SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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November is still a month worth looking for birds. It has a respectable total of 169 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. Other notable seabirds seen in South West gales include Leach’s Petrel and Little Auk.

November 2009


November 30th
Another cool day with a moderate strength north west wind. A brief visit to New Passage produced just 90 Oystercatchers, 50 Dunlin, 30 Common Gulls and the mixed flock of Wigeon and Teal. Reports from the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach involved 8 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, single Tufted Duck and Little Grebe.

November 29th
A wet day with a cool north east wind. A visit to New Passage produced 600 Dunlin, 100 Lapwing, 35 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 350 Wigeon, 100 Teal, a drake Pintail and a Kingfisher. Nearby a Jack Snipe, 2 Snipe, 8 Fieldfare and a Grey Wagtail were seen at the Grebe Pond on Northwick Warth. A high tide visit to the shore at Severn Beach produced 13 Ringed Plover, 25 Oystercatchers, 20 Curlew and 4 Rock Pipits. At least 30 Chaffinches were present at Aust Warth. Reports from Avonmouth Sewage Works included a Little Grebe, 17 Gadwall, 13 Shoveler, 11 Pochard, 26 Tufted Duck, 2 Grey Wagtails and a Chiffchaff.

November 28th
A very quiet day with no seabirds seen. Reports from the Northwick Warth area involved a calling Cetti’s Warbler and 9 Snipe and nearby there were 40 Redshank, 30 Lapwing, 70 Oystercatchers, 300 Wigeon, 90 Teal, a drake Pintail and 30 Common Gulls at New Passage. A Stonechat was seen near the 2nd Severn Crossing at Severn Beach. Sightings from Avonmouth Sewage Works included a Little Grebe, 26 Gadwall, 8 Teal, 11 Shoveler, 8 Pochard and 31 Tufted Ducks.

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                                                   Table summarising Severnside “seabird” sightings so far this month

November 27th
Another memorable day for those that were there. Another first for Severnside and Avon involved the adult Pacific Diver that had been resident in the “proper Gloster” area of the upper Severn since 18th November. It was seen to fly south under the 2nd Severn Crossing at Severn Beach and then drop onto the river in the “burger bar bay”. It was watched for 15 minutes preening and to take a short dive on a flat calm river, with blue sky and sunshine. It then flew off strongly south west. Other reports from Severn Beach involved the sub adult Pomarine Skua at 9am and an exhausted adult Gannet floating upriver on the afternoon high tide. Sightings from New Passage involved the usual 400 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 57 Oystercatchers, 120 Redshank, 30 Lapwing and 14 Common Gulls.

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                                                                             Pacific Diver, Severn Beach, © Martyn Hayes
                                    These field sketches were kindly provided by the finder, one of at least 5 lucky observers.
                                                                              see www.thebirdsofsouthgloucestershire.co.uk

November 26th
A less windy day but there were still a few noteworthy seabirds sightings. Sightings from Severn Beach this morning included 2 Little Auks, a pale form sub adult Pomarine Skua, 4 Leach’s Petrels (3 of which appeared to pass beyond the bridge), 150 Kittiwakes, 2 Gannets (both went under the bridge and upriver), 2 late Swallows that flew west, a flight of 11 Cormorants, 50 Turnstones and 30 Dunlin. Reports from New Passage involved the usual 300 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 100 Redshank, 37 Oystercatchers and 32 Common Gulls.

November 25th
Another windy day and a remarkable first for Britain. A “Fregetta” Storm Petrel (either Black-bellied or White-bellied) was found off Severn Beach at 8.20 this morning, lingering off the sea wall until 8.35 and seen several more times at distance until 9.40 when it was lost to view. Other sightings from Severn Beach were trivial in comparison but did include at least 6 Leach’s Petrels (upto 14 reported), a Little Auk (at midday), a Grey Phalarope (flew west at 12.45), a pale form sub adult Pomarine Skua (at 1.30), a Great Skua, 80 Kittiwakes, 90 Turnstones and a Peregrine. A brief visit to New Passage produced the usual 100 Redshank, 70 Teal and 300 Wigeon.

