Pomarine Skua

Stercorarius pomarinus

(p.284)

Species added to the Lundy List since The Birds of Lundy was published in 2007; previously included only in the Appendix of ‘Species seen during the boat crossing but not from the island itself’.

All new records

2010

New record

6 Oct – One off the North Light (T. Bedford, T.A. Jones); the first record from the island itself, though there have been eight previous sightings during the crossing from/to the mainland. Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder. 

2011

New record

26 Oct – One off the East Side (J. Allen, R.A. Duncan, R.J. Taylor); only the second Lundy record after the first in Oct 2010. Record subject to acceptance by Devon Bird Recorder.

2012

New record

28 Oct – During the late afternoon an adult (or near adult) was watched flying-in rapidly from the south-east towards Rat Island where it attacked a Kittiwake, engaging in a prolonged aerial pursuit before forcing the gull onto the water and hovering over it with apparently lethal intent, though the end of the encounter was out of view of the observers (T.A. Jones et al.). This is only the third sighting of this species from the island, yet remarkably the third consecutive year, following records in Oct 2010 and Oct 2011. Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder.

2013

Possible record

28 Oct – One very distant unidentified skua flying west and seen from the Castle, was thought probably to be a first-winter Pomarine Skua (T.J. Davis & T.A. Jones).

2014

New records

23 to 25 Oct – On 23 Oct a ‘spoonless’ pale-phase adult was watched in flight over the Landing Bay and passing across the tide race off Rat Island before settling on the water beyond South Light, from where the falling tide carried it out of sight behind Castle Hill (Tim Jones). On 24 Oct a juvenile was seen off the East Side (James Diamond), with the same or another juvenile off Lametry on 25th (Chris Baillie)

2015

New record

29 Oct – A juvenile flew south past Lametor at 08.05 hrs on 29 Oct (Justin Zantboer). Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder; the sixth for Lundy.

Arctic Skua

Stercorarius parasiticus

[Parasitic Jaeger] (pp.115–116)

All new records

2007

New record

15 Oct – 11 individuals seen during a day of strong seabird passage was by far the highest total ever recorded from the island, the previous maximum count being just two birds (on four occasions, most recently on 5 October 1999).

2008

New records

15 Sep to 21 Oct – Another exceptional year for this species, with records on 13 dates. Most involved ones and twos, but ten were seen on 14 Oct, with seven the following day.

2009

New records

15 Oct & 18 Nov – Single birds were recorded on both dates.

2010

New records

19 Sep to 8 Oct – Singles on 19 & 24 Sep and 5 & 8 Oct, but a high count of six on 6 Oct.

2011

New records

2 Oct to 12 Nov – Between one and four birds recorded on 13 dates, with four off North End on both 5 & 6 Oct.

2012

New records

26 Sep to 15 Oct – Four on 26 Sep, followed by eight on 12 Oct and two on 15th.

2013

New records

22 to 26 Oct – Not recorded from the island until Oct, when there was one on 22 Oct, followed by three on 23rd, one on 24th and two on 26th.

2014

New records

21 to 25 Oct – Recorded regularly during seawatches, with most harrying Kittiwakes off the East Side. After one on 21st, there were three on 22nd & 23rd, one on 24th and two on 25th.

Long-tailed Skua

Stercorarius longicaudus

[Long-tailed Jaeger] (p.116)

All new records

 2013

New record

16 Apr – A breeding-plumaged adult first seen (from inside brambles East!) sitting on the south side of The Ugly flew up Millcombe, over the corner of Government House, across St Helen’s Field and past Barton Cottages, before being lost to sight as it dropped over the Tillage Field Wall. It was later relocated sitting on grassland in Middle Park, just north of the stile at the western end of Halfway Wall. Video and still images were taken. The bird appeared to have a slight injury to its left carpal and some matting of the body feathers close to the carpal joint (H. & P. Bolland, T.A. Jones, R. Shaftman, A., J. & A.M. Taylor). This is only the second record for Lundy and comes almost 39 years after the first, on 20 Jun 1974, when one was seen at rest near Old Light before flying out to sea and heading south. Tony Taylor is in the unique position of having seen both birds! Record accepted by DBRC. Photo © Rachel Shaftman & Jonny Taylor.

Great Skua

Stercorarius skua

(pp.116–117)

All new records

2007

New record

15 Oct – Six individuals seen during a day of strong seabird passage was the highest total ever recorded from the island, the previous maximum being three on 5 October 1999.

2008

New records

30 Aug to 20 Oct – One heading south on 30 Aug was followed by records on four dates in mid-Oct: one on 14th, two on 15th, one on 17th and one on 20th.

2009

New records

7 Sep to 23 Oct – Singles were seen on 7 & 8 Sep and 3 & 23 Oct.

2010

New records

12 May – One; the only spring record.

19 Sep to 8 Oct – One on 19 Sep, three on 24 Sep, one on 28 Sep and 3 Oct, five on 5 Oct, four on 6 Oct and one on 8 Oct. In addition, one (possibly two) seen from MS Oldenburg close to the island on 29 Sep.

2011

New records

27 Aug to 31 Oct – One harrying other seabirds off the East Side on 27 Aug and one off North Light on 30 Sep, followed by four on 6 Oct, one on 7th, then one on 28th, two on 29th and singles on 30th & 31st. In addition, one seen from MS Oldenburg, about halfway across to Ilfracombe, on 13 Sep.

2012

New records

24 Aug to 26 Oct – Singles on 24 & 28 Aug and 15, 24 & 26 Sep were followed by one on 11 Oct, three on 12th, two on 15th, one on 18th, two on 22nd and the last of the year, a single bird, just off North Light on 26th.

