterday’s Chiffchaff was by Millcombe Pond feeding with a Goldcrest. Two Great Northern Divers were off the Jetty and Oystercatchers are starting to find territories with 3 pairs seen in the Landing Bay. Eight Lesser Black-backed Gulls were with 17 Herring Gulls on Miller’s Cake. The Lapwing was still in Barton Field and 13 Golden Plover flew over Ackland’s Moor.  Up at Quarter Wall Pond, a Water Rail and Linnet were calling and a female Reed Bunting, female Teal and Snipe were also seen.

With fog rolling in in the afternoon, the helicopter was cancelled with the rest of the visitors arriving tomorrow.


Woodcock, Casbah © Stuart Cossey

Great Northern Diver, Landing Bay © Stuart Cossey

29 January

Fog in the morning but clearing in the afternoon.

After issues with the fog yesterday afternoon, the morning did not look good for getting the rest of the visitors off the island. Fortunately there was a short clear spell in the late morning and a full changeover was able to take place.

Tim Davis and Tim Jones have arrived for a week and will be able to contribute further sightings. The Stock Dove is still in Millcombe as well as two Chiffchaffs. There was a count of 11 Teal and seven Mallard at Pondsbury. Off the east coast were 1500 Kittiwakes, 130 unidentified Auks and a Great Northern Diver. The first Red-throated Diver of the year was off Rat Island.


Chiffchaff, Smelly Gully, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

30 January

Overcast with strong winds from the north.

Today Tim Davis, Tim Jones and Stuart Cossey walked a complete circuit of the coast, counting the wintering and early returning seabirds. The final counts included 58 Oystercatchers, 786 Herring Gulls, 75 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1150 Guillemots, 660 Razorbills, 465 Fulmar and 48 Shags.

Other species seen include the Lapwing in Barton Field, a Golden Plover, six Peregrines, 12 Skylarks, a Chiffchaff still in Millcombe, five Goldcrests and 51 Rock Pipit.

 Observations contributed by Stuart Cossey, Tim Davis and Tim Jones.

Monday 24 January 2022

17th to 23rd Jan – More mild weather

Stuart Cossey reports on the final week of island shut down.

17th January

Slightly overcast but mild and calm.

Two Oystercatchers were seen in the Landing Bay whilst waiting for the arrival of a stores delivery on the Goliath.  A small flock of 14 Redwings were in Millcombe with a further 8 in Barton Field. A Pied Wagtail was by the Pig Sty and seven Linnets were heard flying over during the day.

Pied Wagtail, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey

18th January

Overcast and cold with a moderate wind from the south.

The morning census in the area below Quarter Wall was quiet with the highlight being two Peregrine calling over Benjamin’s Chair. A large feeding flock was off the East Coast in the afternoon with approximately 2,000 Kittiwakes, 150 Auk sp. and 40 Gannets.

19th January

Fog to start but bright sunshine by 10am. A moderate wind from the north.

A Merlin was seen chasing a Skylark off the Battlements first thing. Eventually the Skylark managed to evade capture and dropped into cover. Another Skylark was seen by Old Light. A Woodpigeon was heard singing in Millcombe and a Collared Dove, the first winter record since 2000, was with the Starlings in the Farmyard.

Skylark, Lighthouse Field © Stuart Cossey

Collared Dove, Farmyard © Stuart Cossey

20th January

Overcast with a 15mph wind from the north.

A quiet day with a eight Fulmar noted roosting on Shutter Point, possibly a new nesting site for this species.

21st January

Foggy start though clearing in the afternoon.

A few new arrivals were noted today with a female Bullfinch in Millcombe Valley and a Fieldfare in Lower Aerogenerator Field. Further up island, three Reed Bunting were in the Gorse south of Pondsbury. Hopefully this group of a male and two females will stay and breed.

22nd January

A light northerly wind.

A morning seawatch produced good numbers of common species off the East Coast. 2,000 Auks, 1,000 Kittiwakes, 90 Gannets and 40 Shags were seen. A small pod of three Harbour Porpoise were also seen hunting in the same area.


