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Monday 19 December 2022

Stuart Cossey reports on two weeks of cold weather on the island.

Winds mostly moderate to light from the north. Clear skies with one small scattering of snow. Mild from the 17th with strong winds from the south bring low cloud and constant light rain.

Nine Teal were seen at Pondsbury on the 16th. Of note was a Greylag Goose, only the 11th island record, seen in Brick Field on the 15th. It is very mobile but seen most days since. A small number of Woodpigeon have been seen with two on the 11th and then only singles on the 7th, 15th and 18th.

Teal, Pondsbury © Stuart Cossey

Greylag Goose, Lighthouse Field © Stuart Cossey

The cold weather brought flocks of wading birds over to the island. Four Lapwing and a Golden Plover were recorded on the 9th. This built up to 101 Lapwing and 49 Golden Plover on the 17th. The Lapwing had then dropped to only 19 on the 18th but all 49 Golden Plover were still present. These two species would have come to the island to escape the cold on the mainland and feed in the thawed out fields. A flock of Oystercatchers has been seen at the North End – 19 were counted on the 17th. A Jack Snipe was flushed by Pondsbury on the 8th and another was in Millcombe Pond on the 17th and 18th. A few Snipe were also present with a high count of 6 on the 8th.

Lapwing, Barton Field © Stuart Cossey

Golden Plover, Airstrip © Stuart Cossey

The number of gulls on the island built up during the strong winds towards the end of the two weeks. 110 Herring Gulls, 20 Great Black-backed Gulls, eight Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a 1st winter Common Gull were seen together in Lower Light House Field.  

A Buzzard was first seen in Millcombe on the 15th and has stuck around on the island. It is being constantly mobbed by Crows, Ravens and gulls as soon as it flies too close to the Village. Single Kestrel and Merlin have been recorded occasionally.  The Jackdaw is still present around the Village, it’s 8th week in the island.

Raven, Lighthouse Field © Rosie Ellis

A Chiffchaff was recorded on the 6th and 7th. The number of thrushes has varied over the weeks. There was a high count of 64 Fieldfare on the 15th and 57 Redwing on the 17th. This increase in numbers is also likely due to the frozen ground on the mainland forcing birds to move around.

The cold weather has also caused Rock Pipits to move up into the fields. 13 were counted on the 17th. Seven Meadow Pipits were seen on the 7th but as soon as the temperature dropped only one or two were seen. A Pied Wagtail was recorded on the 17th. Chaffinch numbers fluctuated with a high count of 21 on the 7th and only one on the 14th. Seven Goldfinch on the 7th were the last to be seen.

Contributors: Stuart Cossey, Rosie Ellis, Matt Stritch, Paul Dean


  1. I remember seeing lapwing chicks on Lundy in the 70’s

  2. When we’re Lapwing last recorded breeding on Lundy? I remember seeing chicks in the mid 70’s there