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Following two of the quietest months of the year, August can be an interesting month with a total of 163 species having been recorded during this month. The numbers and variety of waders increase, as do the numbers of migrating warblers, Whinchat and Wheatears. Mediterranean and Yellow Legged Gulls are expected. Rarities in August have included Slavonian Grebe (1996), Red Crested Pochard (1998), Goshawk, Osprey, Sabine’s Gull, Kentish Plover, White-rumped Sandpiper (1995,2001) and Wryneck (1976,1984).

August 2003

August 31st
Following yesterdays excitement, it was another shock to find a Wryneck at the Grebe Pond on Northwick Warth (first record since 1984). The bird was seen over a twenty five minute period in the morning, and again in a hedge here in the afternoon. Other birds here included at least 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 4 Wheatears, single Kingfisher, Black-tailed Godwit and Greenshank. Elsewhere there were far fewer migrant passerines at Severn Beach, with just one or two Lesser Whitethroats and Whitethroats seen around the “Shrike” fields. The high tide wader roost had increased to a mixed flock of 250 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling, 5 Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper. Two Greylag Geese flew past here. A Spotted Flycatcher was seen at Old Passage.

August 30th
The first Severnside record of Red-backed Shrike was found early morning along the railway track south of Severn Beach. It was a juvenile bird feeding actively on winged insects but being mobbed Whitethroats. I relocated the bird late morning in fields between the railway and the coast road where it showed well to many visitors until early evening. Other migrants at Severn Beach were an anti climax but included 6 Lesser Whitethroats, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Whinchat and a Tree Pipit. The best waders seen were single  Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper amongst a smaller flock of 150 Dunlin and Ringed Plover. There were 4 Wheatears on Northwick Warth and a Clouded Yellow Butterfly at New Passage.

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                                                                       Red-backed Shrike, Severn Beach 30.8.3      

August 29th
Overnight rain, the first for over a month, cleared early morning. The high tide wader roost at Severn Beach increased to a mixed flock of 350 Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Other waders seen here were 25 Redshank, 10 Turnstones and a Common Sandpiper. Three Wheatears, 2 Lesser Whitethroats were seen along the railway line, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Little Grebes and 4 Sand Martins at the Orchard Pools, were the only other notable birds seen at Severn Beach in blustery conditions. Further up the estuary at New Passage, the adult Mediterranean Gull, 2 Common Sandpipers and 2 Wheatears were seen. On Northwick Warth there were another 7 Wheatears, 4 Golden Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Peregrine.

August 28th
The adult Mediterranean Gull was at New Passage on the falling tide, there were 2 Grey Wagtails here in the Pill. On Northwick Warth there were 4 Golden Plover, a Black-tailed Godwit, at least 9 Yellow Wagtails feeding around the cattle, 4 Wheatears, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whinchat and a Kingfisher at the Grebe Pond. At Severn Beach the wader roost was smaller with mixed flock of 200 Dunlin and Ringed Plover with 2 Common Sandpipers amongst them this morning, a reasonable flock of 36 Knot dropped in this evening. The sea wall footpath produced 9 Wheatears, 2 Whinchat, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 12 Blackcaps and 10 Whitethroats and nearby at least 6 Spotted Flycatchers were at the Orchard Pools. A Garden Warbler was seen beneath Aust Cliffs this morning and a Hobby was seen there late afternoon.

August 27th
The wind remained in a favourable  north east direction producing at least 12 Blackcaps, 8 Whitethroats, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Whinchat, 2 Wheatears, an immature Redstart and a flyover Tree Pipit  at Severn Beach. The high tide wader roost here produced 300+ Dunlin and Ringed Plover. The adult Mediterranean Gull reappeared at New Passage along with 2 Kingfishers and 3 Wigeon. The 2 Golden Plover and single Black-tailed Godwit remained at Northwick Warth with a Spotted Flycatcher and 2 Wheatears were also present.

