Waxwing

Bombycilla garrulus

[Bohemian Waxwing] (p.172)

All new records

2014

New record

20 Oct – An adult male spent about an hour (from 09.00hrs) in upper Millcombe, when it was watched and photographed at close range as it fed on berries. At one point it called and flew off strongly to the south-east, disappearing over the mouth of Millcombe and was thought probably to have left the island. However, it was relocated briefly at the mouth of St Helen’s Combe at 10.30hrs, but could not be found later in the morning (Tom Bedford, Richard Campey, James Diamond & Tim Jones). This is only the fifth LFS record, the previous four having been in Nov 1990, May 1997, Oct 2004 and Jan 2005. Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder. Photo below ©Richard Campey.

 

Treecreeper

Certhis familiaris

[Eurasian Treecreeper] (pp.228–229)

All new records

2007

New record

25 Oct – One.

2008

New record

14, 15 & 27 Sep – One.

2010

New records

20 to 28 Oct – Singles present on 17 dates in this period, plus two on 16th.

22 Nov – One.

28 Dec – One.

2011

New record

31 Jan – One. The first for the island during the period Jan–Mar and most likely the same individual seen in Nov & Dec 2010; the first known instance of overwintering on Lundy.

2012

New record

29 May – A female with a brood patch was trapped and ringed on 29 May. There were no records before or after this date and it seems likely that this bird was a wandering individual that had perhaps failed to breed successfully on the mainland.

2013

New record

30 Aug – A juvenile was trapped and ringed in Millcombe. Note: This record was accidentally omitted from the 2013 LFS Annual Report.

2014

New record

20 Sep to 2 Oct – One in Millcombe on four dates 20–27 Sep was trapped and ringed on 27th (Chris Dee, Andy Jayne et al.) but found dead on the Beach Road on 2 Oct.

2015

New records

13 Sep – One on the Terrace on 13 Sep (Dave Chown) and in Millcombe.
1 & 2 Oct – one in Millcombe (trapped and ringed on 1st – John Horton).

Wren

Troglodytes troglodytes

[Eurasian Wren] (pp.172–173)

Selected new records

2011

Impact of cold winters on breeding numbers

Numbers were very low prior to the breeding season, following the third consecutive harsh winter, but had recovered strongly by the autumn. It is interesting to compare the peak Oct counts for 2008–2011, which were derived from broadly similar methods by the same observers; suggested explanations for the variations in numbers are given in brackets:

  • 2008: 75   (high population after a long run of mild winters)

  • 2009: 51   (decrease after the cold snap of Feb 2009)

  • 2010: 21   (further decrease after the severe weather of Jan/Feb 2010)

  • 2011: 47   (partial recovery after a successful breeding season, in spite of the prolonged cold spell in Nov/Dec 2010)

27/28 Oct – “We caught five unringed Wrens in Millcombe. Till then most had been retraps, so presumed residents. It's possible they [the five unringed birds] suddenly moved into Millcombe from elsewhere on the island, but we got the impression there might have been an influx onto the island.” (Tony Taylor)

2012

New record

The highest autumn count was 50 on 21 Sep.

2013

New record

The highest autumn count was 52 on 26 Nov.

2014

New record

The highest autumn count was 58 on 1 Oct, but only the island south of Halfway Wall was covered.

2015

New record

The highest autumn count was 47 on 13 Oct.

 

Ringing

Ringing recovery

A Wren ringed as a first-year bird on Lundy on 23 Sep 2014 (ring no. HBP948) was found dead at Bothenhampton, Bridport, Dorset on 21 Oct 2014 (28 days, 144 km, 111º). This is the first known movement of a Wren either to or from the island (from more than 1,200 ringed). That it should relate to a distance as great as 144 km is quite remarkable!

Starling

Sturnus vulgaris

[Common Starling] (pp.240–242)

Selected new records

 

Photo: Starling along the High Street, 28 Apr 2014 © Richard Campey

2009

New record

10 & 11 Dec – Migration continued well into Dec, with flocks seen leaving the island high to the north-west, into a headwind, on 10 Dec and to the south-east, following a change in wind direction, on 11th.

2011

New record

7 Nov – The arrival of 2,000 was (at that time) the highest count since The Birds of Lundy was published.

2012

Breeding summary – Adults were seen taking food to nest sites in the last week of May, with at least 11 active nests located: in the laundry, the ranger’s workshed, Barton Cottages (two nests), dog shed, communications shed, south and west walls of the workshop (two pairs), Old Light (two pairs) and the Church (Tim Davis & Tim Jones). Young from two other nests built inside the workshop may already have fledged by this date. The first fledgling was seen begging for food on the roof of The Barn on 30 May (Isabel Winney). Three weeks later, most young had not only fledged but reached independence (e.g. a flock of 14 juveniles on the Airfield on 19 Jun), though adults were continuing to carry food to a nest in the Campsite wall of the workshop on the same date.

