SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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March is a slightly better month than February with a total of 166 species recorded during this month. As each day passes the expectation of an early spring migrant increases, Wheatears usually being seen by mid month along with Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins, possibly Little Ringed Plovers. Rarities have included Black Kite (2010), Avocets, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Hen Harrier and Cetti’s Warbler (2003), Bearded Tit (2004), Great Grey Shrike (2004), Red Kite (2005, 2010), Mandarin (2006) and Siberian Chiffchaff (2007).


March 2011



March 31st
A breezy but quiet end to the month. The usual drake Common Scoter, Barnacle Goose, 60 Teal, 60 Shelduck, 20 Redshank and 20 Turnstones were seen from New Passage. The only reports from Severn Beach involved 8 flyover Knot, 35 Turnstones and 20 Shelduck.

March 30th
Another day of showers with a south west breeze. Combined reports from Northwick Warth area involved the male Merlin, drake Common Scoter, the Barnacle Goose, 60 Shelduck, 35 Teal, a Little Egret, 10 Oystercatchers, 20 Curlew and 5 Sand Martins. At least 30 Kittiwakes, a Great Crested Grebe and 20 Shelduck were seen off Severn Beach late afternoon.

March 29th
Some brief rain showers with less birds reported today. The male Merlin, drake Common Scoter, Barnacle Goose, 60 Shelduck, 50 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 30 Oystercatchers, 25 Curlew and 20 Redshank remained viewable from New Passage. Two Short-eared Owls were still present at Aust Warth this evening.

March 28th
Almost a repeat performance today with the male Merlin, the drake Common Scoter, Barnacle Goose, 60 Shelduck, 60 Teal, 40 Wigeon, 25 Redshank, 2 Ravens, 5 Sand Martins, single Swallow and Wheatear were seen at Northwick Warth this morning. Another 30 Shelduck, 4 Canada Geese and 5 Wheatears were seen from Severn Beach. Six Wheatears were reported at Chittening Warth this morning. The 2 Little Ringed Plovers were still present this morning. At least one Short-eared Owl was present at Aust Warth this evening.

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                                                           Little Ringed Plover, Severnside  28.3.11

March 27th
Another dry day wit a cool north east breeze. The drake Common Scoter, Barnacle Goose, 65 Shelduck, 20 Wigeon, 45 Teal, 25 Redshank, 35 Turnstones, 3 Ravens, 2 Wheatears, 14 Swallows, 13 Sand Martins, a House Martin and a Willow Wabler were reported from Northwick Warth. Another 32 Shelduck, 10 Ringed Plover, 30 Turnstones and a House Martin were seen at Severn Beach. Combined reports from Chittening Warth involved 10 Gadwall, 80 Redshank, 3 Knot, 10 Wheatears, a Willow Warbler, and 8 Swallows. Two Little Ringed Plovers were new arrivals this afternoon.

     wp483ffcd5.jpg                                                                  Little Ringed Plover, Severnside  27.3.11

March 26th
A cloudier day with a cold north east wind. The male Merlin, 2 Ravens, drake Common Scoter, Barnacle Goose, 70 Shelduck, 30 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 30 Oystercatchers, 20 Curlew, 50 Redshank, 2 Snipe and 4 Dunlin remained on Northwick Warth where migrants included a Wheatear, a flyover Brambling, at least 10 Siskins, 8 Redpoll, hundreds of Woodpigeons, Goldfinches and Meadow Pipits all flying north east. Another 8 Wheatears were seen at Chittening Warth and another 4 Wheatears were seen at Severn Beach. A Coal Tit was seen to fly in from the river at New Passage to join the resident bird. A Short-eared Owl, a late Redwing, at least 8 Wheatears, another Coal Tit and a Peregrine were seen at Aust Warth. At least 3 Blackcaps, at least 40 Sand Martins and numerous singing Chiffchaffs were present throughout the area today.