August 26th
The north east wind continued, producing a variety of birds. The bushes along the Severn Beach railway produced a Tree Sparrow (only the second record this year), at least 4 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whinchat, 10 Whitethroats and 10 Blackcaps. A Sand Martin flew north east with other Hirundines. Waders on Severn Beach included a mixed flock of 400 Dunlin and Ringed Plover with 2 Whimbrel, 2 Knot, 3 Sanderling and a Greenshank. Waders at New Passage included a Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Golden Plover. Migrants seen elsewhere on Severnside involved another 5 Whinchats, 11 Spotted Flycatchers (6 at Orchard Pools, 4 at Old Passage, one Northwick Warth), 3 Redstarts (Old Passage), 10 Wheatears and 6 Lesser Whitethroats.

August 25th
Following three days of north east winds, migrants continue to be found. At  Severn Beach these included a juvenile Redstart, 2 Whinchat, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Lesser Whitethroats, 4 Sand Martins, 4 Wheatears and a Yellow Wagtail. Other notable birds here included 2 Whimbrel, single Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit this morning and this evening the mixed Dunlin and Ringed Plover roost had increased to 350 birds. Further up the estuary in the New Passage/ Northwick Warth area, a Hobby, a Kingfisher, 4 Whinchat, 7 Wheatear, 3 Yellow Wagtail, a Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit were present.

August 24th
A brief morning visit to Northwick Warth produced a Hobby, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Wheatear, 3 Whinchat and 2 Lesser Whitethroats. There were another 2 Spotted Flycatchers and a Green Sandpiper at the Orchard Pools and 5 Bar-tailed Godwit flew north over Severn Beach. This afternoon there was a large flock of 90 Black-tailed Godwit at Chittening Warth with 11 Knot, 200 Curlew, 60 Oystercatchers, 2 Whimbrel and a Greenshank. At Severn Beach there was party of 15 Wheatears, a late Swift and a Yellow Wagtail. The mixed flock of 300 Dunlin and Ringed Plover remained here, despite being disturbed by a Peregrine early evening. A late report was received (10/9/3) of a Hoopoe at Chittening Warth today feeding on rough ground near Stupp Pill. The first record since 1889. A Weasel was seen in Severn Beach this afternoon.

August 23rd
A“ low tide” visit produced a few birds this morning. At New Passage, a Little Egret, 2 Common Sandpipers, Kingfisher and a Hobby were seen. Nearby there was a family of Little Grebes, single Snipe, Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit at Northwick Warth. There were 2 more Common Sandpipers and a Swift at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. The afternoon high tide at Severn Beach  produced 150 Ringed Plover, 130 Dunlin, single Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit.

August 22nd
The best find of the day was an adult Shag that floated upriver past Severn Beach and the Second Crossing (first record for this year). The mixed Dunlin and Ringed Plover flock dropped to 300 birds. Other birds of note at Severn Beach included single Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and Peregrine. Another Wheatear was seen on Northwick Warth. Single Common Sandpipers were seen at the Orchard Pools and Chittening Warth, with the first Wigeon of the autumn also seen here.

August 21st
A much quieter day today with migrants difficult to find in a moderate strength  South West wind. The “small” wader numbers on Severn Beach were about the same as recent days but only one Golden Plover was seen. An adult Peregrine was hunting here late morning. This afternoon the adult Mediterranean Gull was seen at New Passage with a single Wheatear and Sand Martin being the only notable migrants.

August 20th
A reasonable “fall” of migrants occurred on Northwick Warth with at least 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 7 Lesser Whitethroats, single Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Whinchat and 2 Yellow Wagtails. Waders seen here included 60 Turnstone, single Common Sandpiper and Snipe. The Ringed Plover and Dunlin roost at Severn Beach increased to over 500 birds with little else amongst them except for a few Turnstones and 2 Golden Plover. Two Wheatears were also seen here and at least 200 Curlew were roosting at Chittening Warth. The adult Mediterranean Gull reappeared at New Passage this afternoon on the falling tide. A juvenile Water Rail showed well at dusk on the Grebe Pond, Northwick Warth.

