Return Ticket to Nature
Return to the Isle of Puffins

In 1939, Richard Perry travelled to Lundy to study seabirds. His work, along with the work of Ronald Lockley, initiated a new era of seabird research (Gaston and Jones 1997). Although some of his conclusions have been challenged, Perry's observations of Lundy's auks and Kittiwakes remain a useful baseline for current studies. As the 75th anniversary of Perry's research approaches it is perhaps a good time to return to his work and to the work of other researchers who have been drawn to the Isle of Puffins.

This web site is very much a work in progress. It aims to be a tool for those interested in Lundy's seabirds. It aims to do this in three ways. Firstly to provide a record of previous studies of Lundy's seabirds. Secondly, to cross reference those studies to work at other colonies. And finally, to suggest directions for future research.

Finally, this is very much a personal website. Although it catalogues the work of many other people and organisations, any errors or omissions are mine. If you like the site tell your friends, if you don't like it tell me. I can't fix it if I don't know what's wrong.

Grant Sherman, Lundy 2008

Guillemot pre-breeding survey

Common Guillemots disperse to sea after breeding where they become flightless during their pre-basic moult (Birkhead & Taylor 1977). Breeding birds at the south of their European range make brief visits to their breeding ledges from October onwards (Harris & Wanless 1990). Autumn records on Lundy were sparse, and some reports do not record whether birds were seen at sea or on land. This survey found that Lundy's Guillemots usually return to their ledges in mid October. The earliest record is now of 29 birds on ledges on 12th Oct (in 2011). This is 26 days earlier than the previous records. - [more]

  • Pre-breeding attendance 2014-2015
    • 16/12/14 442+ Guillemots on ledges, (only Jenny's Cove counted), 15 minutes video.
    • 13/12/14 780 Guillemots on ledges, 30 minutes video.
    • 09/12/14 534 Guillemots on ledges
    • 08/12/14 0+ Guillemots on ledges, (no count of Grand Falls Zawn, F6)
    • 06/12/14 151+ Guillemots on ledges, (only Jenny's Cove counted), 25 minutes video.
    • ...
    • 23/11/14 928 Guillemots on ledges, 15 minutes video
    • 15/11/14 516 Guillemots on ledges, 20 minutes video
    • 04/11/14 398 Guillemots on ledges, first Fulmars in Jenny's Cove
    • ...
    • 23/10/14 368 Guillemots on ledges
    • 20/10/14 197+ Guillemots on ledges
    • 17/10/14 First 2 Guillemots on ledges
    • ...
    • 10/10/14 none on ledges, 2 flying in Jenny's Cove
    • 5/10/14 no Guillemots seen
  • Pre-breeding attendance 2013-2014
  • Pre-breeding attendance 2012-2013
  • Pre-breeding attendance 2011-2012
  • Pre-breeding attendance 2010-2011
  • Pre-breeding attendance 2009-2010
  • Pre-breeding attendance 2008-2009

  • Feeding ecology of Common Guillemots on Lundy

    Common Guillemots breed on tightly packed ledges and and only raise one chick per year. Birds on each ledge attempt to synchronise their breeding as, statistically, late hatching chicks are less likely to fledge. This is perhaps due to the reduced number of adults on the ledge making them more vunerable to predators.

    On Lundy, eggs are laid in the middle of May and a second or third egg can by laid as a replacement if the eggs are lost. Eggs are lost either by being knocked of the ledge, or through predation (Ravens, Carrion Crows, or Great Black-back, Lesser Black-back or Herring Gulls). The first chicks hatch in the middle of June, and (except in times of severe food shortage) at least one of their parents will be in attendance until they fledge. Parental attendance can be measured and some studies have shown it to be positively correlated to food availabilty and breeding success.

