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Letter from Lundy: Seabird surveys and a bumper year for Lundy cabbage

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 July 2017

Lundy warden Dean Woodfin-Jones with a manx shearwater.

Lundy warden Dean Woodfin-Jones with a manx shearwater.


Lundy Island’s new warden Dean Woodfin-Jones reflects on June on the island, including seabird surveys and a bumper-Lundy cabbage year!

Wild flowers galore carpet the side lands, the beckoning calls of sparrow fledglings eager for a meal fill the village and our puffins busily transport beaks of fish to their portly pufflings deep within their burrows in Jennys Cove, it can only be the marvellous month of June on Lundy.

Frantic flickers of blue uniforms catch the eye as the sailing season comes into full swing.

We have already seen lots of eager explorers and sun blessed layabouts spend time on our rather special remote little island this season.

We have also had some really important visitors this month belonging to organisations like the RSPB and Natural England who have come over to take part in our five year seabird surveys.

A manx shearwater. Picture: Stuart Leavy. A manx shearwater. Picture: Stuart Leavy.

These surveys involved tirelessly counting every guillemot, razorbill, puffin, shag, gull and fulmar around the entirety of Lundy’s coast line, along with play back call surveys of our nocturnal manx shearwaters.

The latter of these, as the name suggests, involves playing short tape recordings of manx shearwater calls down burrows and awaiting a reply.

Repeat this down 9,000 odd burrows dotted around the island (there were some very tired looking faces leaving on the MS Oldenburg after that week) and you get a rough idea of how many occupied burrows, and therefore how many breeding shearwater, are present on the island.

We are still waiting on the results for both these surveys but 2017 maybe the best year yet for some of our seabirds, including our puffins. Thanks for all your help folks.

The Lundy cabbage in bloom. Picture: Stephen Record The Lundy cabbage in bloom. Picture: Stephen Record

In comparison to the seabird guano-coated west cliffs, the island east cliffs and valleys are now illuminated from the warming yellow glow of our flowering endemic plant species, the Lundy cabbage.

Our lovely Lundy cabbage surveyors have also been over this month counting cabbage abundance along with the presence of their minute invertebrate hosts and what a year they have had, the sixth best in history in fact.

Warden events like our snorkel safaris are as popular as ever and have provided our guests with some unforgettable wildlife experiences.

Why not join in on one or more of our warden events during your next visit?

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