About this page...

This page is run by Lundy Bird Observatory (LBO) as a source of news for everyone interested in the birds and wildlife of Lundy, situated 12 miles out in the Bristol Channel, UK. If you have sightings to report, please consider sharing your observations or photographs with the Bird Obs team here. While you're here, check out the companion website The Birds of Lundy for comprehensive updates to the book of the same name (Davis & Jones, 2007). All bird recording and ringing activities on Lundy are coordinated by LBO and general information about visiting the island can be found here.

Monday, 18 September 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 13th-17th September

A period of northerly winds overnight saw a fairly substantial fall of Blackcaps on the 13th with over 60 ringed and 76 recorded. However, clear skies and low winds quickly beckoned them onwards and a mass exodus left us with very few birds at the end of the week. Strong easterlies over the weekend brought a few new birds in, but most sensibly hunkered down. In the only short lull on Sunday evening feeding activity resumed, and a stunning first-year Barred Warbler dropped into the slope net in Millcombe.

First-year Barred Warbler ringed in Millcombe on 17th © Anna Sutcliffe

A pair of Teal were present on Pondsbury on the 13th, although just the male has been picked up subsequently at Quarter Wall pond. A Water Rail was heard calling in Smelly Gully on the 13th and 15th. One Cormorant was seen on the 13th. The first-year Grey Heron has still been present each day, with a raiding party of six further first-years riding the thermals along the east coast on the 15th.

Six first-year Grey Heron along the east coast on the 15th © Angus Croudace

In terms of waders, a single Ringed Plover was heard on the 13th. Three Snipe on the 13th including two by Rocket Pole and one at Pondsbury on 15th. A Snipe was also ringed in the night of the 17th. Greenshank single picked up calling as it flew over Millcombe by Tony Taylor on 14th. A Dunlin was feeding on Barton's Pond on the 15th. Two Golden Plover over the Airfield on the 14th and a single calling on 16th and 17th. On the 15th also Joe successfully dazzled and rung a first-year Dotterel at the north end, just the seventh bird ringed on Lundy!

First-year Dotterel ringed at the north end of the island on 15th September © Joe Parker

The northerly winds on the 13th that brought the arrival of Blackcaps also carried hirundines over our shores, with a push of 120 Sand Martin, 136 Swallow, and 67 House Martin. Passage was minimal at the end of the week, but one Swift was picked up over Barton's on the 15th. We're still awaiting a big Swallow push this season, perhaps to come at the end of this week when winds turn more favourable for large scale passage.

Willow Warbler also moved out, with 12 on the 13th, but just 3 of both Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff the rest of the week. A Sedge Warbler was present on the 13th along with three Reed Warbler and five WhitethroatGoldcrest are one of the few migrants that remained when seemingly everything else deserted us, with 18 on the 13th and 14th, and 10 on the 15th. One Garden Warbler was present on the 15th and a Firecrest was feeding in an Oak in Millcombe on the 17th.

We had four Spotted Flycatchers and just one Pied Flycatcher on the 13th before none were recorded on Thursday or Friday. A single of each species was detected over the weekend in Millcombe. Single Whinchat on the 13th, 15th and 17th at Barton's Field. A total of 18 Wheatear were present on the 13th but this had reduced to just a couple at the end of the week. Two Wheatear were ringed on the 17th, including one of the Greenland race leucorhoa.

Whinchat and Meadow Pipit at Barton's. © Angus Croudace

There have been one, sometimes two Yellow Wagtail around the village all week and a Grey-Headed Wagtail (Yellow Wagtail subspecies m.f.thunbergi) in St Helen's Field on the 15th. Two Tree Pipit flew over on the 13th. 

Grey-headed Wagtail m.f.thunbergi in St Helen's Field on 15th. © Shaun Robson

A couple of Wryneck continued their tenure on Lundy on the east and around Millcombe, with one unringed individual also new-in on census at Rocket Pole on the 14th. Two birds at Terrace and Millcombe still on the 17th. The first-year Rose-coloured Starling is also still present around the village.

Numbers are dwindling in the last remaining seabird colonies and a late season Manx Shearwater ringing attempt at North Light only gained three new birds, whilst another fledged bird was located by the Tavern the same night. Another two fledged young turned up in the village on the 17th (see previous blog for an explanation).  Two teams setup at The Battery and North Light mist netting Storm Petrels on the 15th caught 4 birds between them, and although numbers were low, excitingly they included a control. Finally for this week, about 30mins away from Lundy Anna and Steve Sutcliffe observed a dark-morph Arctic Skua from the MS Oldenburg on the 16th. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 9th-12th September

The easterly winds continued over the weekend before switching to prevailing south-westerly on Monday 11th and a moderate northerly on Tuesday 12th.

It's been a rollercoaster of a weekend, burning the candle at both ends (and in the middle) with nets open at dawn in Millcombe and a late night Storm Petrel/Manx Shearwater session in between two nights of dazzling effort which concluded with a Hoopoe and a Common Snipe.

