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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, 16 May 2022

9th to 15th May – An excellent spring for breeding passerines and a brief Bluethroat

Another week with mostly beautiful warm and clear days. Some heavy rain on 10th. Moderate westerly wind for the first half of the week with a shift to the east on the 15th.

At least four broods of Mallards were seen this week with families on Pondsbury, Barton Ponds and Church Field gully. A male Teal was seen on Pondsbury on 11th and 15th and a female on the 14th. It has been an excellent week for Swifts with records every day. The highest count was 18 on the 11th. A male Cuckoo was heard on the 9th and another was seen flying over the East Side on the 15th. A male Collared Dove has been singing in Millcombe Valley all week, being briefly joined by a second bird on the 10th.

There was good variety in waders this week. Singles of Golden Plover were recorded on the 13th, 14th and 15th. Whimbrel were recorded on 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 14th and a Curlew was heard over Ackland’s Moor on the 13th. Last week’s Bar-tailed Godwit was last seen on the 9th in the rush at the west of High Street Field. Single Dunlin were seen on the 14th and 15th, a Common Sandpiper was in the Landing Bay on the 13th and a Purple Sandpiper was present at Brazen Ward at high afternoon tide on the 15th. The first ever May record of Woodcock was on the 13th as one was chased by a Peregrine over Pondsbury. Unfortunately the Peregrine was successful and it carried the Woodcock off towards the West Coast.

Bar-tailed Godwit, High Street Field © Stuart Cossey

Puffins are back along the West Coast in high numbers with a count of 258 around Jenny’s Cove and St Mark’s Cove on the 15th. There was a count of 61 Shag on the 15th and two and three Cormorants were reported on the 9th and 11th respectively. Paul St Pierre and Antony Bellamy of the RSPB are currently on the island undertaking a population census of the gull colonies. This is very important as many coastal gull colonies are declining.

Manx Shearwater, MS Oldenburg © Richard Campey

The pair of Kestrel are still being seen around the south end of the island and a high count of 10 Peregrine on the 15th suggests at least 5 pairs are present. A Merlin was seen on the 13th and 14th near Halfway Wall. Hobby were seen briefly as they flew over on the 11th and 15th. A Hooded Crow was in the Aerogenerator Field on the 12th.

Hooded Crow, Aerogenerator Field © Richard Campey

There have been several days of strong hirundines passage with totals on the 14th of 28 Sand Martins, 1000 Swallows and 200 House Martins. Another high count of Sand Martins was on the 10th with 32 counted.

Although numbers of warblers are dropping off there is still a good variety. Two Wood Warbler were present on the 15th with a male singing in Millcombe and another seen at the bottom of Gannet’s Combe. One or two Willow Warbler were seen on the 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 15th. Chiffchaff and Sedge Warbler were singing in Millcombe every morning. High counts of six Chiffchaff were on the 13th and 14th and seven Sedge Warblers on the 14th. A Reed Warbler was seen on the 14th, Grasshopper Warblers were present on the 10th, 11th and 14th and three Garden Warblers were recorded with one on 13th and two on the 14th . Blackcaps and Whitethroats were seen every day with the highest counts on the 15th of five and seven respectively.  A female Goldcrest was present in Millcombe from the 9th to the 11th.

Wood Warbler, Millcombe © Richard Campey

It appears to be an excellent year for breeding Starlings. At the moment chicks are calling from nearly every wall and at least 60 nests have been noted around the Village. There are Stonechats breeding all across the island with at least 15 pairs noted. The first fledgling Blackbirds have been seen in Millcombe this week. It seems that the rat eradication was not only beneficial to the seabirds but also for many breeding landbirds.

Spotted Flycatchers have begun to arrive again after a quiet period between the 4th and 9th. Three were seen on the 10th and 11th, six on the 12th, seven on the 13th, eight on the 14th and 15 on the 15th. A female Redstart was recorded on the 13th and a female Whinchat was ringed on the 9th. Low numbers of Wheatear still seem to be heading north through the island with a high count of 35 seen on the 13th. 

Spotted Flycatcher, Millcombe © Richard Campey

Female Whinchat, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

The best bird of the week was a female Bluethroat seen by Tim Davis and Tim Jones on the Lower East Side path below Gannet’s Combe. Flight views clearly showed the classic tail pattern and brief perched views allowed confirmation with a slight blue throat and strong white supercilium.