New record

17 Oct to 14 Nov – A large influx was noted on 17 Oct, with 750 reported from North Light. Numbers then remained high well into Nov, with maxima of 1,000 on 25 Oct, 1,200 on 27th, 500 on 30th and 500 again on 14 Nov.

2013

New record

16 & 17 Nov – Autumn migration peaked at 3,500 on 16th and 3,100 on 17th. These are currently the highest counts since publication of The Birds of Lundy.

 

Ringing

Ringing recovery: A Starling ringed as an adult male on Lundy on 24 Oct 2012 (ring no. LB46253) was found freshly dead, having been killed by a cat, at Bierbergen, Hohenhameln, (about 25 km SE of Hanover), Lower Saxony, Germany on 23 Mar 2013 (150 days; 1,025 km; 84°).

Rose-coloured Starling

Pastor roseus

[Rosy Starling] (pp.242–243)

All new records

2007

New records

12 Sep – A juvenile was seen around the village (S. Barnes, A. Plant, A.M.Taylor et al.). Record accepted by DBRC.

21 & 22 Oct – A juvenile was seen in Millcombe, associating with Fieldfares as well as with Starlings (J. Allen, R.A. Duncan, A.M. Taylor et al.). Record accepted by DBRC.

These constitute the 14th and 15th Lundy records, which have involved a total of at least 19 individuals. The most recent occurrence prior to 2007 was a juvenile on 5 & 6 Sep 2004.

2011

New records

24 Sep to 15 Oct – A juvenile found in Millcombe on 24 Sep (A. Turner) was trapped and ringed on 25th and retrapped on 30th (D. Baggott, C. Dee, J. Griffin, A. Turner et al.) and last seen in the field on 4 Oct. The presence of a second, unringed bird was confirmed on 1 Oct. This bird tended to spend its time around the Village, where it frequently roosted with House Sparrows and Starlings in the farmyard buildings, remaining to at least 13 Oct (T. Davis, J. Diamond, T. Jones et al.). Both birds were seen together on 3 & 4 Oct. The decomposed corpse of the first, ringed bird, was found near Brambles on 15 Oct. Records accepted by DBRC; these constitute the 16th and 17th Lundy records, the last being two juveniles in Sep 2007.

2014

New records

21 Jun – An adult was with Starlings in the vicinity of Quarter Wall and the Brick Field and later on a wall near the Lodge (John & Silvia Buchanan, Duncan Matheson et al).

17 to 24 Aug – A juvenile was around the farmyard (Grant Cozens, Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor et al.). Photo © Richard Taylor.

Records accepted by DBRC.

 

2015

New record

14 Jun – A first-summer bird that had moulted from juvenile plumage into partial breeding plumage was photographed in Pigs’ Paradise gardens and sitting on top of the Church (Rebecca Bates, Robert Foster, Tim Davis, Tim Jones). Record accepted by DBRC.

Dipper

Cinclus cinclus

[White-throated Dipper] (p.284)

Species added to the Lundy List since Birds of Lundy was published in 2007

All new records

2014

New record – the first for Lundy

9 Jun – A juvenile was seen perched and in flight in Millcombe walled gardens on 9 Jun (Tim Davis, Tim Jones, Martin Palmer). This is the first substantiated record for Lundy and perhaps one of the most unexpected sightings on the island of recent decades!

Swainson's Thrush

Catharus ustulatus

(pp.184–185)

1986

Correction The 27 Oct record should be deleted. The final two paragraphs of the Grey-cheeked Thrush species account (p.185) confirm that while the corpse was initially identified as that of Swainson's Thrush, it was later found to be almost certainly a Grey-cheeked Thrush. This means that there are only two accepted records of Swainson's Thrush for Lundy.

Ring Ouzel

Turdus torquatus

(pp.186–187)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 17 Mar 2009 (one); Latest 7 Nov 2009 (one).

 2011

New record

14 Oct – A count of 15 was the highest since Oct 2005, when there were 20 on 18th.

Blackbird

Turdus merula

[Common Blackbird] (pp.187–189)

Selected new records

2012

Autumn passage influx

24 Oct to 26 Nov – there was a major influx at the end of Oct, following a period of easterly winds. On 24 Oct, 13 were flushed from the former garden at Stoneycroft, while seven flew out of the nettle bed outside the former lantern room at the base of the Old Light on 25th. Similar numbers could be encountered in any area of sheltered cover, particularly away from the exposed East Side. Maxima rose from 30 on 22nd to 110 on 23rd, peaked at 150 on 25th, but remained at 100 on 28th, before dropping significantly to 20 on 29th, following a change to more favourable weather conditions. However, a further influx resulted in counts of 100 on 6 & 8 Nov, with 55 still present on 16th.

 

Ringing

Ringing recovery: A Blackbird ringed as a first-year female on Lundy on 21 Oct 2007 (ring no. CW21961) was found freshly dead at Echt-Susteren, Limburg, The Netherlands (51°05’N, 5°53’E) on 10 Jun 2008 (233 days; 736 km; 91°).