Second year Hoopoe ringed © Adam Day

After a slow autumn on the raptor front, the past few days have seen single sightings of first year Marsh Harrier in off and north at the Terrace on the 10th, first year Osprey in off and then south at Millcombe on the 11th and Hobby briefly around the Landing Bay on 11th. Our visiting ringers Adam Day and Rory Akam are credited with all of these records, so we're very glad to have them on the island.

We continued to swarm with Wryneck, with four individuals ringed to date, and at least a fifth unringed bird observed on the 12th. Stayers in Brambles Villa were even able to admire and photograph a Wryneck from their living room. The Rose-coloured Starling is still present, although there have been no further sightings of the Pintail. 

First year Wryneck from Brambles Villa Living Room © Clive Couzens

Two Golden Plover separately at opposite ends of the island on the 11th, a Ringed Plover over the east on the 11th, Dunlin on Barton's Pond on 10th and around High Street on 12th, single Snipe everyday except 11th and finally a Common Sandpiper heard from North Light in the night of the 8th make up waders observations for this period. Small Herring Gull movements noted with 23 on the 11th. At this time of year our breeding Herring Gulls have dispersed, leaving birds roaming between feeding groups. Small movements such as this are typically recorded throughout the autumn before our local birds return on in a couple of months to over winter around the island. Two first year Grey Heron were present on the island on 11th.

Ringed Plover south of Half-way Wall. © Clive Couzens (Photograph taken on 7th Sept)

Hirundine counts remain as a trickle thus far, with peak counts of 15 Sand Martin, 10 House Martin, 12 Swallow on the 11th. There were three Swift feeding over the airfield all afternoon on the 9th too.

Nice arrival of 24 Chiffchaff, 26 Common Whitethroat on the 9th along with a Hoopoe over by Quarter Wall. A couple of Sedge, Garden and Reed Warblers have been picked up most days and a Grasshopper Warbler was ringed on the 10th. Blackcap have averaged 20 most days, except for the 11th which was much quieter with only six detected. Willow Warbler were similar in their abundance, with c.40 most days, but only a dozen on the 11th. We're still picking up Firecrest, with a peak of four on the 11th. There was a small arrival of Goldcrest on the 12th with 21 recorded. A Treecreeper, the first for the year, was also recorded on the 11th. A Bonelli's Warbler sp. showed very nicely on the Terrace on the 10th. No call was heard and so it is very difficult to nail it as western or eastern based on plumage alone.

Bonelli's Warbler sp. Terrace. © Angus Croudace

Common Redstart were present on the Terrace everyday. Flycatcher numbers have slowly been dropping off, with 16 Spotted Flycatcher and 10 Pied Flycatcher on the 9th, and just 3 and 5 respectively on the 12th. Whinchat have also been moving out with only three on the 9th and a single on the 10th. Along with the noticeable influx of Whitethroat, Northern Wheatear were abundant again on the 9th, with a count of 15 recorded likely an underestimate. The same Wheatear was caught and ringed in SW field on the 9th and 11th whilst dazzling and it's weight had increased by just over 2g, which is just under 10% of it's overall body weight. It's great to see hard data evidencing these birds feeding up before they embark on the next leg of their migration, which is only possible with the insights of the BTO ringing scheme. Some of the Wheatears were of the Greenland race leucorhoa, which are noticeably chunkier and well-marked in the field.

A Yellow Wagtail was present on the 9th and 10th, with the first two Grey Wagtail of the season around on the 9th-12th. A couple of Tree Pipit continue to be picked up each day. A large flock of 180 Linnet has been seen for several days feeding around Pondsbury and a visitor captured a sound recording of a Nightingale in the Bracken below the Terrace on 12th.

It's also that time of year where young Manx Shearwaters are successfully fledging and leaving the  colony. However, for a few the lure of the Marisco Tavern is too much! Between dusk and midnight (after which the diesel generators switch off for the night) the lights of the Tavern attract a handful of birds each year. Upon landing in the vicinity of the Tavern, the flat ground makes it difficult for them to alight again - the steep cliffs of the colonies are a vital part of getting them airborne when they fledge. They scuttle into cracks, crevices or corners around the Tavern buildings when dawn comes, but they're not always as well hidden as they might think! These birds are rescued when found in the morning. We take the opportunity to ring them and then that evening return them to a burrow in the colony to aid them in their next flight attempt. They would naturally filter down to the cliffs again themselves under the cover of darkness, but our helping hand gives them a shortcut (they are famously awkward when manoeuvring on land), and also moves them out the way of the daytime pedestrian traffic in the busy village.

Friday, 8 September 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 5th-8th September

The settled weather has continued this week, winds remaining as light easterlies apart from a much gustier morning on the 5th. The 5th was very quiet, but the week got much more exciting on the 6th-8th, with four Wryneck on the island for two days as well as a first-year Woodchat Shrike on the 6th.