One Yellow Wagtail was heard on the 14th over the Lodge and then three were counted on the 15th including a Blue-headed Wagtail and male flavissima in Barton Field. Grey Wagtails were heard over the island on the 12th, 14th and 15th and two White Wagtails were seen from 10th to 13th with three on the 14th and one on the 15th. A Tree Pipit was in Millcombe on the 10th and then two were seen in Millcombe on the 12th.

Yellow Wagtail, Barton Field © Richard Campey

Blue-headed Wagtail, Barton Field © Richard Campey

Tree Pipit, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Numbers of Linnet are still high for the time of year with a flock of 70+ being seen in Barton Field on the evenings of 13th to 15th. A Hawfinch was in Millcombe Valley on the 13th and Lesser Redpoll were seen in Millcombe on the 12th and 13th.

In non-avian news, other than the usual butterflies, a Painted Lady was seen on the 15th, Peacock on the 12th and Brimstone on the 9th. The first Small Heaths were recorded on the 12th. The first Green Tiger Beetles of the year were seen on the 15th along the West Coast. Highlights from the moth trap include Galium Carpet (first island record), Small Angle Shades and Pale Tussock as well as numerous Marbled Coronet.

Contributors: S Cossey, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, D Kiatley, J Dunning, R Campey, T Davis, T Jones, P St Pierre, A Bellamy, K Dobie, J Boyle.

Monday, 9 May 2022

2nd to 8th May – Main migration starting to slow down

A mostly dry week with slight to moderate westerly and northwesterly winds.

Starting with wildfowl, seven Mallard ducklings were seen on Barton Pond on the 6th only. Unfortunately with the number of Herring Gulls, Crows and Ravens many ducklings do not survive. Teal have been recorded on a number of occasions at Pondsbury suggesting another breeding attempt this year. An adult Shelduck was seen on the sea off Mouse Island on the morning of the 4th. It was then seen again as it flew high around the Landing Bay and off to the south.

The only Swifts of the week were three singles on the 7th. A male Cuckoo was heard singing on the 2nd and 6th and then seen flying around Pondsbury in the 8th. A Water Rail was heard calling at Pondsbury on the evening of the 7th. A number of Collared Doves were seen over the week with a maximum count of four on the 3rd.

There was good wader passage across the week with Whimbrels logged on the 2nd, 3rd, 7th and 8th. Four Dunlin were seen on the 2nd as well as a Greenshank which was first seen on the Pond outside Brambles. The Greenshank was repeatedly seen up to the 7th in Barton Field and was joined by a Bar-tailed Godwit on the 4th. After the Greenshank left the Bar-tailed Godwit was seen in the wet area in the west of High Street Field with a Whimbrel on the 8th. A Common Sandpiper was heard flying over the Tavern at around midnight on the 2nd.

Bar-tailed Godwit, Barton Field © Rosie Ellis

Greenshank, Barton Field © Rosie Ellis

A few birds of prey were noted with a Sparrowhawk on the 3rd and a Red Kite toured the island on the 8th. The best bird of the week is a Hooded Crow that was seen by the Seabird Assistant Laura Pirateque and Assistant Ranger Rachel Bedwin in Lighthouse Field.

Red Kite, East Coast © Stuart Cossey

The hirundine passage varied throughout the week with an estimated 4000 Swallows on the 2nd dropping off to 30 to 40 on the 7th and 8th. Low numbers of Sand Martins and House Martins were seen with max counts on the 4th of 16 and 21 respectively.

Willow Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaff numbers are slowly dropping as most birds are now on breeding territory and no longer migrating through the island. The 3rd was the best day with 20 Willow Warblers, 10 Chiffchaff, 15 Sedge Warbler, two Reed Warbler, two Grasshopper Warbler, 30 Blackcap, a Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and two Common Whitethroat. Two Reed Warbler were also present on the 2nd as well as two Grasshopper Warbler. Garden Warblers were seen on the 7th and 8th and Lesser Whitethroat were also recorded on the 2nd and 8th. Also of interest was a late female Firecrest that was ringed in Millcombe on the 7th.

