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November is still a month worth looking for birds. It has a respectable total of 170 species recorded during the month with a few surprise birds. Remarkable records include; Britain’s first Black-bellied Storm Petrel and Britain’s 5th Pacific Diver just 2 days apart in 2009. Other national and local rarities 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. Seabirds seen in South West gales include Leach’s Petrel, Pomarine Skua and Little Auk.

November 2010

November 30th
Another day with a biting north east wind. A brief late afternoon visit to New Passage produced 600 Wigeon and 90 Teal.

November 29th
The freeze continues in a north east wind. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area included 550 Wigeon, 40 Teal, a Little Egret, just 30 Dunlin, 5 Snipe, 8 Redshank, 50 Lapwing and a Golden Plover. At least 140 Turnstones were seen at Severn Beach. Sightings from the square pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works included 15 Gadwall, 27 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 20 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe.

November 28th
A bitterly cold((-8°C) and icy dawn with temperature remaining below zero all day. The male Merlin was seen again several times this morning on Northwick Warth, once with prey. Other sightings from here involved 2 Little Egrets and 3 Jack Snipe and 3 Snipe. A redhead Smew (only 6th Severnside record) was found off New Passage early this afternoon, loosely associating with the flock of 600 Wigeon and 80 Teal. Other sighting here involved 7 Gadwall, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 80 Lapwing, just 100 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, a Snipe and a striking leucistic Black-headed Gull among 60 normal birds. An adult Mediterranean Gull, 200 Turnstones, 100 Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 24 Shelduck, 50 Mallard, a Rock Pipit, 70 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare, 20 Blackbirds, 10 Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush and a Brambling were seen at Severn Beach.

                                                                        Merlin with breakfast, Northwick Warth 28.11.10 © Richard Bowerman

                                                                                                     Smew, New Passage 28.11.10
                                          I have only posted this poor record shot as it is only the second one I have photographed on Severnside.
                                          I did not have a camera with me when 5 drakes dropped in front of me at New Passage way back in
                                           February 1991. Usual excuses of poor afternoon light and over 200 metres range apply.
November 27th
Another icy dawn with a biting cold north wind. A male Merlin was seen early morning on the the shoreline at Severn Beach where other sightings included 200 Turnstones, 100 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 70 Curlew,15 Redshank, 35 Oystercatchers, 24 Shelduck and 3 Rock Pipits. The same or another male Merlin was seen on Northwick Warth at first light and again late morning where at least 300 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 30 Redshank, 2 Snipe and a Grey Wagtail were also seen. A male Blackcap was present again in a Severn Beach garden. A good selection of birds were seen on the square roadside pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works including 31 Gadwall, 17 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 16 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard and a Little Grebe.

                                                                                       Merlin, Northwick Warth 27.11.10
                      The Merlins usually perch up on a prominent post or log, this bird was sheltering at ground level behind a tree stump
                      keeping out of the strong, minus something horrible degrees north wind.

November 26th
A cold ((-4°C) and crisp morning with clear sky turning to sleet and snow by late afternoon. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area involved at least 4 Little Egrets, a Jack Snipe, 50 Redshank, 300 Dunlin, 41 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 400 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 2 Ravens, at least 30 Pied Wagtails on the frozen flash, at least 30 Fieldfares and 40 Redwing feeding on berries.

                                                                             Wigeon, New Passage 26.11.10 © Richard Bowerman

                                                                            dawn Moon, Northwick Warth 26.11.10 © Richard Bowerman

November 25th
An icy morning and only a few reports received. Just 2 Dunlin, 13 Turnstones and a Ringed Plover were seen at Severn Beach and 80 Redshank and a few Wigeon and Teal were seen from New Passage.

November 24th
The only reports involved sightings of single Jack Snipe, Little Egret and Raven on Northwick Warth.

November 23rd
The overcast and cool weather continues. Combined reports from Northwick Warth involved 2 Little Egrets, at least 1000 Dunlin, 60 Oystercatchers, 30 Lapwing, 30 Redshank, 40 Curlew, 9 Snipe, 250 Wigeon, 70 Teal, single Peregrine and Raven, several flyover Brambling and Redpolls. Reports from Severn Beach included 400 Dunlin, 70 Redshank, 30 Turnstones, 9 Oystercatchers, at least 40 Redwings, 10 Blackbirds and 3 Fieldfares. A male Blackcap was seen on feeders in a Severn Beach garden.

                                                                        Peregrine, Northwick Warth 23.11.10 © Richard Bowerman

November 22nd
Another grey and cold day. The only report received was of 12 Gadwall, 16 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 3 Pochard and 9 Tufted Duck at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 21st
A dry and cold day with a north wind and still not a lot reported. Reports from New Passage involved 60 Redshank, 30 Lapwing, 150 Dunlin, 10 Turnstones, 2 Snipe, 90 Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers, 300 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 2 flyover Redpolls and 2 Siskins. Another 300 Turnstones were seen on the shore at Severn Beach and nearby 3 Gadwall and 10 Mute Swans were seen ai the Orchard Pools. On a completely non bird related note, if anyone goes to see the latest Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows film you might notice the Second Severn Crossing, Shaft Beach and Burger bar bay Severnside landmarks for a few seconds.

