SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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September is one of the most exciting months to visit Severnside. The total of 187 species seen at least once in this month, is the third highest in the year. It is the time when most of the summer visitors will depart and a good selection of early winter visitors will arrive towards the end of the month. The weather can be very changeable, rain and gale force winds are likely, but calm warm days will also occur. Any West or South West gales will produce the usual seabirds but the more exotic have occurred; Sooty Shearwater (1974), Balearic Shearwater (1988), Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull. Other rarities that have appeared in September include; Red-crested Pochard (2 in 1996), White Storks (2010), Glossy Ibis (2010), Honey Buzzard (1996), Dotterel (1974), Kentish Plover (2006), White-rumped Sandpiper (1985), Pectoral Sandpiper (1998, 2006 and 2008), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1989, 2003), Terek Sandpiper (1986),Semipalmated Sandpiper (2009), Red-rumped Swallow (1977), Wryneck (2003, 2010) and Rose-coloured Starling (2004). Local rarities have included Osprey, Spoonbill (2008), Nightjar (2006), Hawfinch (1998), Willow Tit (1992), Nightingale (1999) and Ring Ouzel.


September 2011


September 30th
An even hotter day with the best reports from New Passage involving an adult Mediterranean Gull and a Ruff.

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                                                                            Mediterranean Gull, New Passage 30.9.11 © Don Smith

September 29th
A hot day with the afternoon temperature passing 26°C. A Red Kite drifted low south over New Passage at 2.30pm where other sightings involved at least 5 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, 140 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 35 Turnstones, 60 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, 20 Wigeon, 70 Teal, a Yellow Wagtail and several flyover Siskins and a Redpoll.

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                                                                                              Red Kite, New Passage 29.9.11

September 28th
A warm day with the temperature reaching 25°C. A Jack Snipe, a Lapwing, 18 Chiffchaffs, 7 Blackcaps, single Whitethroat and Wheatear, 2 Stonechats, 75 Goldfinches, a Redpoll, 65 Meadow Pipits and 26 Pied Wagtails were reported this morning at Chittening Warth. An evening visit to New Passage produced the usual 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 80 Redshank, 140 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 30 Turnstones, 40 Oystercatchers, 130 Curlew, a Little Egret, 35 Wigeon, 80+ Teal and 4 Wheatears.

September 27th
Another warm day. Combined reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area involved 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 7 Knot,18 Ringed Plover, 180 Dunlin, single Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit, 250 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 12 Turnstones, a Lapwing, 56 Oystercatchers, 17 Wigeon, 65 Teal and a Whinchat. Three Wheatears, 8 Wigeon, 13 Teal and 800 Black-headed Gulls were reported from Aust Warth.

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                                                                    Wheatear, Aust Warth 27.9.11 © Steve Hale

September 26th
A warm and dry day. Sightings from New Passage involved 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 19 Knot, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Black-tailed Godwit, 150 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 7 Turnstones, 80 Redshank, 40 Oystercatchers, 70 Curlew, 20 Wigeon, at least 100 Teal, 2 Ravens and a Kingfisher. Nearby a Jack Snipe was flushed from the edge of the flash on Northwick Warth and 5 Wheatear and a juvenile Whitethroat were also seen.

September 25th
A wet day with some torrential morning rain. Sightings remained much the same from New Passage with a Little Egret, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Knot, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper, at least 100 Redshank, 80 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 60 Oystercatchers, 40 Curlew, 100 Teal, 29 Wigeon, a Pintail (first of the autumn) and 2 Wheatears. At least 25 Turnstones and 2 Ringed Plover were seen on the Shaft beach at Severn Beach and a Grasshopper Warbler was seen at Aust Warth this afternoon.