2013

New records

19 to 26 Oct – Not recorded from the island until Oct, when there was one on 19th, three on 21st, four on 22nd and five on 23rd. Finally, nine flew south-west off Rat Island during the morning of 26th – a new island record (T.A. Jones, A.M. Taylor et al.).

2014

New records

20 to 26 Oct – Ones and twos were recorded on six dates, mainly off the East Side. An unusually pale ‘blonde’ bird was seen on several days, suggesting that the same individuals were hanging around offshore to take advantage of a build-up in Kittiwake numbers. (During the year there were also unsubstantiated reports of singles on 19 & 20 Apr, 19 Jun and 15 Jul).

2015

New records

15 May – A loose group of 15 migrants flew north off the West Side (Chris Baillie), alighting on the water for a short time (Chris Baillie).

13 Oct – One was seen from the Ugly (James Diamond).

29 Oct – One flew south past Lametor (Justin Zantboer).

Puffin

Fratercula arctica

[Atlantic Puffin] (pp.136–138)

Selected new records

2008

Breeding season summary

First recorded on 7 April. The highest count for the season was of 16 individuals on both 4 and 29 June, the latter all in the St Philip's Stone area. There were six active burrows during the breeding season: four at St Philip's Stone (designated C, D, E & H in the detailed records maintained on the island) and two in Jenny's Cove (designated A & B). Chicks were seen at two of the burrows at St Philip's Stone (C & E), meaning that successful breeding was proved for the second year running. (Grant Sherman captured digital images of one of the chicks and these are available for viewing at this YouTube site).

2009

Breeding season summary

The first of the year were two off St Philip’s Stone on 23 Mar. The first sightings on land were also at St Philip’s, where two were seen outside burrows on 8 Apr. On 10 Apr, three were seen on land at Jenny’s Cove. Birds were collecting nest material on 13 Apr and by 21 Apr six were seen on land at St Philip’s Stone and up to 11 at Jenny’s. In contrast with recent years, Jenny’s Cove saw more breeding season activity than St Philip’s Stone and breeding was confirmed at Jenny’s when adults were seen taking fish into three burrows on 1 Jul; however, no chicks were seen this year. The count of 22 on 16 Jul was the highest since 2004 (when 25 were counted in Jun). The last record was of seven on 27 Jul.

2010

Breeding season summary

The first sightings of the year were unusually early compared to recent years, with three on 23 & 25 Mar (on the water off Jenny’s Cove) followed by seven on 26 & 27 Mar (birds seen on land and on the water at both Jenny’s Cove and St Philip’s Stone). Four pairs seen at burrows in Jenny’s on 6 May. Fourteen at Jenny’s and two at St Philip’s Stone on 6 Jun. Four off North East Point on 7 Jun. Eighteen, including three entering burrows, at Jenny’s on 10 Jun. On 13 Jun up to 74 different individuals were counted – mostly on the sea – including 33 at Jenny’s Cove/St Philip’s Stone, 27 at Gannets’ Rock, four at Brazen Ward and 10 of the South End. The first confirmation of breeding in 2010 came when an adult was seen carrying food to a burrow in Jenny’s Cove on 14 Jun. On 10 Jun, six were seen on land at a site in Jenny’s Cove not used since 1992. On 25 Jun, 50 on land at Jenny’s Cove and six at St Philip’s Stone. At least 20 were reported during a boat trip around the island on late date of 30 Aug, mainly in the vicinity of Gannets’ Bay, North End and Jenny’s Cove.

2011

Breeding season summary

Successful breeding was proven once more and while the maximum count in 2011 (59), was lower than in 2010 (74), numbers still give room for cautious optimism. The first record of the year was one at Jenny’s Cove on 25 Mar (Grant Sherman). Further singles were seen on 27 & 30 Mar. At least 15 on land at Jenny’s Cove on 19 Apr (Kirsten Elliott). A pair entering a crevice/burrow at Long Roost and three birds around burrows ‘A’ & ‘C’ at St Philips Stone on 22 Apr (Sophie Wheatley). A pair apparently occupying a burrow at St Philip’s Stone in late May/early Jun. Raft of seven on the sea just north of Brazen Ward on 9 Jun. From the Jessica Hettie, about 55 seen on the water around the west and north coasts on 10 Jun. Six on the water off the South End on 14 Jun. An adult was seen carrying a fish into burrow ‘G’ at Jenny’s Cove on 14 Jun (Grant Sherman) and into burrow ‘A’ at St Philip’s Stone on 24 Jun (Nicola Saunders). Two on ledge and one at burrow entrance at Long Roost on 27 Jun (Alan & Sandra Rowland). Forty-five were seen on land at Jenny’s Cove on 22 Jun (Shaun Barnes, Nicola Saunders). A total of 49 (23 at Jenny’s Cove, 16 at St Philip’s Stone and 10 on the water off North East Point) were counted on 24 Jun, with 43 at Jenny’s Cove on 30 Jun (Alan Rowland). A partial albino bird (all white, execpt for some splodgy black feathering in the wings and mantle) was seen at Jenny’s Cove on 28 Jun and photographed the following day (Grant Sherman, Shelley Southon); a video clip can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxriCJhNikM. Fifteen at St Philip’s Stone and 14 at Jenny’s Cove on 9 Jul (James Leonard, Nicola Saunders). Twelve at St Philip’s Stone at 07.00 on 11 Jul, with 46 adults plus one chick at Jenny’s Cove at 09.00 on the same date, making a potential combined total of 59 (Grant Sherman). Forty-one on the sea at Jenny’s Cove on 22 Jul; none on land.