Feeding flock off East Coast © Stuart Cossey
Other species of note include a Stock Dove by Quarter Wall and a Ringed Plover was heard calling over the Village. The Fieldfare was still present in Aerogenerator Field.

23rd January

Light southeasterly wind with some cloud.

Quiet again with a Golden Plover in Lighthouse Field the only bird of note.


Monday 17 January 2022

10th to 16th Jan – Some spring weather come early

10th January

Dense fog all day with peak visibility of 1km in the afternoon.

With poor visibility all day, very few species were recorded. At Jenny’s Cove and along the west coast 92 Fulmars were on the cliffs with 100 Guillemots. As expected, a Peregrine was also perched up high keeping an eye out for an easy lunch.
Fulmar, Jenny's Cove, 10 Jan © Stuart Cossey

11th January

Overcast with light easterlies.

Despite there being clear skies and easterly winds there was little obvious migration. Two Skylarks were recorded flying over the Village, with a further three recorded in South West Field. A Fieldfare was still by Stoneycroft and the Merlin was seen again over Lighthouse Field. A total of 12 Chaffinches were recorded in Millcombe along with two Goldcrests. A Great Northern Diver was off Quarry Beach and a Pied Wagtail came to roost in Barton Field in the late afternoon. 

12th January

Light northerlies with warm sunshine and no clouds.

A spring-like feel was in the air with the first Skylarks singing in South West Field. Some finch migration was noted with three Lesser Redpolls flying over Millcombe, a flock of 17 Linnets over Old Light (24 seen in total) and a Brambling was heard over Rocket Pole Pond. Large flocks of Starling were recorded moving over the island, with a total of 380 seen in flocks of up to 140.

A flock of five Golden Plovers were on the Airfield. A Lapland Bunting over Barton Field takes the Lundy year list to 50.
Golden Plover, Airfield, 12 Jan © Stuart Cossey

13th January

Clear with little wind and mild temperature. Cold overnight with light frost in places.

The calm weather continues and with it came a few more Linnets with 19 recorded across the island. The first Kestrel of the year was a female seen hunting Starlings around St Helen’s Church. A Golden Plover was on the Airfield and two Pied Wagtails were seen.

14th January

Mild and clear with light easterly winds.

Another first for the year turned up today with a Stock Dove in Millcombe along with three Woodpigeons. Also in Millcombe were two Goldcrests and a Water Rail
The first Stock Dove of the year, Millcombe, 14 Jan © Stuart Cossey

A large feeding flock was seen off the East Side, comprised of 300 Kittiwakes, 70 Razorbills, 30 Guillemots, 60 Gannets and 12 Common Gulls.

15th January

The mild spring-like weather continues.

The dawn chorus in Millcombe is slowly building with Dunnock, Song Thrush, Robin and Wren all singing. Also in Millcombe were four Woodpigeons, a Water Rail and five Redwings.

16th January

Overcast and cold in the morning but turning mild with a light wind from the north.

Millcombe was busy this morning with a flock of seven Chaffinches, a Siskin and a female Bullfinch. Bullfinches are an occasional visitor to Lundy but January records are rare. A Merlin was seen over St John’s Valley and two Golden Plovers flew over Ackland’s Moor. At Pondsbury there were 11 Teal, three Snipe and the male Reed Bunting.

Observations by Stuart Cossey.

Monday 10 January 2022

3rd to 9th Jan – The start of winter shutdown

Assistant Warden Stuart Cossey rounds up the latest bird sightings as the island goes into its annual maintenance shutdown.

3rd January

A dry and overcast day with strong westerly winds.

It was a quiet day with 10 Redwings roosting in Millcombe and the final sighting of the young Cormorant on Rocket Pole Pond. A Merlin has been hunting all over the southern end of the island, including Ackland’s Moor and Lighthouse Field.

4th January

A shift of wind direction to the north turned the temperature bitterly cold, with short periods of sleet in the afternoon.

