SEVERNSIDE BIRDS























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March is a slightly better month than February with a total of 169 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 and 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 Kites, Mandarin (2006) and Siberian Chiffchaff (2007).

March 2013




March 31st
A sunny but cold day with a north east breeze. The 4th Red Kite of the year circled over the Pilning Wetland at Northwick Warth for 15 minutes late morning where other sightings included 2 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 White Wagtails, 3 Wheatears, 4 Tufted Duck, 8 Shoveler, 4 Canada Geese, 120+ Shelduck, an early Willow Warbler, 10 Chiffchaffs and a flyover Siskin. The 2 Twite remained at Aust Warth. Another 4 Wheatears, 60 Turnstones and 4 Shoveler were seen from the shore at Severn Beach and a Water Rail was heard at the Orchard Pools. A few good birds were frustratingly seen just outside the Severnside recording area boundary including a Ring Ouzel around the motorway service area above Aust Cliff and a Ruff, a Green Sandpiper, 50 Lapwing, 3 Little Egrets and 20 Wheatears amongst others on land being “developed” just inland from Severn Beach at the back of the Western Distribution Park.

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                                                                                Ring Ouzel, Aust Cliff  31.3.13 © Vic Savery

March 30th
Another cold but dry and mainly sunny day. An Osprey was seen flying north, low over the 2nd Severn Crossing at Severn Beach at 09.25 and a Jack Snipe, 7 Snipe, 4 drake Tufted Duck, 15 Gadwall, 3 Wheatears and a White Wagtail were seen from the shore here this morning. Sightings from Aust Warth this morning included hunting Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl, 2 Twite, a Stonechat, 130 Wigeon, 10 Teal, 2 Shoveler and 200 Redwings. Combined reports from Northwick Warth and the Pilning Wetland included 6 Little Ringed Plovers, 140 Dunlin, 35 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 14 Canada Geese, 143 Shelduck, 12 Shoveler, a female Pintail, 120 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 8 Coot, 4 Moorhens, 4 Wheatears, 10 Pied Wagtails, 50 Meadow Pipits, 150 Redwing and 30 Fieldfares.

March 29th
The icy cold weather continued with a biting east wind. Combined reports from Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland were of 5 Little Ringed Plover, 150 Dunlin, 28 Curlew, 53 Redshank, 35 Oystercatchers, 80+ Turnstones, 17 Canada Geese, 140+ Shelduck, 125 Wigeon, 90 Teal, a female Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 4 Tufted Duck, a Raven, 5 Wheatears, 3 Sand Martins, 4 Chiffchaff, 15 Fieldfare, 55 Redwing, 200+ Meadow Pipits, 15 Pied Wagtails and a White Wagtail. A Short-eared Owl, a Merlin, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, the 2 Twite and 4 Chiffchaffs were reported at Aust Warth. A Black Redstart and at least 2 Wheatears were seen at Severn Beach.

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                                                               Little Ringed Plover, Northwick Warth  29.3.13 © John Morgan

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                                                                            Wheatear, Severn Beach 29.3.13  © Rod Holbrook

March 28th
Two Short-eared Owls showed well at Aust Warth this afternoon where a Barn Owl, 2 Twite , a Stonechat, 2 Kestrels and 3 Wheatears were also seen. Combined reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area involved 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 8 Canada Geese, 90 Shelduck, a female Pintail, 3 Wheatears, 6 flyover Siskins and a Peregrine. Reports from the Severn Beach shore included a Little Egret, a Water Rail and 6 Wheatears and nearby another Water Rail was present at the Orchard Pools.                 

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                                                                          Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth  28.3.13 © Allan Chard

March 27th
A bitterly cold day with snow flurries. The main event was a good showing by 2 Short-eared Owls and a Barn Owl at Aust Warth this afternoon. Five Wheatears and 3 Chiffchaff were seen at Severn Beach this morning and at least 35 Kittiwakes appeared on the evening high tide. The usual 8 Canada Geese, 95 Shelduck and 140 Wigeon were seen in a brief visit to New Passage.