Ringing control: A Blackbird ringed as a first-year female on 15 Oct 2012 (Stavanger ring no. 7576377) at Søre Merkeskog, on the North Sea island of Utsira, Rogaland, Norway was controlled on Lundy, on 23 Oct 2013 (374 days; 1,086 km; 214°). Given that Utsira, like Lundy, is a small offshore island, it is likely that this individual was ringed during its autumn migration from a breeding area further to the north-east.

Ringing recovery: A Blackbird ringed as an adult female on Lundy on 16 Nov 2013 (ring no. LB46284) was found dead (road casualty) at Getterön, Varberg, Halland, Sweden on 21 Oct 2014 (348 days; 1,283 km; 59°).

Ringing recovery: The ring only of a Blackbird ringed as an adult female on Lundy on 25 Oct 2007 (ring no. LA36779) was found using a metal detector in a Raven nest being used by a Peregrine, at at Cwar yr Hendre, Powys on 18 Dec 2015 (2,976 days; 119 km; 53°). It is likely that the bird had been long dead when the ring was found.

Fieldfare

Turdus pilaris

(pp.189–190)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 6 Oct 2007 (one); Latest 12 Apr 2007 (one).

2007 New record

19 Oct – A strong southward diurnal passage involved at least 1,180 birds; the second-highest count ever recorded on the island (the highest being 1,500 on 4 November 1981).

 

Ringing

Ringing recovery: A Fieldfare ringed as a first-year male (ring no. CW21959) on Lundy on 21 Oct 2007 was found freshly dead 295 km away at Littlehampton, Sussex on 12 Nov 2007, a distance of 295 km over 22 days.

Song Thrush

Turdus philomelos

(pp.190–191)

Selected new records

2009

Breeding season summary

In spite of the severe cold of Feb 2009, there were two territorial pairs (both seen carrying food in May) and a fledgling was seen in Millcombe on 14 May, with a well-grown juvenile seen there on 7 Aug.

2010

Breeding season summary

Singing birds were holding territory in Millcombe/St Helen’s Copse and Quarter Wall Copse in early Jun, but there was no evidence of breeding.

2011

Breeding season summary

For the second year running no evidence of successful breeding was reported and for the first time since the mid-1980s there were no records of singing (i.e. territory holding) males. This is most likely a consequence of three consecutive hard winters. Equally remarkably, Song Thrush was not recorded at all in Sep, with a thin autumn passage not really getting underway until mid-Oct.

2012

Breeding season summary

No singing males or other evidence of breeding for the third consecutive year.

Autumn influx

22 to 27 Oct – A major influx towards the end of Oct brought 60 on 22nd, rising to 80 on 23rd & 24th and an exceptional 150 on 25th, before falling to a still notable 60 on 26th and 40 on 27th. This series of counts falls a considerable way short of the all-time record of 500 on 25 Oct 1973!

2013

Breeding season summary

No singing males or other evidence of breeding.

2014

Breeding season summary

No singing males or other evidence of breeding.

2015

Breeding season summary

No singing males or other evidence of breeding.

Redwing

Turdus iliacus

(pp.192–103)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 27 Sep 2012 (one); Latest 17 May 2013 (one).

 2012

Autumn influx

15 to 26 Oct – A significant influx during the second half of Oct included 100 on 15th, 120 on 21st, 350 on 23rd and two huge counts (for Lundy) of 1,500 on 24th and 2,000 on 25th, falling to 600 on 26th, 300 on 27th and 150 on 28th. The all-time maximum for the island was 2,500 on 24 Oct 1974.

2013

New record

16 Nov – A count of 1,200 was one of the larger totals recorded in recent years.

 

Ringing:

Ringing control: A Redwing ringed as an adult on Lundy on 27 Oct 2006 (ring no. RT24343) was controlled on 18 Oct 2007 at Hamme Sint-Anna, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium (51°06’N, 4°09’E). (356 days; 615 km; 91°).

Ringing recovery: A Redwing ringed as an adult on Lundy on 29 Oct 2008 (ring no. RF31057) was found dead on 10 Jan 2010 at Furbo, Co. Galway, Ireland (438 days; 385 km; 307°). Furbo is right on the Atlantic coast and it is likely that many wintering Redwings headed to westernmost Ireland to seek refuge from the freezing temperatures and heavy snow that affected the UK and much of continental Europe between mid-Dec 2009 and mid-Jan 2010. A satellite image taken on 7 Jan 2010 shows virtually the whole of the UK and eastern Ireland blanketed by snow, with only western Ireland snow free.

Ringing control: A Redwing ringed as a first-year bird on Lundy on 29 Oct 2009 (ring no. RF40556) was controlled on 12 Jun 2012 at Pihlajaniemi, Kerimäki, Mikkeli, Southern Savonia, Finland (958 days; 2,398 km; 60°). The control site is on a lake peninsula in the far SE of Finland, close to the Russian border. Perhaps this bird was already back in its breeding area, but given that spring was cold and late in northern Europe in 2012, it is also possible that it was still migrating, perhaps heading even further east into Russia.