September 24th
Another warm and sunny day. Reports from the New Passage area involved 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, 70 Redshank, 80 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 30 Turnstones, 30 Curlew, 50 Oystercatchers, 20 Wigeon, 70 Teal and a Wheatear. A Little Egret, 4 Ringed Plover, a Wheatear and at least 12 Redpolls were seen at Severn Beach. A Snipe, at least 8 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 29 Meadow Pipits, 3 Redpoll and a Grey Wagtail were seen in the Chittening Warth area.

September 23rd
A fine settled day with a Little Egret, at least 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel, a Snipe, 90 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 35 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 52 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 10 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 2 Ravens, 12 Skylarks, 2 Wheatears, 40 Goldfinch, 50 Linnet, a fly over Redpoll and a Kingfisher were seen in the New Passage/ Northwick Warth area. Another Kingfisher, 2 Wheaters and a Stonechat were reported at Aust Warth.

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                                                                                              Kingfisher, New Passage 23.9.11

September 22nd
At least 3 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, 2 Knot, 40 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 25 Turnstones, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 60 Redshank, 60 Teal, 10 Wigeon and 8 Wheatears were seen in the New Passage area. A female Merlin, a Peregrine,  2 Ravens and a Wheatear were seen at Aust Warth. Thirteen Tufted Duck were reported on the square pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

September 21st
A breezy dry day. Reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area included at least 2 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, 40 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, 70 Redshank, 25 Turnstones, 50 Teal, 20 Wigeon, 5 Wheatears, 100+ Meadow Pipits, 50 Linnets and 10 Skylarks.

September 20th
A wet and dismal day. A brief low tide visit to New Passage produced just a Little Egret, 30 Redshank, 10 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover on the rock pools. Seven Gadwall and 3 Little Grebes were reported on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.

September 19th
Combined reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area involved 2 juvenile Curlew Sandpipers, single Bar-tailed Godwit, Knot and Little Egret, 50 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover, 70 Redshank, 40 Turnstones, 60 Teal, 6 Shelduck, 10 Wigeon, 9 flyover Cormorants and 11 Pied Wagtails. Another 58 Turnstones, 3 Ringed Plover, 60 Curlew and 4 Great Black-backed Gulls were seen from Severn Beach.

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                                                                                   Curlew Sandpiper, New Passage 19.9.11 © Tony Scott

September 18th
A juvenile Shag flew down river over New Passage where other sightings included a Curlew Sandpiper, 30 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 35 Turnstones, at least 80 Redshank, 20 Wigeon, 110 Teal and a Kingfisher. Two Whimbrel, 100 Turnstones, a Common Tern and 2 Wheatears were seen in the Severn Beach area.

September 17th
A return to wet and windy weather. I went out this morning hoping to see a Grey Phalarope and within 40 minutes had found one off the Shaft Beach at Severn Beach (just down river from the Second Severn Crossing). Other sightings from here included 2 Manx Shearwaters, a Shag, an adult Gannet, a Sanderling, 75 Turnstones, 15 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, a Wheatear and a Peregrine. A Little Egret was seen at the Orchard Pools in Severn Beach. A Black Tern, a Little Egret, 3 Curlew Sandpipers, 87 Dunlin, 9 Ringed Plover, 67 Redshank, 15 Oystercatchers and 70 Teal were reported off New Passage and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen heading west from Aust Warth where other sightings included single Whinchat, Wheatear and Peregrine.

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                                                                                            Grey Phalarope, Severn Beach 17.9.11
                       Never coming very close, seen flying low over the waves and swimming 100 metres from the shore and then this shot at great
                       distance almost flying over the 2nd Severn Crossing before heading back down river.

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                                                                                        Shag, Severn Beach 17.9.11 © Vic Savery

September 16th
A dry day with a warm southerly breeze. Six “small” Skuas flew low down river off New Passage at 14.35 before gaining height and flying towards the Gwent end of the Second Severn crossing. Other sightings from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area included 80 Teal, 9 Wigeon, a Little Egret, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Knot, 80 Redshank, 60 Oystercatchers, 50 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Whinchats, single Wheatear, Rock Pipit and Raven. Another 7 Knot, 28 Ringed Plover, 30 Dunlin, 18 Turnstones and 85 Curlew were seen from Severn Beach.

