SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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February is generally another quiet month with only a total of 149 species seen in past Februarys. Gales in this month have produced Storm and Leach’s Petrel, Pomarine Skua and all four records of Puffin. Other rarities seen include Spoonbill (2004),  Ring-billed Gull (1987), Great Grey Shrike (1999,2000,2004), Shorelark (2004) and Cirl Bunting (1943).
February 2008
February 29th
Sightings from New Passage included the first 5 Avocets of the year, 40 Redshank, 10 Turnstones, 40 Curlew, 20 Oystercatchers, 4 Shoveler, 40 Wigeon, 30 Teal and 40 Shelduck. Two Little Egrets remained on Northwick Warth. Moderate strength South West winds and drizzle arrived at lunchtime producing 10 Gannets (9 adults) from the south end of Chittening Warth and at least 50 Kittiwakes off Severn Beach. Other sightings from the Severn Beach shore included the Water Pipit, 4 Rock Pipits, a Stonechat, 6 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatchers, 15 Turnstones, 45 Shelduck and 2 Peregrines.

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                                                                                      Avocets, New Passage 29.2.8               

February 28th
A quiet day. Two Little Egrets, just 12 Dunlin, 8 Redshank, 2 Shoveler, 36 Shelduck and less Wigeon and Teal were reported from New Passage. The only reports from Severn Beach involved 48 Shelduck and 15 Oystercatchers.Two Stonechats remained on Aust Warth.

February 27th
A fine sunny spring like day. A high tide visit to the salt marsh at Severn Beach produced 6 Ringed Plover, a Snipe, 25 Shelduck, 200 Black-headed Gulls, a Water Pipit, 3 Rock Pipits and 3 Stonechats. Sightings from New Passage this morning included 3 Little Egrets, 7 Grey Plover, 100 Dunlin, 17 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 5 drake Shoveler, 50 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon and 80 Teal.The male Merlin was seen at Aust Warth this morning where 3 Stonechats was also present and 3 Little Egrets flew North East over here at dusk.

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                                                                                    Water Pipit, Severn Beach 27.2.8

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                                                                                  Little Egret, New Passage 27.2.8

February 26th
A breezy morning produced 18 Kittiwakes and 20 Turnstones at Severn Beach. Sightings from New Passage included 4 Grey Plover, 41 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 100 Dunlin, 6 Turnstones, 64 Shelduck, 180 Wigeon and 90 Teal. A Stonechat remained on Aust Warth.

February 25th
The male Merlin was seen again early this morning on Northwick Warth before it flew off inland.The usual sightings from New Passage included 8 Grey Plover, 200 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 21 Oystercatchers, 52 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler and the Wigeon and Teal flocks. A pair of Stock Doves and 3 Siskins were found at the Sea Bank pools, Chittening Warth. At least 6 Reed Buntings were feeding on seed in a Severn Beach garden and a Stonechat remained on Aust Warth. A Great Crested Grebe remained on one of the back pools at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

February 24th
A visit to New Passage produced 400 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 50 Curlew, 40 Oystercatchers, 40 Shelduck, 90 Teal and 130 Wigeon. At least 14 Snipe and a Little Grebe were seen on the Grebe pond at Northwick Warth. The dismal grey weather brought 2 Short-eared Owls out early (16.30) on the southern end of Aust Warth and a Raven was seen over Aust Cliff.

February 23rd
The Short-eared Owl was mobbed by Crows over Aust Warth at 8.45 this morning where other sightings included a Stonechat, 20 Redshank and the first Kingfisher of the year. Sightings from New Passage included 4 Grey Plover, 700 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatchers, 60 Curlew, 15 Redshank, 2 Shoveler, 60 Shelduck, 180 Wigeon and 90 Teal. A Little Egret, 2 Jack Snipe, 16 Snipe and several singing Skylarks were seen on nearby Northwick Warth. A Water Pipit, 3 Rock Pipits and 35 Redshank were seen from the shore at Severn Beach. At least 10,000 Starlings put on a spectacular display between New Passage and Severn Beach this evening before going to roost near the M4 motorway. Steve Portlock kindly supplied the image below of one of the recent large flocks of Starlings seen from Aust Warth.