2012

Breeding season summary

Three on the sea at Jenny’s Cove on 16 Mar were the first of the year (Grant Sherman) and the earliest returning birds of recent years. Numbers increased considerably from the end of May (assumed, as in other recent years, to reflect an influx of immature, non-breeding birds). On 20 Jun, a new (recent) record total of 171 birds – both on land and on the water – were located in a count of the whole island perimeter, including 71 at Jenny’s Cove, 30 at St Philip’s Stone, 25 off the South End and others at Long Roost, North End and Gannets’ Rock (T.J. Davis & T.A. Jones). A chick was seen outside burrow ‘C’ at St Philip’s Stone on 27 Jun. Numbers declined rapidly in late Jul, with 110 still present on 20th, but only five counted on 27th (all on the water off St Philip’s Stone) – the last of the season.

2013

Breeding season summary

Three were on the water at Jenny’s Cove on 20 Mar (Grant Sherman). Perhaps surprisingly, coming so late in the season, the highest count of the year – and a new post rat-eradication record – was reached on 25 Jul when a total of 190 included 129 at Jenny’s Cove and 61 at St Philip’s Stone. Finally, 150 were counted on 29 Jul, but there were no reports at all in Aug!

Breeding evidence included birds entering burrows at St Philip’s Stone on 2, 19 & 26 May and 4 Jun. birds were on land outside burrows at Jenny’s Cove on 26 May and entering burrows on 4 Jun. Two adults were seen carrying fish at St Philip’s Stone on 14 Jun (Grant Sherman). Away from the colonies at Jenny’s Cove and St Philip’s Stone, four were on the water at Long Roost on 26 May. At least 27 were in the Gannets’ Rock area on 31 May, mostly on the water, but one was seen and photographed apparently defending a burrow on a grassy slope just north of the Rock. Six were on the sea off Puffin Gully on the same date. Six were off North Light on 12 Jun. Five were on the water just south of Tibbetts Point on 25 Jun, and five were just off The Battery on 16 Jul.

The RSPB seabird census during the last week of May recorded 80 birds and noted the major recolonisation of Jenny’s Cove. Within the scope of the methodology for this survey (i.e. a count of all birds present during the last week of May), this represents a remarkable recovery from the low of just five birds recorded during the 2004 census, and a 470% increase on the 14 birds recorded in the 2008 survey. The success of this species is undoubtedly due in large part to the eradication of rats (information contributed by David Price).

2014

Breeding season summary

The resurgence in Puffin numbers continued. A noticeable feature in recent years has been a tendency for the first birds to arrive earlier and the last birds to depart later in the season than was the case when the island’s population had dwindled dangerously close to extinction.

The Jenny’s Cove and St Philip’s Stone breeding colonies were checked regularly in Mar, with the first sighting being of a single bird at Jenny’s Cove on 19th, 20th and 24th. The next arrivals were three on 3 Apr, rising to eight on 9th, 11 on 15th, 31 on 18th and 51 on 30th (the latter count comprising 45 at Jenny’s Cove and six at St Philip’s Stone). The highest count in May was 60 on 6th, while 103 were recorded on 18 Jun. A count of 83 birds on 8 Jun was distributed as follows (southern part of the island not covered): 30 on land and eight on water at Jenny’s Cove; 11 on land at St Philip’s Stone; five on water off Gannets’ Rock; one on water off Long Roost; six on land and 16 on water at Puffin Slope; four on water off North Light and two in flight off the Terrace. Two birds were going in and out of burrows at Long Roost on 12 Jun.

An adult was entering a burrow with a fish at St Philip’s Stone on 29 Jun. Single adults carrying fish were also seen at St Philip’s Stone on 11 Jul & 14 Jul. A metal-ringed Puffin was also observed at this site. Puffin counts were lower at the St Philip’s Stone colony in 2014 compared with 2013; possibly a consequence of adult mortality during winter storms (Grant Sherman).

Maximum counts included 144 on 2 Jul, 125 on 14th (of which 100 at Jenny’s Cove and 25 at St Philip’s Stone) and a new post-rat eradication record of 240 in Jenny’s Cove alone (other suitable areas were not covered) on 30th. There were still at least 80 in Jenny’s Cove on both 1 & 4 Aug, and 75 on 5th, while of 11 seen on 8th, one entered a burrow. The last of the year were seven on the water off North East Point on 23 Aug (Martin Thorne).

Three first-winter Puffins that had been driven ashore on the mainland during the severe storms of winter 2013/14 were picked up and taken to the RSPCA’s West Hatch rehabilitation centre near Taunton, where they recovered sufficient condition to be released back into the wild (amidst considerable media interest) at Gannets’ Bay in early Apr.

2015

Breeding season summary

The first of the year were 16 on 2 Apr, rising to 50 by 7th and 76 on 22 Apr (on the latter date there were 54 on the sea and six on land at Jenny’s Cove, plus 15 on the sea and one on land at St Philip’s Stone). At least two pairs were mating on the water on 17 Apr. The peak count in May was 74 on 10th. In Jun there were 90 on land at Jenny’s Cove on 7th, while the peak count during the month was 110 on 10th. Jul brought the highest count for the year when up to 250 (200 on land and 50 one the water) were at Jenny’s Cove on 3rd (Martin Thorne/Morte Wildlife Group). There were records on eight dates in Aug, the last of these a single bird on 12th, followed by a logbook entry on 16th of “2 from boat”, which could have been some way from the island itself. Although most records were from the colonies at Jenny’s Cove and St Philip’s Stone, small numbers were also seen at Long Roost (including birds entering burrows) and on the water off Pilot’s Quay, North Light and North East Point, all between late Jun and mid Jul.

Black Guillemot

Cepphus grylle

(p.284)

Species added to the Lundy List since Birds of Lundy was published in 2007; previously included only in the Appendix of ‘Species seen during the boat crossing but not from the island itself’.