First year Woodchat Shrike Barton's Field © Angus Croudace

First year Woodchat Shrike on Sycamore above Millcombe Pines © Angus Croudace

Now that we're into the swing of autumn numbers of Sylvia warblers are starting to rise, with about a dozen Blackcap and Whitethroat typically pushing up Millcombe. Counts of 41, 65 and 40 Willow Warblers on the 6-8th, with a noticeable switch to juvenile birds rather than the adults that dominated the earlier counts in the season. A couple of Reed Warblers, Chiffchaff and Common Redstart seen each day, and one Sedge Warbler on the 6th (Pondsbury) and 8th (Millcombe pines). There was a small push of Firecrest, with five on the 6th. Last year the highest Firecrest count was three on the 9th September, with other counts of three later in October. The push this week is likely to represent local mainland breeders, with Scandinavian birds forming the bulk of our passage in October. 

Firecrest, Millcombe © Angus Croudace

Flycatchers have been a jov to watch, with the east side positively buzzing with them. Max counts of 22 and 45 Spotted Flycatcher on the 6th and 7th and 18 and 24 Pied Flycatcher on the same dates. For comparison, last year peak counts of Pied Flycatcher were 6 in early September, and max count of Spotted Flycatcher was 20. This is a great comparison which shows the impact of the sustained easterly winds that we have been experiencing. Seven Whinchat on the 7th and 11 on the 8th are great signs of more autumn migrants moving through, as are Tree Pipit (two over Millcombe on the 7th, and at least four over the island on the 8th). One or two Siskin have also been heard flying over Millcombe two since the 6th.

Spotted Flycatcher above Millcombe © Angus Croudace

One Swift and one Sand Martin over on the 6th along with a small push of 250 Swallows. Five House Martin on the 7th were accompanied by a trickle of 60 Swallow. A Collared Dove was seen over Millcombe and on the roof of the barn on the 6th. The autumn has been slow on the raptor front, with only one female Sparrowhawk seen on the 5th, 6th and 8th.

Two Golden Plover over Millcombe on the 7th, with five Ringed Plover also recorded north of Quarter Wall. One Common Snipe at Pondsbury on the 5th and 6th and three on the 8th. An east coast seal survey also turned up a Common Sandpiper at Brazen Ward and two Turnstone at North Light, as well as a count of 26 Oystercatcher. Wader passage is vastly under-recorded on the island and opportunities such as accompanying the marine team on seal surveys is a great excuse to pick up some of these birds. Another Common Sandpiper was heard from Millcombe in the evening on the 8th. A Grey Heron has still been observed most days.

The first-year Rose-coloured Starling continued to 7th, seen with the other starlings as often as it is alone around the village and Millcombe. The Pintail has been present until the 7th, spending more time around Pondsbury than Millcombe.

In terms of ringing effort, the light winds since the 6th have meant that the mist nets in Millcombe have been open each day with highlights of three Wryneck ringed (one was caught in the Heligoland trap on the Terrace). A couple of pleasant evening sessions on the 7th and 8th picked up a dozen flycatchers. Our visiting ringers continue to ring about 20 Manx Shearwater over on the west coast, with a couple of Storm Petrels picked up too.

Wryneck, Millcombe © Angus Croudace

Monday, 4 September 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 1st - 4th September

Clear skies and bright, dry days meant that despite consistent easterlies the first two days of September started fairly quietly, with common migrants trickling through and morning censuses fairly low on numbers. However, working the lower east in the afternoon produced superb results on Sunday 3rd, with a memorable day including highlights of a Western Bonelli's Warbler, Melodious Warbler and Wryneck on the Terrace (along with Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher and 2 Common Redstart). Millcombe wasn't to be left out, with the first Whinchats of the season just above around Barton's Field, a Firecrest in the pines, and a juv Rose-Coloured Starling flying from the church to below Government early evening. Wryneck, 2x Firecrest and Rose-Coloured Starling all present for a second day on the 4th.

Western Bonelli's Warbler, St Helen's Copse © Luke Marriner

Wryneck, Terrace © Angus Croudace

Ringed Plover singles were heard by quarter wall on census on the 2nd and 3rd, with a second heard moving over Gannets Bay on the 3rd. Single Golden Plover heard on the 2nd, and single Dunlin over the village on 3rd and 'in-off' at the Ugly on the 4th. Common Snipe flushed from Rocket Pole on 1st, flying over Quarter wall on 2nd, and flushed from Pondsbury on 4th. A Pintail has been seen every day since the 1st, moving between fresh water bodies and the Landing Bay, most memorably on Millcombe pond, and shortly after in the top shelf of a Secret Garden mist net (albeit too briefly to retrieve)!

Black-headed Gull flew north along the west on the 2nd. Grey Herons have been seen on 1st (adult at Barton's Field) and 3rd (juv at Pondsbury). Ringtail Hen Harrier moving north of Quarter Wall on 2nd, but has not been seen since.