Two large flocks of Herring Gulls had formed in Lighthouse Field and Barton Field. Amongst them was a two-year-old bird colour-ringed as a chick on the Isle of Man on 3rd Jul 2019; it has twice been reported close to its place of ringing, once on 27th Oct 2019 and again on 10th Oct last year. The Lundy sighting is the first away from the Isle of Man. A possible third calendar year Caspian Gull was seen but unfortunately no photograph was taken to confirm identification. 
The Isle of Man colour-ringed Herring Gull, 4 Jan © Stuart Cossey
Also of note were two Skylarks, the first of the year, in South West Field.

5th January

The wind continued from the north but had calmed slightly. It remained overcast for most of the day.

A few early migrants arrived on the northerly winds, including the first Siskin of the year calling in Millcombe in the morning and a Linnet by the Lambing Shed. Three Fieldfares were recorded with two next to the Pig Sty. Five Skylarks were seen, with numbers of returning breeders likely to increase during the month.

At Pondsbury there were eight Teal, including two males in summer plumage, and a Jack Snipe was flushed from along one of the muddy paths. A large flock of 500 Kittiwakes was seen loafing off the East Side.

6th January

40mph winds from the west and heavy rain throughout the afternoon made for a miserable day.

It was mostly quiet with a few of yesterday’s birds still around. A Fieldfare was still up by Stoneycroft and two Skylarks were below Old Light. The Merlin was seen again over Ackland's Moor. Large flocks of Herring Gull had reformed, the biggest being 170 seen together in Lighthouse Field along with two Lesser Black-backed Gulls. A further two flocks of 50 and 85 were on Miller’s Cake and in Barton Field respectively.
Merlin resting on a wall by Ackland's Moor, 6 Jan © Stuart Cossey

7th January

Overcast with 40mph winds from the west. Heavy rain in the afternoon.

Another quiet day with strong westerly winds keeping birds sheltering. A Goldcrest was seen foraging in Millcombe and a Lesser Black-backed Gull was in with the Herring Gull flock in Barton Field.

8th January

Winds continued from the west with rain in the morning.

An afternoon census recorded a Great Northern Diver in the Landing Bay and three Lesser Black-backed Gulls in with 120 Herring Gulls. Two Fieldfares were by Stoneycroft and the Merlin is still hunting across the south end of the island.

9th January

Low cloud and moderate winds from the west.

With lighter winds, a few more species were recorded. The Great Northern Diver was still in the Landing Bay along with three Shags. Eight Mallard and 11 Teal were on Pondsbury along with two Snipe. A male Reed Bunting was in gorse to the south of Pondsbury. Another Teal was present on Quarter Wall Pond.
A female Teal on Pondsbury, 9 Jan © Stuart Cossey

A tristis Chiffchaff was heard by the Secret Garden and seen flycatching from within brambles. Also in Millcombe were the long-staying Woodpigeon, three Chaffinches and two Goldfinches.

Monday 3 January 2022

1st & 2nd Jan – Starting all over again!

Assistant Warden Stuart Cossey welcomes in 2022 and starts off the Lundy year list.

1st January

An uncharacteristically mild and sunny day with strong winds from the west.

There was a strong start to the year with the White-fronted Goose and Pink-footed Goose still present (although they had moved to Ackland’s Moor). A Merlin was seen over Tillage Field and the Cormorant was still by Rocket Pole Pond. 
A Meadow Pipit barely visible in thick vegetation near Threequarter Wall, 1 Jan © Stuart Cossey
The Whitefront and Pinkfoot on what may prove to be their last day on the island © Stuart Cossey
A seawatch from the Ugly produced 700 Kittiwakes and 55 Gannets. A Guillemot, two Shags and two Great Northern Divers were in the Landing Bay. The day ended with a total of 36 bird species recorded.

2nd January

The strong westerlies continued with a few rain showers throughout the day.

Another mild day with little migration to note. A small flock of Redwings continue to roost in the pines to the south of Millcombe. A total of four Goldcrests were seen, two in Millcombe and two at Quarter Wall Copse. 

It appears the long staying White-fronted Goose and Pink-footed Goose have finally left, with no sign today.

Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen with 26 Herring Gulls in Barton Field. A Common Gull was seen loafing off the East Side with a flock of 150 Kittiwakes. Also out at sea were 20 Razorbills and 40 Guillemots. A single Great Northern Diver was in the Landing Bay.