SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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December  is one of the quietest months  with only 149 species recorded during the month. It can be a good month for wildfowl with the chance of Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander and Ruddy Duck if inland waters freeze or some fly by Bewick’s Swans. A good selection of seabirds have occurred in December gales including Black-throated  and Great Northern Divers, Leach’s Petrel, Little Auk, Grey Phalarope and Pomarine Skua. Other rarities have included Glaucous Gull and in the winters of 1940 & 1941, Cirl Bunting.
December 2006
December 31st
A windy and very wet end to the year. Sightings from New Passage included 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 1000 Dunlin, 60 Turnstones and 33 Oystercatchers. There were 60 Turnstones at Severn Beach. An afternoon sea watch from here produced zero seabirds but the visibility was so poor something could have easily been missed.

December 30th
A Little Stint was seen from New Passage along with 1500 Dunlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits (including the colour ringed individual), 400 Lapwing, 25 Oystercatchers, 26 Redshank and a Golden Plover. Sightings from Severn Beach included 7 Kittiwakes and 50 Turnstones. Two Ravens were seen this morning at Chittening Warth and 2 Stonechats remained on Aust Warth.

December 29th
No reports have been received yet  today. The weather forecast is for a very unsettled end to the year so some more sea birds might appear over the weekend.

December 28th
Sightings from New Passage included 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 500 Dunlin, 400 Lapwings, 20 Redshank, single Knot and Golden Plover. There were 2 dark-bellied Brent Geese, 24 Ringed Plovers, 60 Turnstones, 70 Oystercatchers, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Stonechats at Severn Beach. Another 2 Stonechats were seen on Chittening Warth. Two Short-eared Owls were seen hunting over Aust Warth at dusk.
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Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth  28.12.6
December 27th
Sightings from Severn Beach included 22 Ringed Plovers, 70 Oystercatchers, a Golden Plover, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 3 Stonechats. Reports from Northwick Warth included a Black-tailed Godwit, 420 Lapwings, another Golden Plover and a Little Owl.

December 26th
A drake Goosander was seen off Chittening Warth where a drake Pintail, 1400 Dunlin, 85 Curlew, 55 Oystercatchers, 70 Redshank, 30 Turnstones, 3 Chiffchaffs, 2 Stonechats and a Grey Wagtail were also seen. Sightings from New Passage included 5 Black-tailed Godwits, a Knot and 1000 Dunlin. A pair of Stonechats were found on Severn Beach.

December 25th
A pre Christmas lunch visit to New Passage produced a Great Northern Diver floating down river. Other sightings from here in a brief visit included a Little Egret, 1500 Dunlin, 500 Lapwings, 30 Redshank, 150 Wigeon and 90 Teal.
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Great Northern Diver, New Passage  25.12.6
December 24th
Almost a repeat of yesterday. The usual 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 2000 Dunlin, 500 Lapwing, 150 Wigeon and 150 Teal were seen from New Passage. There were still 17 Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin and 50 Turnstones at Severn Beach and 2 Stonechats remained on Aust Warth.

December 23rd
A grey and dreary day with the temperatures creeping up to 3°C. A high tide visit to Severn Beach this morning produced 17 Ringed Plovers, 2 Snipe, 40 Turnstones, 20 Shelduck, a male Stonechat and a Grey Wagtail. Sightings from New Passage included a Little Egret, 150 Wigeon, 2000 Dunlin, 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 18 Oystercatchers and a Grey Wagtail. There were still 2 Water Rails and a Snipe at the Grebe Pond on Northwick Warth. Two Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth. The drake Ring-necked Duck and an adult Mediterranean Gull were seen on the square roadside pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

December 22nd
The fog returned today resulting in few sightings. The usual 20 Gadwall, single Tufted Duck and Little Grebe were seen trough the gloom on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach and 2 Stonechats were seen close to the road at Aust Warth.

December 21st
When the fog cleared sightings from New Passage included 6 Black-tailed Godwits, 3000 Dunlin, 500 Lapwings, 30 Redshank, 200 Teal, 60 Wigeon and 5 Shoveler. There were still 20 Gadwall, 4 Tufted Ducks and a Little Grebe on the Orchard Pools. At least 50 Redwings and a small number of Fieldfares were found at the Sea Bank pools, Chittening Warth. A Peregrine and 2 Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth.

December 20th
Dense fog prevented any reasonable attempts of finding any birds. A female type Merlin was seen near the sluice at New Passage and plenty of birds were heard on the foreshore. There were 20 Gadwall, 5 Tufted Ducks and a Little Grebe on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach.