Firecrest, Millcombe © Luke Marriner

Pied Flycatcher © Luke Marriner
Skylark picked up on the 3rd and 3 on the 4th, and a small hirundine movement with 2 each of Sand and House Martin and 71 Swallow on the 3rd and 4 House Martin, 39 Swallow on 4th. Birds appeared to drop in throughout the day on Sunday 3rd, with a final total of 82 Willow Warblers after just a couple on census in early morning and totals of 7 on the previous 2 days. Also recorded on Sunday 3rd were 10 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Whitethroat, 8 Goldcrest, 7 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Common Redstart and 2 Whinchat. The first Yellow Wagtail of the season was recorded on census on the 3rd and 4th and 10 alba Wagtails were also recorded on the 3rd and 4th. 2 Tree Pipit singles over Millcombe on 3rd and another two on the 4th. Monday the 4th was very busy with Spotted Flycatchers, with 23 recorded, and one Pied Flycatcher.

Nets were open in Millcombe for all of Friday and several hours on Saturday/Sunday before winds increased, although capture rate was fairly slow, with about 60 common migrants and local breeders ringed. A group of visiting ringers have been putting some effort into the Manx Shearwaters, with a couple of dozen chicks ringed each night.

Spotted Flycatcher © Luke Marriner

First-year Rose-Coloured Starling, Millcombe © Luke Marriner

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 17 August to 31 August 2023

Autumn migration continues to move through the gears with a double Hippolais warbler day and plenty of common migrants on show over the last few days. Storm Petrel ringing is now winding down after an eye-opening season. Latest totals currently sit at 538 new birds ringed this year (comfortably exceeding the all-time ringing total of 491 between 1947-2022). Throw in all the re-traps and recoveries and we've handled 642 different individuals(!), and a recent run of controls has also seen birds from France, Jersey and Alderney! Another nice seabird recovery came from a Manx Shearwater re-trapped at the Old Light colony which was originally ringed in its first-year at Wooltack Point, Pembrokeshire in September 2013.

Storm Petrel (foreground) and Manx Shearwater (backgorund) © Luke Marriner 

Turning to passerines, Pied Flycatchers have been recorded in small numbers everyday with a max count of five on 27th. Spotted Flycatcher have been equally present, also peaking at five individuals on 29-30th and Redstart have been pushing through in smaller numbers, with singles logged across the Terrace and Millcombe on 20th, 28th and 30th. Tree Pipit movement overhead has been slow and steady with ones and twos recorded most days. A change of pace came on the 23rd when a Melodious Warbler was trapped and ringed in the valley. A second (unringed) 'Melody' then popped up along the lower east coast on the 27th and an Icterine Warbler graced Millcombe between 27-28th while a Common Nightingale (scarce migrant on Lundy - only the seventh record this century!) skulked around the bracken to the north of the Quarries on 28th.

First-year Melodious Warbler in the hand before being released after ringing © Luke Marriner

First-year Pied Flycatcher © Luke Marriner

Sparrowhawk sightings have continued through the second half of the month with an adult female buzzing around from 21st, appearing at Old Light, Village and Terrace and an adult male joining the scene from 28th. The juvenile Grey Heron continued to the 25th when it was observed flying south along the east coast, catching a thermal over Rat Island and departing for Hartland. Interestingly, a Grey Heron was logged later that evening, so either the bird aborted the crossing or a second individual took its place.

Waders have received modest representation with notable appearances Golden and Ringed Plover heard from beer garden 19th, a Dotterel feeding near Wendy Mitchell Memorial on 22nd, single Whimbrel calling over Millcombe on 23rd, a Snipe at Quarter Wall on 28th and a Redshank moving south on 30th.

Thursday, 17 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 16 August 2023

The first passage Tree Pipit of the autumn brightened up an otherwise relatively quiet census route. Two juveniles were ringed in Millcombe and another two passed south overhead. Other notables from the session included an adult female Reed Warbler and two juvenile Whitethroat which had both completed their post-juvenile moult - so presumed migrants rather than our local fledglings. Elsewhere a Sparrowhawk graced VC Quarry and a Curlew was calling over Barton Field/St Helen's Field.

Juvenile Tree Pipit © Joe Parker

Wednesday, 16 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 15 August 2023

Balmy summer conditions enjoyed some light wader passage with an summer-plumage Knot taking top spot. Initially picked up feeding along the intertidal in Devil's Kitchen, the moulting adult was later seen in Lametry Bay. A Ringed Plover pressed north over Old Light at midday and 22 Gannet were feeding off the south-east coast. A single House Martin headed south accompanied by 11 Swallow. Another slight arrival of Willow Warbler as 28 individuals flitted about with 2 Spotted Flycatcher on the move.

[Trektellen.org] - Migration counts & captures

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 14 August 2023

A big clearout of yesterday's Willow Warblers saw numbers drop to a mere 12 individuals, with adults still representing a significant percentage. Few other migrants on show, best of the bunch being 3 Spotted Flycatcher and 5 Sand Martin cruising south. Gannet numbers on the increase with 56 birds actively feeding along the east coast. Plenty of Manx Shearwater action at Old Light where a ringing team monitoring the colony encountered the first wave of fledglings (6 young) and a healthy rate of between-season re-traps.