March 25th
Glorious spring weather with a light east breeze. The male Merlin showed very well early morning on Northwick Warth spending a lot of time chasing the local Skylarks. Other reports from here and New Passage included the Barnacle Goose, a drake Common Scoter, a Great Crested Grebe, 60 Shelduck, 35 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 2 Canada Geese, 35 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 150 Turnstones, 2 Lapwing, a Raven, a Peregrine, 3 Wheatears, 8 Swallows, 32 Sand Martins, plenty of visible overhead migrants including hundreds of Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches and Woodpigeons, at least 3 Bramblings, 3 Siskins and 4 Redpolls heading north-north east. Another 25 Shelduck, 2 Sand Martins and a Wheatear were seen at Severn Beach. Two Short-eared Owls, 2 Swallows, single Wheatear and Stonechat were reported at Aust Warth.

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                                                                          Merlin, Northwick Warth 25.3.11  © Richard Bowerman

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                                                                       Reed Bunting, Severn Beach 25.3.11  © Rod Holbrook

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                                                Common Scoter and Great Crested Grebe, New Passage 25.3.11 © Tony Scott

March 24th
A continuation of the warm and sunny weather. A Little Ringed Plover landed briefly at Severn Beach before flying off up river. Other sightings here included 2 Wheatears, a White Wagtail, numerous singing Chiffchaffs and many Meadow Pipits and Goldfinches heading north east into the wind. The usual Barnacle Goose, Brent Goose, 102 Shelduck, 30 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 35 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 25 Curlew, 30 Turnstones and 2 Ravens were seen at Northwick Warth along with 2 Little Egrets, 7 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins, 2 Wheatears, numerous singing Chiffchaffs and more flyover migrants heading north east involving Meadow Pipits, Goldfinches, Siskins and a few Redpolls. Two Short-eared Owls showed well again this evening at Aust Warth from 4.20pm

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                                                                               Brent Goose, Northwick Warth 24.3.11

March 23rd
The warmest day of the year so far at 17°C. Highlight of the day was a Red Kite in heavy wing moult seen drifting south over New Passage at 10am. Other sightings from here and Northwick Warth involved a male Merlin, single Barnacle Goose, Brent Goose, 80 Shelduck, 2 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 50 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 46 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 2 Dunlin, 2 Ravens, a Wheatear, 5 Sand Martins, 2 House Martins and 2 Swallows. A Wheatear and at least 60 Turnstones were seen at Severn Beach including one individual seen to be sporting a Norwegian leg ring number NOS 7541300. A Water Rail was seen in a Severn Beach garden again. Two Short-eared Owls remained on Aust Warth this evening.

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                                                                           ringed Turnstone, Severn Beach 23.3.11 © Mark Coller
Many thanks to Mark Coller; results already received from Stavanger Museum in Norway show the the bird was trapped as a 1st year bird at Revtangen on 13.8.2010.

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                                                                          Wheatear, Severn Beach 23.3.11 © Mark Coller

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                                                                          Turnstone, Severn Beach 23.3.11 © Rod Holbrook

March 22nd
A foggy start to the day. At least 73 Shelduck, single Brent Goose, Barnacle Goose, 2 Ravens and male Merlin were seen in the mist on Northwick Warth. Two Short-eared Owls were present on Aust Warth this afternoon (one showed well most of the morning) where the male Merlin, a male Peregrine, 2 Kestrels, 4 early House Martins, a Swallow and a steady movement of Meadow Pipits and Skylarks were also seen.The Water Rail remained in a Severn Beach garden.

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                                                                 Merlin, Northwick Warth 22.3.11  © Richard Bowerman

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                                                      Barnacle and Brent Geese, Northwick Warth 22.3.11  © Richard Bowerman

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                                                                    Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 22.3.11 © Allan Chard

March 21st
A glorious spring day and a 14.4 metre high tide. Two Short-eared Owls performed well at Aust Warth this morning where other reports included 20 early Swallows and 50 Curlew. Combined reports from Northwick Warth involved the male Merlin, the Barnacle Goose, 2 Brent Geese, 90 Shelduck, 44 Wigeon, 30 Teal, a Little Egret, 40 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 3 Lapwing, 60 Meadow Pipits, 18 Skylarks, 4 Chiffchaffs, single Kestrel, female Sparrowhawk and Raven. A Wheatear was reported from the shore at Severn Beach, a Water Rail remained in a garden (feeding on cake!) and nearby a Pochard, 2 Little Grebes and another female Sparrowhawk were seen at the Orchard Pools.

