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May is the third most productive month of the year with at least one individual of 183 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 Subalpine Warbler (2004), Bee-eater (2007), Spoonbill (1998), Honey Buzzard (1991), Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Kentish Plover (2004), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1990), Temminck’s Stint (2004), Broad-billed Sandpiper (1988), Franklin’s Gull (1984), Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Roseate Tern (1990) and White-winged Black Tern (1990).

May 2011

May 31st
An evening high tide visit to Severn Beach produced 2 Arctic Skuas, a Little Egret, at least 5 Sanderling, 70 Ringed
Plover, 60 Dunlin, single Whimbrel and Curlew.

May 30th
A Great Crested Grebe was seen at Severn Beach on the early morning high tide and the evening tide produced 3 Sanderling, 60 Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin and 16 Black-headed Gulls. A Barn Owl was seen at Chittening Warth.

May 29th
Combined reports from windy Severn Beach included single Manx Shearwater, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Commic Tern, 11+ Sanderling, at least 80 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 2 Turnstones, 2 Curlew and 21 Shelduck.

                                                                                         Manx Shearwater, Severn Beach 29.5.11

                                                                                        Manx Shearwater, Severn Beach 29.5.11

                                                                                     Manx Shearwater, Severn Beach 29.5.11

                                                                                  Manx Shearwater, Severn Beach 29.5.11
                                         No apologies for having 4 images of the same bird. Although regular here every year in varying
                                               numbers, they are not often this obliging.

May 28th
Another breezy day with little reported. Combined sightings from the shore at Severn Beach involved a Sanderling, 40 Dunlin, 22 Ringed Plover, 4 Turnstones, single Little Egret and Curlew. A late Common Sandpiper was seen at New Passage.

May 27th
At least 40 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstones were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and the newly hatched Mute Swan cygnets appeared on the Orchard Pools. Another 11 Ringed Plover, a Dunlin and the first Shelduck brood of 10 ducklings were seen from New Passage.

                                                                          Mute Swans, Severn Beach 27.5.11  © BOC sightings

May 26th
A wet morning and strong west wind for most of the day. A Storm Petrel showed well close to the shaft beach at Severn Beach mid afternoon. Other sightings at Severn Beach included a Sanderling, 50+ Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plover.

May 25th
An even quieter day with just a single Dunlin and the usual ducks reported from New Passage.

May 24th
The only reports received were from New Passage with just 4 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 5 Turnstones, 3 Oystercatchers, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 44 Mallard and 50 Shelduck being seen.

May 23rd
What a difference a day makes. The only seabird reports from Severn Beach involved an Arctic Skua, adult Gannet, an Arctic Tern and 10 Kittiwakes. The only other report from here was of a Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin.

May 22nd
A windy day with a good selection of seabirds. Combined reports from Severn Beach included a Storm Petrel, 2 full spooned pale morph Pomarine Skuas that flew over the northeast corner of the bridge together at 13.18, 6 Arctic Skuas (3 pale morphs early morning that flew north over the bridge plus 2 dark and one pale morph that lingered), at least 8 Manx Shearwaters heading down river, at least 5 Gannets, 5 Fulmar, a Shag, 80+ Kittiwakes, at least 4 Auks (4 together and a single thought to be Guillemot), a Little Tern, 2 Arctic Terns, 2 Little Egrets flying across the river, 2 Sanderling, 12 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover.

                                                                Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 22.5.11

                                                                                    Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 22.5.11

                                                                               Arctic Skuas, Severn Beach 22.5.11

                                                                                  Arctic Skua, Severn Beach 22.5.11

                                                                              Storm Petrel, Severn Beach 22.5.11 © Sarah Loaring

                                                                                    Kittiwakes, Severn Beach 22.5.11

May 21st
An adult Kittiwake (a sign of things to come), 2 Black-headed Gulls, 27 Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin were seen at Severn Beach this morning. Another 5 Dunlin, single Ringed Plover and Black-headed Gull were present over the morning high tide at New Passage.

May 20th
A brief evening visit to New Passage produced 80 Shelduck, 5 Sanderling, a Dunlin and 2 Oystercatchers. At least one Whimbrel was present at Severn Beach.

May 19th
No reports were received from Severnside today. Two Avocets were a close miss, flying North just beyond the recording area, upriver of the Severn Bridge at Aust Cliff. I had a successful day away looking for the recent Trumpeter Finch on Lundy Island in Devon.

                                                                 Trumpeter Finch,  Lundy 19.5.11

May 18th
A breezy day with showers. An evening visit to New Passage produced 8 Sanderling, 40 Shelduck and a Wheatear and the only report of note from Severn Beach involved 3 Whimbrel.