December 19th
Another cool, grey day. Sightings from New Passage included 5 White-fronted Geese, 6 Black-tailed Godwits (including the colour ringed bird), 3000 Dunlin, at least 500 Lapwings, 35 Redshank, 16 Shoveler, single Pochard, Tufted Duck, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. The 21 Gadwall and 7 Tufted Ducks were still on the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.

December 18th
A dreary grey day was brightened when the second Firecrest of the year was found on the target mound at Northwick Warth. Other sightings from Northwick Warth included 2 Water Rails and 2 Fieldfares. The latter are still notable for being very scarce here so far this winter. Sightings from New Passage included 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 3000 Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 50 Turnstones, 250 Lapwings, 180 Teal, 18 Shoveler and 20 Shelduck. The Short-eared Owl, a Raven and 2 Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth. A visit to the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach produced 19 Gadwall, 8 Tufted Ducks and 5 Pochard.
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Firecrest, Northwick Warth  18.12.6
December 17th
Sightings from New Passage included 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 2000 Dunlin, 250 Lapwings, 34 Oystercatchers 75 Redshank, 48 Shelduck and 3 Redpolls. Nearby on the grebe pond at Northwick Warth there were 3 Water Rails, 12 Snipe and a male Blackcap. The Short-eared Owl and 2 Peregrines were seen at Aust Warth. There were still 16 Gadwall and 7 Tufted Ducks on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach.

December 16th
A Short-eared Owl was seen hunting at Aust Warth this afternoon where 3 Stonechats and a Blackcap were also present. Sightings from New Passage included a female type Merlin, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 43 Redshank, 250 Lapwing and 2000 Dunlin. There were 3 Stonechats, 42 Oystercatchers, a Snipe, 18 Redwings and a Grey Wagtail at Chittening Warth. Another Stonechat was seen at Severn Beach.

December 15th
A quiet day with little to report. A Golden Plover joined the 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 250 Lapwing, 140 Turnstones, 1500 Dunlin and 30 Redshank off New Passage. A Barn Owl was seen on the coast road south of Severn Beach early this morning. The drake Ring-necked Duck was seen again on the square roadside pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

December 14th
A Guillemot and 9 Kittiwakes were seen from the shore at Severn Beach along with 150 Turnstones. Twenty Gadwall and 5 Tufted Ducks remained nearby on the Orchard Pools. There were still 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 1200 Dunlin, 45 Redshank, 235 Lapwings, 48 Oystercatchers, 18 Snipe, 110 Curlew, 18 Turnstones and 2 Water Rails  at Northwick Warth. Reports from Chittening Warth included 2 Water Pipits, a Jack Snipe, 80 Curlew, 32 Oystercatchers, 106 Redshank and 35 Gadwall.

December 13th
Another windy day produced a Guillemot and 3 Kittiwakes off Severn Beach along with 100 Turnstone and 5 Ringed Plovers. Nearby there were 16 Gadwall and 4 Tufted Ducks on the Orchard Pools. The usual 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 30 Redshank, 1200 Dunlin, 150 Lapwings, 10 Turnstone, 6 Shoveler and at least 60 Common Gulls were reported from New Passage.

December 12th
No sea birds were seen in a sea watch from Severn Beach but there were 150 Turnstones, 80 Curlew, 9 Shoveler and a Peregrine here. Sightings from New Passage included 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 20 Turnstones, just 50 Dunlin, the usual 200 plus Teal and a Great Crested Grebe.

December 11th
A drake Common Scoter was seen from the shore at  Severn Beach this morning and 21 Gadwall were seen here at the Orchard Pools. The usual 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 35 Redshank, 52 Oystercatchers, 120 Lapwing, 2000 Dunlin, 80 Curlew and 250 Teal were seen from New Passage. A Short-eared Owl and 2 Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth.

December 10th
A wet and breezy morning produced a Great Skua and a 2nd winter Little Gull off Severn Beach where 80 Turnstones and 300 Dunlin were also seen. Sightings from New Passage included 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Golden Plover, 50 Redshank, 100 Lapwing, 2000 Dunlin and 200 Teal.
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Little Gull, Severn Beach  10.12.6
December 9th
A quiet day with with little reported. There were 4000 Dunlin, 2 Golden Plover, 120 Lapwings, 70 Redshank, 77 Common Gulls and a Blackcap at New Passage. A Raven was seen on Aust Warth and the only report from Severn Beach was of 70 Turnstones.