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                                                                                  Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth  27.3.13 © Gary Thoburn

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                                                                          Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth  27.3.13 © Gary Thoburn

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                                                                              Barn Owl, Aust Warth  27.3.13 © Gary Thoburn

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                                                                           Short-eared Owl, Aust Warth  27.3.13 © Vic Savery

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                                                                                  Barn Owl, Aust Warth  27.3.13 © Vic Savery

March 26th
Another hat and glove day. At least 8 Wheatears, 3 Grey Plover, 30 Shelduck and a Little Egret were seen at Severn Beach today. Combined reports from Northwick Warth included the female Merlin, 12 Canada Geese, 105 Shelduck, 40 Redshank amd 40 Dunlin. Another 11 Shelduck, 22 Gadwall, 18 Teal, 64 Redshank, a Snipe, 2 Chiffchaff and 2 Stonechats were seen at Chittening Warth. At least 6 Gadwall,18 Tufted Duck, a Shoveler and 8 Teal were seen on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works. A Barn Owl was seen at 4pm and a Short-eared Owl at 6.20 pm at Aust Warth.

March 25th
Little improvement in the wintry weather. A very early Whimbrel, just 10 Curlew, 9 Canada Geese, 7 Shoveler, 68 Shelduck, 4 Tufted Duck, a Pintail, 5 Chiffchaff and a Wheatear were seen at Northwick Warth. Combined reports from Severn Beach included 4 Knot, 3 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 50 Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, 40 Shelduck, 3 Chiffchaff and a Wheatear.

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                                                                                Wheatear, Severn Beach 25.3.13  © Rod Holbrook

March 24th
The beast from the east continued to produce an unpleasant wind chill. Despite this migrants were still found. Sightings from New Passage/Northwick Warth area included a Little Ringed Plover (on puddle near warden’s building), a Black Redstart (on lower seawall footpath south of jetty), 3 Wheatears, a Short-eared Owl, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 80 Curlew, 17 Golden Plover, 118 Shelduck, 5 Canada Geese, 7 Tufted Duck, 8 Shoveler, a Pintail, single Merlin and Peregrine. Another 9 Wheatears, 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 13 Grey Plover, 70 Turnstones, 9 Ringed Plover, 80 Dunlin and 35 Shelduck were seen at Severn Beach. The 2 Twite, 2 Short-eared Owls, single Merlin, Peregrine and Raven were reported at Aust Warth.

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                                                                               Merlin, Northwick Warth 24.3.13  © Vic Savery

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                                                                           Black-tailed Godwits, Northwick Warth 24.3.13  © Tony Scott

March 23rd
Another cold and wet day. A Stone Curlew was reported near the flash on Northwick Warth early evening (3rd Severnside record) where other sightings included a female Merlin, 7 Canada Geese, 110 Shelduck, 11 Shoveler, 150 Wigeon, 2 Wheatears and 4 Chiffchaffs. The 2 Twite, a Barn Owl, 3 Short-eared Owls, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, single Merlin, Stonechat, Sand Martin and Raven were seen at Aust Warth. Another 3 Wheatears, 35 Shelduck and 2 Snipe were seen at Severn Beach.

March 22nd
A wet day with a cold east wind surprisingly produced a few migrants. A stunning male Marsh Harrier was seen flying in the rain over Northwick Warth and eventually dropped into the Pilning Wetland small reed bed. This was the first March record of this still rare bird here with only 19 reports in the last 30 years. Other sightings here included 2 male Wheatears, 102 Shelduck, 5 Canada Geese, 130 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 10 Shoveler and 40 Redshank. Another Wheatear was seen at the Tesco Pool in Severn Beach. Click on the picture below for a windblown 50 seconds of  the Marsh Harrier on Youtube.

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                                                                          Marsh Harrier video still, Northwick Warth  22.3.13

March 21st
An increasingly wet day. A brief afternoon visit to New Passage produced just 140 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 120 Wigeon and 90 Shelduck. Another 35 Shelduck were seen at Severn Beach.