All new records

2012

New record

26 May to 2 Jun – Two in full breeding plumage seen on the water about 250 m from the jetty as MS Oldenburg entered the Landing Bay on 26 May (Andrew Cleave & Paul Sterry). One seen in flight some way off the East Side (while scanning for seabirds with a telescope from the Beach Road turn) on the evening of 1 Jun (T.A. Jones). At least one seen on the water and in flight just after MS Oldenburg had sailed past Rat Island when leaving the Landing Bay on 2 Jun (many observers). Records accepted by DBRC. These constitute the first records for the island itself, the only previous sighting having been at sea, during the crossing, on the strikingly similar date of 30 May 1991.

2013

New record

9 Jun to 1 Jul – One was in the Landing Bay on 9 Jun (John Mellor) and still present on 15 & 16 Jun (Darrin Dowding, Ken Ebsworthy, Arthur Goldsmith). On 15th it was on the water below St Helen’s Copse and headed so close to shore it was lost from sight. The following day it was also quite close to shore until MS Oldenburg arrived, when it flew out to sea. The bird was still present on 22 Jun (Shaun Barnes & Ken Ebsworthy) and roosting on a bollard of the jetty at high tide on 1 Jul (Beccy MacDonald). Record accepted by DBRC.

2014

New record

9 May to 8 Jul – One was seen regularly in the Landing Bay (Andy Jayne, Ed Richardson, Dave White et al.). This is the third consecutive year that Black Guillemots have been seen in the same area in late spring and early summer. The bird was often seen close inshore and at times loafing on the jetty, as in 2013. Record accepted by DBRC. Photo below © Andy Jayne.

2015

New record

2 Apr to 22 Jun – Recorded for the fourth successive year. What is presumed to be the same returning individual was first seen back in the Landing Bay, off the jetty, on 2 Apr (Beccy MacDonald) – more than a month earlier than the previous earliest date. There were sightings on at least 20 further dates up to and including 2 Jun, followed by a gap to 13 Jun, a brief sighting at 07.30 hrs on 14 Jun and a final record of the bird swimming close inshore between the jetty and Rat Island on 22 Jun. All sightings were in the Landing Bay, especially in the vicinity of Miller’s Cake. Tony Taylor’s entry in the LFS logbook for 27 May reads: “Black Guillemot on rocks below ‘Smelly Gully’, a.m. Walked half way up its favourite rock, which had a Lesser Black-backed Gull perched on top. Much aggressive posturing (standing very tall, with bill pointing down and open; wings slightly open) which had no effect. In the end, marched up towards the gull, which flew off. Black Guillemot settled down on peak of rock.” Record accepted by DBRC.

Razorbill

Alca torda

(pp. 133–134)

Selected new records

2008

Breeding census

The seabird census in late May recorded 1,045 individuals, representing an increase of 24% since 2004 and the highest level since the current survey began in 1981 (David Price et al./RSPB).

2009

Reoccupation of breeding ledges

Birds were back on the breeding ledges from mid-February, much later than Guillemots, which returned during the late autumn of 2008.

2010

Reoccupation of breeding ledges

Many were noted on the breeding ledges at Jenny’s Cove during fine weather on 14 Feb; once again, some months later than Guillemots. The first egg was seen on 4 May (Grant Sherman).

2011

Reoccupation of breeding ledges

Razorbills again reoccupied the ledges much later than Guillemots, not being noted in numbers until Mar.

2012

Reoccupation of breeding ledges

The first bird seen on the breeding ledges was one at Jenny’s Cove on 7 Jan, with three there (two of which were in breeding plumage) on 4 Feb and seven on 12th – a much later pre-breeding build-up than in the case of Guillemots (Grant Sherman).

2013

Reoccupation of breeding ledges

The first birds seen on the breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove were three on 8 Feb (a month later than in 2012), with 21 present the following day, rising to 350 by 18 Mar (Grant Sherman).

Breeding census

The RSPB seabird census recorded a total of 1,324 individual birds at breeding sites, representing a 27% increase (similar to that for Guillemots) on the total of 1,045 birds counted during the 2008 census. This takes the species’ total to its highest level since the current surveys started in 1981. As with Guillemots, the reasons for this continuing increase are not immediately apparent, though the absence of rats is likely to have contributed given that Razorbills invariably nest towards the tops of the cliffs (information contributed by David Price).

Following post-breeding abandonment of the breeding ledges by the end of Jul, there were no further records until the second half of Oct, when numbers feeding and passing by offshore reached 180 on 22nd.

2014

Reoccupation of breeding ledges

Counts in Mar included 200 on 12th & 18th and 300 on 16th (Grant Sherman). After a complete absence of records during Aug, Sep and the first half of Oct, small numbers (up to 12) were seen 19–22 Oct, followed by 220 on 23rd, most of which were in flight off the East Side and/or feeding with Kittiwakes in the same area.

Aberrant individual

An individual with an orange-yellow left foot was seen regularly at St Philip’s Stone between 23 May and 3 Jul (Grant Sherman; see here for a photo of this striking bird)

Guillemot

Uria aalge

[Common Murre] (pp.130–132)

Selected new records

2008

Breeding census

The seabird census in late May recorded 3,302 individuals, representing a substantial increase of 42% since 2004 and the highest level since the current survey began in 1981 (David Price et al./RSPB).

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

Peak counts included 650 in Nov and Dec 915 in Dec (Grant Sherman).

2009

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – late winter

The peak Jan count of 814 (on 9th) was of birds already occupying the breeding ledges, continuing the run of high counts from Nov (650) and Dec (915) 2008 and demonstrating that birds come back to their breeding sites on a regular basis earlier than previously (or at least earlier than previously known about). This was underlined when 1,115 birds were counted on breeding ledges on 10 Dec.