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                                                           Starling tornado, Aust Warth 16.2.8  © Steve Portlock
February 22nd
A breezy day with some light rain.The male Merlin was seen at Aust Warth this morning and a Short-eared Owl was reported here late afternoon. Just 42 Redshank, 18 Common Gulls, 40 Shelduck, 180 Wigeon and 100 Teal were seen from New Passage. At least 90 Turnstones and 8 Ringed Plover were reported from Severn Beach.

February 21st
A high (13 metre) tide visit to New Passage produced at least 2000 roosting Dunlin, 50 Redshank, 50 Oystercatchers, 30 Lapwing, 80 Curlew, 40 Shelduck, 4 Shoveler, 180 Wigeon, 90 Teal and a hunting Peregrine causing havoc. A walk around the Grebe pond on Norhwick Warth flushed 2 Jack Snipe and 23 Snipe.

February 20th
A warmer, frost free but misty day.The male Merlin, 50 Lapwing, 50 Curlew and 4 Snipe were seen on Northwick Warth. Sightings from New Passage were dismal with just 31 Dunlin, 16 Redshank, 40 Oystercatchers, 7 Shoveler and a few Shelduck, Wigeon and Teal reported. A summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull, a Chiffchaff and a Great Crested Grebe were seen at Avonmouth Sewage Works. A Short-eared Owl showed well over Aust Warth at 17.15 where a Stonechat and huge flock of Starlings were also seen again.

February 19th
The freezing weather continues in a North East breeze. Reports from the shore at Severn Beach included 55 Shelduck, a drake Shoveler, a drake Pintail, a Stonechat, 4 Rock Pipits and a Water Pipit. Nearby there were still 18 Gadwall, a Shoveler, a Little Grebe, 11 Coot and a Water Rail on the half frozen Orchard Pools. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 2 Jack Snipe, 8 Snipe and a flock of 60 Redwings and 10 Fieldfares. Sightings from New Passage involved 20 Redshank, 22 Oystercatchers, 6 Shoveler, 90 Wigeon and 80 Teal. A male Blackcap was found at Chittening Warth. The first Great Crested Grebe of the year was seen at Avonmouth Sewage Works. An afternoon visit to Aust Warth produced a Short-eared Owl and 3 Stonechats.

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                                                                                     Redwing, Northwick Warth 19.2.8

February 18th
A night time temperature of -6°C resulted in a frosty morning. Early birders produced the male Merlin again on Northwick Warth, 2 Short-eared Owls, a Jack Snipe and a Stonechat on Aust Warth and 900 Dunlin, 18 Redshank, 9 Oystercatchers, a Grey Wagtail, a Raven, 2 Sparrowhawks and 2 Buzzards at Chittening Warth. Just 24 Oystercatchers, the usual Shelduck, Wigeon and Teal were reported from New Passage. A Little Grebe and 17 Gadwall were seen on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach.

February 17th
An even colder night with a dawn temperature of -5°C. The male Merlin showed well early this morning on Northwick Warth. The only reports from New Passage involved 26 Turnstones, 14 Redshank, 50 Oystercatchers, 20 Lapwing, 7 Shoveler, 40 Shelduck, 200 Wigeon and 110 Teal. Another 39 Oystercatchers were seen at New Pill, Chittening Warth. The Short-eared Owl showed at Aust Warth from 17.35 where other reports included a male Yellowhammer and 2 Stonechats in the saltmarsh, a Little Owl calling from the sheep field hedge, 2 Peregrines and a spectacular display of many thousands of Starlings swarming across the river.

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                                                                     Merlin, Northwick Warth 17.2.8 © Richard Bowerman

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                                                                     Merlin, Northwick Warth 17.2.8 © Richard Bowerman

February 16th
A cold night and frosty morning (-3°C). The male Merlin showed briefly this morning on Northwick Warth. A low tide visit to Severn Beach produced 3 Rock Pipits, 2 Stonechats and 46 Shelduck. A brief afternoon visit to New Passage produced just 55 Lapwing, 180 Wigeon, 90 Teal and 35 Shelduck. A Short-eared Owl showed over Aust Warth from 16.35 and a Peregrine and Stonechat were also present.

