SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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November is still a month worth looking for birds. It has a respectable total of 164 species recorded during the month with a few surprise birds. The most interesting records include; Great Northern Diver (1984), Ring-necked Duck (2000), White-rumped Sandpiper (1998), Long-tailed Skua (1994), Woodlark, Shorelark, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, Cory’s Shearwater (2000), Whooper Swan (1983) and Richard’s Pipit (1993), Dartford Warbler (2005) and Waxwing (2005). A Merlin or two can usually be seen perched on posts anywhere between New Passage and Aust Warth. Short-eared Owls can often be seen hunting at dusk over the salt marsh at Aust Warth. Notable seabirds seen in South West gales include Leach’s Petrel and Little Auk.


November 2008


November 30th
A cold end to the month with temperatures barely reaching 4°C but feeling even colder in the raw North breeze. A brief visit to New Passage produced 45 Lapwing, 30 Redshank, 60 Oystercatchers and 200 Dunlin. A Jack Snipe, 3 Water Rails and 9 Snipe were reported nearby on the Grebe Pond at Northwick Warth. At least 2 Short-eared Owls were seen on Aust Warth mid afternoon where other sightings included 2 Ravens, 2 Peregrines, 2 Kestrels, a Buzzard, 100 Lapwing and 3 cock Pheasants.

November 29th
A colder day with a North East breeze. Three Short-eared Owls were seen at Aust Warth from 2pm where the male Merlin, 2 Stonechats and 2 cock Pheasants were also seen. Sightings from Severn Beach shore included 80 Turnstones, 40 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 15 Oystercatchers, 2 Snipe, 20 Shelduck, a Rock Pipit and at least 3 Water Rails and nearby 7 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks and 3 Teal were seen on the Orchard Pools. A brief visit to New Passage produced 200 Dunlin, 19 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 6 Turnstones, 150 Wigeon and 100 Teal. Another Water Rail was reported from the Sea Bank Pools at Chittening Warth.

November 28th
A cool and dry day. At least 230 Lapwings, 800 Dunlin, 26 Redshank, 38 Oystercatchers, 150 Wigeon, 100 Teal and 2 Ravens were seen from New Passage. Three Short-eared Owls were hunting over Aust Warth from 1.45pm where other sightings included the male Merlin, 2 Stonechats and 2 cock Pheasants. A Little Egret, 9 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks, a Little Grebe and 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were reported from the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. Sightings at Chittening Warth involved 80 Redshank, 500 Dunlin and 300 Black-headed Gulls from the shore and a Water Rail was found at the Sea Bank Pools. Even further south, 2 Little Grebes, a Great Crested Grebe, 17 Gadwall, 15 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, 46 Tufted Ducks, 4 Ruddy Ducks and a Green Sandpiper were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

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                                                                        Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 28.11.8 © Allan Chard

November 27th
Sightings from New Passage included 800 Dunlin, 72 Redshank, 48 Oystercatchers, a Knot, 11 Turnstones, 8 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon and 100 Teal. A Short-eared Owl, a male Merlin, single Raven, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Kestrel were seen at Aust Warth early afternoon.

November 26th
The male Merlin, 1000 Dunlin, a Knot, a Grey Plover, 50 Redshank, 79 Oystercatchers, 15 Lapwing, 6 Turnstones, 2 Pintail, 2 Gadwall, 150 Wigeon and 100 Teal were seen from New Passage. Another immature/female Merlin and 5 Ravens were reported from Northwick Warth. Four Tufted Ducks remained on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. A Short-eared Owl showed at Aust Warth from 15.40 where other reports included 3 Ravens, 2 Kestrels, 2 Shelduck, 20 Wigeon, 4 Pheasants, 2 Peregrines and 3 Stonechats. The usual Great Crested Grebe, 16 Gadwall, 12 Teal, 8 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 27 Tufted Duck and a Green Sandpiper were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 25th
Another cold and dry day. Sightings from New Passage included a Grey Plover, 500 Dunlin, 25 Redshank, 52 Oystercatchers, 2 Turnstones and 80 Lapwing. Four Tufted Ducks, 7 Gadwall and a Little Grebe remained on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. Reports from Aust Warth involved a male Merlin hunting Meadow Pipits, a Short-eared Owl from 15.25, 2 Kestrels, 2 Peregrines, a Buzzard, 2 Ravens, a Little Egret, 100 Lapwing, 40 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 2 Stock Dove, 2 cock Pheasants and 4 Stonechats.