    - [more]

  • St Philip's Stone 2014
    • Provisioning rates Preliminary provisioning rate of 0.29 feeds per chick hour
      (61 feeds / 214 chick.hours = 1.14 feeds per chick per 4 hours).
    • Parental attendance Mean time that both parents were at nest site was 20.17% (=46h47m21s/232h00m00s). There was only one case of a chick being left unattendended by both parents - on 3rd July "Neolithic" was left for 4m34s after a fight dislodged it's parent from the ledge.
    • Feeding-trip duration 31 timed feeds out of 77 (40.26%). Mean duration of timed feeds = 32m55s, median duration = 23m10s.
    • Chick diet in 2014
    • Productivity In 2014 there were 16 focal sites on my St Philip's Stone survey ledge. There were 15 active sites and one regular site. 12 sites produced chicks that either fledged, or were of fledging age (+15days old) when last seen. This gives a productivity of 75%

  • St Philip's Stone 2013
  • St Philip's Stone 2012
  • St Philip's Stone 2011
  • St Philip's Stone 2010
  • St Philip's Stone 2008
  • Jenny's Cove 2010
  • Grand Falls Zawn 2010
  • Grand Falls Zawn 2008
  • Grand Falls Zawn 2007
  • Grand Falls Zawn 2006

  • Seabird Recovery Project: Lundy

    The Lundy Seabird Recovery Project was a plan to increase seabird productivity by eliminating their major land predators, the Brown and Black Rats that lived on the island. The project was started in 2001 as a partnership between Natural England, the RSPB, the National Trust, and the Landmark Trust. As Black Rats are nationally rare, the project attracted criticism from some mammal and animal welfare groups. The Lundy Field Society could not reach a unanimous position and therefore neither opposed nor supported the project (Webster 2003). After two winters of poisoning and an additional three years of monitoring by Wildlife Management International, Lundy was declared "offically" rat-free in 2006. The seabirds, however, had noticed the change, and both Manx Shearwater and (Atlantic) Puffin chicks were seen in 2005. By the end of 2013 over 1200 Manx Shearwater chicks have been ringed on Lundy. These successes are mirrored by increased numbers of seabirds in whole island censuses. Manx Shearwaters increased from ~300 pairs in 2001, to ~1000 pairs in 2007, to ~3000 pairs in 2013. Numbers of Puffins, Common Guillemots, and Razorbills are also the highest for many years. Another milestone was reached in 2014 when the first European Storm Petrel chick was ringed. Although adult Storm Petrels have been caught on the island, this was the first confirmed breeding for this species on the island, and means that there are now 11 species of seabird successfully breeding on Lundy. - [more]

    Lundy Seabird Articles

    Over the years many people have been drawn to Lundy and its seabirds. Here is a record of some of their work:

  • Anderson, H.B., Evans, P.G.H., Potts, J.M., Harris, M.P. & Wanless, S. (2014) "The diet of Common Guillemot Uria aalge chicks provides evidence of changing prey communities in the North Sea" Ibis 156:23-34
  • Booker, H. & Price, D. (2014) "Manx Shearwater recovery on Lundy: population and distribution change from 2001 to 2013" Journal of the Lundy Field Society 4:105-116
  • Campbell, D. (2014) "South West Ringers' Conference, Seaton, 5 April 2014" Devon Birds 67(2):25-28
  • Price, D. & Booker, H. (2014) "Breeding seabirds 'take off' on Lundy - results of the 2013 Breeding Seabird Survey" Devon Birds 67(2):29-31
  • Price, D., Slader, P. & Booker, H. (2014) "Breeding cliff-nesting seabirds 2013" Annual Report of the Lundy Field Society 2013 63:85-92
  • Rowland, A. (2014) "An analysis of bird pellets found on Lundy" Journal of the Lundy Field Society 4:117-123
  • Spencer, R. & Dickens, T.E. (2014) "Differences in aggression and nest behaviour between Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) on Lundy" Journal of the Lundy Field Society 4:85-104
  • [more]

    Contact the Warden

    If you are interested in doing research on Lundy or have any questions about seabird research on the island, please contact the Warden.

    Contact me

    If you have any questions about this website, if you notice any errors, or have any suggestions, please contact me or post them on this forum.