[Trektellen.org] - Migration counts & captures

Adult Willow Warbler © Joe Parker

Sunday, 13 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 13 August 2023

Welcome arrival of 173 Willow Warbler this morning, most filtering their way down into Millcombe and feeding across the valley. Eight Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Sedge and Reed Warbler accompanied the action and a trickle of Swallow pressed south, as well as a Sand Martin and 5 House Martin. The juvenile Grey Heron continued to linger around Pondsbury for another day. Unfortunately conditions were too breezy to open any mist-nets despite the fresh arrival of migrants, and the murk has set in for the night. Break into your best rain dance - the island is still in desperate need of a good drenching!

Juvenile Peregrine © Joe Parker
Juvenile Willow Warbler © Joe Parker

Saturday, 12 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 12 August 2023

Photos have been shared on a Lundy Facebook group confirming a juvenile Ruff was present at Pondsbury on 9th & 10th August - the post can be viewed on the public group here. Little happening today with force 5 to 6 south-westerlies countering any passerine movements. The damp and dull day was not inspiring for a venture far, but the juvenile Grey Heron was still frequenting Pondsbury and a single Swift battled south. Forecast looking promising from Tuesday onwards, swinging easterly by Thursday!

Wheatear © Joe Parker

Friday, 11 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 11 August 2023

Slow going first thing with a lone Swift making the journey south via Quarry Cottages. Two juvenile Blackcap were feeding in Smelly Gully, accompanied by 3 Willow Warbler flitting around the lee of The Ugly. The juvenile Peregrines are becoming more confident on the wing, now regularly seen hurtling towards post-breeding Starling flocks around Ackland's Moor and Old Light. The juvenile Grey Heron continues to skulk around Pondsbury / Punchbowl Valley area and a feeding flock of 16 Gannet circled the east coast while 3,492 Manx Shearwater were moving north during a one hour watch from Gannet's Rock.

Juvenile Peregrine © Joe Parker

Juvenile Grey Heron © Joe Parker

Thursday, 10 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 10 August 2023

A modest push of hirundines and Swift at 1pm saw 39 Swift, 6 Swallow, 10 Sand and 3 House Martin all push south in the space of 30 minutes. The juvenile Grey Heron is still kicking about, picked up moving north over Quarry Cottages while seeing in the Oldenburg at midday and a flying ant emergence was drawing in a crowd in the Landing with 78 Herring, 6 Lesser Black-backed and 4 Great Black-backed all capitalising on the new food source. The final Kittiwake nests have now all fledged, leaving only the Fulmars as our remaining cliff-nesters still feeding young. Sadly the thick fog put a stop to any potential Storm Petrel ringing last night, although the winds are picking up again somewhat over the weekend opening up another window to get out seawatching. Late report from guests of a possible Ruff at Pondsbury yesterday evening.

Swift (taken 17 May) © Joe Parker

Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 09 August 2023

Classic Lundy conditions today with still winds bringing with it localised mist and thick fog rolling in and out through the day. A single Curlew south over Millcombe at 7am later dropped into the Landing Bay and a ringing session in Millcombe continues to be dominated by local fledglings, only migrants being a single Sedge and 3 Willow Warbler. Flight calls of a Green Sandpiper were heard over Barton’s Field in the fog at dusk. Data from a couple of recent Storm Petrel controls has come back revealing one was ringed as an adult on Skokholm, Pembs on 4 Aug 2018 and the other from Porthgwarra, Cornwall on 31 May 2022. Full ringing totals from today's session on Trek below.

[Trektellen.org] - Migration counts & captures

Willow Warbler © Joe Parker

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 08 August 2023

The weather could not make up it's mind today, switching between thick mist and blue skies within the blink of a eye. Scuzzy conditions early doors made for slim pickings on census, with 3 Willow Warblers providing a splash of colour within the murk. We've received a couple of interesting reports from visitors from the last two days, namely a Kingfisher flashing past Montagu's Steps on 7th and 2 Basking Shark slowly cruising north along the south east coast today! Drizzling after midnight brought an early finish to the evening's Storm Petrel session at North Light which resulted in 16 new birds ringed, plus a Lundy re-trap and 2 British controls - totals up on our Trek page below. 

[Trektellen.org] - Migration counts & captures

Glorious views of the Church from Benjamin's Chair

Monday, 7 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 07 August 2023

At last, a drop in wind strength welcomed the first suitable day of the autumn to open up the Millcombe mist nets! Plenty of juveniles on the wing and a steady stream of young Linnet coming down to Millcombe stream kept the session ticking over through the morning. Of the 11 Willow Warbler trapped it was a near 50:50 split of adult to young age ratio. A Spotted Flycatcher feeding around the valley evaded the mist nets, unlike the adult Sedge Warbler which was loitering around the Lower Garden. Full ringing totals from the morning's session can be viewed on our shiny new Trektellen page (link below). Over time I plan to upload historic Lundy ringing totals onto 'Trek', but for now this will remain more of a winter season task.