November 24th
The strong cold North wind made finding anything of interest both unpleasant and difficult. A brief visit to New Passage produced just 91 Oystercatchers and 6 Shelduck and just 3 Tufted Ducks and 7 Gadwall were reported from the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. A Great Crested Grebe, 13 Gadwall, 12 Teal, 7 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 33 Tufted Ducks, 3 Ruddy Duck, a Jay and a Chiffchaff were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works. One of the Short-eared Owls eventually braved the strong wind at Aust Warth ( at 16.44) where other reports involved 2 Ravens, a Kestrel and a Kingfisher.

November 23rd
A cold, often wet and windy day with little reported. A Grey Plover, 61 Oystercatchers and just 8 Dunlin were reported from New Passage. Two Tufted Ducks, 2 Gadwall and a Little Grebe remained on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. Two Stonechats and a Raven were reported from Aust Warth where the Owls had not appeared by 15.20 in the strong wind. The usual 3 Little Grebes, 11 Gadwall, 13 Teal, 11 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, 43 Tufted Duck, 55 Lapwing and a Chiffchaff were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 22nd
Another cold day. Sightings from New Passage involved a Grey Plover, 40 Dunlin, 30 Redshanks, 54 Oystercatchers, 22 Common Gulls and the mixed flock of at least 400 Wigeon and Teal. Another 49 Oystercatchers and 40 Redshank were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and 3 Tufted Ducks and 2 Gadwall were reported from the Orchard Pools. Four Short-eared Owls were performing well over Aust Warth from 15.30 where other sightings included a Raven, 70 Wigeon, 3 cock Pheasants and a Chiffchaff.

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                                                                                     Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 22.11.8

November 21st
A dry day with a brisk North West wind. Reports from New Passage included a Knot, 55 Redshank, 44 Oystercatchers, just 12 Dunlin, 25 Lapwing, 15 Common Gulls, 3 Rock Pipits, 20 Shelduck and a mixed flock of 400 Wigeon and Teal. A visit to the Grebe Pond on Northwick Warth produced 2 Jack Snipe and 12 Snipe. A visit to the shore at Severn Beach produced 16 Shelduck, a Snipe, 57 Oystercatchers, 5 Rock Pipits, 4 Stonechats and dozens of Redwings feeding on the few remaining Hawthorn berries. Five Tufted Duck were seen nearby at the Orchard Pools. Three Short-eared Owls, 2 Peregrines and 2 Stonechats were seen on Aust Warth this afternoon. Two Green Sandpipers, 11 Gadwall, 14 Teal, 7 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 26 Tufted Duck and a Chiffchaff were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

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                                                                                             Rock Pipit, Severn Beach 21.11.8

November 20th
A day of limited coverage with just 40 Redshank and a mixed flock of 400 Wigeon and Teal reported off New Passage and 4 Short-eared Owls were reported at Aust Warth late afternoon. At least one Chiffchaff, a Great Crested Grebe and a Little Grebe were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works. Simon Mackie kindly sent me the excellent action shot below. More of Simon’s images can be seen here.