Spotted Flycatcher

Muscicapa striata

(pp.222–223)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest in spring 19 Apr 2012 (one); Latest in autumn 17 Oct 2008 & 2010 (one).

2009

New record

2 May – A count of 45 remains the highest spring total since The Birds of Lundy was published.

2010

New record

10 Sep – A count of 50 remains the highest autumn total since The Birds of Lundy was published.

Robin

Erithacus rubecula

[European Robin] (pp.175–177)

Selected new records

2007

New record

14 Oct – A count of 80 was the highest ever made on Lundy (the previous all-time maximum being 75 on 29 Oct 2004).

2012

New record

23 Oct – A count of 65; one of the higher totals for the island (see above).

2013

New record

16–20 Apr – Up to six potential breeding territories located, with singing males in Millcombe (three), St Helen’s Combe (one) and Quarter Wall Copse (two).

Nightingale

Luscinia megarhynchos

[Common Nightingale] (p.177)

All new records

2010

New record

1 May – One mist-netted and ringed in Millcombe (Colin McShane) was the first occurrence since one was seen in St John's Valley in May 2005.

NB This record was included in the 2010 ringing totals in the 2010 LFS Annual Report but inadvertently omitted from the full systematic list in the Bird Report that year.

2017

New record

25 Aug – One was mist-netted and ringed in Millcombe (Tony Taylor). The tenth Nightingale to be ringed on Lundy and only the third record of the 21st century.

Bluethroat

Luscinia svecica

(p.178)

All new records

2008

New record

28 Sep – One was found skulking in rushes around Pondsbury (E. Davis, B. Heasman, I. Lakin et al.) and what was presumably the same bird was seen at Quarter Wall on 1 Oct (E. Davis). Record accepted by DBRC – the 9th occurrence on Lundy and the first in autumn since 1964. More recent sightings have all been in May, including the last in 2004.

2010

New record

9 May – A female seen and photographed amongst rushes near the water tanks in the south-east corner of Ackland’s Moor (R. Campey). Record accepted by DBRC; the 10th Lundy record, five of which have occurred in a narrow window between 9 & 27 May.

Red-flanked Bluetail

Tarsiger cyanurus

(pp.178–179)

All new records

2010

New record

18 Oct – A first-winter bird was trapped at 09:40 in a mist-net set in the gully below Brambles. It was promptly ringed, photographed and released outside Brambles, whereupon it flew strongly over the treetops and down into Lower Millcombe. An hour later it was retrapped in a different mist-net in Millcombe, but released immediately. At 17:30 it was seen briefly once more, perched and flying into a tamarisk bush in Millcombe (A.M. Taylor, F. Watts et al.). This is the second record for Lundy following one in Oct 2005. Record accepted by BBRC. 

Red-breasted Flycatcher

Ficedula parva

(p.223)

All new records

2009

New records

8 & 10 Oct – A first-winter bird was seen in Millcombe on both dates; apparent plumage differences and the lack of any sighting on 9th (in spite of thorough searching) suggested that two individuals could have been involved (C. Baillie, T. Davis, T. Jones et al.). Record accepted by DBRC.

5 Nov – An adult male in Millcombe. Record accepted by DBRC.

2012

New record

15 Oct – A first-winter bird was trapped, ringed and photographed in Millcombe on 15 Oct (Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor et al.) Record accepted by DBRC. Photo © Richard Taylor.

2013

New records

8 to 10 Oct – One, thought to be a first-winter bird, was in St Helen’s Copse on 8th (Malcolm Shakespeare) with one in Millcombe the following day (John Horton et al.). On 10th two were seen together in Millcombe, feeding above the Casbah in shelter from north-east winds (John Haddaway & John Horton). Records accepted by DBRC.

2014

New record

28 & 29 Oct – One in Millcombe, in the vicinity of the Casbah, (James Diamond et al.).

2015

New record

15 Oct – A first-winter bird was watched at close range in Millcombe in an area between the Casbah, Government House and Millcombe House (Tim Jones et al.). Record accepted by DBRC.

2016

New record – subject to acceptance by DBRC

31 May – A female or first-year male in St Helen's Copse (Paul Holt). Subject to acceptance by DBRC, this would be the first spring record since Jun 2003.

Red-breasted Flycatcher St Helens Copse 31May2016 Paul HoltRed-breasted Flycatcher, St Helen's Copse,
31 May 2016 © Paul Holt

Collared Flycatcher

Ficedula albicollis

(p.280)

2008

Unproven report

12 May – An adult male was reported along the Lower East Side Path between the [then] northernmost clump of rhododendrons and the Terrace Trap. A description was submitted to BBRC, but the Committee assessed the record as 'not proven'. A record for Quarter Wall Copse in October 1986 was also not accepted by BBRC, so there have yet to be any authenticated occurrences of this species on Lundy.

Pied Flycatcher

Ficedula hypoleuca

[European Pied Flycatcher] (pp.224–225)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest in spring 3 Apr 2011 (one, male), Latest in spring 1 Jun 2012 (one); Earliest in autumn 11 Aug 2012 (one), Latest in autumn 23 Oct 2011 (one).

