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May is the third most productive month of the year with at least one individual of 174 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 Spoonbill (1998), Honey Buzzard (1991), Kentish Plover, Broad-billed Sandpiper (1988), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1990), Franklin’s Gull (1984), Roseate Tern (1990) and White-winged Black Tern (1990)

May 2003

May 31st
A Knot and 4 Ringed Plover were seen on Severn Beach this morning, a Raven flew over Northwick Warth. This evening there were just 2 Dunlin and a Greylag Goose at Severn Beach.

May 30th
A trickle of migrants today, 8 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover on Severn Beach, a total of 35 Oystercatcher in the area. A flock of 15 Canada Geese (still scarce here) were seen at Northwick Warth.

May 29th
An early morning visit at high tide produced 2 Sanderling on Severn Beach. This afternoon there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Oystercatcher and a Curlew at New Passage. On the evening tide at Severn Beach there were just 3 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone compensated by the presence of 3 Black Terns feeding along the shoreline for twenty minutes.

                                                                                         Black Tern, Severn Beach 29.5.3

May 28th
Another poor day. This morning there was just a single Dunlin on Severn Beach, 2 Wheatear and a Bar-tailed Godwit at Northwick Warth. Two Raven flew over the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.

May 27th
An early morning visit  to Severn Beach produced a Greenshank. This evening there were 4 Sanderling, 20 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover and 3 Turnstone present. Two Wheatear remained on Northwick Warth. A Cuckoo was calling at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth.

May 26th
The first settled weather for over a week produced a few migrants this morning. On Northwick Warth there were still at least 2 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail and several pairs of Skylark were feeding young. At Severn Beach there was a Cuckoo and at least 5 Buzzards soaring this morning. A male Whinchat was seen at Chittening Warth. On the afternoon tide  this afternoon there were 22 Ringed-Plover, 30 Dunlin and 4 Sanderling (the waders were much disturbed by “day trippers”), a Kestrel and a Sparrowhawk.

May 25th
At long last a reasonable number of waders were on Severn Beach at high tide this afternoon. The best bird was a Curlew Sandpiper amongst 70 Dunlin and 30 Ringed Plover. This morning there were 3 Wheatear on Northwick Warth and another at Severn Beach.

May 24th
A few migrants still moving through between heavy rain showers. On Severn Beach there were 15 Dunlin and 12 Ringed Plover. At Northwick Warth there were 3 Curlew, a Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 5 Wheatear and a White Wagtail.

May 23rd
No improvement today with just 42 Oystercatcher, 6 Curlew and 5 Ringed Plover on Northwick Warth. No sea birds were seen in what seemed good windy conditions.

May 22nd
Another very quiet day with no waders seen at Severn Beach. The only birds worthy of a mention were 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and 3 Wheatear on Northwick Warth.

May 21st
A much quieter day today. The waders are still almost non existent with just 4 Ringed Plover at New Passage and a Whimbrel at Severn Beach. A total of 7 Wheatear were seen today.

May 20th
A sea watch this morning  in strong South west winds produced a very obliging Storm Petrel, first seen at Severn Beach and then later at Chittening Warth. At least 130 Manx Shearwater swarmed over the waves along with 6 Fulmar, 3 Arctic Skua, a Great Skua and a single “Commic” Tern. Three Sanderling were seen at Severn Beach.

May 19th
The morning highlight was a flock of 17 Eider at Severn Beach (including nine drakes). There were 4 Wheatear and a Grey Plover on Northwick Warth. A two hour sea watch from Chittening Warth this evening produced at least 5 Fulmar, this mornings Eider flock, 3 Whimbrel and a “Commic” Tern.

May 18th
This morning a Diver sp. and 20 Kittiwake were seen from Severn Beach. A selection of waders were present a at New Passage/Northwick Warth; 4 Whimbrel, 30 Oystercatcher, 4 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit, just 3 Dunlin, 2 Ringed plover and a Turnstone. There were also 4 Wheatear on Northwick Warth. Another Wheatear was at Severn Beach this evening but no waders could be found at high tide.

May 17th
An early morning visit over the incoming tide produced just 3 Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel and a Ringed Plover on Severn Beach. Other migrants here included a Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Wheatear. The first Ruff of the year was on Northwick Warth with 5 Whimbrel, a Black-tailed Godwit and 5 Wheatear. A Common Sandpiper was in the pill at New Passage. This evening a dark morph Arctic Skua and 4 Kittiwake were seen off Severn Beach and the Short-eared Owl remained on Aust Warth.

May 16th
There were a few more waders on this mornings high tide at Severn Beach; 3 Sanderling, 9 Ringed Plover,4 Turnstone and 30 Dunlin. Three Wheatear were seen and a large flock of 150 House Martins appeared briefly at New Passage. This evening there were another 4 Sanderling and 6 Wheatear at Severn Beach, the Short-eared Owl and 3 more Wheatear were on Aust Warth.

May 15th
This morning there were 2 each of Great Crested Grebe, Whimbrel and Spotted Flycatcher seen at Northwick Warth. There were 2 Yellow Wagtails in a cattle field on Aust Warth. Another Spotted Flycatcher was found at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth. This evening a Short-eared Owl was hunting over Aust Warth and at Severn Beach there were only 3 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew and a Ringed Plover.

