Sand Martin

Riparia riparia


Selected new records


Earliest and latest since 2006 (last year covered in full by The Birds of Lundy): Earliest 24 Feb 2019 (the earliest ever for the island, preceding by more than 10 days the previous earliest date of 7 Mar 1983); Latest 3 Nov 2009 (the latest ever for the island, beating by a day the previous record-holder, one on 2 Nov 1978).


New spring-passage maximum count

16 Apr – 1,000 were estimated to have passed through the island – the highest spring count on record (the previous peak being 800 on 12 Apr 1982 and 20 Apr 1992). As of early July 2020, this remains by far the highest spring-passage total ever recorded on the island.


New last date in autumn

2 & 3 Nov – The last of the year, a single bird, was the latest ever recorded on Lundy (see above).


Notable autumn-passage count

22 Aug – A count of 300 was one of the higher autumn-passage totals of recent years.


Extended spring passage

Late May & early Jun – Birds were still passing through at the end of May and into early Jun, perhaps reflecting difficult weather conditions en route, with counts still reaching double digits on 26, 30 & 31 May.


Extended spring passage

May & Jun – A trickle of migration continued throughout May and well into Jun, concluding with one on 13th.


Notable autumn-passage count

16 Sep – A count of 250 was one of the higher autumn-passage totals of recent years.


Exceptionally early spring passage

Feb & Mar – The first of the year were two on the extraordinarily early date of 24 Feb, with a further singleton on 28th. After four on 5 Mar, spring migration really got under way in the second half of the month, with peaks of 51 on 24th and 55 on 26th.

The exceptionally early spring migration in 2019 coincided with unusually mild weather in Feb. This contrasts markedly with 2018, when a cold, late spring (after the 'Beast from the East') meant that the first Sand Martin was not logged until 15 Mar and counts did not reach double digits until 7 Apr.

Notable autumn-passage count

8 Sep – A count of 500 is the highest autumn-passage count since The Birds of Lundy was published in 2007 (though still a long way short of the all-time autumn maximum of 2,000 on 18 Sep 1978).


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