August 19th
A similar number of Dunlin and Ringed Plover remained on Severn Beach along with the 2 Golden Plover and a Whimbrel. Single Little Egrets were seen here and at New Passage. Other notable birds at New Passage included a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 16 Teal, single Common Sandpiper, Whimbrel, 2 Yellow Wagtails, single Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler. Back at Severn Beach new migrants included a Whinchat, 3 Wheatears and a number of Warblers including at least 2 Lesser Whitethroats.

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                        Spotted Flycatcher, New Passage 19.8.3                                   Juvenile Mediterranean Gull, New Passage 19.8.3

August 18th
The wader numbers on Severn Beach increased to 250 Dunlin and 210 Ringed Plover. Other waders here included 2 Golden Plover, 2 Sanderling and a Whimbrel. Four Wheatears and a Garden Warbler were seen at Severn Beach. An adult Mediterranean Gull, a Common Sandpiper, another 2 Garden Warblers and 2 Wheatears were seen at New Passage.

August 17th
A reasonable selection of birds were seen this morning. The usual Little Egret was at Severn Beach along with 130 Ringed Plover, 100 Dunlin, 2 Golden Plover and a Whimbrel. A Common Tern and Yellow Wagtail flew past here. At New Passage, a Hobby gave excellent views hunting the local Swallows.

                                                                                     Golden Plover, Severn Beach 17.8.3             

August 16th  
Two Mediterranean Gulls were found this morning, an adult at New Passage and second summer bird at Severn Beach. Other birds at Severn Beach included single Little Egret, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, Grey Plover, a mixed flock of 80 Dunlin and Ringed Plover. An immature Whinchat on  the salt marsh was the first of the autumn. Another Little Egret was in the Pill at New Passage, while at Northwick Warth there were 3 Snipe, 2 Teal, 2 Wheatears and a Yellow Wagtail, that flew north. A Green Sandpiper was found on the Sea Bank Pools at Chittening Warth.

August 15th
A quieter  morning with one Little Egret, 8 Dunlin, 25 Ringed Plover and a Whimbrel at Severn Beach. This evening the “small” wader flock increased to 70 birds. There were 14 Dunlin and 3 Wheatears at Northwick Warth.

August 14th
One Little Egret remained at Severn Beach and another was at New Passage. An influx of Wheatears occurred,  with 6 on Northwick Warth and another at Severn Beach. Waders seen today at Severn Beach included the first Little Stint of the year, 45 Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin and 2 Whimbrel. At New Passage there were just 7 Dunlin, one Ringed Plover and 2 Common Sandpipers.

August 13th
Two Little Egrets were still at Chittening Warth on both morning and evening high tides. Nearby there were single Common Sandpiper and Whimbrel on Severn Beach. Migrants this morning included a flyover Redpoll and a “fall” of Whitethroats, Blackcaps with  a few Lesser Whitethroats in the Elderberry bushes. Another Little Egret, 70 Turnstone, 3 Sanderling and a Common Sandpiper  were seen at New Passage this evening.

August 12th
A Greenshank was present at Severn Beach this morning with 72 Ringed Plovers, 12 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper and a Wheatear. This evening a Grasshopper Warbler (first of the year) was flushed from long grass here. Other notable birds included 2 Little Egret and 3 Whimbrel. The adult Mediterranean Gull  returned to New Passage this morning. Twelve Teal, 2 Whimbrel and 15 Dunlin were also seen here today.

August 11th
At New Passage, a Greenshank was seen with a Little Egret. Twenty Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpipers were also present. This evening at Severn Beach there was another Little Egret, a Hobby, 2 Wheatears, 42 Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 2 adult Golden Plover and 2 Common Sandpipers.

August 10th
At Chittening Warth, 3 Little Egrets equalled the site record count. A Whimbrel was also present here. Wader numbers at New Passage and Severn Beach were slightly lower with totals of 84 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpipers and an adult Grey Plover. Other notable birds at New Passage included Hobby, Little Owl, Garden Warbler, 2 Kingfishers and at least 2 Lesser Whitethroats. A high count of at least 20 Kestrels was made between Aust and Chittening.  Away from Severnside today , I spent all day bobbing around on the Scillonian III, off of the Isles of Scilly, on the annual Pelagic. Three Wilson’s Storm Petrels, two adult  Sabine’s Gulls were seen amongst a variety of other seabirds. Here are a couple of  pictures taken using the standard lens with 2x converter on my digital camera. Although sea watching from Severnside is not as productive at least you won’ t feel so queasy with stench of “chum” all day.