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                                                                             Merlin, Northwick Warth 16.2.8 © Richard Bowerman

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                                                       Short-eared Owl at Sunset, Aust Warth 16.2.8

February 15th
Another cold day. The only reports from New Passage involved 100 Lapwing, just 20 Dunlin, 6 Turnstones, 12 Redshank, 38 Oystercatchers, 110 Curlew, 44 Shelduck with the Wigeon and Teal flocks. Another 36 Shelduck, 60 Oystercatchers and a Peregrine were seen from Severn Beach. A Short-eared Owl showed at Aust Warth from 17.05 along with 2 Stonechats.  

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                                                      Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 15.2.8 © Richard Bowerman

February 14th
A cold grey day with a biting North East wind. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included 4 Pintail, a Tufted Duck, 34 Shelduck, 25 Oystercatchers and 6 Ringed Plover. Reports from Chittening Warth included 400 Dunlin, 2 Buzzards, 4 Siskins and a Raven.The usual 25 Redshank, 20 Dunlin, 90 Curlew, 8 Shoveler, Shelduck and Wigeon and Teal flocks were seen from New Passage. At least one Short-eared Owl showed well on Aust Warth from 16.20 where a Stonechat was still present.

February 13th
Yet another icy start followed by a warm sunny day. The only reports received involved 100 Dunlin, 70 Lapwing, 10 Turnstones, 8 Redshank, 12 Snipe, 6 Shoveler with the usual Shelduck, Wigeon and Teal from Northwick Warth and 7 Ringed Plover and just 8 Turnstones from Severn Beach. A Stonechat remained on Aust Warth.

February 12th
Another fine day with a hint of some migration. The male Merlin was seen again early this morning on Northwick Warth before it flew off inland. Other sightings from Northwick Warth included 7 Jack Snipe, 33 Snipe, a Water Rail, a mixed flock of 150 Fieldfares and 80 Redwings and some overhead visible migration of Chaffinches, Goldfinches and Siskins. A high tide visit to Severn Beach produced a drake Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler and 20 Shelduck on the river, 25 Redshank, a Snipe, 70 Curlew, 6 Rock Pipits, a Water Pipit and a Stonechat on the salt marsh. A Stonechat was seen on Aust Warth this morning and at least one Short-eared Owl here from 16.50.

February 11th
Sightings from New Passage involved a Little Egret, 29 Redshank, 100 Dunlin, 40 Oystercatchers, 72 Lapwing, 11 Turnstones, 2 Shoveler, 42 Shelduck and the usual Wigeon and Teal flocks. The first 5 dark-bellied Brent Geese of the year were found at Severn Beach. A single Lesser Redpoll remained at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth and a Stonechat was seen at Aust Warth.

February 10th
Another frosty start leading to a fine day. The male Merlin and a Raven were seen on Northwick Warth early this morning. A high tide visit to the Severn Beach salt marsh produced a Jack Snipe, a Snipe, 4 Rock Pipits, 20 Shelduck, 70 Curlew and a Peregrine. Sightings from New Passage included 5 Grey Plover, 100 Dunlin, 50 Lapwing, 42 Oystercatchers, 14 Redshank, 40 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon and 100 Teal. Another Peregrine and 2 Lesser Redpolls were seen at the Sea Bank pools, Chittening Warth. Two Short-eared Owls eventually showed at 17.50 over Aust Warth where a Stonechat was also present.

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                                                                         Merlin, Northwick Warth 10.2.8 © Richard Bowerman

February 9th
A frosty night followed by a bright and sunny day.The Long-eared Owl was found roosting in a hedge at Aust Warth. Keep to the public footpaths if looking for it and do not trespass into the sheep fields. Other sightings from here included 4 Kestrels, 2 Ravens, 2 Stonechats, a Chiffchaff and eventually 2 Short-eared Owls appeared at 17.50. The male Merlin and 2 Peregrines (immature male & adult female) were seen on Northwick Warth. The usual 300 Dunlin, 40 Lapwing, 17 Redshank, 2 Shoveler, 30 Shelduck, 180 Wigeon, 100 Teal and 3 Siskins were seen from New Passage.