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                                                                                 Little Egret, Northwick Warth 21.3.11
                                                  Both Great White and Cattle Egret were reported today at
                                                                  Slimbridge WWT just 20 miles further up the estuary

March 20th
Another fine spring morning and high spring tide. A Short-eared Owl was washed out of the salt marsh at Aust Warth early morning and seen to catch a Vole and was showing well again this afternoon. Other sightings here included the male Merlin with prey, a male Peregrine, a Raven, a pair of Kestrels, a Jack Snipe, a pair of Pintail and 2 Sand Martins. Combined reports from Northwick Warth included a Little Egret, the Barnacle Goose, 5 Canada Geese, 80 Shelduck, 25 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 30 Oystercatchers, 60 Curlew, 25 Turnstones, 20 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, a Grey Plover, 2 Ravens, a Kestrel, 7 Buzzards, 4 Chiffchaffs and a Sand Martin. Another Peregrine, 2 Kestrels, and 4 Chiffchaffs were seen between Severn Beach and Chittening Warth. A Cettis’s Warbler was still calling near Avonmouth Sewage Works. A Grey Seal was seen from New Passage.

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                                                                         Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 20.3.11 © Richard Bowerman

March 19th
A cold and frosty dawn followed by sunshine all day. Combined reports from New Passage/Northwick Warth involved the Barnacle Goose, 40 Shelduck, 80 Teal, 35 Wigeon, 2 flyover Little Egrets, 2 Grey Plover, 40 Curlew, 25 Redshank, 19 Oystercatchers and 2 Chiffchaffs. Another 35 Shelduck, 120 Turnstones, a Sparrowhawk, 3 Buzzards, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Swallow were reported from the coastal strip at Severn Beach and nearby 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebes and a Chiffchaff were seen at the Orchard Pools. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard near Avonmouth Sewage Works and 28 Snipe were seen on the Honda Pools. At least 2 Short-eared Owls performed well over Aust Warth from 4.45pm where a Snipe and male Merlin were also reported.

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                                                                                         Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth 19.3.11

March 18th
Combined reports from the New Passage area included a 1st winter Mediterranean Gull, a leucistic Black-headed Gull, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 80 Redshank, 34 Curlew, 20 Oystercatchers, a Little Egret, a Barnacle Goose, 52 Teal, 23 Wigeon, 62 Shelduck, 3 Ravens, 21 flyover Siskins, 9 Redwings, single Chiffchaff and Coal Tit. Just 35 Shelduck and a Gadwall were reported off Severn Beach.

March 17th
A damp and misty morning at Northwick Warth produced the regular male Merlin, a Sparrowhawk, 2 Ravens, the Barnacle Goose, 30 Shelduck, at least 3 Chiffchaffs and 12 Skylarks. A female Stonechat and 2 Chiffchaffs were seen at Chittening Warth. Reports from Severn Beach involved 100 Wigeon, 70 Shelduck, a Gadwall, 50 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, 50 Curlew and 30 Oystercatchers along the shore and 2 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebes and 2 more Chiffchaffs at the Orchard Pools.

March 16th
Early morning sightings from the New Passage area in a cold east wind included the male Merlin, a Peregrine, 2 Ravens, the Barnacle Goose, 25 Shelduck, 2 Sand Martins and at least 30 Pied Wagtails. Combined reports from Severn Beach involved a male Merlin, 70 Shelduck, a Gadwall, 2 Pintail, 2 Tufted Duck, 60 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlew, 20 Redshank, a Ringed Plover, a Rock Pipit, a Chiffchaff and 3 Swallows.