March 20th
An Avocet was found in front of the sea defences at Severn Beach late morning and was still present late afternoon on the falling tide. Other sightings from Severn Beach included 40 Oystercatchers, 10 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 50+ Shelduck and a Stonechat. Combined reports from the New Passage area included 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 120 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 7 Canada Geese, 300+ Wigeon, 60 Teal, 10 Shoveler, 3 Pintail, 4 Tufted Duck and 40+ Meadow Pipits. The first Wheatear of the year was found at Aust Warth.

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                                                                                   Avocet, Severn Beach 20.3.13  © John Martin

March 19th
Combined reports from the New Passage area included the female Merlin, 94 Turnstones, 20 Oystercatchers, 33 Redshank, 44 Curlew, 60 Dunlin, 7 Canada Geese, 6 Shoveler, 28 Shelduck, 220 Wigeon, 45 Teal and a Kingfisher. Another 32 Shelduck, 10 Wigeon, 2 Gadwall and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits were seen on the shore at Severn Beach and nearby a Shoveler and 8 Tufted Duck were seen at the Orchard Pools. Two Stonechats were still present at Aust Warth. A Great Crested Grebe and a Cetti’sWarbler were reported at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

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                                                                          Bar-tailed Godwits, Severn Beach 19.3.13  © Steve Hale

March 18th
A fine sunny day following and icy dawn. A female Merlin, a male Sparrowhawk, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 50 Redshank, 100+ Turnstones, 200+ Dunlin, 35 Oystercatchers, single Lapwing, Little Grebe and Water Rail. 90 Curlew, 90 Shelduck, 3 Canada Geese, 9 Shoveler, 200 Wigeon, 70 Teal, 3 Siskins, a Chiffchaff, 50 Meadow Pipits and a Water Pipit were reported from New Passage. The 2 Twite remained at Aust Warth. A Jack Snipe and 4 Snipe were flushed at Chittening Warth.

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                                                                                      Merlin, Northwick Warth  18.3.13

March 17th
A sunny and dry day. Sightings from the New Passage area included 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 50 Redshank, 100+ Turnstones, 80 Curlew, 35 Oystercatchers, 340 Dunlin, 5 Canada Geese, 7 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 100+ Shelduck, 300+ Wigeon, 80 Teal and 120 Meadow Pipits. The Barn Owl, 2 Twite and 4 Stonechats remained at Aust Warth. A flock of 12 Kittiwakes floated up river past Severn Beach where 20 Shelduck, 15 Wigeon and 12 Gadwall were also seen.

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                                                                                      Twite, Aust Warth  17.3.13 © Allan Chard

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                                                                                  Barn Owl, Aust Warth  17.3.13 © Nigel Bleaken

March 16th
A dry morning followed by thunderstorms in the afternoon. A Barn Owl, the 2 Twite and 4 Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth. Combined reports from the New Passage area included 10 Canada Geese, 110 Shelduck, 7 Tufted Duck, 5 Shoveler, 70 Teal, 350 Wigeon, 50 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, 2 Lapwing, 400 Dunlin, 80 Curlew and 35 Oystercatchers.

March 15th
A breezy day with heavy rain from late morning. A visit to the New Passage area produced 150 Turnstones, 450+ Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, 65 Curlew, 61 Redshank, 5 Canada Geese, 83 Shelduck, 350 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler and a Chiffchaff. A single flock of 160 Kittiwakes appeared at Severn Beach in a heavy rain shower before flying off high north east.

March 14th
The 2 Twite and Barn Owl were still present at Aust Warth this morning. Sightings from the Severn Beach shore included 16 Ringed Plover, 12 Turnstones and 30 Wigeon. Combined reports from the New Passage area included 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 6 Knot, 220 Dunlin, 43 Curlew, 30 Redshank, single Ringed Plover and Snipe, 28 Oystercatchers, 6 Turnstones, 450 Wigeon, 100 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 5 Tufted Duck, 52 Shelduck and a Chiffchaff.