Spotted Flycatchers were only seen in the first part of the week with one on the 2nd and five on the 3rd. A male Whinchat was seen along the Upper East path on the 8th. Stonechats are busy feeding chicks all across the island with an estimated 10 pairs. A Grey Wagtail was seen down in the Landing Bay on the 8th. Alba Wagtails still seem to be on the move with a total of seven Pied Wagtails on the 4th and a White Wagtail seen on the 7th and 8th in Barton Field.

Most finches appear to be paired up with at least two pairs of Chaffinch in Millcombe. Goldfinch counts are still fluctuating with a high count of 25 on the 4th, though regularly eight are in Millcombe. Two Siskin were seen on the 2nd and a single male was present on the 4th. Linnets are breeding in good numbers across the island, however flocks are still being seen with max counts of almost 60 on the 4th, 7th and 8th. A female Hawfinch was ringed in Millcombe on the 2nd and then retrapped on the 3rd after it had put on 2g weight. This is probably a bird that has spent the winter in the UK and will be heading back to Europe to breed.

The female Snow Bunting that was first seen on the 1st by Quarter Wall was present up to the 8th but was mobile. It was frequently by Quarter Wall but also seen by the Old Hospital and up towards Halfway Wall.

Contributors: S Cossey, C Dee, R Ellis, Z Wait, L Pirateque, R Duncan, D Kiatley, J Dunning

Monday, 2 May 2022

25th April to 1st May – Easterlies continue to bring in some interesting birds

 25 April

Clear with strong easterly wind

A few common migrants were seen in Millcombe during the morning census. Two Whitethroat were seen, a Sedge Warbler was singing by Millcombe Pond and female Redstart was up by the Casbah. The morning census continued up the track towards Old Light. A Chiffchaff was seen on the fence line by the gate at the burn site. Further up the track a small warbler was seen flying strongly down the wall. Fortunately it landed briefly on the wall so to see the bright white underparts. The immediate thought was Bonelli’s Warbler. Some record shots were taken before it flew over the other side of the wall and despite a search appeared to have gone. Without hearing a call it is very difficult to determine to species level.  But enough diagnostic features were seen to confirm it was one of these rare migrants to the UK. Western Bonelli’s Warbler breed in Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, whereas the Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler is found in Greece and Turkey during summer.

Bonelli's Warbler, South West Field © Stuart Cossey

Female Redstart, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Dunlin, Brick Field © Stuart Cossey

Other birds of note were a Dunlin in the pond in Brick Field, a male Kestrel, a Grasshopper Warber and a male Ring Ouzel. The male Blue-headed Wagtail was joined briefly by a Yellow Wagtail.

26 April

Continued strong easterly wind.

An unseasonal Treecreeper was seen briefly in Millcombe along with a female Pied Flycatcher. Two Shelduck were then seen flying over Benjamin’s Chair and were seen drifting east off the Rattles. From there until Quarter Wall it was mainly Wheatear and Skylark seen. Walking along Quarter Wall an Eastern Subalpine Warbler hopped out of the Brambles. It was a male with a lovely blue-grey back and brick red throat. It was very flighty but was seen well on multiple occasions as it moved along the wall between scrub and then moved off towards the Terrace.

Eastern Subalpine Warbler, Quarter Wall © Stuart Cossey

Pied Flycatcher, Millcombe © Stuart Cossey

Also seen were a male and female Redstart, the Blue-headed Wagtail in Barton Field, a male Greenfinch and two Grasshopper Warblers

27 April

Warm and sunny with a moderate southeasterly wind

The first Mallard Ducklings of the year were spotted and a positively huge number of Wheatears were seen all around the island, with 39 seen on the bird survey, and a total of 140 across the entire island. A Whimbrel and two Swift were recorded along with the 30 Sand Martin, 75 House Martin and 4200 Swallow zooming up both sides of the island. Two Sedge Warblers joined the 10 Willow Warblers and 10 Chiffchaff along with 30 Blackcap and five Common Whitethroat and a Pied Flycatcher. Birds of prey seen included a Kestrel and a Merlin. Two Whimbrel were seen by Tent Field.

