SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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Despite the onset of winter and the decrease in hours of daylight, October is the month with the highest number of recorded species, with a  grand total of 193. Rarities have included the only records of Black-necked Grebe (1996), Montagu’s Harrier (1991), Long-billed Dowitcher (1977), Lesser Yellowlegs (1984), Red-necked Phalarope (2001), Black Guillemot (1998) and Yellow-browed Warbler (2001). Other national and local rarities recorded include Ring-billed Gull, Roseate Tern, Hooded Crow, Dartford Warbler, Hen Harrier, Ring Ouzel, Mealy Redpoll, Firecrest and Common Crossbill.

October 2008


October 31st
Another cold day with a North East wind. A Black-tailed Godwit, 40 Redshank, 32 Lapwing, 6 Turnstones, 40 Wigeon, 60 Teal and a Grey Wagtail were reported from New Passage and nearby the male Merlin and 5 Grey Plover were seen on Northwick Warth. Reports from Severn Beach involved just 17 Dunlin, 9 Turnstones, a Ringed Plover, 15 Lapwing and 10 Wigeon. A Peregrine, 2 Kestrels, a Kingfisher, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Short-eared Owls (from 5pm) were seen at Aust Warth. Sightings fom Avonmouth Sewage Works involved 3 Great Crested Grebes, 23 Tufted Duck, 8 Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, 2 Ruddy Duck, a Buzzard and a Chiffchaff. There was a steady early morning movement of Redwings, Fieldfares and Chaffinches heading North into the wind throughout the area.

October 30th
A day with an eye watering North wind. Sightings from New Passage involved 4 Black-tailed Godwits, a Little Egret, 49 Redshank, 8 Curlew, 6 Oystercatchers, 3 Lapwing, single Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Kestrels, a Grey Wagtail and visible overhead migrants included at least 140 Chaffinches, 2 Siskins, 2 Greenfinch, 33 Fieldfare, 22 Redwing, a Song Thrush, 7 Meadow Pipits, 2 Pied Wagtails and a Yellowhammer. A visit to the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach produced 4 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes. At least one Short-eared Owl was seen at Aust Warth from 5pm this evening along with the male Merlin, 2 Kestrels, a Buzzard and 4 Stonechats.

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                                                                        Black-tailed Godwits, New Passage 30.10.8  © John Martin

October 29th
A cold day following a night temperature of -3°C. Reports from New Passage included a Black-tailed Godwit, 45 Redshank, 40 Dunlin, 32 Oystercatchers, 2 Stonechats and a Coal Tit. Two Short-eared Owls, the male Merlin, 2 Kestrels and 2 Stonechats remained on Aust Warth where a Green Woodpecker seen over the saltmarsh was an unusual report. Another Green Woodpecker, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Gadwall were reported from Severn Beach. Sightings from Avonmouth Sewage Works included 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Cormorants, 8 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, 33 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, a Ruddy Duck, a Green Sandpiper, a Redpoll, 8 Siskins and a Cetti’s Warbler.

October 28th
A cool day. Sightings from New Passage this morning involved a Little Egret, 65 Redshank, 40 Dunlin, 38 Oystercatchers, 21 Lapwing, 40 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 3 Common Gulls, a Stonechat, 3 Fieldfares, a Redpoll and a Brambling. Reports from Severn Beach included a Peregrine from the shore and a Water Rail, 6 Gadwall and 4 Tufted Ducks at the Orchard Pools. A Barn Owl was seen on a roadside post at Aust Warth at 5am and sightings there this afternoon included the male Merlin perched on a branch for a few minutes before being chased off, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Stonechats, 2 Kestrels and a cock Pheasant.

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                                                                                     Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 27.10.8
                                               Both of the Owls showed well from 3.50pm frequently dropping to catch voles.

October 27th
A male Merlin, a Greenshank, 120 Dunlin, 60 Redshank, 32 Oystercatchers, 40 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 17 Long-tailed Tits, a Coal Tit, 2 Goldcrest, a Chiffchaff and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were reported from New Passage and overhead visible migration in a brief early morning visit included 125 Starlings, 30 Chaffinch, a Greenfinch, 7 Meadow Pipits, 3 Skylark, 3 Redpoll, 4 Siskin and 33 Jackdaws. A low tide visit to the shore at Severn Beach produced just 2 Little Egrets and 2 Peregrines and nearby there were 5 Tufted Duck, 3 Gadwall and 2 Little Grebes at the Orchard Pools. Sightings from Aust Warth involved 2 Stonechats, 3 Kestrels, a Sparrowhawk and 2 Short-eared Owls (from 16.10). Another 3 Little Grebes, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 36 Tufted Duck, 10 Gadwall, 4 Pochard, 5 Ruddy Duck, 2 Green Sandpipers, single Cetti’s Warbler, Chiffchaff and male Blackcap were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