May 14th
Despite extensive searching today, most of yesterdays birds could not be found. The only birds of note were 9 Whimbrel at Severn Beach, another Whimbrel and a Wheatear at Northwick Warth.

May 13th
This morning there was a Black-tailed Godwit on Northwick Warth until it was flushed by a large Saker type Falcon. The Falcon was later watched on a post before it flew off south. Waders at New Passage included one Bar-tailed Godwit, 35 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover. At Severn Beach this evening there were three Ringed Plover, 9 Whimbrel, a Sanderling and 30 Dunlin. Off shore 2 Arctic Skua and a probable Pomarine Skua were seen. A Cuckoo was at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth and a Wheatear was at New Passage.

May 12th
A day of blustery showers and a moderate south west winds produced a Black-tailed Godwit and 20 Dunlin at New Passage, with another 40 Dunlin and a Great Skua off Chittening Warth.

May 11th
Like many other coastal locations, wader passage still is abysmal. Only 3 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, single Curlew and Common Sandpiper were seen.

May 10th
Overnight showers and a southerly wind failed to improve matters. The only birds of note were 5 Whimbrel and 2 Curlew at Severn Beach, another Whimbrel and a Black-tailed Godwit at New Passage. Swifts were more noticeable this morning but still not in large numbers.

May 9th
Very little to report this morning; 11 Whimbrel and a Ringed Plover at Severn Beach, 4 more Whimbrel at New Passage and 2 Redshank on Northwick Warth. The usual Whitethroats and Lesser Whitethroats were singing throughout the area. At the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach a partial albino Swift (white underparts, rump, mottled mantle and upper wing).

                                                                                              Whimbrel, New Passage 9.5.3

May 8th
Still little sign of migration; 2 “new” Wheatears and 2 Ringed Plover  were seen at Severn Beach. Three Short-eared Owls remained at Chittening Warth.

                                                                                            Grey Herons, Severn Beach 8.5.3

May 7th  
Only a slight improvement on yesterday but no small waders have arrived yet. The first winter Mediterranean Gull was off Chittening Warth late morning with Black-headed Gulls and a Cuckoo was also seen. A Greylag Goose was seen at Severn Beach and later over Northwick Warth. There were 10 Whimbrel roosting at Severn Beach and at least 3 at New Passage. Passerines included at least 6 singing Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail on Northwick Warth and a Spotted Flycatcher at New Passage. This evening at least 3 Short-eared Owls were hunting on Chittening Warth.

May  6th
There was no coverage of the area this morning (due to distraction of the Audouin’s Gull in Kent that I managed to see!) but this afternoon proved to be very quiet despite warm southerly wind. Only 2 Whimbrel and 2 Wheatear could be found. There was an influx of House Martins at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.

May 5th
A fine drake Long-tailed Duck was seen off Severn Beach late morning. Eight Whimbrel and 2 Wheatear were also seen here. The first summer Mediterranean Gull remained at Chittening Warth and at least 3 Short-eared Owls were there this evening with another on Aust Warth.

May 4th
A warm dry day with a moderate south east wind produced a few more migrants. This morning the first summer Mediterranean Gull remained at Severn Beach along with a summer plumaged Bar-tailed Godwit, a Whimbrel, 4 Whinchat and a Cuckoo. A Spotted Flycatcher was still at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth and a Whinchat on  the salt marsh. At Northwick Warth there were another 25 Whimbrel, a Yellow Wagtail and 3 Canada Geese. Two Short-eared Owls were hunting over the salt marsh on Aust Warth and a total of 8 Wheatears were seen. This evening  the Mediterranean Gull, another 2 Short-eared Owls, a Little Egret and a Cuckoo were seen at Chittening Warth and 6 more Bar-tailed Godwits were at Severn Beach.

                                                                                     Bar-tailed Godwit, Severn Beach 4.5.3

May 3rd
Two Little Ringed Plovers were seen this morning. The first summer Mediterranean Gull and 14 Whimbrel remained at Severn Beach. There was a singing Garden Warbler in Hawthorn scrub here with good numbers of Blackcap, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. At Chittening Warth a Spotted Flycatcher, a Whinchat and now 5 Short-eared Owls were seen. On Northwick Warth there were 3 Wheatear and a Whinchat.

May 2nd
The unsettled weather continues but the heavy showers have grounded a few birds. There were 14 Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper at Severn Beach, a Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whinchat and a Common Sandpiper at New Passage. At least 14 Wheatears were counted between Severn Beach and New Passage. A late afternoon visit to Chittening Warth produced 2 more Spotted Flycatcher and a Yellow Wagtail (at the Sea Bank Pools), another Whinchat, a first summer Mediterranean Gulls and the 4 Short-eared Owls. There were another 12 Whimbrel and a Black Tern on the Northwick Warth in the evening.

                                                                            Short-eared Owl, Chittening Warth 2.5.3

May 1st
A blustery start to the month produced several seabirds this morning; a Diver Sp. seen twice in flight from Severn Beach, an adult Gannet, single Fulmar and 8 Kittiwake off Chittening Warth. A first summer plumage Mediterranean Gull flew south past Severn Beach. There were 2 Whimbrel at New Passage but passerines were hard to find in the wind with just 2 Wheatear seen on Northwick Warth. This evening there were still 4 Short-eared Owls hunting on Chittening Warth and another 4 Whimbrel at Severn Beach.