About this page...

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, 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.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

27th to 31st Dec – The end of an excellent year!

Stuart Cossey summarises the final few days of 2021 and looks back at some of the highlights of another amazing year of Lundy birds. As we look forward to what 2022 may bring, we'd like to take this opportunity of wishing all followers of this blog a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year, filled with many more birding highlights – whether on or off the island.

27th December

A wet start but strong south-westerlies left a dry and bright afternoon.

Nothing new appeared to have arrived but the four Golden Plover were seen again on Ackland’s Moor and the White-fronted Goose and Pink-footed Goose were still in Brick Field. A Merlin was on the East Side and the Cormorant was still on Rocket Pole Pond.
Cormorant beside Rocket Pole Pond, 27 Dec © Stuart Cossey
28th December

The strong south-westerlies continued with heavy rain midday.

A Pintail was recorded on Pondsbury. This could be the same bird that was seen on Rocket Pole Scrape (= Kistvaen Pond) on 20th Dec. This is only the 5th record for Lundy. Also on Pondsbury were six Teal and the Cormorant that has been seen at Rocket Pole for the last few days.

Pintail, Pondsbury, 28 Dec © Stuart Cossey
... and here pictured alongside a pair of Mallards the same day © Stuart Cossey
A Jack Snipe was flushed from Rocket Pole Scrape and a Snipe was on Ackland’s Moor. The now long-staying Whitefront and Pinkfoot were still in Brick Field.

Out at sea, 800 Kittiwakes, 80 Gannets, 40 Guillemots and 20 Razorbills flew past during a seawatch from the Ugly. A Great Northern Diver was seen in the Landing Bay in the morning and a small pod of around four Common Dolphins were off Quarry Beach.

29th December

Low cloud in the morning meant that no helicopter ran today. The cloud cleared up in the afternoon.

Due to the weather there were few birds recorded today. The highlights were two Goldcrests in Milcombe, the long-staying Whitefront and Pinkfoot, and eight Teal on Pondsbury.

30th December

Very low cloud and strong westerlies all day!

A very quiet day due to the strong winds and rain. Very few passerines were recorded with no Robin or Dunnock seen or heard all day. A walk round Millcombe only revealed a Wren and eight Redwings. The low cloud had forced down some large flocks of gulls, with 55 Herring Gulls in Lower Lighthouse Field and 40 more in Brick Field along with the two long-staying geese. A single Lesser Black-backed Gull and six Great Black-backed Gulls were seen in with the Herring Gulls.

Surprisingly, given the big waves, at least two Common Dolphins were seen off Benjamin’s Chair – they were only spotted due to the presence of 15 diving Gannets.
31st December

Low cloud all day but the helicopter finally managed to reach the island.

The final day of 2021 and the only apparent new arrivals were the new guests and four Wigeon on Pondsbury. The Great Northern Diver was seen again in the Landing Bay, and the two geese were in Brick Field. Millcombe was busier than yesterday with nine Chaffinches, four Redwings and a Goldcrest, as well as the more usual species.

2021 highlights

The year started off well with a Snow Bunting and Black Redstart seen in January. A Coal Tit and Firecrest were in Millcombe until March. Migration started off with the first Sand Martin on 26 Feb. It was an excellent year for Lapland Bunting with a maximum of five together in February. A Woodlark was seen on 27 Feb. Large flocks of seabirds were along the East Side throughout winter with some scarcer species such as Red-throated Diver, Little Gull, Mediterranean Gull and Common Gull.

A Pink-footed Goose stayed on the island from 6–18 Mar. Numbers of Blackcap and Chiffchaff were increased to double figures by the end of March. March also saw the arrival of the first Swallows, House Martins, Willow Warblers, Grasshopper Warbler and Wheatears. A single Tree Pipit was recorded at the end of the month. In Jenny’s Cove there were three Puffins on 6 Mar. Also in March there were two records of Long-Tailed Tit: two together in Quarter Wall Copse and a single in Millcombe that stayed until the end of the month.

Birds arriving in April included the first of the waders, among them a Bar-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper. Also arriving in April were the first Cuckoo, Swift, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat. The last Fieldfares were recorded in April, with one Redwing seen on 2 May. Rarities recorded in April included two Hoopoes on the Terrace and a Corn Bunting in St John’s Valley.

Things were getting busier by May with rarities including two Golden Orioles and a Subalpine Warbler in Millcombe, an Osprey over Quarry Beach and a Common Rosefinch first seen in Millcombe and then ringed at the Lodge. June was an excellent month to be on Lundy, with a Rustic Bunting on the 1st and the bird of the year, a first for Britain, a Sulphur-bellied Warbler on the 8th. Other rarities in June were a Subalpine Warbler, Rose-coloured Starling and an Ortolan Bunting.

The long-term studies of breeding seabirds continued with the majority still increasing in population since the removal of rats. Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills and Manx Shearwaters all increased, while numbers of breeding Kittiwakes remained stable. Surveys undertaken of potential Storm Petrel nesting areas revealed at least 50 pairs.

July was a quiet month with the majority of birds being local breeders. A Turtle Dove was seen in Quarter Wall Copse at the beginning of the month. A few scarcities started migrating through towards the end of July, including a Green Sandpiper, Hobby, Little Grebe and a Marsh Harrier.

On 7 Aug two Balearic Shearwaters flew past Rat Island with Manx Shearwaters. The Marsh Harrier was seen again from 9th to 12th and a Wryneck was ringed in Millcombe on the 29th. There was another good passage of waders in August, with a Wood Sandpiper seen flying over Rat Island on 9th and another on the 15th. Also recorded were Black-tailed Godwit, Knot, Green Sandpiper, Turnstone, Redshank and Greenshank.

September was getting quieter for common migrants but with a few rarities recorded. Another Common Rosefinch was ringed, this time in Millcombe, staying for a few weeks. A Wryneck was recorded by the Terrace Heligoland Trap and an Ortolan Bunting was seen in Barton Field. Island scarcities in September included a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Wood Warbler, Pale-bellied Brent Goose and a ringtail Hen Harrier.

The first winter migrants started to arrive in October with Woodcock, Fieldfare, Redwing, Yellow-browed Warbler, Brambling, Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting all recorded. There was also a massive influx of Siskins with 1,170 recorded on the 20th. A long list of rarities included a Twite, Red-backed Shrike, Red-eyed Vireo, Dartford Warbler, Great White Egret, Little Bunting, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Chough and Glossy Ibis.

A few rarities were recorded in December included a Red-breasted Flycatcher, Barred Warbler and Whooper Swan. A putative Buff-bellied Pipit was recorded in Barton Field early in the month. Island scarcities before the year's end were a Corn Bunting, Purple Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose and a Pintail.

All records of British and Devon rarities subject to acceptance by the British Birds Rarities Committee or the Devon Birds Records Committee.