Adult Sedge Warbler © Joe Parker

Juvenile Wheatear © Joe Parker

Sunday, 6 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 06 August 2023

A busy Bideford sailing left little room for birding beyond census. The morning rounds largely consisted of the local breeders, with the only migrants in the form of 9 Willow Warbler. The Millcombe Swallow pair are going for a second brood in the Gas Store, busying themselves with sourcing fresh nesting material. A colour-marked Wheatear flitting around the Landing Bay confirmed that some of the local breeders are still knocking about, albeit vastly outnumbered by the number of juveniles on the wing. Elsewhere, a juvenile Grey Heron skulked around Pondsbury and another Storm Petrel ringing session gently ticked over through the evening with another 19 new birds, 2 between-year Lundy re-traps and a new control - although the clear night sky and bright moon saw a significant drop in the number of 'stormies' coming in to the colony.

Storm Petrel © Luke Marriner

Saturday, 5 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 05 August 2023

Force 10 westerlies were always going to mean one thing - seawatching! The postponed Oldenburg sailing made way for a day of staring down the swell to study seabirds effortlessly navigate the gale force conditions offshore. Among the 767 Manx Shearwater pushing SW against Storm Antoni early morning were 4 Storm Petrel, 88 Gannet, 5 Kittiwake and 2 intrepid Swift. Things then moved up a gear during a stint from Old Light early afternoon when a Sooty Shearwater pushed north at 1:48pm (first record since 2019), accompanying a further 1237 Manx Shearwater, 146 Gannet, 46 Kittiwake, 23 Fulmar and a single Storm Petrel by 3pm. Turning to the land, three Sand Martin ran circuits around an otherwise quiet Millcombe with most passerines choosing to hunker down for the day.

Sand Martin © Joe Parker

Friday, 4 August 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 04 August 2023

A nice array of migrant passerines were flitting around Millcombe this morning including 27 flying lemons (fresh, first-year Willow Warblers), 2 Spotted Flycatcher favouring the sycamores and singles of Reed, Sedge and Garden Warbler skulking around the lower garden. High pitch zree and trilling calls from the Goldcrest family party continue to whisper across the valley and local ChiffchaffBlackcap and Whitethroat (including a pristine, recently fledged juvenile) busied themselves feeding up ahead of tomorrow's foul weather. The island's Woodpigeon count has risen slightly to 8 individuals and post-breeeding Shag feeding groups are beginning to build with 42 actively feeding around the Landing Bay. Tomorrow's forecast may look bleak to some - but it has seawatching and shearwaters written all over it!

Spotted Flycatcher © Joe Parker

Wheatear © Joe Parker

Thursday, 3 August 2023

Another long overdue Lundy Bird Observatory update - 18th June - 3rd August

Right, here goes another long overdue update. There are never enough hours in the day - despite aiming for daily updates at the beginning of my post, unfortunately my intentions did not last long! After some time taken to focus on my health, more regular updates will now resume.

Cuckoo © Alan Revel

So without further ado, here are some of the notable records to grace this magical island over the past few weeks. Cormorant have been evident with a max count of 4 on 27 June. Grey Heron were logged on 19 June and 6-12 July involving two different juveniles. A highly unusual record of a singing Tree Pipit in Millcombe on 21 June was remarkable, with the valley also featuring a Cuckoo between 29 June and 4 July. A single Turtle Dove was logged on 28 June and 1 July, feeding in village briefly and later seen around Brambles. A Curlew flew south past North Light on 22 June and autumn wader passage kicked off with a Common Redshank at Pondsbury on 10 July. The site since pulled in a Green Sandpiper on 25 July and Common Snipe on 26 July. Common Sandpiper are grossly under recorded but individuals have been seen at Brazen Ward on 21 July (2), North Light on 24 July (1) and Battery Point 26 July (1). A European Golden Plover occupied the Airfield between 23 and 27 July while Aztec Bay featured a Mediterranean Gull on 24 July.

Juvenile Peregrine © Alan Revel.

Seawatching has provided some excitement at times. There was a big Manx Shearwater movement along the Bristol Channel in early July and an hour's stint along the south east and west of the island involved 13,360 individuals on 3 July! The end of the month enjoyed outrageous numbers of Cory's Shearwater along southern Ireland and south-west England. Lundy joined in on the action on 31 July when only the second island record powered passed Dead Cow Point at 8:34PM. Elsewhere, 2 Common Scoter moved south along Jenny's Cove on 11th July. With the exception of our Fulmars and a few late Kittiwake, our breeding birds have largely left after a successful breeding season. The last lingering Puffins can be seen offshore with a bit of luck, but these will be the last sightings now until next spring.

Storm Petrel © Luke Marriner

Coupled with an all island Storm Petrel census to get a handle on the currently unknown population size, we've increased our efforts ringing 'stormies' at known sites and are blown away with the success rate. For context, up until the end of 2022 our 10-year average catch rate had been 23 new birds a year. This season (so far) our ringing totals sit at 400(!) new birds ringed, 36 previous year retraps and 32 controls, 4 of which have been caught on Lundy in previous years. These staggering numbers are raising more questions than answers at the moment, but it's certainly a great indicator that these secretive seabirds are doing far better initially thought.

Latest Storm Petrel controls and recoveries from 2023. Note: We're still waiting to hear back about an individual we trapped on 25 July that was originally ringed on Jersey! Map produced using Stephen Vickers' superb Controls and Recoveries Plotter.