Breeding productivity

Surveys of the colonies at Long Roost and Aztec Bay produced 36 and 29 nesting attempts respectively, with combined productivity of 0.63 young fledged per nesting attempt (Nicola Saunders & Sophie Wheatley).

2010

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – late winter

Many were noted on the breeding ledges at Jenny’s Cove during fine weather on 14 Feb.

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

In autumn, five birds were back on breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove early on 18 Oct (nine days earlier than in 2008) but all had gone by 07:42 (Grant Sherman).

2011

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

Twenty-nine were back on the breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove on 12 Oct (six days earlier than in 2010, and 14 days ahead of 2008), building to 300 at Jenny’s Cove and the area around St Mark’s Stone on 26 Oct, and 837 by 10 Dec (Grant Sherman).

2012

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – late winter

Grant Sherman continued his regular winter visits to count and observe birds on the breeding ledges. Of six visits in January when birds were occupying the ledges, the highest count was 1,138 on 8th. Birds were incubating eggs at St Philip’s Stone and Jenny’s Cove on 8 May.

Reoccupation of the breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

At the end of the breeding season numbers fell rapidly from mid-Jul, with 1,100 on the ledges on 15th, but just 79 on 23rd. Thirteen birds were back on the breeding ledges at 07:15 on 13 Oct, one day later than in 2011 (Grant Sherman). Subsequent early morning peak numbers of birds on the ledges included 175 on 19 Oct, 404 on 28 Oct, 762 on 30 Oct, 997 on 18 Nov, 1,041 on 29 Nov and 1,313 on 21 Dec, with variable intervening counts.

2013

Reoccupation of breeding ledges – late winter

Higher counts of birds on the breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove included 509 on 4 Jan, 1,274 on 22 Jan, 1,154 on 9 Feb and 1,570 on 18 Mar (Grant Sherman).

Breeding census

The RSPB seabird census recorded a total of 4,114 individual birds at breeding colonies – a phenomenal increase of 25% since the previous peak figure of 3,302 recorded during the 2008 census and representing the highest number since the current surveys started in 1981. The average count during the period 1981–2004 was only 2,200 birds. Whilst several factors may be responsible for this increase, not least food supply, there is subjective evidence that the removal of rats may have helped this species. It has been noticeable during the last two surveys that Guillemots have been recorded at new sites in areas of broken ground not far below the edge of the grassy sidings – locations that would previously have been readily accessible to rats (information contributed by David Price).

Between 18 Jun and 7 Jul Grant Sherman posted an informative series of photo essays cataloguing the fortunes of breeding pairs and their chicks on study ledges at St Philip’s Stone. Grant’s blogs can be viewed at http://www.lundybirds.blogspot.co.uk

Reoccupation of breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

The first birds returning to the breeding ledges in Jenny’s Cove were three on 17 Oct (Grant Sherman).

2014

Reoccupation of breeding ledges – late winter

Counts in Mar included 408 on 12th, 1,292 on 16th and 859 on 18th (Grant Sherman).

Breeding season

Grant Sherman continued his detailed study of the behaviour of breeding Guillemots on a ledge at St Philip’s Stone, where he observed the first chick on 16 Jun and recorded the first fledging on 5/6 Jul. All except one chick had fledged by 14 Jul. While the complete breeding census of 2013 had shown an encouraging 25% increase on the numbers recorded by the previous census in 2008, counts in Grant’s study area and anecdotal evidence from other parts of the island suggest that breeding numbers were down in 2014. This is likely to be have been a consequence of the prolonged stormy conditions of winter 2013/14 that resulted in thousands of Guillemots and other seabirds being ‘wrecked’ along the coast of western Britain.

Reoccupation of breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

The last date when presence was noted at the end of the breeding season was 2 Aug (no count given), though there were no birds remaining at the St Mark’s Stone colony by 21 Jul (Grant Sherman). Thereafter, one on 2 Sep and six on 10th and between one and three birds (all offshore) on five scattered dates during the first half of Oct, before the first two birds were seen back on the breeding ledges at Jenny’s Cove on 17 Oct (Grant Sherman), followed by 196 on 20 Oct (the same date as at least 300 were passing off the East Side). Numbers on the ledges reached 368 between Jenny’s Cove and St Mark’s Stone on 23 Oct, with 516 in the same area on 15 Nov and 928 on 23 Nov, 903 on 21 Dec and 1,174 on 30 Dec, though it is important to underline that totals between these peak counts fluctuated considerably in response to prevailing weather/sea conditions (Grant Sherman).

2015

Breeding season

The Mar maximum of 1,697 was the highest ever recorded in that month (Grant Sherman). At least two birds on Grant’s study ledges at St Philip’s Stone had eggs on 13 May, while the first confirmation of hatched chicks came on 12 Jun, with a total of 12 chicks hatched by 25 Jun. Monitoring by wardens of the Guillemot colony at St Mark’s Stone yielded 88 active sites from which just 28 chicks (0.32) fledged.

Reoccupation of breeding ledges – autumn/early winter

The first record of birds returning to breeding ledges after their post-breeding dispersal was of 35 at Jenny’s Cove on 22 Oct; all were in winter plumage. Numbers rose to 298 on 25 Oct (when some individuals were starting to show signs of breeding plumage), 550 on 22 Nov and 964 on 13 Dec (Grant Sherman).

 

Ringing

Colour-ring sighting: 14 May & 13 Jun 2008 – A Guillemot seen at St Philip's Stone bearing a metal ring on its right leg and a blue darvic ring with white lettering '74A' on its left leg had been ringed as a chick on the small island of Stora Karlsö, Sweden (in the Baltic Sea a few kilometres off south-west Gotland and 1,609 km from Lundy) on 2 Jul 2002. While unusual, this movement is by no means unprecedented. The BTO Migration Atlas (Wernham et al., 2002) reports 69 foreign-ringed Guillemots recovered in Britain, including a chick ringed in the Baltic that later bred on Skomer (off mainland Pembrokeshire).

