Letter from Lundy

It's amazing how quickly you slip back into a routine. The sailing season on Lundy has started and although the first boat was cancelled due to strong winds we've had a couple of really beautiful sunny boat days and the winter seems a mere distant memory

It's amazing how quickly you slip back into a routine. The sailing season on Lundy has started and although the first boat was cancelled due to strong winds we've had a couple of really beautiful sunny boat days and the winter seems a mere distant memory now. It's great to have the island buzzing with chatter and see people enjoying themselves out in the sunshine - let's hope it lasts. It's not just the humans basking in the fine weather; our new born lambs have been enjoying it, too. Turned out in the sunshine they are hilarious to watch gambolling about in the fields, with gangly legs they haven't quite grown into. Our wild sheep, the "soay" are lambing as well. But as soay are quite a primitive, independent breed, they don't require any help and manage just fine on their own. The attentive mothers often take themselves off to a remote part of the island to give birth and will rejoin the herd when the lamb is strong enough to run with the others. March and April are great months for bird watching on Lundy. The island provides an important staging post for many birds that are currently migrating from winter homes to their breeding grounds for the summer. The long distances many have to travel often mean that we get many different species stopping off here for a break. Lundy acts like a service station for birds. They can fill up on food, rest and recharge their batteries before moving on again. They generally don't stay very long, just long enough to refuel. We have seen snow bunting, sand martin, a ring ouzel, song thrush, linnets, wheatear, swallows, goldfinch, willow warblers, goldcrest - to name just a few! Roughly 140 species of bird are recorded on the island each year and about 35 of those will stay to breed. So after the migration, the birds left on the island will be breeding and, of course, that includes our puffins.I'm delighted to report that puffins have been seen back on the island again and at this time of year you can guarantee they will be the breeding adults. We should have a better idea of exactly how many are breeding by then end of the month, so I shall keep you updated. It's always a nervous time waiting to see how many have survived the winter out at sea and made it back to their breeding grounds - so it's a really positive sighting and now we just have to sit and wait to see if many more return. As a warden on the island, it's a great time of year. The anticipation of the summer, days out on our boat patrolling the marine reserve, the bird breeding season and numerous surveys throughout the summer - it's a good time and needs very little excuse to get out and about. We have more warden events on offer too - walks, talks, rockpool rambles and snorkel safaris make up a large proportion of our week and they are great fun. Not only is it a good introduction to the wildlife of the island, especially if you are new to Lundy, but also might help you make the most of your visit - pointing out things you might otherwise overlook. On a walk recently I showed the group the remains of a bronze age settlement. Someone in the group who has visited on numerous occasions had no idea it existed and must have walked past it more than a hundred times! Which just goes to show how easy it is to miss things which are right under your nose! So if you are visiting Lundy and want a few pointers of what to look out for then why not join a warden-led event? We would be happy to show you around. Sophie Wheatley, Assistant Warden


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