March 15th
Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area involved the male Merlin, the Barnacle Goose, 4 Canada Geese, 40 Shelduck, 60 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 36 Redshank, just 6 Dunlin, 2 Ravens and a singing Chiffchaff. Twenty Turnstones, 2 Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, a Redpoll and 20 flyover Siskins were seen at Severn Beach.

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                                                                              Merlin, Northwick Warth 15.3.11 © Richard Bowerman

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                                                                                  Redpoll, Severn Beach 15.3.11 © Rod Holbrook

March 14th
A frosty (-1°C) morning with a cool north east wind for the rest of the day. The male Merlin was seen at New Passage early morning where other reports included 2 Ravens and 70 Turnstones. The Barnacle Goose, 20 Shelduck, 30 Teal, 40 Redshank and a Snipe were seen on Northwick Warth. A 2nd year Gannet was seen heading down river from Severn Beach late morning and a Water Rail continued to show in a garden here. Two Short-eared Owls were seen over Aust Warth at 5.45pm.

March 13th
Another fine spring day with a light west wind. Combined reports from Northwick Warth included an early singing Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaffs (2 singing), at least one Wheatear, the Barnacle Goose, 38 Shelduck, 2 Pintail, 3 Shoveler, 50 Wigeon, 20 Teal and 20 Curlew. The same pair of Pintail and 40 Teal were seen earlier at Aust Warth. A Short-eared Owl was seen early afternoon at Chittening Warth being mobbed by large gulls and other sightings from here included 15 Gadwall, 110 Redshank, 90 Dunlin, a Black-tailed Godwit, 50 Curlew and a Chiffchaff. Just 40 Shelduck, 2 Gadwall, 30 Oystercatchers and a male Wheatear were seen at Severn Beach.

March 12th
A warm day (12°C) with a light south east wind produced some new arrivals. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area involved the male Merlin, a Barnacle Goose, 40 Shelduck, 60 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 100 Turnstones, 35 Redshank, 20 Dunlin, 30 Curlew, 3 Ravens, 3 Sand Martins, 2 Wheatears and a Chiffchaff. Another 50 Shelduck, 3 Gadwall, 65 Redshank, 80 Dunlin, 50 Curlew, 15 Oystercatchers and 3 Stonechats (2m,1f) were seen at Severn Beach. At least 4 Wheatears and 3 Stonechats (1m,2f) were seen at Chittening Warth this morning and another 3 Stonechats (2m,1f) and a Wheatear were present at Aust Warth where 3 Short-eared Owls eventually showed late afternoon. Reports from the Avonmouth Sewage Works area included a Cetti’s Warbler, 8 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, 2 Gadwall and a Little Grebe.

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                                                                               Merlin, Northwick Warth 12.3.11 © Richard Bowerman

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                                                                                    Wheatear, Chittening Warth 12.3.11 © Tony Scott

March 11th
A male Wheatear, 2 Little Egrets, 35 Redshank and 30 Shelduck were reported from the Northwick Warth area. Another 27 Shelduck, 67 Redshank, 8 Curlew, 13 Dunlin and a pair of Stonechats were seen on the coastal strip at Severn Beach and nearby 2 drake Shoveler, a pair of Gadwall and a pair of Tufted Duck were seen at the Orchard Pools. Another 11 Tufted Duck were seen on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works. Three Short-eared Owls and 2 Stonechats were reported on Aust Warth late afternoon (4.15pm).

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                                                                                      Stonechat, Severn Beach 11.3.11 © BOC sightings

March 10th
A grey, wet and breezy day. A midday visit to Severn Beach produced a flock of at least 60 Gannets offshore and a floating flock of at least 200 Kittiwakes, 30 Turnstones and a Ringed Plover. The Barnacle Goose, 30 Shelduck, 80 Wigeon, 40 Redshank and 30 Dunlin remained viewable from New Passage.

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                                                                                           Gannets, Severn Beach 10.3.11
                                 part of one of the largest Gannet flocks ever seen from Severn Beach, lost in the gloom and rain.

March 9th
Following southerly wind and overnight rain the first Wheatear of the year was found on the rocky sea defences at Severn Beach. The Barnacle Goose, 53 Shelduck, 100 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 50 Turnstones, 35 Redshank, a Snipe, a Raven and a Coal Tit were seen in the Northwick Warth area.

