Birding World (2007) 20(11): 484
"Until this book was published, anyone interested in the birds of Lundy had to refer to the authoritative The Birds of Lundy by J.N. Dymond, which gave accounts for 274 species. However, this was published some 27 years ago and, since then, there have been many changes: a host of additional rarity records (including two firsts for Britain and the Western Palearctic), and some dramatic changes amongst the commoner birds, including Lapwings ceasing to be a breeding bird, and Puffin numbers having declined, while Manx Shearwaters have been confirmed breeding for the first time in living memory.
This new book describes the status of all the birds in much greater detail than its predecessor – and it includes an additional 47 species. It also highlights many of the island’s conservation initiatives, including the establishment of a Breeding Seabird Site Register, long-term studies into Skylarks and House Sparrows, and the successful rat eradication programme.
A foreword by Hugh Boyd gives a unique insight into the island back to July 1948, in which he notes changes in the island and the wider birding scene over the last seventy years. Introductory background chapters bring the island to life, describing its human habitation and use, habitats, flora and fauna (including some of the unusual introductions attempted, like Red Wallabies and Guinea Pigs!), bird conservation, ringing, and birds through the seasons. Other chapters concern Lundy’s seabirds, a fascinating review of ‘ups and downs’ and mouth-watering graphs depicting the frequency of North American landbirds and waders from 1947 until 2005. Finally, for first time visitors to the island, there are four suggested bird walks. Perhaps a map for each of the walks would have been useful here, but the two colour island maps that are included are among the best that I have seen from numerous Lundy publications. These chapters are sprinkled with photographs which enhance a real feel for the living island.
For many birders, however, it will be the full 317 species accounts (and notes on a further 36 species) that form the most important part of the book. These accounts are both informative and accurate; the background is clearly well researched, with an eye for detail. Each text describes the species’ status, pattern of occurrence, historical records and unique anecdotal insights, in addition to an analysis of any ringing movements. The evidence of the meticulous attention to detail is shown in the end notes, which highlight how the authors have reached their conclusions, and record the many inaccuracies and errors that have crept into previous published literature. The texts of these accounts are enlivened by a clever layout, with bordered boxes and graphs, beautiful line drawings by Mike Langman, and relevant anecdotes and summaries, all of which never allow the reader to become bored.
Overall, the book is very readable and user friendly. It is much more than just species accounts. For ‘Lundy philes’ it will become a bible, but to many others it will show that there is more to Lundy than just the place to visit when the next ‘big one’ turns up." Richard Campey
For the latest sightings and photos of birds on Lundy visit the Lundy Birds blog