Ringing coverage was the most extensive since 2000, with ringers on the island for two and a half weeks in spring and five and a half in autumn. For ten days in early autumn the focus was on Manx Shearwaters but at other times migrants dominated the catches. Despite the increased coverage, the year's total of 2,430 birds ringed was unexceptional, with poor weather limiting bird and ringer activity in some weeks.

Migrant species with high totals included Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Chaffinch. Of these, Blackcap and Willow Warbler were particuarly notable. After a series of poor years, Goldcrests bounced back, topping the list with their highest total since 1990. Manx Shearwaters continued their recent rapid increase since the rat eradication programme. Among less common species, Yellow-browed Warblers reached double figures and Lesser Redpolls did even better than in 2007. Throughout Britain, Wood Warblers have been showing very worrying declines recently, so three caught this year, after just four in the previous ten years, are perhaps a hopeful sign. Of the 56 species ringed in 2008, several have only been caught in very small numbers on Lundy previously, including Knot, Turtle Dove, Long-eared Owl, Wryneck, Golden Oriole and Common Rosefinch; and one – Paddyfield Warbler – is a first for Lundy and Devon. A full list of the year's ringing totals is given below.

2008 produced a long and interesting list of recoveries and controls. Three birds showed the value of colour-ringing, with a Peregrine from Cornwall and Guillemot from the Baltic being seen on Lundy, and a Lundy Lesser Black-backed Gull seen in Portugal. Four of the previous autumn's large catch of Siskins were found elsewhere within a few months, three in southern England and one in the Netherlands. Two other birds, ringed in the same week as the Siskins, were also found across the English Cahnnel: a Blackbird in the Netherlands and a Chaffinch in France. The Chaffinch's movement was unusual for one ringed in Britain, as over a thousand have been found abroad but only one has ever been found further south. Among the species that regularly go south for winter, a Spanish-ringed Blackcap reached Lundy and a Sedge Warbler made the opposite journey. A Whitethroat and and a Chiffchaff arriving on Lundy in spring seem to have overshot their intended targets, as both were re-caught further south a few days later. Details of these and other movements are listed in the relevant species accounts.

Number ringed in 2008
Mallard 1
Manx Shearwater (72) 114
Water Rail  2
Knot 1
Collared Dove 1
Turtle Dove 1
Long-eared Owl 1
Wryneck 1
Sand Martin 1
Swallow 153
House Martin 2
Tree Pipit 1
Meadow Pipit 105
Pied Wagtail 2
Wren 23
Dunnock 4
Robin 33
Black Redstart 1
Redstart 1
Whinchat 2
Stonechat 13
Wheatear 6
Blackbird 12
Song Thrush 24
Redwing 60
Mistle Thrush 1
Grasshopper Warbler 15
Sedge Warbler 65
Paddyfield Warbler * 1
Reed Warbler 9
Blackcap 255
Garden Warbler 28
Barred Warbler 1
Lesser Whitethroat 11
Whitethroat 49
Yellow-browed Warbler 10
Wood Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 153
Willow Warbler 327
Goldcrest 528
Firecrest 4
Spotted Flycatcher 30
Pied Flycatcher 2
Coal Tit 1
Golden Oriole 1
Starling 6
House Sparrow  1
Chaffinch 227
Brambling 5
Greenfinch 2
Goldfinch 83
Siskin 10
Linnet 23
Lesser Redpoll 12
Common Rosefinch 1
Bullfinch 1
Reed Bunting 1
Total number of birds ringed 2,430
Total number of species ringed

 Numbers in brackets indicate pulli – i.e. chicks/nestlings – ringed in 2008. The number of pulli is included in the total.

* = species not previously ringed on Lundy


Ruppell's Warbler by Mike Langman from The Birds of Lundy


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