SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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May is the third most productive month of the year with at least one individual of 181 species being seen. The summer migrants continue to move through  including Garganey, Hobby, Cuckoo, Spotted Flycatcher, more Terns and Skuas with the chance of Pomarine. “Small” wader numbers should rise during the month with Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and the chance of a Curlew Sandpiper or Little Stint. Rarer records include Subalpine Warbler (2004), Bee-eater (2007), Spoonbill (1998), Honey Buzzard (1991), Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Kentish Plover (2004), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1990), Temminck’s Stint (2004), Broad-billed Sandpiper (1988), Franklin’s Gull (1984), Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Roseate Tern (1990) and White-winged Black Tern (1990).


May 2009


May 31st
A very warm end to the month with very little to report. A brief visit to New Passage produced 20 Oystercatchers and at  least 50 Shelduck plus the first brood of 9 ducklings. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard again at Chittening Warth.

May 30th
Another warm day(25°C). Reports from New Passage included 3 Little Egrets, 20 Oystercatchers, 20 Shelduck and 11 Black-headed Gulls. The small flock of 12 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover remained at Severn Beach where other sightings involved just a Curlew and 3 Reed Warblers. A Cetti’s Warbler and Spotted Flycatcher were reported from the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth. The first Clouded Yellow butterfly of the year was seen with many Painted Ladies at Severn Beach.

May 29th
A misty start followed by a very warm and sunny day. A male Yellowhammer on Northwick Warth was unusual for this time of year where 20 Oystercatchers, a Dunlin, 20 Shelduck, a Black-headed Gull, 10 Reed Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat were also reported. The 6 Mute Swan cygnets remained at New Passage. Another Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warblers and 2 Sedge Warblers were reported from Chittening Warth. Sightings from Severn Beach involved just 13 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover while plenty of House Martins were seen collecting nesting material on shore. Two Great Crested Grebes, 9 Gadwall, 11 Tufted Duck, 2 Cetti’s Warblers, 2 Reed Warblers and 3 Sedge Warblers were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works. Several hundred Painted Lady butterflies were seen at Chittening Warth and even more were present on Northwick Warth where several Silver Y moths were also found.

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                                                                                       House Martins, Severn Beach 29.5.9

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                                                                                  Painted Lady in flight, Northwick Warth  29.5.9

May 28th
A quiet but warmer day. Just 16 Oystercatchers and 26 Shelduck were reported from Northwick Warth where the 6 Mute Swan cygnets were still present (most years they are taken by Foxes). A Cetti’s Warbler was heard again at Chittening Warth. The 5 Mute Swan cygnets remained at the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach where the biggest surprise was the appearance of signs with the words Private Shooting- Keep Out.

May 27th
A windy day that failed to produce any seabirds on either the morning or evening tides. The only reports from Severn Beach involved just 30 Dunlin, 11 Ringed Plover, a Turnstone and 8 Shelduck.

May 26th
A breezy day. A brief evening visit to Severn Beach produced 2 Arctic Skuas, a Fulmar, 30 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover, a Turnstone, 10 Shelduck and 2 Black-headed Gulls. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard again at Chittening Warth.

May 25th
A cloudier day with a few migrants. Sightings from Severn Beach included 2 Grey Plover, a Knot, 30 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstone, 4 Shelduck, 12 Black-headed Gulls and a Peregrine. Another 24 Shelduck, 20 Oystercatchers and 3 Curlew were seen on Northwick Warth. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was found at Chittening Warth where a Cetti’s Warbler, at least 10 Reed Warblers and 6 Sedge Warblers were also reported.

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                                                                                 Spotted Flycatcher, Chittening Warth 25.5.9

May 24th
A warm and sunny day. The only reports were of 30 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, an Oystercatcher, 6 Shelduck, 30 Black-headed Gulls and 5 Painted Lady butterflies at Severn Beach.

May 23rd
Sightings from Severn Beach involved just 3 Whimbrel, 50 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, a Turnstone and 3 Black-headed Gulls from the shore and nearby 2 recently hatched Little Grebe chicks were seen at the Orchard Pools. A Canada Goose, 20 Shelduck, 25 Oystercatchers, 9 Reed Warblers, a Sedge Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat were reported from Northwick Warth.