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                                     Black-bellied Storm Petrel, between South Georgia and Antarctica  © Mike Morse
                                  What the Severn Beach occurrence would have looked like if someone had taken a picture!

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                                                                Leach’s Petrel, Severn Beach 25.11.9 © Paul Bowyer

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                                                                               Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 25.11.9

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                                                                            Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 25.11.9

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                                                                             Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 25.11.9

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                                                                      Pomarine Skua and Kittiwakes, Severn Beach 25.11.9

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                                                                 Detailed field notes and artwork © Phil Baber 25.11.9

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                                                                Detailed field notes and artwork © Phil Baber 25.11.9

November 24th
Another windy day with a reasonable selection reported from Severn Beach including at least 6 Leach’s Petrels (at least one was seen to fly up river under the Severn Crossing and was was eaten by a gull), a Little Auk (flew in at 13.35 chased by a gull then flew off south west at 13.45), 3 Great Skuas, a juvenile Shag, 2 Gannets, 200 Kittiwakes, a Fulmar, a Peregrine and 50 Turnstones.

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                                                              Kittiwakes, Severn Beach 24.11.9 © Allan Chard

November 23rd
A night of gales followed by a windy day produced some expected seabirds. Seabird totals from Severn Beach included a minimum of 4 Leach’s Petrels (this was the most on view in a single scan but there were probably many more. At least 2 were still showing 4 hours after high tide at 2.20pm), at least 4 Great Skuas (a marauding gang of 4 attacked a flock of Kittiwakes but other groups of 3 and 2 were seen), 2 adult Gannets, a Fulmar, a Shag (much rarer than Petrels here), at least 80 Kittiwakes and a 1st winter Little Gull. Other reports from Severn Beach involved 75 Turnstones, 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Rock Pipits. A brief visit to windblown New Passage produced the usual 500 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 4 Shelduck, 100 Lapwing, 40 Redshank and 800 Dunlin.

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                                                                                     Leach’s Petrel, Severn Beach 23.11.9

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                                                                                      Leach’s Petrel, Severn Beach 23.11.9
                               The local gulls usually find the Petrels before the birdwatchers so keep a look out for fast low flying gulls......

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                                                                                         Little Gull, Severn Beach 23.11.9
                                                                                                              
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                                                                                           Little Gull, Severn Beach 23.11.9
                                                             with a Black-headed Gull for size comparison

November 22nd
A very unsettled day with strong south west winds and squally showers. A good number of birds were seen including a pale form Pomarine Skua flying north from Severn Beach at 1.10pm. Reports from the Northwick Warth area included a Great Skua at 1.50pm, 1000 Dunlin, 170 Redshank, 60 Oystercatchers, 110 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 20 Turnstones, a Golden Plover, at least 400 Wigeon, 150 Teal, 18 Shelduck and a Kingfisher. At least 35 Kittiwakes, 13 Shelduck, 50 Lapwing and 5 Turnstones were seen at Severn Beach. The Pacific Diver was reported  again just north of the Severnside recording area this afternoon.

November 21st
A day of mainly south east wind and rain showers. Sightings from the New Passage area included 1000 Dunlin, 165 Lapwing, 30 Oystercatchers, 25 Turnstones, 4 Snipe, 50 Redshank, 20 Curlew, 400 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 4 Shelduck, single Peregrine, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. Another 130 Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers, 5 Shelduck and 3 Rock Pipits were seen at Severn Beach. Reports from Avonmouth Sewage Works included 17 Canada Geese, 15 Gadwall, 15 Teal, 6 Pochard, 9 Shoveler, 31 Tufted Duck, single Snipe, Cetti’s Warbler and Chiffchaff.

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                                                                                       Lapwings, New Passage 19.11.9

November 20th
Reports from New Passage involved 1000 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 26 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 16 Lapwing, 350 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 10 Shelduck and a female Merlin. A Black Redstart was seen in a Severn Beach garden near the railway station and 8 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Ducks remained on the Orchard Pools.