                                                                                  Sanderling, New Passage  18.5.11

May 17th
Just 6 Oystercatchers and a single Ringed Plover were seen at Chittening Warth this morning and just 3 Ringed Plover, single Dunlin and Oystercatcher were seen at Severn Beach this evening.

May 16th
Another windy day without any reported seabird sightings.The only reports from Severn Beach were of just a Little Egret, 2 Oystercatchers, 5 Dunlin, a Turnstone and 20 Common Gulls.

May 15th
A grey and breezy day. Just 40 Dunlin and 2 Whimbrel were reported from the shore at Severn Beach and and a brood of 3 Little Grebes was seen at the Orchard Pools.

                                                                                  Dunlin, Severn Beach 11.5.11    

                                                                           Robins, Severn Beach 15.5.11 © Mike Pruett

May 14th
Combined reports from Severn Beach involved 2 Sanderling, 45 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover on the evening high tide and a flyover Little Egret, 2 Coot broods and a Moorhen brood at the Orchard Pools. The usual 80 Shelduck, 2 Ravens and a Little Egret were seen from New Passage.

May 13th
Another breezy day with just a Sanderling, 3 Ringed Plover and 19 Dunlin reported from Severn Beach on the late afternoon high tide.

May 12th
A repeat of the weather. A raft of 30 Eider (8 drakes) were seen floating down river from the Second Severn Crossing at Severn Beach at 3pm. The only other reports from here included 9 Dunlin, 2 Curlew, single Turnstone, Whimbrel and Peregrine. Two Wheatears were reported from Northwick Warth.

May 11th
A bright and breezy day. A dark morph Pomarine Skua flew south from Severn Beach at 12.25 where other sightings included 6 Eider and a Little Egret.

                                                                       Eider, Severn Beach 11.5.11                                                                                                           

May 10th
No reports were received yet for today.

May 9th
A breezy day with the occasional rain shower. The only reports involved a Whimbrel, 6 Curlew, a drake Gadwall, 2 Wheatears and a flyover Redpoll at New Passage. Another 7 Whimbrel were seen at Severn Beach.

                                                                                  Whitethroat, Aust Warth 9.5.11© Rod Holbrook

                                                                                               Whimbrel, Severn Beach 9.5.11                                                          

May 8th
A sunny day with a moderate strength southerly wind. A female Marsh Harrier was reported flying into Severnside
airspace after being watched flying upriver from Avonmouth. Sightings from Severn Beach included a 3rd summer Yellow-legged Gull roosting on the gravel island, a Skua (thought to be Pomarine) chasing Herring Gulls, an adult Gannet, a Hobby, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Turnstones, 7 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover. Visits to the Northwick Warth area produced 80 Shelduck, just 8 Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, 4 Turnstones, 7 Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, 3 Wheatears, a Yellow Wagtail and a Raven.

                                                                                           Gannet, Severn Beach 8.5.11

May 7th
A wet and humid start but well worth getting soaked for. At about 11.10, during a dry spell, a Honey Buzzard drifted over three lucky observers near the target mound on Northwick Warth. By the time I had got my camera onto the right settings it was gaining height and gliding away north allowing only distant silhouette shots of only the 3rd Severnside record. Other reports from the Northwick Warth area included 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Grey Plover, 5 Dunlin, a Whimbrel, 4 Curlew, a Cuckoo, a Grasshopper Warbler, 4 Wheatears, 4 Yellow Wagtails and a Raven. Another 5 Whimbrel, 7 Ringed Plover, 15 Dunlin, 30+ Commic Terns and 2 Yellow Wagtails were seen at Severn Beach this morning, A Whinchat was seen at Stupp Pill, Chittening Warth.

                                                                                    Honey Buzzard, Northwick Warth 7.5.11

May 6th
An early morning visit to Severn Beach produced a Turtle Dove that flew in from the south and then flew off low north east. The only other notable sightings from here were 5 Whimbrel, 2 Gadwall and a Wheatear. A fall of of at least 14 Wheatears, 7 Whimbrel, 5 Curlew, a Common Sandpiper, 60 Shelduck and 2 Ravens were seen at Northwick Warth.

                                                                                        Sanderling, Severn Beach 5.5.11
                                                                                           Wheatear, Aust Warth 5.5.11
                                             a few of the Wheatears coming though now appear to be of the large, bright Greenland form

May 5th
A fine sunny day with a south east breeze. Reports from Severn Beach this morning included a calling Cuckoo at 05.50, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, a Sanderling, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Ringed Plover, 2 Wheatears, a Yellow Wagtail and a Tree Pipit and evening reports involved 2 Common Scoter and 24 Common Gulls. Another 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, a Wheatear, a Yellow Wagtail, 48 Shelduck and 2 Ravens were seen from New Passage. A Whimbrel and 4 Wheatears were reported from Aust Warth.