Whimbrel, Tent Field © Laura Piratique

In the afternoon the warden team took a journey past Jenny’s Cove to Aztec bay to check on the Kittiwake colonies to be studied. A Ringed Plover was flushed off Middle Park on the way. Nest building was making good progress in some cases and less so in others! Fingers crossed for better productivity for the gulls this year, with 60 spotted at this site but no doubt more over the whole island.

Conservation team at Aztec Bay © Rosie Ellis

The highlight of the day was finding the first egg in one of the nest boxes at the Old Light Manx Shearwater colony.

After a great afternoon with so much to look forward to, we were brought down to earth with a bump with a sighting of a “Substantial rat” in the time keepers hut by a concerned visitor [so far no concrete signs and RSPB have been to check]. The biosecurity plan activated, interviews and the grid set up ensued. Many thanks to all the team for setting up the grid before nightfall. A nervous evening waiting for camera traps, ink traps and nibble marks to confirm or calm our fears.

28 April

A strong cold breeze from the southeast.

A morning survey showed relatively few birds, on the airfield most birds present were huddled in the ditches and out of the way of the wind. The only exceptions were the male wheatears, presumably to defend their turf from a would-be rival. A Water Rail was heard in the valley after a very quiet few weeks.

The camera traps in the time keepers hut had revealed nothing yet and the surveillance grid extended in the quarries area.

Visible migration was much reduced with 3 Swift, 53 Swallow, 14 Sand Martin and five House Martin and one Lesser Whitethroat. The Merlin is still being seen on the island hunting Skylark.

A Puffin survey at 11:30 revealed sixty three birds on the observed slope and 43 out on the water of the cove.

Jenny’s Cove was surveyed, and yielded the usual sightings of Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot, Kittiwake and Fulmar. A Peregrine was observed amidst the puffin burrows, possibly having claimed a prey item. A few pairs of Wheatear were displaying on the slopes of the cove.

29 April

A light wind from the east

Migration picked up again with a Curlew heard calling over the Church and a total of four Whimbrel. A Tree Pipit, Common Sandpiper and Lesser Whitethroat were seen.  It was a good day for ringing in Millcombe with 16 Sedge Warblers, a Garden Warbler and a Reed Warbler ringed. A swift was observed at southwest point and a Sparrowhawk was present. A Siskin was seen near Brambles Villa.

The camera, ink traps and monitoring stations all revealed nothing but ants, slugs and Pygmy Shrews.

House Sparrow, Village © Zach Wait

30 April

Overcast with a slight wind from the southeast

Morning survey revealed a large array of birds, including a Peregrine, two Grasshopper Warblers and a pair of Kestrels. 18+ Sand Martins were observed and three were ringed in the nets at the Bramble accommodation.  Approximately 150 Swallows were observed throughout the day. A Ring Ouzel was also spotted in the morning near Millcombe, and a Common Sandpiper was spotted near the landing bay. A Hawfinch was noticed flying over Millcombe valley.  A Bar-tailed Godwit was seen at the Devil’s Kitchen by Lundy ambassador Frances Stuart and at around 5pm, a Great Northern Diver was sighted off the East Coast, near the Timekeeper’s Hut.

Sand Martin © Zach Wait

Very relieved with the arrival of Jaclyn Pearson from RSPBs biosecurity for life to check our grid and for signs of rats. Eternal gratitude to Jaclyn, the volunteers along with the Sparrow’s project’s Hope Belsham Clay, Meaghan Kendall and the Boy’s Brigade for their help checking the grid for any signs of rats, a fun evening spent checking bones, driftwood and plastic for any nibble marks, with nothing found.

1 May

Rain and wind from the west

The morning survey showed a variety of birds around the southern quarter, including a Whimbrel and two Lesser Whitethroats. Other waders included a Curlew flying over the Quarries. Four Gannets were observed around the landing bay.

The first Cuckoo of the season was sighted around Millcombe.  A Reed Warbler was ringed and a Tree Pipit heard flying over. A Harbour Porpoise was seen off the jetty. Thankfully there is still no sign of a rat.

Many Thanks to Rob Duncan and  for their sightings, enthusiasm demonstrations and talks for visiting university group and visitors, Jamie Dunning for his help with the morning census, birder’s ear and rhododendron searching and all the boy’s brigade for their help and understanding with the biosecurity monitoring.