March 13th
The 2 Twite, 3 Stonechats, a Blackcap and a Barn Owl were reported at Aust Warth today. Reports from Severn Beach  included 48 Turnstones, 10 Ringed Plover, 20 Dunlin, a Knot, 44 Wigeon, 6 Shelduck and 4 Rock Pipits with no sign of the Snow Bunting. Another 9 Turnstones, 250+ Dunlin, 24 Curlew, 28 Redshank, 50 Shelduck, 6 Canada Geese, 250 Wigeon and 2 Shoveler were reported from the New Passage area.

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                                                                              Stonechat, Aust Warth 13.3.13 © Rod Holbrook

March 12th
Another bitterly cold day with light flurries of snow. The 2 Twite remained at Aust Warth and a male Merlin was seen at Northwick Warth. A brief eye watering visit to New Passage produced 14 Canada Geese, 75 Shelduck, 140 Wigeon, 40 Teal and 40 Oystercatchers. The Snow Bunting remained at it’s usual location on the seawall footpath at Severn Beach where a Blackcap was seen feeding in a garden.

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                                                                              Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 12.3.13 © Vic Savery

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                                                                            Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 12.3.13 © Allan Chard

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                                                                               Snow Bunting, Severn Beach  12.3.13 © Gary Thoburn

March 11th
A wind chilled day a with snow flurries. The 2 Twite, a Jack Snipe, 2 Snipe, 4 Stonechats, single Peregrine and Raven were seen at Aust Warth this morning. The Snow Bunting showed very well on the seawall footpath at Severn Beach where 6 Rock Pipits and 5 Snipe were also seen. At least 30 Turnstones, 400 Dunlin, 35 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 45 Shelduck, 180 Wigeon, 14 Canada Geese and a Peregrine were reported from New Passage.

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                                                                                  Stonechat, Aust Warth 11.3.13 © Vic Savery

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                                                                                Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 11.3.13 © Vic Savery

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                                                                              Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 11.3.13 © Rod Holbrook

March 10th
Early reports received were of 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Twite and a Chiffchaff at Aust Warth. The Snow Bunting showed very well on and below the seawall footpath 100 metres south of Riverside Park at Severn Beach. A brief visit to a very cold and wind swept New Passage produced just 250 Wigeon, 14 Canada Geese, 45 Shelduck and 40 Oystercatchers, 120 Dunlin, 55 Curlew and 8 Turnstones.

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                                                                              Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 10.3.13 ©  Gareth Jones

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                                                                            Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 10.3.13 ©  Gareth Jones

March 9th
A murky morning becoming brighter this afternoon with a cool north east breeze all day. Combined reports from New Passage involved a Brambling flying north east, 3 Ravens, 50 Redshank, 200 Dunlin, 20 Oystercatchers, 150 Wigeon, 60 Teal and nearby on the Pilning Wetland there were 5 Shoveler, 3 Pintail, 2 Tufted Duck, 110 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 42 Shelduck, 14 Canada Geese, a Water Rail, 7 Snipe, 110 Curlew, 23 Lapwing and 240 Dunlin. A Snow Bunting was found on the sea wall at Severn Beach late afternoon where other sightings included 2 Ravens, 3 Rock Pipits, 3 Snipe, 30 Dunlin, 120+ Shelduck, 10 Gadwall, 50 Wigeon. The 2 Twite continued to show well at Aust Warth where a Short-eared Owl was flushed and 2 Snipe, single Barn Owl (seen briefly at dusk), Jack Snipe, Brambling, Chiffchaff and Raven were reported. Another 2 Chiffchaff and 5 Snipe were reported at Chittening Warth. There was steady movement of Meadow Pipits, alba Wagtails, Grey Wagtails, Chaffinches and Wood Pigeons heading north east all day. Click on the the images below to see today’s Snow Bunting on Youtube.

