Chick is late arrival for new island bird book

After spending eight years writing a book, two Berrynarbor authors saw it almost go out of date just before it went to press.

Tim Davis and Tim Jones have been working on The Birds of Lundy since 1999.

The book is the first on the island's birds in a quarter of a century and has illustrations by [South] Devon artist Mike Langman. It includes a description of the 317 birds recorded on the island, as well as those which breed - which up until this summer numbered 67.

However, despite the exhaustive documentation a new chick was found on the island on August 29 - just when the two men thought the book was finally off their hands.

Mr Davis said: "A visitor on the island picked up what looked like a black fluffy ball."

"They asked people on Lundy what it was. It turned out to be a water rail chick - making it the 68th breeding species."

The two authors, who are in a civil partnership, hastily put together information about the bird to see if they could make the print in time. And Mr Davis, 55, of Sterridge Valley, said the bird is now included in the book.

"If the bird had been discovered 10 days later we would have missed it. It would have been a great shame."

"This kind of book goes out of date quickly but that would have been rather too quick."

Both men have been coming to the island for over 24 years. They want to show just what a crossroads Lundy is, with birds flying in from Algeria, Senegal and Russia. They also want to explain its unique attractions for bird watchers, with its lack of roads, televisions and mobile phones.

Its launch coincides with the end of a two-year rat eradication programme on the island which benefits ground-nesting birds, like the Puffin.

Proceeds from sales will go towards conservation projects on Lundy, while details on how to order the book are on

All proceeds from the book, published by the authors on behalf of Devon Birdwatching and Preservation Society, and the Lundy Field Society are to support conservation projects on the Atlantic island.

Water Rail by Mike Langman from The Birds of Lundy


For the latest sightings and photos of birds on Lundy visit the
Lundy Bird Observatory website