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                                                                                    Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 27.10.8

October 26th
A wet morning followed by a cool and dry afternoon. A male Merlin, a Kestrel, just 60 Redshank, 60 Teal and 30 Wigeon were reported from New Passage this afternoon. An evening visit to Aust Warth produced 2 Short-eared Owls, the male Merlin, 4 Kestrels, 2 Buzzards, 20 Redshank, 15 Wigeon, 4 Rock Pipits, 30 Skylarks and 6 Stonechats.

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                                                                                     Kestrel, New Passage 26.10.8  © John Martin

October 25th
The male Merlin and a female Sparrowhawk were seen on Northwick Warth this morning and a female Merlin was seen to roost here this evening. Two Short-eared Owls were seen at Aust Warth from 17.30 this evening.

October 24th
Visible migrants from New Passage in one hour and 20 minutes this morning included a Brambling, a Redpoll, 6 Siskins, 3 Bullfinch, a Redwing and 25 Fieldfares. Other reports from here included a Little Egret, a female Merlin, just 7 Redshank, 28 Oystercatchers, 5 Shelduck, 9 Common Gulls, a Great Black-backed Gull, single Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. A Little Egret and 13 Shelduck were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and 4 Tufted Ducks remained on the Orchard Pools. An evening visit to Aust Warth produced 2 Short-eared Owls (from 18.00), a male Merlin, 2 Kestrels, a Little Egret and a cock Pheasant.

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                                                                                  Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 24.10.8

October 23rd
A Little Egret, 45 Redshank, 18 Dunlin, 38 Oystercatchers, 2 Turnstones, 40 Teal, 30 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 5 Shelduck and a Common Gull were reported from New Passage. A Peregrine and 13 Shelduck were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby 4 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes were present on the Orchard Pools. Another 3 Little Grebes, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Gadwall, 18 Shoveler, 54 Tufted Ducks and a Pochard were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

October 22nd
A small number of flyover migrants were seen from New Passage; 5 Redpoll, 2 Siskins, 65 Chaffinch, 30 Greenfinch, 110 Starling, 2 Pied Wagtail, 7 Skylark and 5 Meadow Pipits. Other sightings from here involved 180 Dunlin, 53 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, 2 Snipe, 2 Shelduck and a Chiffchaff. Four Tufted Duck and a Water Rail were reported from the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach.

October 21st
A dry and quiet day. Sightings from New Passage involved just 80 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, a Peregrine, 2 Shoveler and the usual Wigeon and Teal flock. A Peregrine and 8 Shelduck were reported from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby there were 4 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes on the Orchard Pools. Reports from Aust Warth included a Little Egret, 2 Stonechats and a Short-eared Owl was seen hunting from 18.20 this evening. A Barn Owl was also heard here. Three Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 51 Tufted Duck, 12 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 5 Ruddy Duck, 2 Green Sandpipers and a Grey Wagtail were seen at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

October 20th
A wet and breezy day but no seabirds were reported. Sightings from beneath a large umbrella at New Passage involved 2 Little Stints, 150 Dunlin, 70 Redshank, 40 Oystercatchers, 8 Turnstones, 4 Shelduck, 100 Teal and 30 Wigeon. A Ringed Plover, 30 Turnstones and a Snipe were reported from the shore at Severn Beach.

October 19th
Much of the same today. Sightings this morning included a Short-eared Owl on Aust Warth and the male Merlin on Northwick Warth before at least 40 fishermen arrived and caused disturbance. Three Little Stints, a Little Egret, 300 Dunlin, 64 Redshank, 80 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 3 Snipe, 2 Stonechats, 40 Fieldfares and 50 Redwings were seen from New Passage. A Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Egret, 80 Curlew and a Stonechat were reported from Severn Beach. An evening visit to Aust Warth produced 2 Stonechats and as the light failed, a Short-eared Owl and a Barn Owl showed at 18.40.

