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Friday 30 October 2015

Thu 29 Oct – Pomarine Skua, Bonxie & Great Northern Diver headline productive seawatch

Following overnight wind and rain, an early-morning seawatch by Justin Zantboer yesterday, 29th October, in continuing blustery westerlies (a rarity this autumn), produced a juvenile Pomarine Skua flying south past the Landing Bay at 08.05, plus a Bonxie, a Great Northern Diver, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 417 Razorbills, 65 Guillemots, 115 Kittiwakes and 95 Gannets, also all heading south.

This is by far the most productive seawatch of what has otherwise been an extremely quiet autumn due to prevailing weather patterns. The Pomarine Skua is one of just a handful ever seen from Lundy – the first of these, almost unbelievably, being as recently as 2010, though sightings have been almost annual since, nearly all in late October. This probably reflects increased seawatching effort during a previously underwatched period of the autumn, but it also seems likely that 'Poms' are genuinely becoming more regular in Lundy waters.

Landbird highlights later in the day included a Woodcock flushed near Millcombe House and subsequently trapped and ringed; a Short-eared Owl (seen at Pondsbury by Gavin Bennett); a Coal Tit and 3 Firecrests (two of which had been ringed earlier in the week) in Millcombe; 2 Black Redstarts at South Light, with others at Old Light and by the Church; and totals of 3 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs and 30+ Goldcrests along the East Side between Millcombe and the Terrace. There were very few grounded thrushes or finches and apart from four late Swallows, visible migration was virtually non-existent.

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