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                                                                                           Whimbrel, Severn Beach 23.5.9

May 22nd
Much of the same today. Sightings from New Passage involved 26 Oystercatchers, 30 Shelduck, a pair of Mute Swans with 6 fresh downy cygnets and a Wheatear. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard again at Chittening Warth. The wader roost at Severn Beach included just 50 Ringed Plover and 25 Dunlin. Another family group of 2 adult Mute Swans and 5 new cygnets was seen on the Orchard Pools.

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                                                                                 Ringed Plover, Severn Beach 22.5.9

May 21st
Another dry and quiet day. Just 35 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin and a Turnstone were seen at Severn Beach. Two Great Crested Grebes, 4 Gadwall, 9 Tufted Duck, a Coot brood, 2 Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler were reported from Avonmouth Sewage Works.

May 20th
A dry day at last but sightings were more like mid summer than spring. A Little Egret, 30 Oystercatchers, 20 Shelduck and 2 Buzzards were seen from New Passage. Just 40 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin were reported from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby a Little Grebe, a Moorhen brood, a Lesser Whitethroat and 4 singing Reed Warblers were reported from the Orchard Pools. Reports from Chittening Warth included a Cetti’s Warbler, another Moorhen brood, 8 Shelduck, 5 singing Reed Warblers, 4 Sedge Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat. Another 10 singing Reed Warblers and 2 singing Sedge Warblers were heard at Old Passage.

May 19th
Another wet day day with little coverage. Reports from this evening involved a mixed flock of 200 Ringed Plover and Dunlin at Severn Beach and 3 Wheatears and 20 Shelduck at Northwick Warth.

May 18th
The wet and unsettled weather continues. The 20 Turnstones and a mixed flock of at least 250 Dunlin and Ringed Plover remained at Severn Beach. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 38 Oystercatchers, 50 Shelduck, a Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtails (including a possible continental race) and 2 Lesser Whithethroats. Reports from Avonmouth Sewage Works included a Great Crested Grebe, 15 Tufted Duck, 5 Gadwall, a Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler.

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                                                                                      “Flava” Wagtail, Northwick Warth 18.5.9

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                                                                                     “Flava” Wagtail, Northwick Warth 18.5.9
 
May 17th
Another quiet and increasingly wet day. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included a Bar-tailed Godwit, 190 Dunlin, 110 Ringed Plover and 20 Turnstones. Two Whimbrel, 22 Oystercatchers and 38 Shelduck were seen from New Passage and another 12 Shelduck were present at Aust Warth.

May 16th
Another breeezy day produced less than expected. Sightings from Severn Beach included 6 Arctic Skuas (one upriver at 9.30 and 5 that lingered over the high tide), a Sandwich Tern, 2 Kittiwakes, a Whimbrel, a Curlew, 15 Turnstones, a mixed flock of 200 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, single Hobby and Peregrine. A Cetti’s Warbler remained at Chittening Warth.

May 15th
A misty wet start to the day with dry and breezy conditions late afternoon. Sightings from Severn Beach this morning included 2 Arctic Skuas floating up river out of the mist before flying off inland. A flock of 90 Kittiwakes also floated up river and 4 Grey Plover (2 in summer plumage), 2 Sanderling, 8 Turnstones, a Knot, 11 Oystercatchers, 2 Whimbrel and mixed flock of 150 Dunlin and Ringed Plover were seen from the shore. A brief seawatch from Severn Beach this evening produced a flock of 11 Pomarine Skuas (10 pale, 1 dark) and a dark form Arctic Skua and a mobile flock of 40 Kittiwakes. A Little Egret, 30 Dunlin, 9 Oystercatchers, 56 Shelduck and 2 Wheatears were reported from Northwick Warth and a Cetti’s Warbler was heard again at Chittening Warth.

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                                                                                  Pomarine Skuas, Severn Beach 15.5.9
     A record shot of 4 of the flock taken in poor evening light at distance. Hopefully there will be better light conditions to see more of these                 tomorrow with strong winds forecast over the midday high tide......

May 14th
Another wet and gloomy day with some interesting migrants. Reports from Severn Beach included 2 pale form Pomarine Skuas, 3 Arctic Skuas, a flock of 60 calling Kittiwakes, 3 Common Scoters, a Little Egret, 10 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5 Whimbrel, 9 Sanderling, a mixed flock of 120 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, a Turnstone and 4 Oystercatchers. Sightings from New Passage included 20 Dunlin, a Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers and 40 Shelduck. A Wood Warbler was found at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth. A good number of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts were seen throughout the area all day.