Passerine migration is starting to move through the gears with the first Willow Warbler of the autumn arriving on 19 July. Small numbers continue to push through and a mini fall on 25 July involved 43 Willow Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. Millcombe has enjoyed a Grasshopper Warbler on 17 July, Garden Warbler and 6 Sedge Warbler on 1 August. The Goldcrest pair fledged 3 young in Millcombe Pines on 14 July and a mobile juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker flitted along the Terraces and Millcombe between 12-16 July. The Millcombe Rosefinch was last recorded on 18 June.

Juvenile Wheatear © Alan Revel

Water Rail breeding was confirmed at Pondsbury with young heard calling in early hours of 19 June and again on 27 July. Max counts of the more regular species include 41 Swift moving south on 24 June, 5 Sand Martin on 12 July, 10 House Martin on 17 July and 36 Swallow on 27 July. Juvenile Starling are now out in force with a max count of 174 logged on 24 June and the Lundy House Sparrow population has doubled - the new recruitment of this years young has seen the population rise to 42 individuals. Post-breeding Linnet flocks are also starting to form again with 200 regularly being recorded around Old Light and the Airfield since mid-July.

Saturday, 24 June 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory long overdue update 29th May-17th June

Firstly, Joe and I would like to apologise for the lack of updates on here lately. We have been really busy with our first Oldenburg sailing happening in early June. We have also had the amazing RSPB visit to help us complete a full-island cliff-nesting seabird and Manx Shearwater census, which has been a wonderful experience, and although we are awaiting final counts, I can tell you it is currently looking very positive for Lundy's seabirds – a huge relief given everything that went on around the UK with avian influenza last season! We have also had some pretty special birds during this time which have been enjoyed by many visiting birders and staff. Here are the maximum counts for the Lundy regulars and more notable sightings at the end:

Mallard 12 adults and 4 young still surviving! Teal we have 2 broods this year on Pondsbury and a loafing female on Bartons pond, Swift 5 on June 1st, Cuckoo 1 bird calling in Milcombe on five occasions, Feral Pigeon we currently have 7 birds around the village feeding on scraps from the beer garden and escaping the hungry Peregrines (including one down in the Tavern as I write!), Woodpigeon 6 on 3 occasions during the month, Collared Dove 4 early in the month dropping down to 1 on the 14th and not seen since (probably Peregrine food as well!), Oystercatcher 19 on the 5th, Dunlin were recorded on the 1st, 3rd and 5th, Kittiwake 500 on the 1st, Greater Black-backed Gull 28th on the 9th, Herring Gull 195 on the 4th, Lesser Black-backed gull 84 on the 9th, Guillemot 2024 on the 5th, Razorbill 1194 on the 5th, Puffin 459 on the 5th, Fulmar 44 on the 4th, Manx Shearwater 88 on the 5th - dark nights on the island are now becoming louder and louder with their calls, a real privilege to hear. Gannet 13 on the 6th; we are seeing lots of 3rd calendar-year birds at the moment rather than adults, which is probably due to Avian Flu hitting our nearest colony, on Grassholm island, last autumn; Shag 46 on the 5th, lots of birds still on nests with eggs or small young, which is very late for this species; Cormorant we have had two separate individuals visiting Pondsbury throughout the month with an immature bird and full adult both seeming to be finding food but never been seen together, a female Sparrowhawk was seen in Millcombe on the 9th; the pair of Kestrels are still being seen and now probably on chicks with food being taken back to the nest site regularly; Peregrine 7 seen the 6th; Carrion Crow 10 and 4 fledglings on the 10th and 11th; Raven 23 on the 9th; Skylark 36 on the 4th; Sand Martin 3 on the 7th; Swallow 26 on the 1st; House Martin 22 on the 1st; Willow Warbler 3 on the 5th; Chiffchaff 4 on the 18th; Blackcap 3 on the 14th; Whitethroat 10 on the 3rd; Goldcrest pair nest-building on the 2nd; Wren 22 on the 4th; Starling 78 on the 15th; Blackbird 18 on the 4th; the lonely male Song thrush has been singing throughout; Spotted Flycatcher 7 on the 1st; Robin 6 on the 5th; Stonechat 28 on the 9th; Wheatear 62 on the 4th, including lots of fledged young; Dunnock 11 on the 5th; House Sparrow 31 on the 4th; Pied Wagtail 7 on the 12th; Meadow Pipit 63 on the 9th; Rock Pipit 17 on the 9th; Chaffinch 12 on the 11th; Goldfinch 25 in the 3rd; Linnet 89 on the 2nd. 

Now onto the more interesting records from the last few weeks: 

Cuckoo Male singing in Millcombe on the 8th of June 

2nd CY Mediterranean Gull feeding off Jennys cove on the 2nd of June

Female Whinchat feeding in Bartons field on the 2nd of June 

White Wagtail 2 in Bartons field on the 4th of June 

Tree Pipit flyover on the 3rd of June

Reed Warbler on the 2nd of June

A Stunning Turtle Dove seen north of Halfway wall, our 3rd of the spring. 