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                                                                                Short-eared Owls, Aust Warth 20.11.8 © Simon Mackie

November 19th
The first Scaup of the year, a female (the only duck present) was found on the Hoar Gout/ VOSA pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works this morning. A lost Fulmar, 126 Redshank, 18 Dunlin, 16 Oystercatchers and a Stonechat were seen from Severn Beach. Sightings from New Passage involved 125 Lapwing, 35 Redshank, 9 Turnstones, just 2 Dunlin, a Stonechat, 13 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon and 100 Teal. The 3 Short-eared Owls were actively hunting and talon grappling over Aust Warth from 14.10 this afternoon. Three Great Crested Grebes, 11 Gadwall, 14 Teal, 7 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 3 Ruddy Ducks, 2 Little Grebes and 2 Chiffchaffs were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 18th
Two adult Mediterranean Gulls including one with an almost complete hood, 53 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 65 Turnstones, 90 Curlew and 20 Shelduck were reported from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby 8 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Ducks, a Pochard and 2 Little Grebes were seen on the Orchard Pools. The male Merlin, 2 drake Pintail, 35 Redshank and a Stonechat were seen from New Passage. Three Short-eared Owls were seen again from Aust Warth this afternoon.

November 17th
A damp and grey day. An adult Mediterranean Gull, a Black-tailed Godwit, 60 Turnstones, 70 Curlew, 200 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 2 Snipe, 2 drake Tufted Ducks and 3 Stonechats were reported from Severn Beach. Sightings from New Passage included 2 female Goldeneye, a drake Pintail, 200 Wigeon, 150 Teal, 18 Shelduck, a Little Egret, 450 Dunlin, 250 Lapwing, 45 Redshank, a Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Oystercatchers, 4 Turnstones, 6 Common Gulls, 16 Goldfinches and a Stonechat.Two Ravens were seen over Northwick Warth and nearby the male Merlin was seen on Aust Warth early morning where a Short-eared Owl, 2 Stonechats and a cock Pheasant were seen early afternoon. Two Great Crested Grebes, 11 Gadwall, 13 Teal, 7 Pochard, 8 Shoveler, 39 Tufted Ducks, 2 Ruddy Ducks and a Cetti’s Warbler were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 16th
Sightings from New Passage included 6 Grey Plover, a Knot, 300 Dunlin, 35 Redshank, 50 Oystercatchers, 12 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon and 120 Teal. Reports from the Severn Beach shore involved 40 Redshank, 60 Curlew, 50 Oystercatchers, 40 Shelduck, 2 Snipe, 3 Rock Pipits and a Stonechat. Hundreds of Fieldfares with Redwings and Blackbirds were feeding on the Hawthorn berries along the railway line here and nearby there were 13 Gadwall, a Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes on the Orchard Pools. A Short-eared Owl was flushed by a dog walker on Aust Warth at 13.45 this afternoon.

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                                                                                 Fieldfares, Severn Beach 16.11.8

November 15th
The first Great Northern Diver for 2 years was seen to fly upriver off Severn Beach twice early morning. On both occasions it refused to fly over the Second Severn Crossing and headed back down river into the wet gloom. Other sightings from Severn Beach this morning included a Ringed Plover, 2 Snipe, 4 Lapwing and 20 Turnstones. Reports from New Passage involved a redhead Goosander (first of the year), a Knot, at least 300 Dunlin, 65 Lapwing, 35 Redshank, 70 Oystercatchers, 120 Wigeon, 100 Teal and 60 Fieldfares. Two Short-eared Owls eventually showed over Aust Warth at 16.55, where 2 Ravens, a Peregrine and 600 winter thrushes, mainly Fieldfares were seen earlier in the day.

November 14th
Sightings from New Passage included 300 Dunlin, 102 Redshank, 63 Oystercatchers, 41 Lapwing, 4 Turnstones, 11 Common Gulls, 180 Wigeon and 120 Teal. Reports from Severn Beach involved 2 Stonechats on the shore and 8 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks, a Water Rail and a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the Orchard Pools. Three Short-eared Owls continued to show well at Aust Warth late afternoon.