November 20th
A wet and grey day. A brief visit to a soggy New Passage produced just a Little Egret, 70 Lapwing, 40 Curlew and the usual flock of Wigeon and Teal. Reports from Avonmouth Sewage Works involved 17 Gadwall, 9 Shoveler, 12 Tufted Duck and 6 Pochard.

November 19th
A drier day with some winter sunshine. The highlight was a Black Redstart at New Passage where other sightings included 2 Little Egrets, 600 Dunlin, 15 Common Gulls, 50 Lapwing, 64 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlew, 7 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, at least 600 Wigeon and 70 Teal. Reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area included 12 Gadwall, 14 Teal, 3 Shoveler,13 Tufted Duck, 2 Snipe and a Cetti’s Warbler.

                                                                        Black Redstart, New Passage 19.11.10 © BOC

November 18th
Much of the same was reported from New Passage with the 15 Greylag Geese, a Little Egret, 650 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 50 Oystercatchers, 40 Curlew, 500 Dunlin and at least 120 Lapwing present late afternoon.

November 17th
A wet day with a south east wind. An afternoon high tide visit to New Passage produced 15 Greylag Geese, at least 40 Shoveler, 600 Wigeon, 90 Teal,  a Little Egret, 40 Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers, 200 Dunlin and 14 Lapwing.

November 16th
Another icy dawn with fog. A Little Grebe on the River Severn was an unusual find off New Passage where a Little Egret, 6 Lapwing, single Golden Plover and Snipe, usual Dunlin, Redshank, Wigeon and Teal were also seen. Combined reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area involved 21 Gadwall, 16 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 15 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe. Another Little Egret was seen at dusk at Aust Warth.

November 15th
A frosty and foggy morning with not a lot reported. A Little Egret, 100 Dunlin, 50 Redshank and the usual Wigeon and Teal flock were seen from New Passage. Another Little Egret was reported from Aust Warth and a Tawny Owl was seen in Severn Beach this evening.

November 14th
A grey day with a bank of mid river fog this morning. Five female type Goosanders flew upriver past Severn Beach this morning and continued north over the Second Severn Crossing. Other sightings here involved 40 Turnstones, 60 Redshank, 80 Curlew, 2 Shelduck and 50 Mallard. A male Brambling was found in a mixed flock of House Sparrows and Chaffinches in bushes above the shaft beach. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area included 3 Little Egrets, 250 Dunlin, 50 Redshank, 4 Snipe, 2 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatchers, 40 Curlew, 2 Water Rails, 750 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 7 Shoveler, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 2 Coal Tits, 2 flyover Brambling, a feeding flock of 80 Redwings, 10 Song Thrush and 2 Fieldfare. Two Short-eared Owls were reported at Aust Warth at 2.15 pm.

                                                                                     Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 14.11.10

November 13th
A calm and quiet day following the excitement of yesterday. The only reports from the Severn Beach shore involved 180 Turnstones, 80 Redshank, 100 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, 40 Curlew, a Peregrine and 3 Goldcrests. A Little Egret, 300 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 200 Dunlin, 20 Curlew, 10 Snipe, a Water Rail, a light overhead passage of Chaffinches, Skylarks and at least one Brambling were noted in the Northwick Warth area. A Short-eared Owl was watched hunting at Aust Warth from 4pm until dusk and a Tawny Owl was seen at Old Passage. A few more pictures of yesterday’s Little Auk can be seen by clicking HERE.

                                                                        Turnstones, Shaft beach Severn Beach 13.11.10 © Alex Rhodes

November 12th
A windy wet day following a stormy night produced a good selection off Severn Beach including a Little Auk close to the shore at the Shaft beach. One of 2 Great Skuas attempted to take the auk before it eventually flew off inland and other sightings here involved a Great Northern Diver (flying south west), female Red-breasted Merganser, female Common Scoter, adult Gannet, 2 Little Gulls (adult & 1st winter), 3 Kittiwakes, a Shoveler, 200 Turnstones and a Peregrine. A first winter Mediterranean Gull was seen at New Passage and nearby there were at least 600 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 2 Shelduck, 1200 Dunlin, 50 Redshank, single Little Egret, Water Rail, Jack Snipe and Snipe on Northwick Warth.

                                                                                 Little Auk, Shaft beach Severn Beach 12.11.10

                                                                                  Little Auk, Shaft beach Severn Beach 12.11.10

                                                                                  Little Auk, Shaft beach Severn Beach 12.11.10

                                                                                          Great Skua, Severn Beach 12.11.10

                                                                                      Mediterranean Gull, New Passage 12.11.10

November 11thwp318dc03d.gif
An increasingly windy day producing a Great Skua and an immature Arctic Skua off Severn Beach late afternoon. The Arctic Skua flew inland over the sea wall and headed off north east. Other reports from here involved 2 female Common Scoter, 60+ Kittiwakes (that also went up river past the Severn Crossing), a Knot and a Peregrine. At least 1500 Dunlin, 16 Lapwing, 19 Oystercatchers, 16 Lapwing and 400 Wigeon were seen from New Passage. Another 45 Dunlin were reported from Chittening Warth this morning and 12 Tufted Duck and a Gadwall were seen in the Avonmouth Sewage Works area.