November 19th
The only reports from Severn Beach this morning involved 20 Turnstones, 90 Curlew and 4 Shelduck. At least 3000 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 10 Turnstones, 300 Wigeon and 40 Teal were seen from New Passage. A late afternoon visit to Aust Warth produced 2 Jack Snipe, 93 Oystercatchers, 15 Redshank, 11 Shelduck and 3 Rock Pipits. Reports just off the Severnside recording area involved a Pacific Diver a few miles upriver at Sharpness for a 2nd day and 2 Leach’s Petrels at Beachley Point (opposite Aust cliff).

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                                                                                         Dunlin, New Passage 19.11.9
                                                     Part of  a flock of 3000 seen at high tide this morning

November 18th
Single Leach’s Petrel, Storm Petrel and 100 Kittiwakes, 30 Dunlin and 2 Peregrines were seen from Severn Beach this morning in windy conditions.Two Shorelarks were reported at Aust Warth at 1.30pm. At least 1000 Dunlin, 90 Redshank, 350 Wigeon and 80 Teal were reported from New Passage. Another 11 Redshank and 16 Turnstones were seen at Chittening Warth.

November 17th
At least 2000 Dunlin, 137 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 25 Curlew, 350 Wigeon, 80 Teal and 6 Shelduck were seen from New Passage. Eight Gadwall and 2 Tufted Duck were reported from the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach.

November 16th
At least 200 Kittiwakes remained off breezy Severn Beach this morning. Less of the usual were reported from New Passage including 100 Dunlin, 10 Oystercatchers, 15 Curlew, 40 Redshank, 100 Wigeon and 30 Teal. Reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area included 3 Little Grebes, 20 Gadwall, 14 Teal, 7 Pochard, 43 Shoveler, 21 Tufted Duck and 5 Mute Swans.

November 15th
A day of calmer weather. Sightings from New Passage included 2000 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 60 Oystercatchers, 500 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 8 Shelduck and a Peregrine that flushed almost everything before taking a bath on the shoreline. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 8 Snipe, a calling Cetti’s Warbler, a Stonechat, 12 Skylarks and 30 Meadow Pipits.

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                                                                                    Peregrine, New Passage 15.11.9

November 14th
A day of gale force wind and rain showers. A Richard’s Pipit was seen and heard flying south west over New Passage this morning. A Great Skua flew south from Chittening Warth this morning. Three Bewick’s Swans were seen flying south over Severn Beach this morning and sightings this afternoon included 3 Little Auks (one flew south east/inland over Beach Avenue at 1.55pm and then 2 flew north east at 2.40pm towards and possibly beyond the Severn Crossing), at least 200 Kittiwakes, an adult Little Gull, 20 Common Gulls, an adult Great Black-backed Gull, a drake Common Scoter, 8 Shelduck, 120 Curlew, 11 Ringed Plover and 60 Turnstones. Reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area involved, 2 Little Grebes, 25 Gadwall, 13 Teal, 51 Shoveler, 7 Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck and 5 Mute Swans.

November 13th
A repeat of the weather and birds. Sightings from New Passage involved 400 Dunlin, just 6 Lapwing, 59 Oystercatchers, 50 Redshank, 10 Common Gulls, 500 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 2 Shelduck and 2 Shoveler. Four Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe were seen on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. Some

November 12th
An increasingly wet day. At least 400 Dunlin, 120 Lapwing, 62 Oystercatchers, 53 Redshank, 20 Common Gulls, 500 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 2 Shoveler were seen from New Passage, most of which were flushed by a Peregrine. Eight Gadwall and 2 Tufted Ducks remained at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. Reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area included 2 Little Grebes, 27 Gadwall, 25 Teal, 29 Shoveler, 7 Pochard, 37 Tufted Ducks and 3 Snipe.

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A misty morning followed by another grey day. Reports from New Passage included 400 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 15 Turnstones, 6 Lapwing, 300 Wigeon, 80 Teal and 17 Common Gulls. At least 50 Curlew, 41 Oystercatchers, 3 Shelduck and 6 Wigeon were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby 6 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Duck remained on the Orchard Pools.