October 18th
A morning of rain showers and a drier afternoon. A migrant Short-eared Owl flew high North East over New Passage this morning before it eventually dropped onto the old Northwick Warth landfill site. Other sightings from New Passage involved the male Merlin, 3 Little Stints, a Little Egret, 50 Redshank, 200 Dunlin, 15 Turnstones, a Grey Wagtail, a Stonechat, a Chiffchaff, plenty of flyover migrants including at least 180 Fieldfares, 120 Redwing, 8 Mistle Thrush, 50 Siskin, 150 Chaffinches, 40 Greenfinches, 3 Redpoll, 2 Brambling and 20 Skylarks. A Jack Snipe, 2 Ravens, 2 Peregrines, 2 Stonechats and 3 Kestrels were reported from Aust Warth.

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                                                                                 Short-eared Owl, Northwick Warth 18.10.8

October 17th
Another dry day. Sightings from New Passage and Northwick Warth involved a male Merlin, 2 Little Stints, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Egret, 300 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 102 Oystercatchers and 2 Stonechats. Another Little Egret and 2 Stonechats were reported from Aust Warth this morning and an evening visit to here produced a superb hunting Barn Owl from 18.30, the male Merlin hunting Meadow Pipits and a single Short-eared Owl in the failing light. Many thanks to Tony Scott for the digiscoped image below.

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                                                                          male Merlin, Northwick Warth 17.10.8  © Tony Scott

October 16th
A cooler but sunny day. A Short-eared Owl was seen over Severn Beach at 0.945 this morning being mobbed by Crows before it flew off high South East. Other sightings from here involved 3 Stonechats and 2 Rock Pipits. Sightings from New Passage included 2 Little Stints, 250 Dunlin, 6 Lapwing, 60 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 2 Little Egrets, 60 Wigeon, 110 Teal, single Wheatear, Stonechat and Kingfisher. Eleven Golden Plover flew East over Northwick Warth and another 2 Stonechats were seen on the target mound here. An evening visit to Aust Warth in search of Short-eared Owls was successful with at least 2 appearing at 18.45.

October 15th
Sightings from New Passage involved a Black-tailed Godwit, 80 Redshank, 150 Dunlin, 89 Oystercatchers, 31 Turnstones, 9 Lapwing, 60 Curlew, a Snipe, 3 Chiffchaffs, single Stonechat, Redpoll, Grey Wagtail, Rock Pipit and Kingfisher. Another 2 Stonechats remained on Aust Warth.

October 14th
Sightings from New Passage included a Little Egret, 130 Redshank, 150 Dunlin, 20 Turnstones, 15 Curlew, 73 Oystercatchers, a Peregrine, a Wheatear, a Stonechat, a Coal Tit, 2 Rock Pipits, 2 flyover Redpolls and a Grey Wagtail. Another 2 Stonechats, 20 Skylarks, a Rock Pipit, 40 Meadow Pipits, a Swallow and a Snipe were seen on Northwick Warth. A Peregrine and 2 Little Egrets were reported from Severn Beach.

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                                                                                         Wheatear, New Passage 14.10.8  

October 13th
A Little Stint, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Little Egrets, 450 Dunlin, 110 Redshank, 12 Lapwing, single Ringed Plover and Snipe, 60 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 2 Common Gulls, the first Brambling of the autumn, 6 Siskins, a Coal Tit, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Wheatears were seen from New Passage. Reports from Severn Beach involved 3 Little Egrets, 3 Ringed Plover, 70 Curlew, 2 Rock Pipits and a Peregrine from the shore and 2 Little Grebes and a Tufted Duck at the Orchard Pools.

October 12th
A foggy morning with a few visible migrants followed by a sunny afternoon. At least 12 Redwings, 30 Song Thrush, 20 Blackbirds, 9 Siskins and a Redpoll flew over New Passage where other sightings included a Little Egret, 60 Redshank, a Kingfisher and 2 Chiffchaffs. The first Tree Sparrow of the year was found on the Northwick Warth target mound and it later flew off South towards New Passage. Two Stonechats, 3 Snipe and 20 Skylarks were also seen on Northwick Warth and another 6 Stonechats were reported from Aust Warth. Reports from Severn Beach involved 2 Little Egrets, a Grey Plover, 8 Ringed Plover and a Stonechat.

October 11th
Another sunny and warm day. Sightings from New Passage included 60 Redshank, 30 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 7 Lapwing, 51 Oystercatchers, 100 Teal, 60 Wigeon, a Kingfisher, 2 Redwings, a Swallow, a Jay, a Coal Tit, 5 Chiffchaffs, several flyover Siskins, Redpolls, Chaffinches and Skylarks. A late Redstart, 3 Stonechats, 3 Little Egrets, 11 Shelduck and 80 Curlew were seen at Severn Beach. A Whinchat, 2 Stonechats and 2 Great Black-backed Gulls were reported from Aust Warth.

