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January is a slightly better month than December, the daylight hours slowly lengthen resulting in a monthly total of 161 species. Like any of the mid winter months it can be good for wildfowl sightings if inland waters freeze, with the chance of Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander and Ruddy Duck or some fly by Bewick’s Swans. Seabirds seen in gales have included Cory’s Shearwater (2004), Storm Petrel, Leach’s Petrel, Little Auk, Red-throated Diver (1991,1993) and Grey Phalarope. Other January birds include; Slavonian Grebe (2010), American Golden Plover (2002), Great Grey Shrike (2004) and Shorelark (2004), Waxwing (1958), two Common Cranes that flew over Severn Beach (2000), two Whooper Swans (2005) and a few rare sightings of Hen Harrier.

January 2011

January 31st
Similar reports today with male Merlin, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Knot, 80 Lapwing, 20 Redshank, 60 Curlew, 35 Oystercatchers, 60 Wigeon and 20 Teal seen from Northwick Warth. A Black Redstart remained on the seawall at Severn Beach. A male and female Merlin and 2 Short-eared Owls eventually showed at Aust Warth. At least 33 Gadwall, 15 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 8 Pochard and 52 Tufted Duck were seen on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

                                                                             Merlin, Northwick Warth 31.1.11 © Richard Bowerman

January 30th
The cold day with sunny spells. The only reports received were of a male Merlin and Raven in the Northwick Warth area, a Water Rail at Severn Beach and 40 Lapwing, a Raven and eventually at least 3 Short-eared Owls (at 5.35pm) over Aust Warth.

January 29th
The biting north east wind kept temperatures just above freezing with ice on some of the fresh water pools. Combined reports from the Severn Beach shore included the Black Redstart, a Water Pipit, 5 Rock Pipits, a Yellowhammer, a garden visiting Water Rail and female Blackcap, 35 Shelduck, 9 Ringed Plover, 20 Redshank, 100 Dunlin and 40 Oystercatchers and nearby 3 Tufted Duck, 3 Gadwall and 3 flyover Goosanders were seen at the Orchard Pools. Another 200 Dunlin, a Snipe, 3 Teal and a Tufted Duck were seen at Chittening Warth and nearby 30 Gadwall, 5 Coot, 15 Snipe, a Woodcock, 50 Goldfinches and a female Sparrowhawk were reported at the Honda Pools near Avonmouth Sewage Works. The only reports from windswept New Passage involved 130 Oystercatchers, 20 Teal and 60 Wigeon. Three Short-eared Owls were seen at Aust Warth late afternoon.

January 28th
Another cold day with the day time temperature hovering just above freezing in the north east wind. Two Bewick’s Swans were seen flying over Severn Beach early morning where the Black Redstart remained on the sea wall and 18 Gadwall were seen nearby on the Orchard Pools. A male Merlin showed well on Northwick Warth where other sightings included 12 Redshank, 40 Lapwing, 50 Curlew and 100 Wigeon. Another 26 Swans (presumed Bewick’s) flew up river past Aust Warth where another 50 Lapwing were seen  over the Sheep fields.

January 27th
A cold day with a biting north east wind. The only reports were of a hunting Merlin, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Redshank, 10 Dunlin and 20 Shelduck from New Passage.

January 26th
A brief afternoon visit to New Passage produced just 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Redshank, 80 Dunlin, 70 Curlew, 20 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon and 40 Teal. The Black Redstart and 2 Water Pipits were also reported in Severn Beach and 5 Gadwall were seen on the Orchard Pools.

January 25th
A grey and increasingly damp day. Reports from Severn Beach included the Bittern in flight over the Orchard Pools this morning and 2 Woodcock and a calling Water Rail this afternoon, the Black Redstart and 50 Shelduck from the sea wall and a female Blackcap in a garden. Another 22 Shelduck, 160 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 20 Redshank, 50 Oystercatchers, 80 Dunlin, 10 Curlew, 6 Turnstones, 8 Lapwing, a Great Black-backed Gull and a Raven were seen from New Passage.

                                                                   Bittern, Severn Beach 25.1.11

                                                          Great Black-backed Gull, New Passage 25.1.11

January 24th
The Bittern showed briefly in the reeds (without entering the reeds) on the first Orchard Pool at Severn Beach early morning where other reports included a singing Cetti’s Warbler, 4 Siskins, 2 Grey Herons, 4 Tufted Duck, 6 Gadwall, single Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Sightings from the sea wall at Severn Beach involved the Black Redstart, 4 Gadwall and 30 Shelduck. A Little Egret, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 40 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 5 Lapwing, 80 Curlew, 35 Oystercatchers, at least 600 Dunlin, a Snipe, 350 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 16 Shelduck, 60 Redwings and a Raven were reported from Northwick Warth. Four Short-eared Owls were seen at Aust Warth this morning. Reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area involved 59 Gadwall, 50 Tufted Duck, 10 Teal, 8 Pochard, single Shoveler, Grey Wagtail and Chiffchaff.