November 10th
A damp and grey day.Two Whooper Swans were reported flying over Aust Warth this afternoon where Stonechats, 2 Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk were also present. Reports from New Passage included 420 Dunlin, 80 Redshank, 120 Lapwing, 30 Curlew, a Golden Plover, 2 Snipe, 300 Wigeon, 50 Teal, a Grey Heron and 13 Common Gulls. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included a Pintail, 110 Turnstones, 10 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 37 Oystercatchers and a Grey Heron and nearby 8 Gadwall, a Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes were seen on the Orchard Pools.

November 9th
The only reports today came from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area involving 2 Little Grebes, 31 Gadwall, 18 Teal, 37 Shoveler, 6 Pochard, 27 Tufted Duck and a Kingfisher.

November 8th
A cooler day with a North wind and rain showers. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach involved 70 Redshank, 80 Curlew, 200 Dunlin, 3 Turnstones, 40 Oystercatchers, 2 Buzzards, a Sparrowhawk, 25 Mallard, 5 Shelduck, 2 Teal, 60 Black-headed Hulls, 2 Common Gulls, a flock of 40 feeding Goldfinches and a Rock Pipit. A mid afternoon visit to New Passage produced at least 270 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 250 Dunlin, 110 Lapwing, 30 Curlew and 6 Oystercatchers.

November 7th
At least 400 Dunlin, 70 Redshank, 30 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 7 Turnstones, 120 Wigeon and 80 Teal were seen from New Passage this afternoon.

November 6th
A Green Sandpiper, 250 Dunlin, 30 Lapwing, 25 Curlew, 80 Redshank, a Snipe, at least 100 Wigeon, 50 Teal, a Brambling, at least 6 Siskins and several Redpoll were reported from New Passage. A dark-bellied Brent Goose, 4 Shelduck, 7 Oystercatcher and a Peregrine were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and nearby 10 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Ducks remained at the Orchard Pools.

November 5th
A dry day with almost the same birds. Reports from New Passage included 250 Dunlin 32 Oystercatchers, 44 Lapwing, 25 Curlew, 80 Redshank, 2 Common Gulls, 120 Wigeon and 50 Teal. Sightings from Severn Beach included a Bar-tailed Godwit and 14 Redshank from the shore and 10 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Duck on the Orchard Pools. An adult Mediterranean Gull, a Green Sandpiper and the usual ducks remained at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 4th
Another day of rain showers. Sightings from New Passage involved 250 Dunlin, 80 Redshank, 44 Lapwing, 22 Curlew, 16 Oystercatchers, 4 Turnstones, 120 Wigeon, 50 Teal and 2 Common Gulls. A Bar-tailed Godwit and 6 Shelduck were seen south of Severn Beach at New Pill and nearby 10 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Ducks were present on the Orchard Pools. Two Green Sandpipers, 16 Gadwall, 22 Teal, 31 Shoveler, 6 Pochard and 33 Tufted Duck were seen on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 3rd
A very wet morning.The only reports received from New Passage involved 150 Dunlin, 70 Redshank, 35 Lapwing, 20 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 6 Turnstones, 3 Shelduck, 140 Wigeon, 110 Teal and a late Wheatear.

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                                                                                             Wheatear, New Passage 3.11.9

November 2nd
Reports from New Passage involved a Little Egret, 270 Dunlin, 65 Redshank, 54 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 12 Oystercatchers, 4 Turnstones and 2 Grey Wagtails. Six Gadwall were present on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach

November 1st
A dramatic change in the weather to South West gales. Several hours river watching from Severn Beach this afternoon failed to produce any seabirds and just 20 Turnstones, 30 Curlew, 15 Teal and a Rock Pipit were reported. The usual 90 Redshank, 80 Dunlin, 30 Turnstones, 60 Wigeon and 150 Teal were seen from New Passage. At least 28 Shoveler were present on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.
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