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                                                                           Long-eared Owl, Aust Warth  9.2.8

February 8th
A male Merlin, 400 Dunlin, 6 Grey Plover, 30 Lapwings, 75 Oystercatchers, 6 Turnstones, 12 Redshank, 80 Common Gulls, 2 Shoveler, 40 Shelduck, 100 Teal and 100 Wigeon were reported from New Passage. A Raven and a Stonechat were seen at Aust Warth at lunchtime and 2 Short-eared Owls showed here at 16.10.
A female Aythya hybrid graced the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works today.

February 7th
At least 400 Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 48 Oystercatchers, 50 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler, 100 Wigeon and 100 Teal were seen from New Passage. A Water Rail was found at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth. A Stonechat was seen again on Aust Warth and 50 Common Gulls were feeding in the sheep fields here.

February 6th
A sunny dry day with al light West wind.The usual 200 Dunlin, 48 Redshank, 55 Oystercatchers, 30 Common Gulls, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 100 Wigeon, 100 Teal and 40 Shelduck. A visit to the Grebe Pond on Northwick Warth produced 31 Snipe, at least 5 Jack Snipe, a Lesser Redpoll and a fly over Yellowhammer. Two Siskins were feeding in Alders at Chittening Warth. The bird of the year so far was a Long-eared Owl that appeared on a post at Aust Warth at 17.40 for a few minutes before it flew back towards the sheep field hedge. Two Short-eared Owls were also seen here, a Little Owl was heard, a Stonechat was seen earlier in the day and the large Starling flocks were seen heading across the river this afternoon.

February 5th
Seven Grey Plover, 31 Redshank, 46 Oystercatchers, a Turnstone and 42 Shelduck were reported from New Passage. A single Ringed Plover was seen on Severn Beach. The Short-eared Owl showed again on Aust Warth 12.20 to 12.45. Two Ruddy Ducks, 6 Pochard and 8 Tufted Ducks were seen on one of the pools at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

February 4th
Sightings from New Passage involved 170 Lapwing, 110 Dunlin, 52 Oystercatchers, 7 Redshank, 50 Shelduck and the usual Wigeon and Teal. The only reports from Severn beach were 16 Gadwall, 5 Teal and a Little Grebe on the Orchard Pools.The drake Ring-necked Duck was not seen in a late afternoon visit to the square pool at Avonmouth but there are other pools here not viewable from the road.

February 3rd
A cloudy and breezy day. The regular drake Ring-necked Duck finally reappeared on the square roadside pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works. Other sightings on the pool included a mixed flock of Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall and Mallard and 2 Chiffchaffs in the bramble scrub here. A visit to the Grebe Pool on Northwick Warth flushed at least 45 Snipe and 4 Jack Snipe. Sightings from New Passage included 75 Oystercatchers,105 Lapwing, 40 Shelduck, 70 Teal and 2 Great Black-backed Gulls.

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                                                                     Ring-necked Duck, Avonmouth Sewage Works  3.2.8

February 2nd
Another settled day with little to report.The usual 40 Redshank, 60 Lapwings, 70 Oystercatchers, 70 Curlew, 52 Shelduck, 100 Teal and 180 Wigeon were seen from New Passage. Another 48 Redshank were reported from Chittening Warth. Two Ringed Plover and 24 Shelduck were seen from Severn Beach. A Stonechat remained on Aust Warth and thousands of Starlings continued to head towards Gwent at dusk. A Short-eared Owl eventually started to hunt over Aust Warth at 17.20.

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                                                                                  Redshank, New Passage 2.2.8
February 1st
A sunny dry day with a cold North West wind. Sightings from New Passage included 2 Peregrines, 35 Redshank, 73 Oystercatchers, 150 Lapwings, 40 Dunlin, 4 Turnstones, 52 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler, 100 Teal and 200 Wigeon. Severn Beach remained quiet with just 17 Turnstones reported from the shore and 10 Gadwall on the Orchard Pools. Four Bullfinches were seen at the Sea Bank pools, Chittening Warth. A visit to Aust Warth at dusk failed again to produce any Owls but 3 Stonechats, a Raven and an impressive display of thousands of Starlings were seen today. There has been a small but noticeable influx of Fieldfares and Redwings today with flocks of 40 plus at Aust Warth and Severn Beach.
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