A Male Yellowhammer was seen at Benjamins chair on the 4th June

A Quail was seen on the west coast on the 7th of June

The young male Common Rosefinch has been seen and heard singing on three occasions 4th, 5th and 17th of June.

Good Birding 

Bird Obs Team 

Sunday, 28 May 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 28 May 2023

Both Pondsbury Teal families were seen today with the adult females keeping a close eye on the broods of 3 and 4 young. A Lapwing pressed north over Airfield, with 5 Swift following suit behind. A Reed Warbler was singing in Millcombe lower garden early morning, accompanied by 3 singing Blackcap and 2 singing Goldcrest. Common Whitethroat remain well represented across the south east, totalling 14 birds today - marking the highest count of the spring to date. Willow Warbler were absent for only the second day this month, while six Spotted Flycatcher continue to frequent the wooded valleys and fence lines and a Common Rosefinch was heard again the the bottom of Millcombe at 8am, singing 5 phrases but remained elusive.

Strong easterlies look like there here to stay for the foreseeable... an inspiring forecast to see the month month out. Lundy has already enjoyed a cracking spring, but there's another goodie to be found yet!

Saturday, 27 May 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 27 May 2023

Limited coverage today with little logged north of halfway wall. Two singing Common Rosefinch in Millcombe and St John's Valley made the headline. Pondsbury features two Teal broods but only an adult male and single young were glimpsed today. Peregrine were evident across the island, chasing down the odd Feral Pigeon and Collared Dove taking their chances on Lundy. Further variety came in the form of 10 Spotted Flycatcher plus singles of Dunlin, Willow and Garden Warbler. Female Whinchat were sighted at  Quarter Wall and St Helen's Field, 3 White Wagtail around the village and Old Light and 2 Swift pushed north.

Friday, 26 May 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 26 May 2023

A magical spring day to explore the island with stunning conditions and good birds to be found! Pick of the bunch was a Red-throated Pipit around Punchbowl Valley and Pondsbury. First located by call and seen in flight at 1435 and again at 1525. Later, a stonking male Grey-headed Wagtail (Yellow Wagtail thunbergi race) graced St Helen's Field, following the hoofs of ponies between periods of retreating to the juncus.  Elsewhere, 2 Greenland Wheatear again in Lighthouse Field, Cuckoo Quarter Wall and a thin movement  of waders totalled 3 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin. Although hirundine numbers were down considerably, Swallow outnumbered House Martin for the first time in 6 days (with 104 and 51 respectively). Millcombe and the south east copses feature twos of Collared DoveWillow and Sedge Warbler. 12 Spotted Flycatcher  remained for another day and three White Wagtail and a female flavissima Yellow Wagtail rounds of the common migrant tally.

Grey-headed Wagtail (ssp. thunbergi) © Richard Campey

Another busy bird log in the Tavern © Ella Berry

Contributors: Joe Parker, Luke Marriner, Chris & Carol Baillie, Tim Davis, Richard Campey, Tim Jones, Tony & Ann Taylor, Rich & Rebecca Taylor, Steve Wing, Paul Bullock, Darrin Dowding

Thursday, 25 May 2023

Lundy Bird Observatory Update - 25 May 2023

Waders received decent representation today with a Dotterel seen moving north by observers stationed at SW Field and Airfield. A lone Whimbrel and two singles of Ringed Plover on the move, one of which accompanied by 2 Dunlin. A Sandwich Tern was heard in the Landing Bay and excellent coverage  saw more monthly totals smashed, this time Shag with 82 individuals recorded across the island. The immature Cormorant was seen wing-drying by Quarter Wall Pond and a adult moved along the west coast. The Kestrel pair remain very active with the male frequently bringing back Pygmy Shrews to the nest! Gentle hirundine passage totalled 10 Swift, 2 Sand Martin, 254 Swallow and 307 House Martin. Spotted Flycatcher numbers matched yesterday (16) and there was a small arrival of  5 Willow and 7 Sedge Warblers along the southeast. Two Yellow Wagtail provided a splash of colour and 3 White Wagtail were logged across Millcombe, Stoneycroft and the village.

Finally, after a report of four interesting dragonfly at Pondsbury yesterday, two male Vagrant Emperor were confirmed hawking over the water, along with a Four-spotted Chaser. This is just the 4th occurrence of Vagrant Emperor for Lundy (the 3 previous records were in Sep 2015, Feb 2019 and Oct 2020). This follows on from an unprecedented influx to Devon and Cornwall in recent weeks!

Peregrine predating Starling © Richard Campey

Contributors: Joe Parker, Dennis Weir, Kerri Gorentz, Tony Taylor, Eamonn O'Donnell, Ann Taylor, Dez Higgins, Dick Coombes, Gerry Lyons, Steve Wing, Luke Marriner, Geoff Oliver, Richard Campey, Tim Jones, Tim Davis, Rich Taylor, Rebecca Taylor, Chris Baillie, Carol Baillie.