Letter from Lundy
I M not quite sure what happened to the glorious summer that we were enjoying back in June - we ve only managed a couple of barbecues this year on the island and they both ended up under cover. - Tents have been wind flattened and flooded out, their oc
I'M not quite sure what happened to the glorious summer that we were enjoying back in June - we've only managed a couple of barbecues this year on the island and they both ended up under cover. -
Tents have been wind flattened and flooded out, their occupants having to take refuge in the church. It's becoming reminiscent of the last two summers, when camping on Lundy was officially classed as an extreme water sport! But in the true British holiday spirit we've soldiered on and come rain or shine have seen hoards of visitors arrive at Lundy on day trips and to stay.
At least the bad weather managed to hold off for one day when it really mattered. Lundy's Fly-In! The past two years have seen the event cancelled, but this year a fine sunny day managed to attract a record breaking 74 light aircraft to Lundy's bumpy airfield.
It's been quite a mixed bag this summer, a bit disappointing weather wise, but encouraging signs as our visitor numbers are up on last year and so too are the puffins!
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In July, 22 puffins were recorded at one burrow site, which although doesn't sound like very many, it's a huge increase on previous years. As these birds arrived half-way through the season, we have concluded that these are immature birds prospecting for burrows which they might occupy when they have reached breeding age - usually at around four or five years old.
This being the case, then the next few years will prove very exciting as our breeding population will hopefully see a significant increase as more puffins hopefully colonise the island. It's too early to say if this could this be the start of Lundy's repopulation but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
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Other seabirds appear to have had a successful season too - with plenty of food being brought to the cliffs to raise guillemot and razorbill chicks and kittiwakes appear to have done better this year as well.
This time of year marks the start of new life for many animals on the island. As well as young seabirds fledging the cliffs to start their lives out at sea, it is at this time of year that some of the island mammals produce offspring. The Sika deer give birth to their 'calves' (young) in July. They can walk almost straight away, often to be seen following mum around the sheltered copses of trees and rhododendron until they are strong enough to run with the herd. It is also not uncommon to see seal pups being born at this time of year. The majority are born around September time, but some are seen early in the season. However they are usually born on secluded beaches or in sea caves well out of sight.
Talking of world class - Usain Bolt might be the hot gossip of the worlds athletic stage at the moment, but not for long, as soon a new champion will be crowned at The Lundy Olympic Games 2009. These historic games put the human form to the test in extreme events including welly wanging, dumpy bag racing and this year a new event - the five legged race! It's the sporting event of the year and staff are ready for a rematch to regain the title of Tug-O-War champions