2009

New record

10 Sep – A count of 15 remains the highest autumn total since The Birds of Lundy was published.

2012

New record

2 May – A count of 10 remains the highest spring total since The Birds of Lundy was published.

2013

Spring passage

For the first time in many years there were no spring records, perhaps a reflection of the cool, unsettled conditions, but also gaps in observer coverage.

New record

25 Aug – A count of 11 is the second-highest autumn total since The Birds of Lundy was published.

 

Ringing

Ringing control: A Pied Flycatcher ringed as a pullus (nestling) at Llananno, Powys, on 11 Jun 2006 (ring no. T733340) was controlled as an adult male on Lundy on 8 May 2008 (697 days; 162 km; 215°) – a further ringing movement suggesting that many of the Pied Flycatchers seen on Lundy in spring are from the Welsh breeding population.

Black Redstart

Phoeicurus ochruros

(p.179)

Selected new records

2008

New record

24 to 28 Dec – One, adding to the relatively few winter records for Lundy.

2009

New record

9 Dec – One at the top of Puffin Slope (see comment for Dec 2008).

2010

New record

17 to 22 Jun – A female was seen at Jenny’s Cove on 17, 21 & 22 Jun. While late spring migrants or wandering failed/non-breeding individuals have occasionally been seen in Jun in previous years, this appears to be the latest on record.

2012

New record

25 Oct – During strong easterly winds, seven were feeding in the shelter and relative warmth of the west sidelands between Shutter Point and Dead Cow Point.

2013

New record

30 Jan – One; the first winter record since Dec 2009.

2014

New record

27 & 28 Dec – A female on 27th and a male on 28th were the only winter records.

2015

New record

7 Jun – A female was in Gannets’ Combe; an unusually late date (Tim Jones).

Redstart

Phoenicurus phoenicurus

[Common Redstart] (pp.179–180)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 2 Apr 2011 (one found dead); Latest 29 Oct 2015 (one).

 2012

2 & 3 May – Maxima of 20 on both dates were the highest ever recorded during spring passage through Lundy. Late Apr and early May 2012 saw some extremely unsettled weather and it is likely that birds took advantage of a break in the conditions to move en masse and/or were displaced from their usual migration route.

26 Oct – A female in the vicinity of Brambles, St John’s Valley and Castle Hill was the latest record of recent years.

Whinchat

Saxicola rubetra

(pp.180–181)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 14 Apr 2012 (one); Latest 16 Nov 2013 (one – the latest ever for the island, the previous latest date being 10 Nov 1952).

2011

New record

2 Oct – A count of 15 (during a period of exceptionally hot weather, with warm, southerly winds) was the highest recorded on Lundy in Oct. 

2012

New record

14 Apr – One; among the earliest ever recorded on the island, although still some way behind the earliest ever, which occurred on 17 Mar in both 1955 and 1958.

2013

New record

16 Nov – One; the latest ever recorded on Lundy (see above).

Stonechat

Saxicola rubicola

[European Stonechat] (p.182)

Selected new records

2009

Breeding season summary

Seen in every month of the year, in spite of the severe weather in Feb, and although there were no reports of nesting pairs or adults feeding young, well-grown young were seen around the Terrace in the first week of Aug and seem likely to have been fledged on the island.

2010

Breeding season summary

There were many fewer records in 2010 than in other recent years and there was no indication of breeding. This is assumed to be a cumulative effect of the cold weather of Feb 2009 and Jan/Feb 2010. 

2011

Breeding season summary

Numbers in spring were very low, following three consecutive winters with prolonged freezing conditions and there were no indications of breeding behaviour.

2012

Breeding season summary

No evidence of breeding.

2013

Breeding season summary

No evidence of breeding. More numerous in autumn than in other recent years, with a maximum of 12 on 23 Oct.

2014

Breeding season summary

No evidence of breeding for the fifth consecutive year. The highest count of the year was during autumn passage, when there were 12 on 21 Sep.

2015

Breeding season summary

A pair were at Tibbetts on 6 Apr, a male was noted on 15 Apr and two birds were seen on 25 & 27 May (one on 25 May was an alarm-calling female just south of Pondsbury), but given the paucity of spring sightings it still came as a welcome surprise when, in Jun, breeding was confirmed for the first time since 2009: a pair with fledged young were on the heathland south of Pondsbury 9–15 Jun.

Wheatear

Oenanthe oenanthe

[Northern Wheatear] (pp.183–184)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 7 Mar 2011 & 2013 (singles); Latest 11 Nov 2011 (one).

2008

Ringing evidence for occurence of Greenland Wheatears

Tony Taylor has recently reviewed ringing information and comments that: “Forty of the birds ringed between 1972 and 1999 were noted as Greenland Wheatears O. o. leucorhoa and there are others that were not recorded as such but which had wing-lengths well beyond the nominate range. There has been less chance of catching Greenland Wheatears in more recent years, with little ringing activity at the best times for them and Quarter Wall Trap out of action” (received from Tony Taylor 31 October 2007).