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                                                                                          Stonechat, Severn Beach 11.10.8  

October 10th
Much of the same on a dry and sunny day. A Little Egret, a Black-tailed Godwit, 64 Redshank, 27 Oystercatchers, 10 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 6 Lapwing, 20 Turnstones, 15 Curlew, 60 Wigeon, 40 Teal and 2 Wheatears were reported from New Passage. The only report from Severn Beach was of 7 Shelduck and 2 Buzzards. Two Stonechats were seen on Aust Warth.

October 9th
A brief evening visit to New Passage produced a Little Egret, 3 Knot, 3 Ringed Plover, 3 Lapwings, 7 Redshank, just 3 Dunlin and 70 Wigeon.

October 8th
A fine sunny day. A Grey Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 4 Ringed Plover, 65 Redshank, 40 Dunlin, 35 Turnstones, 4 Lapwing, 2 Wheatears, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, single Stonechat, Blackcap, Mistle Thrush, Siskin and Peregrine were reported from New Passage.

October 7th,
A drake Common Scoter, a Little Egret, 40 Turnstones, 34 Curlew, 2 Redshank, 7 Shelduck, 6 Common Gulls, a Rock Pipit and 2 Peregrines were seen from Severn Beach. Sightings from New Passage included a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 70 Dunlin, 80 Redshank, 45 Turnstones, 10 Oystercatchers, 6 Ringed Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, a Knot, a Grey Plover, 70 Wigeon, 90 Teal and small parties of Swallows heading South into the wind.

October 6th
A juvenile Little Stint, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Little Egret, 50 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, 15 Oystercatchers, 15 Turnstones, single Wheatear, Stonechat, Siskin and Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrests, at least 15 Blackbirds and 5 Song Thrushes were reported from New Passage. Reports from Severn Beach involved 30 Turnstones from the shore and 2 Tufted Ducks at the Orchard Pools. Three Swallows, single Whinchat and Stonechat were seen at Aust Warth. Sightings from Avonmouth Sewage Works included 4 Great Crested Grebes, 16 Gadwall, 22 Shoveler, 28 Tufted Ducks, 5 Ruddy Ducks, a Green Sandpiper and 2 Chiffchaffs.

October 5th
A wet morning followed by a dry afternoon with a cool North wind. No sign of Manx Shearwaters or indeed any other seabirds. Sightings from Severn Beach included a Merlin, 4 Stonechats, 40 Meadow Pipits and 2 Common Gulls from the shore and 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 8 Coot and 6 Mute Swans at the Orchard Pools. Reports from Northwick Warth included a Little Egret, 12 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins, a Chiffchaff, several Song Thrushes and a flock of at least 50 Blackbirds feeding on berries. A Whinchat, 40 Goldfinches, 2 Pheasants and at least 5 Swallows were seen at Aust Warth.

October 4th
A quiet day. The only reports received involved a Black-tailed Godwit, 70 Redshank, 50 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers and 20 Turnstones, a Snipe, 3 Chiffchaffs, 9 House Martins and a Swallow from New Passage.

October 3rd
Reports from New Passage in a cold North West wind included 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 42 Redshank, 32 Dunlin, 20 Turnstones, 34 Oysetrcatchers, 45 Wigeon, 100 Teal, 5 Wheatears and a Stonechat. A Whinchat was seen at Aust Warth. Not a Koala! I managed to get this snap shot of an Eagle Owl from below its roost high in a Sycamore tree in Clifton, Bristol. This individual has been present for several weeks. There have been several other Eagle Owl reports in Bristol and Gloucester recently and it would be interesting to discover where they have come from.

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                                                                                      Eagle Owl, Bristol 3.10.8  

October 2nd
Sightings from New Passage involved 3 Little Stints, 60 Dunlin, 48 Redshank, 43 Oystercatchers, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Turnstones, 2 Rock Pipits and a Stonechat. A Little Egret, 5 Snipe, a Wheatear and 5 Swallows were seen on Northwick Warth. A Whinchat was found at Aust Warth.

October 1st
A breezy start to the month with a moderate West wind. Two Manx Shearwaters, a Common Scoter, 5 Shelduck, 60 Turnstones, 3 Ringed Plover, a Knot, 10 Oystercatchers, a Wheatear and 20 Pied Wagtails were seen at Severn Beach. Sightings from New Passage involved 2 Little Stints, 16 Grey Plover, 50 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, 44 Oystercatchers, 30 Turnstones, fewer Wigeon and Teal, a Pintail, 2 Wheatears and a Peregrine.
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