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                                                                                       Wood Warbler, Chittening Warth 14.5.9

May 13th
A wet day with persistent drizzle. A Wood Sandpiper was seen on the shore at Severn Beach over the high tide before it flew off north (this was the first record on the coast here since September 1997). Other sightings from Severn Beach included a Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 4 Turnstones, 60 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover and 12 Black-headed Gulls.Yet another Red Kite was seen over New Passage at 5.20 pm. An evening visit to Northwick Warth produced 26 Shelduck, 30 Oystercatchers, 3 Black-headed Gulls, a Garden Warbler, 2 Sedge Warblers and 40 Swifts. A Cetti’s Warbler and 12 Swifts were reported from Chittening Warth and another 20 Swifts were seen at Aust Warth.

May 12th
Another day of strong East-North East wind. Several hours of river watching from Severn Beach produced just 5 Black -headed Gulls and two Buzzards that flew in from across the river. Other sightings from the shore included a mixed flock of 80 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, a Curlew, 2 Gadwall, 20 Shelduck, 20 Swifts, a small number of House Martins and Swallows heading north, single Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail. A Common Sandpiper was seen nearby at the Orchard Pools. A Peregrine and 3 Reed Warblers were reported from Aust Warth and another 3 Reed Warblers and a Cetti’s Warbler were heard at Chittening Warth.

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                                                                                             Buzzard, Severn Beach 12.5.9

May 11th
The North East wind increased in strength but produced very little. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach involved just a mixed flock of 40 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, a Peregrine and 10 Swifts. Reports from New Passage involved a Little Egret, 42 Shelduck, 25 Oystercatchers and a Wheatear. A Cetti’s Warbler and a Hobby were reported from the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth.

May 10th
A warmer day with a light North East breeze. At least 15 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers, 40 Shelduck, single Wheatear and Whinchat were seen on Northwick Warth and a Little Egret flew north over Aust Warth. Another Little Egret, 5 Black-headed Gulls and a flyover Siskin were reported from New Passage. Sightings from the Severn Beach shore included the usual mixed flock of 100 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, 4 Whimbrel, a Little Egret, 20 Shelduck and another migrant Siskin. Coot and Moorhen chicks, a Shelduck and a Little Grebe were seen at the Orchard Pools A Cetti’s Warbler was heard again at Chittening Warth. There was a noticeable increase in Swallows heading up river all day.

May 9th
A quieter day. Two distant, unidentified Skuas (one dark, one pale) were seen from Severn Beach this morning
where other sightings involved 2 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 60 Dunlin, 48 Ringed Plover, 2 Gadwall, 20 Shelduck, 3 Black-headed Gulls, a Peregrine, 2 Sparrowhawks (a female that flew in across the estuary and a male that caught and ate a Dunlin) and 2 Wheatears. A Hobby was seen at the Orchard Pools this evening.

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                                                                         Sparrowhawk with Dunlin, Severn Beach 9.5.9 © John Martin

May 8th
A windy early high tide visit to Severn Beach produced a “full spooned” dark form Pomarine Skua off Severn Beach at 06.50 it was joined by a dark form Arctic Skua as they both flew high up river over the Second Severn Crossing a few minutes later. Another 9 Arctic Skuas (3 pale, 6 dark), the first Great Skua of the year and 2 Fulmars were seen during the day. Other sightings here included a pair of Common Scoter, a Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 60 Dunlin, 35 Ringed Plover, 4 Black-headed Gulls, 6 Common Gulls, a Wheatear, a Hobby, a Peregrine and 4 Swifts.The usual 46 Shelduck and 30 Oystercatchers were reported from New Passage and another Hobby and Peregrine were seen at Aust Warth.

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                                                                      Pomarine Skua over Denny Island, Severn Beach 8.5.9
                       It did come closer but even this heavily cropped insert does show the appropriate “cutlery” trailing behind.