2009

New record

2 May – An immature male Greenland Wheatear O. o. leucorhoa was trapped and ringed.

2010

New record

27 Apr – A total of 200 was among the higher counts recorded during spring passage (the record being 300 on 2 May 2004).

Breeding

2010 appears to have been a bumper breeding season for Wheatears on Lundy. A survey of breeding landbirds during the first week of Jun resulted in an estimated 30-40 territories, located mainly along the South End and West Side. At least 24 recently fledged juveniles – most in loose family groups and still being fed by adults – were counted. Other adults were continuing to carry food to nest sites.

2011

New records

20 Apr – A count of 200 matched the high number recorded during late April 2010.

26 Apr – A Greenland Wheatear O. o. leucorhoa was trapped and ringed.

1 Oct – A fall of at least 400, during a period of unseasonably hot weather, with very warm southerly winds, was by the far the highest count ever recorded on the island during either spring or autumn migrations, the previous autumn maximum being 300 on 15 Sep 1974. There were unusually late (though not record-breaking) stragglers into Nov, with single birds on 4th, 6th and 11th.

2012

New records including Spring passage of Greenland Wheatears

27 Apr to 5 May – Significant falls brought 400 on 27th, 200 on 30th, 500 on 1 May and 150 on 2 & 5 May. Birds of the race O. o. leucorhoa ‘Greenland Wheatear’, which breeds in Iceland and parts of Arctic Canada, as well as in Greenland, were trapped and ringed on 28 Apr (one), and 30 Apr (three). Of 100 counted around Castle Hill on 1 May, nearly all appeared to be Greenland Wheatears, typical of this relatively late phase of spring migration, and most had moved on by the next day. Though numbers logged did not exceed 30 after the first week of May, continued passage through the island was demonstrated by the trapping and ringing of six more Greenland birds on 23rd & 24th. Tony Taylor commented: “These six birds were notable because their mean weight was 41.5g (range: 35.8-46.6g). This contrasts with the 29 other Wheatears (probably Lundy breeding birds) ringed in the same week, which had a mean weight of 25.1g (range: 22.4-29.0g). The Greenland birds were not only larger but were carrying much more fat than the local birds, and so were probably about to start a long flight north. They were all one-year-old birds, and would probably arrive on their breeding grounds later than more experienced adults.”

20 Jun – 42 adults and 50 juveniles were recorded during a perimeter walk of the island.

2013

Breeding population estimate

As a result of a colour-ringing study being led by Tony Taylor, the island’s breeding population in 2013 was estimated at about 80 pairs – the highest ever recorded and likely to be attributable, at least in part, to the eradication of rats.

2014

Breeding population estimate

Further research based on colour-ringing resulted in a breeding population estimate of 115 pairs; another new record. Full details can be found in a paper by Tony Taylor to be published in the 2014 Lundy Field Society Annual Report (in prep.).

 

Photo: Male Wheatear, Quarter Wall, 25 Apr 2014 © Richard Campey

2015

New record

29 May – Birds were singing in total darkness below Tibbetts at around 02.00 hrs and near Pondsbury at about 04.00 hrs (Richard & Rebecca Taylor).

Dunnock

Prunella modularis

(pp.174–175)

Selected new records

2011

Summary

In spite of the extremely low numbers recorded during the first few months of the year (ones and twos only), breeding was proven when an adult carrying food was seen in lower Millcombe on 3 May (R. Campey). As usual, numbers reached a peak – albeit a modest one – in Oct, with seven on 3rd. Although the clearance of rhododendron has reduced the extent of suitable nesting habitat, the ‘dead hedges’ of rhodie brashings and developing scrub between St Helen’s Copse and the Terrace continue to provide opportunities for this species outside of Millcombe.

2012

Summary

During the period 29 May to 2 Jun, a pair carrying food was seen below the Beach Road south of the small Turkey Oak clump, an adult was seen in Millcombe and another along the Lower East Side Path. The island’s breeding population was estimated as one to three pairs (Tim Davis & Tim Jones). Once again, the peak count of the year was recorded in Oct, perhaps reflecting increased observer coverage in that month, but maybe also a degree of movement through the island. Given that the island population is now very small, the ringing records during the year (data supplied by Tony Taylor) are of particular interest: an adult male retrapped in spring had originally been ringed on Lundy as a first-year bird in Sep 2009. Two other adults, caught in early autumn, were undergoing their annual full moult and were therefore likely to be resident birds. Four first-year birds were ringed in Sep.

2013

Summary

The island’s small breeding population seems to be holding its own, with a max spring total of seven singing males (Millcombe and the Lower East Side Path as far north as the Terrace). The highest counts of the year were nine on 22 Oct and ten on 26 Nov.

2014

Summary

Three singing males were present in early Jun, but there was no earlier spring survey and no confirmation of successful breeding. The highest count was six on 24 & 25 Oct. Seven different individuals were handled by ringers in 2014; three adults (two retraps from previous years) and four birds of the year.