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                                                                           Wheatear, Severn Beach 9.3.11 © Rod Holbrook

March 8th
A frosty morning. The male Merlin was seen on Aust Warth early morning and the Barnacle Goose, 48 Shelduck, 100 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 13 Oystercatchers, 22 Curlew, 11 Dunlin, 22 Turnstones, 33 Redshank  and 9 Pied Wagtails were reported on Northwick Warth. Reports from Severn Beach involved 27 Shekduck, 8 Wigeon, 4 Teal, a Gadwall, 8 Turnstones, 16 Oystercatchers and 70 Dunlin from the shore, 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall and a Little Grebe at the Orchard Pools and garden visiting Water Rail was seen running off several times with vegetation/nest building material.

March 7th
Another icy (-3°C) dawn followed by a cool but sunny day. A repeat of recent days with the male Merlin, Barnacle Goose, 40 Shelduck, 50 Wigeon, 40 Teal and 25 Redshank remained viewable from Northwick Warth. Two Canada Geese and 12 Tufted Duck were reported on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works. Three Short-eared Owls were seen over Aust Warth at 5.40pm.

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                                                                         Merlin, Northwick Warth 7.3.11 © Richard Bowerman

March 6th
A late afternoon visit to Northwick Warth in a cold north east wind produced the Barnacle Goose, 40 Shelduck, 100 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 35 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 14 Pied Wagtails and at least 6 Siskins. A Short-eared Owl was seen on Aust Warth at 6pm.

March 5th
An icy (-2°C) and grey start followed by sunshine and blue sky. Sightings from Northwick Warth involved a male Merlin, a Barnacle Goose with 35 Shelduck, 2 drake Shoveler, 80 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 35 Redshank, 60 Dunlin, 30 Curlew, 35 Oystercatchers, single Turnstone, Lapwing and Snipe, 11 Pied Wagtails and at at least 12 flyover Siskins. Another 40 Shelduck, a drake Gadwall, 400 Dunlin, 40 Turnstones, 30 Redshank, 35 Curlew, 3 Rock Pipits, 4 Ravens and a garden visiting Water Rail were seen at Severn Beach.

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                                                                                   Merlin, Northwick Warth 5.3.11

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                                                                                       Merlin, Northwick Warth 5.3.11

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                                                                                 Barnacle Goose, Northwick Warth 5.3.11

March 4th
Another cold quiet day with just 35 Redshank, 40 Dunlin, 50 Oystercatchers, 60 Wigeon, 26 Teal and 40 Shelduck reported from New Passage. Eight Gadwall and 3 Tufted Ducks were seen on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach and another 8 Tufted Ducks were present on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

March 3rd
Four Ravens and a female Blackcap were reported in Severn Beach. A singing Cetti’s Warbler was heard near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

March 2nd
The cold wind continued. Combined reports from New Passage involved 45 Wigeon, 24 Teal, 32 Shelduck, 20 Redshank, 66 Oystercatchers, 40 Turnstones and 2 Ravens. A Jack Snipe was seen at Chittening Warth. A pair of Peregrines were seen at Severn Beach to force a Feral Pigeon to crash dive onto the water to escape. The female Peregrine repeatedly stooped onto the floating bird, nearly becoming trapped on the water as well before eventually leaving the pigeon to drown. Two Short-eared Owls showed over Aust Warth at 6.40pm. Other reports from Severn Beach included 2 Ravens and a garden visiting female Blackcap.

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                                                                                       Brent Goose, Severn Beach 1.3.11

March 1st
A biting cold north east wind did little to improve either the quality or quantity of birds. The usual 40 Shelduck, 60 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 35 Redshank, 25 Dunlin and 100 plus Turnstones were seen from New Passage. A dark-bellied Brent Goose with another 40 Shelduck, 3 Gadwall, 50 Redshank, 40 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew and a Rock Pipit were seen late afternoon from the shore at Severn Beach.
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