January 23rd
The first Severnside record of a Bittern was found today at the Orchard Pools in Severn Beach where 2 Woodcock were also seen. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach involved 42 Shelduck, a Yellowhammer and the Black Redstart. At least 500 Dunlin and a Black-tailed Godwit were reported from Chittening Warth. A Merlin and 2 Short-eared Owls were reported at Aust Warth.

                                                                      Black Redstart, Severn Beach 23.1.11 © Allan Chard

January 22nd
The Black Redstart remained faithful to the usual area of the seawall at Severn Beach.

                                                                               Black Redstart, Severn Beach 22.1.11 © Andy Jordan

January 21st
A very cold dawn. A male Merlin was seen to catch prey on Northwick Warth and 2 Water Rails remained in a Severn Beach garden.

January 20th
Another icy start. The only report received involved 2 Pintail with the Wigeon flock off New Passage.

January 19th
An icy dawn followed by sunshine and blue sky. The Black Redstart was still on the sea wall at Severn Beach this morning. Sightings from Northwick Warth involved 350 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 120 Oystercatchers, 16 Lapwing, 20 Redshank, 4 Snipe, 90 Fieldfares and 20 Redwing. A Merlin, 2 Ravens and 60 Lapwing were seen at Aust Warth this afternoon. The two brilliant images below were taken early morning at New Passage and kindly supplied by Richard Bowerman.

                                                                    Fly me to the Moon, New Passage 19.1.11 © Richard Bowerman

                                                                     Foxes in the frost, Northwick Warth 19.1.11 © Richard Bowerman

January 18th
The Black Redstart was chasing insects in the sunshine at the usual location on the seawall at Severn Beach. The only report from New Passage involved a Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Bar-tailed Godwits. A Merlin and a Short-eared Owl were seen at Aust Warth late afternoon. Sightings from the square pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works involved 52 Tufted Duck, 23 Gadwall, 7 Pochard, single Shoveler and Snipe and 90 flyover Lapwing. Some video footage of the Black Redstart can be seen by clicking here.

January 17th
A very wet morning. The only reports were from a low tide visit to Chittening Warth involving just 46 Oystercatchers and a Snipe and nearby a Peregrine and 105 Lapwing near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

January 16th
Another breezy and increasingly wet day. The Black Redstart remained on the sea wall at Severn Beach and 40 Kittiwakes were also seen from here. The only reports from the Northwick Warth area involved single Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, 135 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlew, 10 Redshank, 23 Lapwing, 5 Shelduck, 50 Wigeon, 30 Teal, a Raven and 30 Fieldfare.

January 15th
A breezy day. A brief visit to New Passage produced just 100 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 5 Shelduck and 60 Curlew. Another 30 Shelduck and 20 Oystercatchers were seen from Severn Beach. The best of the day involved a report of 3 Short-eared Owls at Aust Warth from 4.15 this afternoon.

January 14th
A mild and wet morning followed by a drier afternoon. The Black Redstart, an adult Kittiwake, at least 80 Turnstones, 50 Oystercatchers, 3 Ringed Plover, just 5 Dunlin, 25 Shelduck and 32 Wigeon were reported from Severn Beach. Sightings from New Passage involved a Black-tailed Godwit, 18 Redshank, 6 Turnstones, 40 Curlew, 200 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 2 Shelduck and a Raven were seen from New Passage. An afternoon visit to Aust Warth produced a Black-tailed Godwit and another 2 Ravens.

                                                                                  Black-tailed Godwit, New Passage 14.1.11   

January 13th
Another very wet day with mist all afternoon. Just 22 Shelduck and 60 Turnstones were reported off Severn Beach at high tide this afternoon and 2 Water Rails remained in a garden. Reports from soggy Northwick Warth involved a Bar-tailed Godwit, 60 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 20 Curlew, 4 Snipe, 80 Teal, at least 400 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall, a Shoveler, a mixed flock of 200 Fieldfares, 40 Redwing and 3 Mistle Thrushes feeding in the wet fields and 3 Bullfinches.

January 12th
A mild (12°C) but very wet day. The only report was from New Passage where at least 500 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler, 15 Redshank, 5 Turnstones and 5 Oystercatchers were seen.

January 11th
The Black Redstart was still on the seawall at Severn Beach near Pipits Court and other reports from here included a Kittiwake, 15 Shelduck, 15 Curlew, 25 Oystercatchers, 10 Turnstones, a Rock Pipit and a Peregrine. Another 25 Curlew were seen on Northwick Warth. At least 62 Tufted Duck, 16 Gadwall, 8 Pochard and 5 Shoveler remained on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

                                                                      Black Redstart, Severn Beach 11.1.11 © Don Smith

January 10th
The only report received was from Avonmouth Sewage Works involving just 17 Tufted Duck, 8 Gadwall and 4 Teal.