September 15th
Another fine settled day. An evening visit to New Passage produced a Curlew Sandpiper, 35 Knot, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 60 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, 70 Curlew, 40 Oystercatchers, 80 Redshank, 30 Turnstones, 5 Wigeon, 30 Teal and 2 Ravens.

September 14th
A settled and sunny day. A female Goshawk (only the 6th patch record) was seen flying west from Aust Warth this morning. Combined reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area involved 2 Green Sandpipers, 2 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Sanderling, 90 Curlew, 40 Turnstones, 2 Knot, 80 Redshank, 30 Oystercatchers, a mixed flock of 100 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, 7 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 50 Linnets, 4 Wheatears and then a total surprise event when 5 Spoonbills (also only the 6th record) touched down briefly on the low tide line off New Passage at 17.10 before flying off, circling around and eventually heading off southeast 5 minutes later. A Tawny Owl was calling again near the Orchard Pools in Severn Beach at 11pm. For the first time in months I was out without a camera but as luck would have it I was stood next to someone with a Nikon as they flew over. Many thanks Vic for the picture. The birds were relocated 50 minutes later at Chew Valley Lake in North Somerset.

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                                                                   Spoonbills, New Passage 14.9.11 © Vic Savery

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                                                                                          Spoonbills, New Passage 14.9.11 © Vic Savery

September 13th
Another day with a strong west wind. A good start with a juvenile Sabine’s Gull off the concrete sea defences at Severn Beach at 7.25 this morning where other sightings included single Leach’s Petrel (5.55pm), Shag, Guillemot, Fulmar, Great Skua and Arctic Tern, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Sanderling, a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Wheatear and a Peregrine. A juvenile Little Gull, a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, the dark-bellied Brent Goose, 3 Knot, 24 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin, 20 Turnstones, 62 Redshank and 8 Wheatears were reported at New Passage this morning. A Peregrine was seen at Aust Warth.

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                                                                             juvenile Sabine’s Gull, Severn Beach 13.9.11 © John Morgan

September 12th
A very windy day produced some good birds at last. Combined reports from Severn Beach on the morning and evening tides included a juvenile Sabine’s Gull, 2 Leach’s Petrels, a Guillemot, juvenile Gannet, at least 7 Fulmars (one taken into care), a Manx Shearwater, an adult Kittiwake, a juvenile Sandwich Tern, 5 Arctic Terns, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Sanderling, 100 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, a Peregrine and 2 Wheatears. The Brent Goose, 5 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 40 Redshank, 30 Ringed Plover and 20 Dunlin were seen on a brief visit to New Passage.

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                                                                                        juvenile Sabine’s Gull, Severn Beach 12.9.11

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                                                                                                  Leach’s Petrel, Severn Beach 12.9.11

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                                                                              Leach’s Petrel and Sabine’s Gull, Severn Beach 12.9.11
                                          a unique picture of this rare duo; Leach’s bottom left and Sabine’s right of middle

September 11th
A sunny day with an increasing breeze. A juvenile Little Gull was roosting with Black-headed Gulls at New Passage this morning where a “Commic” Tern, the Brent Goose, 50 Redshank, 40 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover and 4 Wheatears were also seen. Reports from the Severn Beach shore included 2 Fulmars, an adult Sandwich Tern, 3 Arctic Terns, a Curlew Sandpiper, 12 Knot, 2 Sanderling, 90 Ringed Plover, 160 Dunlin, 20 Turnstones, a Whimbrel, 20 Oystercatchers, 130 Curlew and 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. A Tawny Owl was calling near the Orchard Pools this evening.

