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July 2006

194 species seen by the end of July.......

July 17th
We are currently in a heatwave with temperatures above 33°C and forecast to get hotter over the next few days. I have been looking for returning migrants most days at New Passage. The hoped for Sandwich Terns have yet to appear (for me anyway) but typical July species; Mediterranean Gulls and Common Scoter have been seen here in recent days and a couple of Little Stints were reported across the estuary at Goldcliff Pools in Gwent, so hopefully my next year tick is not too far away.

                                                                                Storm Petrel, Severn Beach 9.7.6

                                                                                Storm Petrel, Severn Beach 9.7.6

July 9th
Strong South West wind and calls from Sand Point had me dashing down the M5 late morning. Within a few minutes of finding shelter at the point I had seen my target bird of Manx Shearwater. In the hour I was there I saw at least 20 of the 400 seen during the morning along with an adult Gannet and a Fulmar. The views were quite distant compared to those we get further up the estuary but still nice to see. The strong wind continued all afternoon and I expected to see a few more Manx Shearwaters from Severn Beach. None were seen and I had to settle with some more very close views of  Storm Petrels, 2 pale phase Arctic Skuas and a first summer Mediterranean Gull.

                                                                           Black-tailed Godwits, New Passage 6.7.6

July 6th
A night of thunderstorms and a morning of heavy rainy produced a few early autumn migrants. I received a call this afternoon about a Sandwich Tern off Severn Beach. A thorough search on the falling tide was unsuccessful making this my third missed “Sarnie” this year. A flock of 13 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits were present off New Passage one of which was colour ringed (orange over pale green  above knee on right leg, orange above knee and red below knee on left leg). This was almost certainly the same individual seen at Goldcliff, Gwent on July 2nd and I will try to find out where it was first shackled. No new birds for the year but at least autumn migration has started.

                                                                                         Skylark, Marshfield 1.7.6

July 1st
I gratefully received several telephone calls yesterday evening about a Quail calling at a traditional site near Marshfeild so I was there just after 6 o’clock this morning. Within a few minutes I heard the bird calling as short distance away deep in a tall crop. It continued to call  for another hour until we left the site. In all the years I have been visiting the area for Quail I have only managed to see them twice. Sightings here included 2 Ravens, Red-legged Partridges, a few Corn Buntings, many Yellowhammers, Skylarks and a Roe Deer.