Saturday 24 October 2020

Saturday 24th October

Seawatching from dawn for about 4.5 hours was hard work in wet conditions in a Force 6 southerly. The highlight was a satellite-tracked Sandwich Tern that passed close enough past the seawall to clearly show a black box attached on its mantle, as it flew south at 08:05 and again at 10:00. Birds circuiting Lyme Bay during storms is well known, which can complicate counts. This bird may have been ringed in the Netherlands; investigations are underway.

Five Great Skua and at least one each of Pomarine Skua and Arctic Skua plus about three skua spp. moved around offshore irregularly and spent time on the sea, so counts were approximate. Also 455 Gannet, 129 auk spp. (roughly 70:30 in favour of Guillemot over Razorbill); 24 Common Scoter, three Great Northern Diver and the first Fulmar to return after their pelagic moult since late-August.

As for gulls, the seawatch produced most of today's 76 Kittiwake, c.50 Common Gull, four Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Mediterranean Gull, but 101 of today's c.110 Great Black-backed Gull were on Finger Point where joined by a 4cy Yellow-legged Gull.

Beside the wader island on the ebbing tide, two juv Little Stint and a juv Curlew Sandpiper joined hundreds of Oystercatcher, 358 Dunlin, 68 Grey Plover, four Sanderling plus another three on the beach, and a single Ringed Plover. Hundreds of Wigeon, Teal, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Curlew, also tens of Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Dark-bellied Brent Goose and other regular waterbirds roosted on site. Selected counts were 19 Pale-bellied Brent Goose (a single plus three family groups of 5, 6 & 7 birds); 19 Shelduck, two Red-breasted Merganser and the drake Eider. Six Cattle Egret were in fields just outside the Recording Area.

Blown out, four Goldcrest, two Bullfinch and a Song Thrush were the only interest found in the woods.

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