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                                                                                    Juvenile Little Gull, New Passage 11.9.11  © Vic Savery

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                                                                                           Sanderling, Severn Beach 11.9.11  © Allan Chard

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                                                                                               Knot, Severn Beach 11.9.11  © Allan Chard

September 10th
The Brent Goose, 8 Shelduck, 35 Teal, a “Commic” Tern, 3 Great Black-backed Gulls (2 juveniles), 2 Golden Plover, 60 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover, 60 Redshank, 20 Turnstone, 30 Oystercatchers, 8 Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat and at least 15 Blackcaps were reported from the Northwick Warth area. Combined reports from Severn Beach on the morning and evening tides included 2 Curlew Sandpipers, at least 2 Sanderling, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, single Knot, Whimbrel and Little Ringed Plover, 120 Curlew, 100 Dunlin and 90 Ringed Plover. Single Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher and Whinchat were seen at Aust Warth.

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                                                                                                  Curlew Sandpiper, Severn Beach 10.9.11

September 9th
Another day with just a light breeze. Combined reports from the New Passage area included a Little Egret, 2 Arctic Terns, the Brent Goose, 8 Shelduck, 5 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 40 Curlew, 50 Oystercatchers, 60 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 30 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, 10 Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Whitethroats. The evening high tide at Severn Beach produced 4 Sanderling, 3 Knot, a Little Ringed Plover, 90 Ringed Plover and 70 Dunlin.

September 8th
The wind dropped today producing only less of the same seabirds with just 4 Manx Shearwaters, 2 adult Gannets and a Fulmar being seen from Severn Beach. At least 450 mobile waders were seen from Severn Beach including 2 Curlew Sandpipers, 6 Knot, 3 Little Ringed Plovers, 3 Sanderling, a Grey Plover, 280 Ringed Plover, 120 Dunlin and 40 Turnstones. Reports from New Passage involved a Brent Goose, 30 Teal, 60 Redshank, 40 Curlew, 25 Oystercatchers, 10 Dunlin and 8 Ringed Plover. A Little Egret was seen on the Pilning Wetland Reserve.

September 7th
Another breezy and occasionally wet day. A Storm Petrel was seen off Severn Beach from 2pm where other sightings included a 1st winter Little Gull, a small Skua sp., 10 Manx Shearwaters, at least 3 adult Gannets, 2 Fulmar, 3 Arctic Terns (adult and 2 juveniles), 2 Common Terns, a large windswept wader roost containing at least one Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Knot, 3 Sanderling, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 200 Ringed Plover, 140 Dunlin, 40 Turnstones, a Whimbrel and 4 Wheatears. A Little Egret, a dark-bellied Brent Goose, 4 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 9 Shelduck, 7 “Commic” Terns, 65 Redshank, 27 Oystercatchers, 20 Turnstones, 6 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 15 Wheatears and a Stonechat were reported from the New Passage area.

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                                                                                                     Storm Petrel, Severn Beach 7.9.11

September 6th
Windy weather and heavy rain this morning was expected to produce a few seabirds and we were not disappointed.
The star bird was a juvenile Sabine’s Gull found off Severn Beach at 1.30 pm where other sightings included an adult spooned Pomarine Skua at 5pm, 2 Great Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas, at least 12 Manx Shearwaters, a Guillemot, 7 Gannets, 6 Fulmar, a juvenile Little Tern, 2 Common Terns, 4 Arctic Terns, single Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Knot, Sanderling, Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover, at least 120 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plover, 70 Turnstones, a Peregrine and 4 Wheatears. A brief late afternoon visit to New Passage produced a Manx Shearwater, 4 Knot, 70 Redshank, 18 Ringed Plover, 4 Dunlin, 7 Shelduck and 2 Ravens.