November 13th
A change to wet weather. A Little Stint, 21 Dunlin, 92 Redshank, 56 Oystercatchers, 180 Wigeon and 120 Teal were seen from New Passage. A Knot, just 6 Dunlin and another 38 Redshank were reported from Severn Beach and 2 Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth. Another 70 Dunlin and 18 Redshank were present off Chittening Warth. Two Great Crested Grebes, 11 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 32 Tufted Duck, 3 Ruddy Duck, a Green Sandpiper and a Grey Wagtail remained at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 12th
Another dry and sunny day. Sightings from New Passage included 4 Grey Plover, 45 Redshank, 74 Oystercatchers, 200 Dunlin, 180 Wigeon, 120 Teal and a Stonechat. Reports from Severn Beach involved 31 Redshank, 22 Shelduck, 2 Rock Pipits, a Water Pipit and 2 Stonechats from the shore and 8 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks and 2 Jays at the Orchard Pools. Two Short-eared Owls showed well at Aust Warth from 15.40 where 2 Kestrels and another Stonechat were also present.

November 11th
A bright and breezy day. At least 5 Kittiwakes and a flock of 60 Turnstones were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby 8 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks and a Kingfisher were seen on the Orchard Pools. Sightings from New Passage included 65 Lapwing, 55 Oystercatchers, 40 Redshank, just 6 Dunlin, 12 Common Gulls, 100 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 16 Shelduck and a Peregrine. A large flock of 1000 Dunlin were reported from the southern end of Chittening Warth. Reports from Aust Warth involved the male Merlin, 3 Short-eared Owls (from 16.53), 3 Kestrels, 10 Curlew, 10 Wigeon and a Stonechat.

November 10th
A miserable grey and wet day. Three Short-eared Owls, a Raven, a Peregrine, 2 Kestrels, at least 10 Curlew, 1000 Dunlin and 100 Wigeon were reported from Aust Warth late afternoon. Three Great Crested Grebes, a Little Grebe, 8 Shoveler, 10 Pochard, 36 Tufted Duck, 5 Ruddy Duck and 23 Lapwing were seen at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 9th
A breezy day produced a single flock of 200 Kittiwakes at Severn Beach where other sightings included an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 70 Turnstones, 7 Ringed Plover, a Snipe, 50 Shelduck and a Stonechat. Reports from New Passage included 120 Lapwing, 55 Oystercatchers, 50 Redshank, 21 Dunlin, 3 Turnstones, 15 Common Gulls, 2 Shelduck, 40 Teal and 20 Wigeon. Another Stonechat and 2 Buzzards were reported from Aust Warth.

November 8th
A Great Crested Grebe was fishing close to the shore at New Passage where other sightings included 125 Lapwing, 90 Redshank, 80 Oystercatchers, 20 Dunlin, 20 Curlew, a Snipe, 60 Teal, 30 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck, 16 Common Gull and a Kingfisher. A visit to the shore at Severn Beach produced 55 Shelduck, 60 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 15 Oystercatchers, a Snipe, 3 Stonechats and a Rock Pipit. Reports from Avonmouth Sewage Works included 3 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 37 Tufted Duck, a Green Sandpiper, a Grey Wagtail and a Chiffchaff. A Short-eared Owl eventually showed at dusk on Aust Warth where a male Merlin, 4 Kestrels and 2 Buzzards were also seen.
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                                                                                    Great Crested Grebe, New Passage 8.11.8

November 7th
Sightings from New Passage involved 80 Redshank, 43 Lapwing, 7 Oystercatchers, a single Dunlin and 19 Common Gulls. A Peregrine, 85 Curlew, 18 Oystercatchers and a Ringed Plover were reported from Severn Beach. The 2 Short-eared Owls were hunting over Aust Warth from 16.30 where a Little Egret, 70 Wigeon, a Stonechat, 3 Kestrels and a cock Pheasant were also seen.

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                                                                                   Kestrel, Aust Warth  2.11.8 © Don Smith

November 6th
A dull grey day produced an adult Mediterranean Gull, 9 Common Gulls, a Little Egret, 17 Redshank, 50 Lapwing and 2 Shoveler from New Passage. Sightings from Severn Beach involved 3 Ringed Plover, 46 Oystercatchers, 12 Turnstones, 86 Redshank, 4 Dunlin, a Peregrine, 26 Shelduck and a Stonechat. Two Short-eared Owls were seen at Aust Warth mid afternoon where other reports included the male Merlin, a Yellowhammer, a Stonechat and a cock Pheasant.