2015

Summary

The highest count in spring was six on 15 Apr. During the period May–Jul, song was heard in Millcombe and St John’s Valley (two singing against each other on 28 May), from below the Terrace and at St Helen’s Copse. However there was no confirmation of breeding, or even evidence of nesting. Although first-year birds were trapped in the autumn, these could have dispersed or migrated from the mainland; a possibility underlined by the apparent influx of birds in Oct, when nine were logged on 14th, and seven on 15th & 28th. Thorough coverage of suitable habitat during Sep had yielded only single birds on just four dates.

 

Ringing

Ringing control: The previously suspected occurrence of at least some autumn passage of Dunnocks through Lundy was confirmed when a first-year bird ringed on Lundy on 14 October 2010 (ring no.L037967) was recaptured on the Wirral Peninsula, Merseyside on 8 April 2011 (176 days; 267 km; 23°). The BTO Migration Atlas shows that British-bred Dunnocks are extremely sedentary – more than 95% staying within 1 km of their place of hatching. Continental Dunnocks are, however, highly migratory and this recovery raises the intriguing thought of a bird moving north west from Central Europe, to winter in the British Isles, in the manner of many Central European Blackcaps.

House Sparrow

Passer domesticus

(pp.244–246)

Selected new records

 

2007

Summary

There were about 120 adults in Jun and 150 chicks fledged during the breeding season.

2008

Summary

The first chicks of the year fledged from a nestbox in the lambing shed on 16 May; to have four chicks surviving to fledging this early in the season was an unusual occurrence. The adult population was estimated to be between 80 and 100 individuals at most, with definite records of at least 44 different individuals (Ian Cleasby). A female was still feeding fledglings on 5 Sep.

2009

Summary

The breeding season was remarkably early, with the first chicks fledging on 1 May, indicating that egg-laying must have commenced around the beginning of Apr. During the previous two breeding seasons no eggs had even hatched until the start of May. A large number of first-year birds were present in the spring, suggesting high recruitment in 2008 (Ian Cleasby).

2011

Summary

The 2011 breeding season was very successful, with 151 clutches laid, beginning on 3 Apr, and 475 nestlings hatched. The post-breeding population was composed of at least 230 individually marked birds, including 102 adults and 128 successfully fledged young. Sparrowhawks routinely entered the lambing shed to hunt during the autumn and winter, leading to a significant drop in sparrow numbers. While 123 marked individuals (of all ages) were recorded in Nov, only 41 were caught in Feb 2012 (Isabel Winney & Yu-Hsun Hsu).

2012

Summary

See comment above concerning the impacts of winter 2011/2012 Sparrowhawk predation.

The 2012 breeding season started late, with the first egg laid on the latest date since comprehensive monitoring began in 2000. This led to a delay in the first fledglings, with none before June, in contrast with past breeding seasons. The mean number of chicks ringed annually from 2000 to 2011 was 179 (range 68 – 335). In 2012, the University of Sheffield team ringed 200 chicks. So, despite the late start to the season, 2012 was more productive than the average year, but was not exceptional (Isabel Winney).

2013

Summary

On 8 Aug the post-breeding population was estimated at 230 individuals, composed of 130 breeding adults and 100 young of the year (Isabel Winney). On 13 Nov the research team estimated the population to be about 200 individuals.

2014

Summary

The 2014 breeding season started very early, with the first egg laid on 15 Mar – the earliest date since comprehensive monitoring began in 2000 (though monitoring in previous years generally did not begin as early as it did in 2014, which probably reduced the likelihood of recording any very early clutches). 2014 was also a record year in terms of fledglings ringed (553) and almost a record year in terms of number of broods recorded (241, the record being 248). A few birds bred up to four times, something very unusual in the Lundy population. By the end of Jul, only a handful of birds were risking new breeding attempts and by 19 Aug (the date that the sparrow research team left the island), only two pairs were still feeding chicks. Many of the 2014 fledglings as well as many of the adults were caught in two subsequent winter trips. In Dec 2014, 100 individuals were caught, followed by 85 in Feb 2015.

The highest field count of the year was 160 on 26 Aug, immediately after the breeding season. As in some previous years, a small number of individuals appeared to have learnt how to make a living from picking about under the tables inside the Tavern; three birds were watched doing this on 27 Oct.

2015

Summary

The 2015 breeding season was average in terms of starting time and number of fledglings ringed. The first egg was laid on 11 April. Surprisingly, the totals for pairs, broods and fledglings were reduced by 50%, 50% and 60% respectively, when compared to the breeding season of 2014. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the breeding season of 2014 involved the biggest population ever recorded. During 2015 the sparrow research team recorded a total of 122 broods and ringed 227 fledglings from April to August. The main reason for the reduction in the number of breeding pairs in the summer of 2015 might have been the continuous presence of Sparrowhawks and Merlins during the previous winter.