November 10th
A dry and sunny day, the lull before the predicted storm. A Little Egret and the usual Wigeon and Teal flocks were reported from Northwick Warth. A Short-eared Owl was seen at Chittening Warth but there was still no sign of any wintering Owls at Aust warth at dusk.

November 9th
A dramatic change in the weather with a very strong north wind and rain this morning. A very brief and wet dawn visit to New Passage produced just a Little Egret and the usual Wigeon, Teal and Redshank flocks. A Stonechat was reported at Chittening Warth. An impressive 37 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler, 11 Tufted Duck and 12 Lapwings were seen at Avonmouth Sewage Works. Strong west/ south west wind are forecast for Thursday and Friday with late morning high tides could be a perfect combination for seawatching at Severn Beach.Now I have mentioned it nothing will happen.

November 8th
A mainly dry and calm day day following a wet and very windy night. Reports from the Northwick Warth area remained much the same with a Little Egret, 64 Oystercatchers, 400 Dunlin, a Grey Plover, 26 Redshank, 32 Turnstones, 4 Snipe, 18 Lapwing, 230 Wigeon and 60 Teal. Another 110 Wigeon, 11 Curlew and a female Sparrowhawk were seen at Aust Warth. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included 80+ Turnstones, 500 Woodpigeons heading south east, single Rock Pipit and Peregrine. Nearby, just 5 Gadwall and a Tufted Duck were seen on the Orchard Pools.

November 7th
A day with occasional showers and hardly any wind. Reports from the Northwick Warth area involved a Little Egret, at least 400 Dunlin, 80 Redshank, a Greenshank, 10 White-fronted Geese (flew north east), 250 Wigeon, 110 Teal and 2 Peregrines. Visible migrants included at least 3600 Woodpigeons heading west/south west in 3 hours this morning. Sixty Lapwing, single Snipe, Raven and Peregrine were seen at Aust Warth. The usual 9 Mute Swans, 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebes and a Kingfisher were seen on the VOSA Pool area near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 6th
Reports from the Northwick Warth area involved 2 Little Egrets, 80 Redshank, 500 Dunlin, 8 Lapwing, 3 Snipe, 55 Oystercatchers, at least 3 Water Rails, 250 Wigeon, 120 Teal a steady light overhead passage of Skylarks, Reed Buntings, Chaffinches with at least 8 Siskins and 3 Redpolls. Another 3 Water Rails and a Raven were reported at Aust Warth. A Coal Tit visiting feeders in a Severn Beach garden was the first there for 4 years.

                                                                       Water Rail, Northwick Warth Grebe Pond 6.11.10

November 5th
A less windy with drizzle for most of the day. Quality rather than quantity again today with a Little Auk flying upriver close to the sea wall off Severn Beach at 4.20 pm. It did a sharp U turn as it approached the Severn Crossing before crash landing onto the river in “ burger bar bay”. Reports from Severn Beach this morning included 400 Dunlin, 180 Turnstones, a Common Gull, 2 Great Black-backed Gulls, 20 Meadow Pipits and a Rock Pipit. Nine Mute Swans, 2 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe remained on the VOSA Pool.

November 4th
Another windy day. Late news was received of a Leach’s Petrel off Severn Beach at 4pm where other reports involved little more than 40 Mallard, 2 Gadwall, 4 Shelduck, 20 Curlew and 10 Turnstones The usual Little Egret, 350 Wigeon and 200 Teal were seen in a brief visit to New Passage. Another 6 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, 9 Mute Swans and a Little Grebe were seen on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 3rd
A cloudy and eventually wet day. Reports from New Passage involved 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 52 Oystercatchers, just 50 Dunlin, 40 Turnstones, 38 Lapwing, 30 Redshank, 4 Common Gulls, a Great Black-backed Gull and the usual Wigeon and Teal flock. A Kingfisher, 5 Gadwall and 3 Tufted Duck were seen on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach and another 9 Gadwall, 4 Tufted Duck and 7 Mute Swans were present on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

November 2nd
No reports were received on an increasingly windy day.

November 1st
A very quiet start to the month with the ususal 3 Little Egrets, 100 Dunlin, 70 Redshank, 3 Lapwing, 20 Curlew, 10 Gadwall, 100 Teal, 200 Wigeon and 10 Common Gulls reported from New Passage. Another 9 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, a Little Grebe and a Chiffchaff were seen at the Orchard Pools at Seven Beach. Four Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 8 Gadwall and 3 Mute Swans were seen on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.