                                                                                   Swallow, Severn Beach 4.5.11© Rod Holbrook

May 4th
A lighter south east wind produced less birds. Sightings from Severn Beach included a Little Tern, 140 Commic Terns this morning, a Common Tern this evening, 7 Black-headed Gulls, a Great Crested Grebe, 8 Whimbrel, 22 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 2 Wheatears and 3 Yellow Wagtails. A morning visit to Northwick Warth produced a Little Egret, a Common Sandpiper, 10 Bar-tailed Godwits, 40 Shelduck, 28 Black-headed Gulls, single Grasshopper Warbler, Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit. Another 4 Whimbrel were seen at Aust Warth.

                                                                          Bar-tailed Godwits and Knot, Severn Beach 3.5.11

                                                                                   Bar-tailed Godwits, Northwick Warth  3.5.11
                                                                                       part of a sleeping flock of over 100 birds

                                                                                 Sanderling, Severn Beach 3.5.11© John Morgan

May 3rd
A relatively quiet day with combined morning and evening reports of just 2 Arctic Skuas, 350 Arctic Terns, 4 Black Terns, 7 Common Terns, 220 Bar-tailed Godwits, 33 Knot, 21 Whimbrel, single Grey Plover, Sanderling and Curlew, 50 Dunlin and 20 Ringed Plover, an Egret Sp.(flew towards Caldicot,Gwent), 22 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear from Severn Beach. Another 100+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Grey Plover, 4 Whimbrel, a Common Sandpiper, 2 Wheatears and a Tree Pipit were seen at Northwick Warth.

                                                                                          Arctic Terns, Severn Beach 2.5.11

                                                                           Arctic Terns and Bar-tailed Godwits, Severn Beach 2.5.11

                                                                                  Grey Plover, Severn Beach 2.5.11© Allan Chard

May 2nd
Another fine day with an increasing strength east wind. One lucky birder reported 11 Dotterel flying north east overhead at New Passage this morning. Combined reports over the morning and evening tides at Severn Beach included staggering numbers of Terns: 980 Arctic Terns, 540 “Commic” Terns (most of which were probably Arctic and all but 100 were seen this evening), a few Common Terns, 23 Black Terns, a Little Tern, 6 Arctic Skuas, a first summer Little Gull, just 2 Black-headed Gulls, at least 900 Bar-tailed Godwits (one flock of 500), 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 14 Grey Plover, 8 Knot, 7 Sanderling, 28 Whimbrel, 45 Ringed Plover, 150 Dunlin, 9 Turnstones, 5 Common Sandpipers, a Peregrine, 2 Wheatears, 3 Yellow Wagtails and a Tree Pipit. Other highlights from the New Passage area this morning included 3 Black Terns, 60 “Commic” Terns, 420 Bar-tailed Godwits, 49 Whimbrel, 5 Common Sandpipers,a drake Wigeon, a Hobby, a Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Wheatears, 2 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Ravens. Single Whinchat, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail were reported at Aust Warth. Today’s mininum totals were 1320 Bar-tailed Godwits and 1600 Arctic/Common Terns.

                                                                                         Grey Plover, Severn Beach 1.5.11

                                                                                     Whimbrel and Ruff, Severn Beach 1.5.11

                                                                                                      Ruff, Severn Beach 1.5.11

                                                                                 Sanderling, Severn Beach 1.5.11  © Allan Chard

May 1st
The prime time for migrants, overnight rain showers and a north east wind were the perfect combination this morning. Sightings at Severn Beach over the morning and evening high tides included an Osprey at 06.50 being mobbed by an Oystercatcher as it flew low up river, a Short-eared Owl that was flushed from the shingle beach, a second summer Little Gull, 2 Arctic Skuas (one dark and one pale), 100+ Commic Terns, 2 Arctic Terns, 30 Black-headed Gulls, a Ruff, a mere 400 Bar-tailed Godwits, 45 Whimbrel, 102 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Knot, 14 Turnstones, 6 Common Sandpipers, 9 Yellow Wagtails, a White Wagtail, 4 Tree Pipits, 16 Wheatears, a Whinchat, a Peregrine, 15+ Swifts and hundreds of Swallows. Nearby, a Little Grebe, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Sedge Warblers and a Reed Warbler were seen at the Orchard Pools. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area involved a feeding flock of 160 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, 6 Common Sandpipers, 80 Shelduck, 10 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Raven. A flock of 305 Bar-tailed Godwits were seen at Chittening Warth this morning. Another 2 Common Sandpipers, a reeling Grasshopper Warbler, single Wheatear and Tree Pipit were reported at Aust Warth. Today’s Godwit total was difficult to determine due to mobile feeding flocks and birds moving through high without landing but 865 birds would be the minimum.