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                                                                                                     Gannets, Severn Beach 6.9.11

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                                                                                                        Gannet, Severn Beach 6.9.11

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                                                                                                        Fulmar, Severn Beach 6.9.11

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                                                                                                       Arctic Skuas, Severn Beach 6.9.11

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                                                                                                 Manx Shearwater, Severn Beach 6.9.11

September 5th
An increasingly breezy day. A Manx Shearwater, at least 2 Fulmars, a juvenile Little Tern, a Common Tern, a Bar-tailed Godwit and a Wheatear were reported from Severn Beach. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area involved the dark-bellied Brent Goose, 5 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 35 Redshank, 20 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin and at least 6 Wheatears.

September 4th
Overnight rain grounded some migrants. A Manx Shearwater was seen swimming, diving and flying off Cake Pill, Aust Warth in flat calm conditions where other sightings included a drake Common Scoter, a Curlew Sandpiper, a Knot, a Common Sandpiper, 20 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, 20 Redshank, 2 Whinchats, 5 Wheatears and a Peregrine. Reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area involved a Little Egret, 2 Whimbrel, 10 Ringed Plover, 10 Dunlin, 27 Turnstones, 65 Redshank, 50 Curlew, a Brent Goose, 4 Wigeon, 8 Teal, 2 Ravens, a Peregrine, at least 30 Wheatears, a Whinchat, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 20 Pied Wagtails, a Redstart, 20 Blackcaps, 5 Whitethroats and a Lesser Whitethroat. The second Osprey of the year was reported off Severn Beach where a Sanderling, 90 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, single Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel and at least 20 Wheatears were seen on the midday high tide.

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                                                                                  Wheatear, New Passage 4.9.11  © Vic Savery

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                                                                                            Peregrine, New Passage 4.9.11

September 3rd
A morning visit to the New Passage area produced a Sanderling, 12 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover, 70 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, 40 Curlew, 24 Turnstones, a Wigeon, 12 Shelduck, 8 Teal, 2 Wheatears, 2 Yellow Wagtails, a flyover Tree Pipit, 2 Ravens, single Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Hobby. The Brent Goose relocated to Aust Warth where other sightings involved a Whimbrel, a Kingfisher, a Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Whitethroats, a Wheatear and 2 Green Woodpeckers. At least 3 Sanderling, a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 150 Ringed Plover, 80 Dunlin and 2 Wheatears were seen at Severn Beach.

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                                                                                           Whimbrel, Aust Warth 3.9.11  © Tony Scott

September 2nd
Another warm, sunny and quiet day. Two Sanderling, 21 Ringed Plover, 26 Dunlin, 2 Turnstones and 5 Grey Herons were seen on the shore at Severn Beach and 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Whitethroats, 3 Blackcaps, a Willow Warbler were found in the scrub along the seawall. At least 90 Curlew, 25 Oystercatchers, 4 Whitethroats, 8 Chiffchaffs and a Whinchat were seen at Chittening Warth. A dark-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Kingfishers and 80 Redshank were seen from New Passage. Another 2 Whinchats and 3 Green Woodpeckers were seen at Aust Warth. At least 13 Gadwall and 3 Little Grebes were reported on the VOSA Pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works,

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                                                                                        Whinchats, Aust Warth  2.9.11  © Vic Savery

September 1st

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                                                                                      Sanderling, Severn Beach 1.9.11  © Allan Chard

A fine sunny day. A juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Sanderling, 80 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Turnstones, 2 Wheatears, 40+ Pied Wagtails and 7 Whitethroats were reported from Severn Beach. At least 100 Curlew were seen roosting nearby at Chittening Warth. Combined reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area involved 4 Wigeon, 7 Teal, 6 Knot, 44 Oystercatchers, 62 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 2 Wheatears, 20 Pied Wagtails, 2 Grey Wagtails and 3 Yellow Wagtails.

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                                                                                      Whinchat, Aust Warth  1.9.11  © Don Smith

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                                                                                     Brent Goose, Aust Warth  1.9.11  © Don Smith

The first Brent Goose of the autumn, 5 Ravens, a Kingfisher, 3 Whinchats, 3 Kestrels and 4 Yellow Wagtails were seen at Aust Warth.
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