 

Colour-ring sighting: 13 Mar & 22 Apr 2010 – What proved to be a male Guillemot bearing a yellow ring marked 67A on its left leg was photographed by Grant Sherman on the ledges between Dead Cow Point and Needle Rock on 13 Mar and again on 22 Apr when it was seen mating. Information received from the British Trust or Ornithology showed that it had been ringed as a nestling on Skomer on 27 Jun 2003. It had been seen again on Skomer (as a bird of pre-breeding age) 1n 2007.

 

Colour-ring sighting: 29 May 2012 – A Guillemot bearing a blue ring on its left leg inscribed in white ‘04M’ had been ringed as a chick on Skomer, Pembrokeshire, in 2009.

 

Colour-ring sighting: 20 Jun 2012 – A Guillemot bearing a yellow ring inscribed in black ‘058’ had been ringed as a chick on Skomer, Pembrokeshire, in 2010.

Black Tern

Chlidonias niger

(p.128)

All new records

2008

New record

30 Aug – Although not seen from the island, two were watched from the MS Oldenburg as they fed with Common Terns about a kilometre east of Lundy (N. Croton, A.M. & R.J. Taylor). 

2013

New record

22 Oct – A first-winter bird off North Light (T. Bedford & R.J. Campey) was the first seen from the island since 9 Aug 1967, when one was in the Landing Bay.

Sandwich Tern

Sterna sandvicensis

(p.129)

All new records

2010

New record

8 Oct – One off the East Side was one of the latest ever seen from the island, the only later record being of one on 9 Oct 2006.

2012

New record

5 Apr – One.

2013

New record

28 Mar – One.

2014

New records

3 to 20 Apr – Two in the Landing Bay on 3rd & 4th (Mike Jones, Beccy MacDonald); two heading west off North West Point on 17th (Martyn Roper); and one reported on 20th.

23 Sep – One seen from MS Oldenburg as she appraoched the island (Chris Dee & Andy Turner).

2015

New records

7 to 14 Apr –Reported in the Landing Bay on four dates. All records were of single birds except three on 9th (Martyn Roper).

7 Sep – One; the only autumn passage record.

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

(p.129)

Selected new records

2008

New record

30 Aug – At least 50 were seen from MS Oldenburg during the crossing from Ilfracombe, including a group of 20 feeding just east of Lundy, together with two Black Terns (N. Croton, A.M. & R.J. Taylor). Also seen on the return crossing on 6 Sep. Tony Taylor writes: "Both [on 30 Aug & 6 Sep] flocks gathered close to the boat and then wheeled upwards and away, bunched together tightly. I reckoned in retrospect, given their direction etc, that they were using the hot air from the funnel and engine room to gain height."

2010

New record

8 Oct – At least 12 off the East Side were among the latest ever seen from the island, the only later record being on 9 Oct 2006.

2015

New record

17 Oct – A first-winter bird was the latest ever for Lundy.

Arctic Tern

Sterna paradisaea

(p.130)

All new records

2008

New record

22 Apr – Two flying north seen from MS Oldenburg as the boat was entering the Landing Bay (C. McShane). Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder. This constitutes only the 2nd spring record for Lundy (the other being a single bird on 5 May 1996).

2013

New records

16 to 20 Apr – A flock of up to 15 was feeding with Kittiwakes and Manx Shearwaters off the East Side during the afternoon of 16 Apr, with six in the same area on 17 Apr, two on 18th, one on 19th and one on 20th (T.J. Davis, T.A. Jones, K. Rylands, A.M. Taylor). A strong passage of Arctic Terns through the Bristol Channel was noted at this time and it is likely that the above sightings included a turnover of birds rather than a steadily dwindling single flock that the counts might imply – especially as 12 birds appeared to leave the island waters during the early evening of 16 Apr.

23 Oct – Two feeding among Kittiwakes off the East Side on 23 Oct (A.M. Taylor).

Records accepted by Devon Bird Recorder.

Kittiwake

Rissa tridactyla

[Black-legged Kittiwake] (pp.126–128)

Selected new records

2008

New record

24 to 30 Jan – Between 300 and 900 recorded daily, with the maximum count of 900 recorded on the last date. These are high counts for the time of year.

Breeding census

The seabird census in late May recorded a total of 151 apparently occupied nests, representing a slight increase over the 148 counted in 2004 (David Price et al./RSPB). While these figures appear mildly encouraging, productivity studies suggest that breeding success remains relatively poor (Nicola Saunders, pers. comm.) and it is too early to conclude that the long-term decline in Lundy’s breeding population of this delightful pelagic gull (once numbered in the thousands) has bottomed out.

2009

New records

There were high numbers offshore early in the year, with 1,000 or more on eight dates between 15 Jan and 16 Feb, and a maximum of at least 1,500 off the East Side on 3 Feb during a cold snap with strong easterly winds. In the second winter period, 1,000 were estimated offshore (North End 800, East Side 200) on Christmas Day.

Breeding season

There was no complete census of the island’s breeding population in 2009 but surveys of the colonies at St Mark’s Inlet and Aztec Bay produced 106 and 28 nesting attempts respectively, with combined productivity of 0.28 young fledged per nesting attempt (Nicola Saunders & Sophie Wheatley).

2012

New records

An estimated 900 were offshore on 27 Jan, followed by 1,200 feeding off the East Side on 11 Feb. Following a period of rough weather, with very strong north-easterly winds, at least 1,000 were passing off the South End on the morning of 27 Oct.