November 5th
Reports from New Passage several hundred Chaffinches heading North into the light wind, a Little Egret, 60 Redshank, 3 Shoveler, 120 Wigeon, 100 Teal, 5 Common Gulls and a Stonechat. A Little Stint, 80 Dunlin, 80 Turnstones, 56 Oystercatchers and 76 Redshank were seen from Severn Beach. Two Short-eared Owls and 2 Ravens were reported from Aust Warth this afternoon.

November 4th
The male Merlin, 65 Redshank, just 3 Dunlin, 4 Common Gulls, 70 Wigeon and 80 Teal were reported from New Passage. Sightings from Severn Beach included 2 Grey Plover, 100 Dunlin, 80 Turnstones, 25 Oystercatchers and 6 Redshank. Two Short-eared Owls were actively hunting over Aust Warth (from 1.50pm) where other reports included a Peregrine, 3 Kestrels, 2 Stonechats and a calling Little Owl this evening. Three Great Crested Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, 3 Pochard, 9 Shoveler, 47 Tufted Duck and a Green Sandpiper were seen at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 3rd
The North wind finally produced a Severnside rarity in the form of a 2nd winter Iceland Gull at Severn Beach, the first record for 8 years. Other reports from the shore at Severn Beach included 120 Dunlin, 100 Turnstones, 4 Knot, a Little Egret, 22 Shelduck, a Stonechat, 2 Rock Pipits and a Water Pipit. Nearby there were 10 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks and 2 Little Grebes on the Orchard Pools. The only reports from New Passage were of a Little Egret, 30 Redshank, 6 Dunlin and 7 Oystercatchers. At least one Short-eared Owl was hunting over Aust Warth this evening.

November 2nd
A dull grey day with a cold North wind. Sightings from Severn Beach included a Black-tailed Godwit, 100 Dunlin, 40 Turnstones, 20 Curlew, a Ringed Plover, 20 Shelduck, 2 Stonechats, single Rock Pipit and Water Pipit from the shore and just 2 Tufted Ducks, 4 Gadwall and a Little Grebe at the Orchard Pools. Reports from windswept New Passage involved 45 Redshank, 65 Lapwing, 12 Dunlin, 15 Curlew, 60 Wigeon and 40 Teal. Three Short-eared Owls were reported from Aust Warth with 2 on constant view for an hour along with 4 Kestrels, a Little Egret and 4 Stonechats.

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                                                                                      Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth  2.11.8

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                                                                                  Short-eared Owl, Severn Beach 1.11.8
                         Another Owl, a different location. This migrant was disturbed from the sea wall at Severn Beach before
                                  it flew off over the Second Severn Crossing pursued by large Gulls.

November 1st
The cold snap continues with a strong North East wind. There were plenty of visible migrants this morning moving low into the wind throughout the area. Thousands of birds were seen and a sample count between 07.30 and 10.00 included 800 Fieldfares, 400 Starlings, 200 Redwing, 40 Song Thrush, 30 Blackbirds, 800 Chaffinch, 50 Greenfinch, 200 Goldfinch, 4 Brambling, 15 Siskins, a Redpoll and 10 Skylark. Other sightings from Severn Beach this morning included a Short-eared Owl that was flushed close to the seawall before it flew off North East, 70 Redshank, 60 Turnstones, 120 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 7 Shelduck, 4 Wigeon, 7 Rock Pipits, a Water Pipit and a Sparrowhawk. Additional sightings from Northwick Warth involved a Little Egret, 60 Lapwing and 3 Snipe. An evening visit to Aust Warth in wet and windy conditions still produced at least one Short-eared Owl (from 16.40), the male Merlin, 2 Kestrels and 2 Little Egrets.



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