January 9th
The Black Redstart remained on the sea wall but was easily flushed by day trippers and dog walkers. The only other reports from Severn Beach involved 85 Turnstones and at least 6 Rock Pipits from the shore and 2 Water Rails in a garden. Another Water Rail, 100 Redshank and 500 Dunlin were seen from Chittening Warth. The usual Wigeon, Teal and a Peregrine were reported from New Passage and a Short-eared Owl and a Raven was seen over Aust Warth.

January 8th
The Black Redstart was still present on the sea defences at Severn Beach this morning where other sightings included a Bar-tailed Godwit, 50 Turnstones, 32 Oystercatchers, 18 Shelduck, 5 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, single Grey Heron and Great Black-backed Gull. Another 4 Gadwall and 2 Tufted Duck were seen nearby on the Orchard Pools. At least 500 Dunlin and 11 Curlew were reported from Chittening Warth. Combined sightings from New Passage involved 350 Wigeon, 90 Teal, 14 Shelduck, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 25 Redshank, 50 Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers and a Peregrine. Two Short-eared Owls, 2 Ravens and 2 Shoveler were reported at Aust Warth.

                                                                                          Black Redstart, Severn Beach 8.1.11

January 7th
Just 400 Wigeon, 90 Teal and 8 Shelduck were reported from New Passage.

January 6th
A Waxwing was heard and seen in flight by 2 lucky observers as it flew north low over New Passage this morning. Other sightings from New Passage included 400 Wigeon, 80 Teal, 2 Shelduck, a Shoveler, 200 Dunlin and a Raven. Combined reports from Severn Beach involved a Black Redstart on the sea defences opposite the shops, a Water Pipit and 5 Rock Pipits in the salt marsh, 30 Shelduck, 10 Teal, 11 Ringed Plover, 60 Turnstones, 50 Redshank, 250 Dunlin and a Snipe.Two Ravens were seen over Aust Warth late afternoon. The Square Pool at Avonmouth sewage works still held an impressive 90 Tufted Duck, 35 Gadwall, 11 Pochard, 5 Teal and 6 Shoveler.

                                                                                           Water Pipit, Severn Beach 6.1.11
                                                    Never easy to photograph here and are usually just seen flying off!

January 5th
A breezy day with south west wind and rain showers. The only report involved 43 Tufted Duck, 36 Gadwall and a Snipe on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

January 4th
Reports from New Passage included 15 Redshank, 40 Oystercatchers, 20 Curlew, at least 80 Teal, 200 Wigeon, 4 Gadwall and a Peregrine. The male Merlin, 2 Buzzards, 2 Ravens, 380 Wigeon, 110 Dunlin, 40 Lapwing and 2 Short-eared Owls (appearing when almost dark) were seen from Aust Warth. The Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage works continued to pack in the wildfowl with 73 Tufted Duck, 40 Gadwall and 14 Pochard being present at midday.

January 3rd
Another cold day with the temperature hovering just above zero with some light snow in the afternoon. A brief scan from New Passage produced at least 800 Wigeon, 90 Teal, 100 Dunlin, 12 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 3 Turnstones and 45 Oystercatchers. Sightings from the sea wall at Severn Beach involved 5 Ringed Plover, 70 Redshank, and 300 Dunlin. Nearby there were 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, single Kestrel and Buzzard at the Orchard Pools and at least 5 Reed Buntings and a female Blackcap were seen on garden feeders. An impressive 43 Gadwall, 96 Tufted Duck, 10 Pochard and a Shoveler were seen on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

January 2nd
A cool and mainly overcast day. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach involved a Purple Sandpiper, 40 Turnstones, at least 100 Redshank, 40 Oystercatchers, 15 Curlew, 7 Ringed Plover, 600 Dunlin, 31 Shelduck, 20 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 4 Gadwall, a Water Pipit, 3 Rock Pipits, 15 Reed Buntings and 5 Linnets. Reports from Aust Warth included single Merlin and Peregrine, 400 Dunlin, a drake Shoveler,11 Gadwall, 3 Rock Pipits and a Short-eared Owl that eventually showed at 4.50pm.

                                                                                          Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 1.1.11

                                                                                                 Hen Harrier, Aust Warth 1.1.11

January 1st
Many thanks and a Happy New Year to all those that bothered to send reports in 2010. The year got off to an an excellent start when an adult ringtail Hen Harrier flew low down Aust Warth at 3.45 pm before being chased off inland by a Crow. Other sightings at Aust Warth included 2 Short Eared Owls at 3.10 pm, 2 Ravens and 9 Gadwall. The male Merlin, a Raven, at least 900 Wigeon, 90 Teal, 3 drake Shoveler, 40 Gadwall, 300 Dunlin and 300 Lapwing were reported on Northwick Warth. Two Woodcock and 5 Snipe were flushed in a field next to Avonmouth Sewage Works and 84 Tufted Duck and 11 Pochard were seen on the Square Pool here.