December 8th
The wind eased today but a few sea birds were still present. A Leach’s Petrel was reported to have been killed
by a Great Black-backed Gull at Severn Beach where a Raven flew west and a dead Kittiwake was found. Another 2 Leach’s Petrels lingered of New Passage where a Guillemot, a dead Leach’s Petrel, 48 Shelduck, 170 Common Gulls, 3500 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 50 Turnstones, 120 Lapwings, a Grey Plover and a Purple Sandpiper were also seen. A Short-eared Owl was hunting at Aust Warth this afternoon.
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Purple Sandpiper, New Passage  8.12.6
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Guillemot, New Passage  8.12.6
December 7th
Sightings from Severn Beach included at least 20 Leach's Petrels, a pale phase Pomarine Skua, 8 Great Skuas including one feeding very close to shore on a dead Gull, at least 35 Kittiwakes, a report of 2 Storm Petrels, a Common Scoter, a 1st winter Little Gull,  an adult Gannet, the first Purple Sandpiper of the year, 180 Turnstones and a female Pintail. A Great Skua was seen at New Passage along with 1000 Dunlin, 150 Lapwings, 60 Turnstones and 30 Redshank.
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Leach’s Petrel, Severn Beach  7.12.6
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Great Skua, Severn Beach  7.12.6
December 6th
The strong winds and sea bird influx continued. The best find this morning was the second Little Auk of the year, drifting out on the falling tide at Chittening Warth. The total number of Leach’s Petrels must have exceeded 60 with the highest single count of 45+ from Chittening Warth. Several high counts came from Severn Beach during the day that may have been some of the Chittening birds  and at least 5 were seen from New Passage. The Petrels at New Passage were seen flying low over the mud flats flushing the waders. Other sightings from Chittening Warth included a Great Skua and a Stonechat. Other sightings from Severn Beach included the first Great Northern Diver of the year, 2 Kittiwakes and 100 Turnstones. A high count of 154 Common Gulls, 8 Black-tailed Godwits, 500 Dunlin, 95 Redshank and 120 Lapwings were also seen from New Passage. The drake Ring-necked Duck was seen again on the square roadside pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

December 5th
The windy weather continued producing a minimum of 5 Leach’s Petrels and 5 Kittiwakes from Severn Beach. At least 2 more Leach’s Petrels, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 85 Redshank, 170 Lapwings and 450 Dunlin were seen from New Passage.

December 4th
Much more of the same today. The highest single count of Leach’s Petrels was 21 from Severn Beach with at least another 2 further up the estuary off New Passage. The total number of Petrels seen today must have been even higher with reports of an additional 25 on the upper Severn at Slimbridge WWT. The only other seabird reported was a first winter Kittiwake at Severn Beach. Other sightings from New Passage included the male Merlin, a first winter Mediterranean Gull, 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 70 Redshank and 300 Dunlin.

December 3rd
The weather remained wet and windy after a stormy night and predictably produced few seabirds in the afternoon.  At least 7 Leach’s Petrels were seen close to the sea defences in Severn Beach along with a Great Skua that flew inland, 20 Kittiwakes, an adult Mediterranean Gull, an Auk sp.,  7 Pintail, a Peregrine, 300 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plovers. Sightings from New Passage included 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Knot, 53 Oystercatchers, 40 Redshank, 100 Lapwings, 300 Dunlin and a Raven.
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Leach’s Petrel, Severn Beach  3.12.6
December 2nd
The first Avocet of the year was found at New Passage this morning (It was colour ringed in France with a large Yellow ring with 2 black stripes on the left tibia, 3 colour rings on right tibia; Green over Red over White). Other sightings from here included 13 Black-tailed Godwits, a Knot, 1000 Dunlin, 95 Redshank, 35 Oystercatchers, 150 Lapwings, 80 Turnstones and a Raven. Another 2 Ravens remained on Aust Warth. August 2013 update; The Avocet was ringed (Y11/GRW Ring number FS64978) on 10th July 2006 near Geurande on the Loire-Atlantique region of France. It returned to France and has been many times in the same region of France up to April 2013 at least.
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Avocet, New Passage  2.12.6
December 1st
Five Ravens were seen feeding on a sheep carcass at Aust Warth where 2 Stonechats and a Peregrine were also found. Sightings from New Passage included the male Merlin, another 2 Ravens, 13 Black-tailed Godwits, 1200 Dunlin, 36 Oystercatchers, 50 Redshank, 170 Lapwing, 26 Shelduck and 2 Shoveler. There were 100 Turnstones, 40 Oystercatchers and 28 Shelduck at Severn Beach.
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