Breeding season

Warden Derren Fox reported: “Kittiwake productivity was monitored at two colonies, Aztec Bay (F7 in seabird site register) and Aztec Zawn (site F16 in site register). Productivity at those sites was as below. Some fierce storms took out a lot of the lower nests at both sites, but these would have been younger and less experienced birds.”

Aztec Bay (n=41) 0.85 chicks/pair 0.17 fledged/pair

Aztec Zawn (n=100) 0.47 chicks/pair 0.29 fledged/pair

2013

New record

About 700 were offshore on 30 Jan, with 250 on 31 Jan & 1 Feb. An exceptionally high count – especially given the time of year – of 1,160 was made off South West Point in a period of strong westerlies on 18 Apr (A.M. Taylor).

Breeding census

The RSPB seabird census recorded a total of 127 apparently occupied nests. Despite a slight rally detected by the 2008 census, the inexorable decline of Lundy’s breeding Kittiwakes continues, with the population reaching its lowest level since records began. Apart from a remnant eight pairs in Jenny’s Cove, nesting birds are now restricted to just two colonies between St Philip’s Stone and St James’ Stone. The decline is part of a wider regional and national picture and is not attributed to any Lundy-specific factor (information contributed by David Price).

Productivity data provided by Beccy McDonald:

Aztec Zawn: 27 young fledged from 53 active sites (productivity = 0.50 young per nest);

St Mark’s Stone: No success.

 

Colour-ring sightings: On 1 May 2013, Chris Baillie saw two colour-ringed Kittiwakes in the colony below Threequarter Wall. One had a green colour-ring with a white inscription, ‘AV’, on its right leg. The other had three colour-rings on its right leg, from top to bottom: green, orange, red. ‘AV’ was last reported from the same colony in 2007 & 2008 and was ringed on Lundy on 30 June 1999 (not in Norway in 2004 as tentatively suggested in the 2008 LFS Annual Report). Unfortunately, it is proving hard to pin down the source of the second bird (potentially Brittany) since – in the past – multiple projects in various countries used plain colour-rings and it is difficult to distinguish between them. Things are more rigorously organised now, but Kittiwakes are long-lived birds, meaning that effectively untraceable individuals may continue to be seen for some years yet.

Colour-ring sighting: In 2014 'green AV' was again nesting in the Aztec Zawn colony below Threequarter Wall, where it was watched alternating with its mate in early May (Chris Baillie) and had successfully hatched chicks by late Jun (Beccy MacDonald).

Colour-ring sightings: In 2015 ‘green AV’, ringed on Lundy was recorded on 16 May attending the same nest in the colony below Threequarter Wall as in 2014 (Chris Baillie). A second colour-ringed bird (orange over white on the left leg, red ring on the right leg) was seen on 13 May at the same colony (Chris Baillie).

Little Gull

Hydrocoloeus minutus

(p.118)

All new records

2013

New record

22 Oct – An adult in non-breeding plumage off North Light (T. Bedford & R.J. Campey) was only the sixth LFS record, the last being of a single bird in 1990 – remarkably in exactly the same location and on precisely the same date!

Mediterranean Gull

Larus melanocephalus

(p.118)

All new records

2015

New record

18 Jul – An adult flying around the Landing Bay (Tony Taylor, Chris & Mandy Dee) was the first record of this species since August 1978.

Great Black-backed Gull

Larus marinus

(pp.124–125)

Selected new records

2008

Breeding census

The seabird census in late May recorded 57 pairs, virtually unchanged from the 58 pairs counted in 2004 (David Price et al./RSPB).

2013

Breeding census

The RSPB seabird census recorded a total of 50 pairs – similar to numbers in the two previous surveys: 58 and 57 pairs in 2004 and 2008 respectively (information contributed by David Price). A high total of 124 was recorded on 26 Nov (Neil Trout).

Common Gull

Larus canus

[Mew Gull] (p.119)

Selected new records

2011

New record

26 Oct – A count of 20 was the highest for some years.

Lesser Black–backed Gull

Larus fuscus

(pp.119–122)

Selected new records

2008

Breeding census

The seabird census in late May recorded 263 apparently occupied territories, on the face of it a significant drop of 41% since 2004, though Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls received less intensive coverage during the 2008 survey due to poor weather, which meant the census team had to concentrate its limited resources on covering the main target species, such as auks and Kittiwake (D.d Price et al./RSPB). 

2009

New record

7 & 8 Dec – Eighty were in the Brick Field on 7th, sitting out a winter storm, with 60 still present the following day – unusually high numbers for winter.

2013

Breeding census

The RSPB seabird census recorded a total of 242 apparently occupied territories, reflecting a continued decline of 8% on the 263 territories counted in 2008, and representing the loss of almost half the number of Lesser black-backs nesting in 2000 and 2004 (information contributed by David Price). An extremely dark-mantled bird showing characteristics of L. f. intermedius was roosting at Brazen Ward on 27 Oct (T.J. Davis & T.A. Jones).

2015

New record

28 & 29 Jan – Counts of 288 and 316 were unusually high for Lundy in winter.

Breeding season

Several observers commented that numbers appeared lower than in previous years.

 

Ringing

Colour-ring sightings: Lesser Black-backed Gulls ringed as pulli (nestlings) on Lundy between 25 & 29 Jun 1995 (marked on the left leg with a pale-blue colour-ring inscribed with a white ‘L’, and a standard metal ring on the right leg) were subsequently seen at:

  • Portimao, Algarve, Portugal (37°08’N, 8°32’W) on 5 & 25 Sep 2009 (blue ring inscribed ‘L’ on left leg).