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                                                                                        Common Scoter, Severn Beach 8.5.9

May 7th
Reports from the coast at Severn Beach involved 12 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 60 Dunlin, 35 Ringed Plover on the shore and a Grasshopper Warbler in scrub. Nearby a Common Sandpiper, a Great Crested Grebe, 4 Reed Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat were reported from the Orchard Pools. Another Sanderling, 31 Dunlin, a Turnstone, 35 Oystercatchers, 20 Shelduck, a Common Gull, 2 Swifts and a Wheatear were seen from New Passage. A Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Whitethroats were heard on Northwick Warth. Nine Whimbrel were seen at Aust Warth. Reports from Avonmouth Sewage Works included 5 Gadwall, 6 Tufted Duck, a Wheatear, 2 Cetti’s Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and at least 8 Reed Warblers.

May 6th
Another Red Kite was seen drifting south over the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach late morning where other reports involved 4 Reed Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach on the morning and evening tides included 4 Whimbrel, 30 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, a Turnstone, a Wheatear and 2 Swifts. A Little Egret, 35 Oystercatchers and 20 Shelduck were seen from New Passage. Another 3 Reed Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat were reported from Chittening Warth.

May 5th
A Red Kite was seen just after midday drifting north over the sheepfields at Aust Warth (this is only the 7th Severnside record following the first record in March 2005). Other reports from Aust Warth involved 12 Whimbrel, 3 Buzzards, single Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. It was quiet elsewhere with 35 Oystercatchers, 20 Shelduck and a Lesser Whitethroat at New Passage, just 2 Little Grebes, a Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Reed Warblers and a Sedge Warbler at the Orchard Pools, another Lesser Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler and 3 Reed Warblers at Chittening Warth. Just 12 Ringed Plover, 10 Dunlin and 4 Common Gulls were reported from Severn Beach. A handful of Swifts were reported throughout the area today.

May 4th
A cooler, cloudy and breezy day. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included the first Fulmar of the year, at least 3 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Curlew, a Little Egret, 20 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plover, 2 Peregrines (pair of adults), a Hobby and at least 60 Swifts. Nearby the usual Great Crested Grebe, a Little Grebe, 2 Gadwall and a Lesser Whitethroat remained at the Orchard Pools. A visit to New Passage produced 2 Peregrines (immature female and adult male) with a Pigeon kill, 36 Oystercatchers and 3 Whimbrel. Another 25 Whimbrel, 3 Wheatears, a White Wagtail, 2 Redpolls and 3 Swifts were reported from Northwick Warth. Reports from Chittening Warth included at least one Cetti’s Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Tree Pipit. A Raven, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Swifts, 2 Sedge Warblers and 2 Reed Warblers were reported from Aust Warth.

May 3rd
A Mealy Redpoll was reported from Chittening Warth this morning where a Cetti’s Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and at least 3 Reed Warblers were heard. Sightings from Severn Beach involved 15 Whimbrel and 2 Peregrines from the estuary and a Great Crested Grebe, a Little Grebe, 2 Gadwall, singing Lesser Whitethroat and Reed Warblers at the Orchard Pools. Sightings from New Passage involved just 5 Whimbrel, 6 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 32 Oystercatchers and 2 Swifts. Another 3 Whimbrel, a Raven and 3 Reed Warblers were reported from Aust Warth.

May 2nd
Another dry and sunny day with a hint of a few new migrants. Sightings from Severn Beach involved 8 Whimbrel, a Little Egret, 5 Ringed Plover, 10 Dunlin, 20 Shelduck, a Wheatear, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler from the shore and a Great Crested Grebe, 4 Gadwall, a Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Reed Warblers at the Orchard Pools. Another 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers and 32 Shelduck were seen from New Passage. A Cetti’s Warbler, a Lesser Whitethroat and 3 Reed Warblers were heard at Chittening Warth. Another 2 Whimbrel, a male Whinchat and a Swift were seen at Aust Warth. Yet another Grasshopper Warbler was showing very well and singing early this afternoon. There was a steady but light passage of Swallows today.

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                                                                                   Grasshopper Warbler, Severnside 2.5.9

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                                                                                 Grasshopper Warbler, Severnside 2.5.9

May 1st
A dry day with anything of quality difficult to find. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard reeling near the Sea Bank Pools at Chittening Warth early this morning. A brief visit to New Passage produced just 5 Whimbrel and a Lesser Whitethroat. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included 14 Whimbrel, a Curlew, 5 Ringed Plover, 12 Dunlin, 6 Black-headed Gulls and a drake Tufted Duck. A Great Crested Grebe, a Little Grebe, 2 Gadwall, 3 Reed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat and a Coot brood were reported from the Orchard Pools and a Little Egret was seen at Aust Warth.
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