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                             Storm Petrel, at sea off Scilly 10.8.3                                            Gannet, at sea off Scilly 10.8.3

August 9th
An early morning start to yet another very hot day (33°C) produced two Little Egrets at Chittening Warth. Nearby at Severn Beach there was a mixed  flock of 100 Dunlin and Ringed Plover, 120 Curlew, single Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper. At New Passage there were 2 Greenshank, 24 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Snipe, 2 Raven and a “flyover ”Tree Pipit.  At Aust Warth a Spotted Flycatcher and 6 Common Sandpipers were reported. Additional birds at Severn Beach this evening included 5 Whimbrel and 3 Sanderling. There was a single Wheatear on Northwick Warth There were two pairs and a third male Red-Veined Darter at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach and a Clouded Yellow butterfly was seen on Northwick Warth today.

August 8th  
Another very hot humid day. At New Passage the moulting adult Mediterranean Gull was seen again with 25 Dunlin, 8 Ringed Plover, 4 Common Sandpipers, single Knot, Whimbrel and Kingfisher. At Severn Beach there were at least 40 Ringed Plover and 50 Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper seen at high tide, while the hawthorn scrub along the railway line produced an immature Redstart, the first of the autumn. Four Slow Worms were seen near here this evening.

August 7th
A Little Egret was feeding with Grey Herons in rock pools off New Passage early this morning. Other birds seen here today included 40 Turnstones with just 13 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 3 Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher. Further south at Severn Beach there was an increase in “small ” waders with 72 Ringed Plover, 52 Dunlin with a Sanderling, 3 Whimbrel and a Little Egret.

August 6th
The adult Mediterranean Gull was back at New Passage along with 30 Turnstones, 15 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Redshank and the first 2 Teal of the autumn. An evening visit to Severn Beach produced a single Whimbrel.

August 5th
A very hot humid day, again produced the Little Egret at New Passage with 16 Dunlin and 25 Turnstones. At Severn Beach there were 29 Ringed Plover, 9 Dunlin and 5 Whimbrel.

August 4th
The juvenile Little Egret and moulting adult Mediterranean Gull were seen again at New Passage with 27 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ringed Plover, a Sanderling and a Kingfisher. Further down the estuary there were 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel and another Little Egret at Chittening Warth.

August 3rd
A dark morph Arctic Skua flew up river past Severn Beach early this morning. The only other notable birds here were 5 Whimbrel. Further up the estuary at New Passage there were just 20 Dunlin with 2 Common Sandpipers, single Green Sandpiper and Bar-tailed Godwit. The moulting adult Mediterranean Gull reappeared late afternoon. Other notable migrants here included 2 Sand Martin, 3 Lesser Whitethroats and a Lesser Redpoll. With hot sunny weather predicted for the rest of the week, a few more  interesting migrants should be expected.

August 2nd
A small “fall” of Warblers occurred overnight with one bush at New Passage containing 2 Garden Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat, several Whitethroats and Blackcaps this morning. Two Lesser Redpolls dropped in here briefly. Waders at New Passage included 40 Turnstones, 16 Dunlin, 6 Common Sandpipers, single Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel. Severn Beach produced very little at high tide with a single Whimbrel being the only bird of note. This evening the adult Mediterranean Gull and Little Egret were seen again at New Passage. Two Slow worms and an Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar were seen at Severn Beach.

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                            Garden Warbler, New Passage 2.8.3                                Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar, Severn Beach 2.8.3

August 1st
There were 16 Dunlin, 7 Common Sandpipers and a Hobby at New Passage. Two Bar-tailed Godwits were seen off Northwick Warth. At Severn Beach there were just 4 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plover and a Wheatear. Nearby there were still 2 Little Grebes and a Kingfisher at the Orchard Pools.