  • Portimao, Algarve, Portugal (37°08’N, 8°32’W) 11 & 13 Jan 2010 (bearing metal ring GP95655). A similar colour-ringed bird was also seen 1 & 2 Jan 2010 but, with the metal ring number not known, it is possible it was a different individual, ringed on Lundy in the same summer).

  • Portimao, Algarve, Portugal (37°08’N, 8°32’W) 14 Oct 2010 (bearing partially read metal ring GB955xx).

  • Duncannon Beach, Co. Wexford, Ireland, on 20 Dec 2012 (pale blue ring with white ’L’ on left leg; metal ring on right leg).

  • Mimizan, Landes, France, on 5 Nov 2013, 28 & 31 Jan 2014 and 24 Feb 2015 (blue ring with white ’L’ on left leg; metal ring on right leg) approx. 7,182 days; 814 km; 162°

 

Lesser Black-backed Gulls ringed on Lundy as pulli between 23 & 26 Jun 1996 (marked with a blue or red colour-ring inscribed with a white ‘L’ on one leg, and a standard metal ring on the other leg) were subsequently seen at:

  • Portimao, Algarve, Portugal (37°08’N, 8°32’W) on 03 Oct 2007

  • Málaga, Andalucia, Spain (36°42’N, 4°25’W) on 01 Dec 2007

  • Portimao, Algarve, Portugal (37°08'N, 8°32'W) on 25 Oct 2008

  • Costa da Caparica, Lisbon, Portugal (38°38'N, 09°14'W) on 14 Oct 2014 (1,820 days, 235 km, 134°)

 

The above sightings include the 13th to 18th reports of Lundy-ringed Lesser Black-backs from Portugal, though it is impossible to say exactly how many individuals were involved as the colour-rings used on Lundy in 1995 and 1996 were not individually coded and not all the corresponding metal rings were read. There are only two earlier reports from Spain and this is the first for Málaga.

 

Ringing recovery: A Lesser Black-backed Gull ringed as a pullus (chick) on Lundy on 29 Jun 1995 (ring no. GP95657) was found dead (not fresh) on Skokholm, Pembrokeshire on 23 Sep 2013.

 

Ringing recovery: A Lesser Black-backed Gull ringed as a pullus (chick) on Lundy on 28 Jun 1999 (ring no. GN08667) was found freshly dead at Draycote Water, Warwickshire on 06 Sep 2014 (5,549 days, 263 km, 61°).

 

Ringing recovery: A Lesser Black-backed Gull ringed as a pullus (chick) on Puffin Island, Anglesey on 12 Jul 2014 (ring no. FH67947) was found dead (not fresh) on Lundy on 25 Jan 2015 (197 days, 243 km, 190°).

Herring Gull

Larus argentatus

[European Herring Gull] (pp.122–123)

Selected new records

2008

Breeding census

The seabird census in late May recorded 534 apparently occupied territories, an apparent reduction of 25% since 2004, but see the comment under Lesser Black-backed Gull regarding weather-related differences in coverage between 2004 and 2008 (David Price et al./RSPB).

2012

New record

Of an estimated 750 present on 12 Feb, hundreds were feeding among the sheep, with hundreds more on the cliffs, apparently already staking claims to breeding sites (A.M. Taylor).

2013

New record

High numbers early in the year included an estimated 500 on 12 dates from 19 Jan to 17 Feb – perhaps birds seeking shelter from persistent stormy weather.

Breeding census

The RSPB seabird census recorded a total of 428 apparently occupied territories, a further reduction of 20% on the 534 territories counted in 2008 and an overall decline of 44% since 2000, when 762 territories were found (information contributed by David Price).

2014

New record

7 & 8 Aug – About 200 were running around on Castle Hill catching flying ants on 7 Aug (Tony Taylor). Also feeding on the bounty were 12 Lesser Black-backs, Wheatears, Pied Wagtails, Willow Warblers, House Sparrows and four Carrion Crows! A high count of 700 was made on 8 Aug.

2015

Breeding season

Several observers commented that numbers appeared lower than in previous years.

 

Ringing Recovery: The ring of a Herring Gull ringed as a pullus (chick) on Lundy (ring no. GN08601) on 22 Jun 1999 was found on the island on 07 May 2007. The bird is presumed to have died but the date of death cannot be determined and could have been within a short time of ringing as no remains were found.

 

Ringing Recovery: A Herring Gull ringed as a pullus (chick) on Lundy (ring no. GP95527) on 25 Jun 1995 was found dead (road casualty) at Alcochete, Setubal, Portugal (38° 44’ N, 9° 0’ W) on 26 Sep 2010. (5572 days; 1423 km; 194°).

 

Ringing Recovery: A Herring Gull ringed as a pullus on Lundy (ring no. GP54946) on 23 Jun 1998 was found dead (not fresh) at Burry Port, Carmarthenshire on 11 Jul 2011.

Iceland Gull

Larus glaucoides

(p.124)

All new records

 2012

New record

2 Feb – A second-winter bird in flight between the Landing Bay and the Sugar Loaf headed up over the island towards the west (Derren Fox) and was seen in the Lighthouse Field the following day (Nicola Saunders). Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder; the sixth LFS record, the last being in Apr-May 2004.

2014

New records

5 May – One, probably a first-summer bird, flew south along the East Side, just offshore from Quarter Wall Copse, eventually disappearing from view over the Castle (Andy Jayne).

28 May – A first-summer bird flew over South Light (Philip & Helen Lymbery).

Records accepted by Devon Bird Recorder; the seventh and eighth for the island.

Glaucous Gull

Larus hyperboreus

(p.124)

All new records

2012

New record

22 Apr – A first-summer bird, picked out during a seawatch from The Ugly, flew in from the south-east, over Rat Island and along the East Side (K. Rylands). Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder; only the fifth for the island and the first since May 1986. All have been in Apr/May.

 

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