 

Ringing

Colour-ringing movement

One of the Lundy House Sparrows colour-ringed as a nestling by the University of Sheffield on 3 May 2011 was seen in Hartland, North Devon mainland, on 27 February 2012. It was thought to have been in the Hartland area for about two weeks before the sighting was confirmed by Lundy sparrow researcher Isabel Winney. This is the first proven movement of House Sparrows between Lundy and the mainland (or vice versa).

Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

[Eurasian Tree Sparrow] (pp.247–248)

All new records

2014

New record

22 Aug to 2 Sep – A remarkable influx occurred at the end of Aug, when three were seen near the helipad on 22nd, rising to 12 on 24th, with 11 remaining to 29th and the last nine remaining until 2 Sep, when seen just south of Old Light (Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor et al.). The mobile flock tended to frequent the main tracks between the Village and Old Light, and between the Village and Quarter Wall. The most recent previous Tree Sparrow record for the island was of a single bird on 29 Jul 2000 (though there was also an unconfirmed report of one in early Aug 2008), but it’s necessary to go as far back as 1975 to find a count of more than 12 (namely 16 on 29 May that year). Given that there are no Tree Sparrows breeding on nearby parts of the mainland, the birds’ likely origin was a matter of debate. On one hand, their appearance coincided with a period of blustery NW winds, so perhaps they had come from the thriving breeding population in Ireland? On the other hand, significant Tree Sparrow movements were reported along the East coast of England in late Aug and early Sep (e.g. 300 at Spurn on 31 Aug, 26 on the Farne Islands on 2 Sep), perhaps suggesting a northern British, or even continental origin. Elsewhere, targeted conservation efforts in parts of southern England have resulted in locally high breeding productivity from nestbox schemes. Whatever the answer, the Lundy Tree Sparrows were a welcome late-summer surprise for those who saw them. Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder.

 Photo © Tim Davis

2016

New record – subject to acceptance by Devon Bird Recorder

29 & 30 May – One feeding outside Brambles (Ann & Tony Taylor).

Grey Wagtail

Motacilla cinerea

(pp.170–171)

Selected new records

2011

Effect of cold winters

Three consecutive cold winters appear to have had a significant adverse effect on this species, with one on 9 Mar being the only record during the first eight months of the year. Even in autumn, the only reported occurrences were singles on seven dates between 29 Sep and 23 Oct and two on 2 Oct – the poorest showing for many years.

2013

Summary

Numbers of migrants picked up slightly, with three reports in spring (all of single birds in Apr) and autumn records on 19 dates from 2 Sep to 25 Oct (all involving ones and twos).

2015

New record

7 Jun – The only spring record was of one in the ditch near the cattle grid outside Square Cottage; an unusual date for Lundy.

Yellow Wagtail

Motacilla flava

[Western and Eastern Yellow Wagtail] (pp.168–170)

Selected new records

Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 22 Mar 2007 (one; the earliest ever recorded on the island); Latest 17 Oct 2009 (one).

2008

New record

27 Apr – A male of the nominate race, 'Blue-headed Wagtail' M. f. flava, was seen in St Helen's Field during the annual day-trip by members of Devon Birds (R. Doble et al.). Details accepted by Devon Bird Recorder.

2010

New record

10 to 12 Jun – A singing male, showing characteristics intermediate between Blue-headed Wagtail M. f. flava and Yellow Wagtail M. f. flavissima was seen around the Village, mainly in St Helen’s Field.

2012

New record

7 Oct – The call of a single bird in flight was considered to be typical of one of the eastern races, rather than Yellow (M. f. flavissima) or Blue-headed Wagtail (M. f. flava) (Ivan Lakin & Kevin Rylands).

2013

New record

19 & 21 May – One of two birds seen on both dates (in South West Field on 21st) showed characteristics of the nominate race Blue-headed Wagtail M. f. flava (Mark Dyer).

2014

New record

31 May – A male in St Helen's Field showed characteristics of the race Blue-headed Wagtail M. f. thunbergi 'Grey-headed Wagtail' (Chris Townend, Pete Clabburn, Philip Lymbery). Record accepted by DBRC; the fifth Lundy occurrence of Grey-headed Wagtail, the last being in Jun 1997.

2015

New record

14 & 15 Sep – An adult male feeding around sheep in the Lighthouse Field showed the characteristics of Grey-headed Wagtail M. f. thunbergi, which breeds in Scandinavia and western Russia (Tim Davis & Tim Jones). Record accepted by DBRC; the sixth for Lundy.

Pied / White Wagtail

Motacilla alba

[White Wagtail] (pp.170–171)

Selected new records

2013

New record – White Wagtail

20 Apr – Twelve White Wagtails was the highest count since publication of The Birds of Lundy

2015

New records – White Wagtail

14 Apr – Twelve White Wagtails equalled the highest count since publication of The Birds of Lundy.

16 Sep – An early-morning fall of White Wagtails numbered at least 100, concentrated mainly at the southern ends of the Tent Field and South West Field. Most had left the island by 10.00 hrs.

 

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