New arrival thrills islanders
Letter from Lundy WHAT a lovely way to start the New Year. The first Lundy pony to be born on the Island in10 years was born onJanuary 21. The mother, Starlight, came to Lundy last year with her young stallion foal Harry and was in foal when she arriv
Letter from Lundy
WHAT a lovely way to start the New Year. The first Lundy pony to be born on the Island in10 years was born onJanuary 21.
The mother, Starlight, came to Lundy last year with her young stallion foal Harry and was in foal when she arrived.
Both are in good health and mum is already very protective. True to form on Lundy we learn to expect the unexpected, as this new addition shouldn't have been born until March.
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The little mare has already been named Lundy Bray Marisco Redwing or Redwing for short. It seemed fitting as Redwings are a common sight on Lundy at the moment, with many over-wintering here from Scandinavia.
When she's grown a little more she will run with the rest of the wild herd on the island. At the moment, though, she's happily tucked up with mum in a warm stable out of the wind, both being cared for by the island farmer. The Island Lundy pony herd is now 16-strong and they are a handsome lot. Many different colours, however it is the roan and dunn colours which are traditional to the breed.
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If you visit the island you can see them grazing between quarter and halfway wall. Just remember though that while they are relatively tame as with all wild animals they should be approached with caution.
Unusually, Redwing was the not the first animal to be born in 2010. An eager lamb made it into the world a little prematurely one foggy January morning. The first sign the farmer had was when he saw it gambolling towards his quad bike during an early morning flock patrol.
The rest are due in a few weeks and then another lot later in March. It's always nice to see the young lambs out in the field, mums desperately trying to keep control and usually failing miserably as the terrors charge around at top speed once they've found their feet.
Aside from the new arrivals on Lundy, most of January has been taken up with maintenance repairs on the island.
At the start of every year we have a period of shutdown when the island is closed to visitors.
It gives us the chance to focus on the infrastructure of the buildings and make repairs or adjustments as necessary. It usually involves us taking down all the vintage memorabilia on the Tavern walls and give it a careful clean.
Many of the properties receive special attention, too, where something needs replacing be it a boiler or wenlock fuel burner or whatever is on the schedule, it usually gets done at this time.
It's always a novelty to walk around the island when there are no visitors, and it would seem that the wildlife senses this too.
I have seen the deer out on the island more, taking the chance to graze the heathland plateau during the day. Normally, they are tucked away out of sight down the side lands where they can't be disturbed.
Other sightings have included the arrival of around 60 Lapwing and 50 Golden Plover early in January. During the cold snap on the mainland these birds would have been seeking the sanctuary of the warmer climate over here and headed east to avoid the harsh snowy conditions at home.
A few weeks on and they are still around in quite large numbers which is lovely to see, reminiscent of many years ago when they used to breed here.
The Islanders are looking ahead to the new season with enthusiasm. Every year on Lundy brings new experiences and some great times and we've had some memorable days already!
Even though the island never really changes, the schedule is varied and always busy which keeps the island interesting and exciting.
We have had a couple of new human additions to the island team which brings a new dynamic and we all wish Dave and Penny well in their new roles with Island Maintenance programme and General Assistant posts.
From all of us on the island I'd like to wish you all the best for 2010 and hope to see you on Lundy this year.
Sophie Wheatley, Assistant