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                                                                                       Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 9.3.13

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                                                                                     Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 9.3.13

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                                                                                    Snow Bunting, Severn Beach 9.3.13

March 8th
A grey, misty wet day. The 3rd Red Kite of the year was seen flying south east from Aust Warth at 9am and the 2 Twite were still present. Combined reports from the New Passage area included 4 Golden Plover, 2 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 60 Lapwing, 100 Curlew, 250 Dunlin, 150 Wigeon and 50 Teal. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included 10 Gadwall, 40 Wigeon and 50 Shelduck, a garden Blackcap and Raven and nearby 7 Tufted Duck were seen on the Orchard Pools. A Water Rail, a Jack Snipe and 13 Snipe were reported at Chittening Warth,

March 7th
A grey and wet day. Sightings from New Passage included 10 Canada Geese, 340 Wigeon, 50 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 10 Tufted Duck, 250 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 28 Lapwing and 4 Snipe. The 2 Twite were still present at Aust Warth.

March 6th
The 2 Twite were reported still at Aust Warth.

March 5th
A change to warmer weather with temperatures reaching 14°C. An evening visit to New Passage produced a Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Lapwing, 90 Dunlin, 30 Curlew, 25 Oystercatchers, 13 Canada Geese and a Shoveler. A Water Rail, 2 Jack Snipe, 6 Snipe and 10 Oystercatchers were reported at Chittening Warth. The Little Gull was seen again on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works. The 2 Twite were showing well at Aust Warth this afternoon. The Long-eared Owl remained in the sea wall hedge on Northwick Warth.

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                                                                               Long-eared Owl, Northwick Warth  5.3.13 © Russell Jones

March 4th
Combined reports from the New Passage/Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included a Golden Plover, a Knot, 120+ Turnstones, 200+ Dunlin, 35 Curlew, 27 Redshank, 18 Oystercatchers, 40 Lapwing, 12 Canada Geese, 3 “Grey Geese” (that circled the wetland before heading north), 25 Shelduck, 260+ Wigeon, 80 Teal and 3 Coot. The 2 Twite were seen in their regular area on Aust Warth and a Little Gull was seen again on the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works. Late news was received 28/3/13 of a Long-eared Owl roosting today in the sea wall hedge on Northwick Warth.

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                                                                                 Long-eared Owl, Northwick Warth  4.3.13 © Russell Jones

March 3rd
A cold and frosty morning. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth area included a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Golden Plover, 80 Curlew, 300 Dunlin, 40 Redshank, 35 Lapwing, 30 Oystercatchers, 2 Snipe, 14 Canada Geese, 35 Shelduck, 500 Wigeon, 110 Teal, 2 Pintail, 9 Shoveler, 4 Tufted Duck, 8 Coot, 8 Moorhen, single Water Rail, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. The 2 Twite remained faithful to the Old Passage area of Aust Warth and the Barn Owl showed well early morning. At least 16 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 5 Gadwall and a Chiffchaff were reported at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

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                                                                                Barn Owl, Aust Warth  3.3.13 ©  Ian White

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                                                                             Golden Plover video still, Pilning Wetland 3.3.13

March 2nd
A cold but mainly sunny day. Combined sightings from the Northwick Warth area included a Golden Plover, 55 Lapwing, 70 Curlew, 70 Redshank, a Water Rail, 12 Canada Geese, 2 Shoveler, 40 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, 200+ Wigeon, 130 Teal and a male Stonechat. The 2 Twite, single Barn Owl, Raven and Peregrine, 2 Canada Geese, 60 Wigeon, 20 Redshank and 200 Dunlin were reported at Aust Warth. Sightings from the Severn Beach shore included 3 Ravens, 34 Snipe, 6 Rock Pipits, 58 Shelduck and 2 Gadwall. Another 5 Gadwall, 9 Tufted Duck and a Shoveler were seen nearby at the Orchard Pools. Two Little Gulls were seen at the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.

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                                                                                       Twite, Aust Warth  2.3.13 ©  Martyn Hayes

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                                                                         Little Gull, Avonmouth Sewage Works  2.3.13 ©  Allan Chard      
                                                                         
March 1st
The first day of the month started with some excitement when the first Severnside record of Egyptian Goose was found on the Pilning Wetland at Northwick Warth early this morning and and remaining in the area all day. This constitutes the 270th species for the Severnside recording area. Other reports from here included 9 Canada Geese, 46 Shelduck, 4 Pintail, 2 Shoveler, 60 Teal, a Black-tailed Godwit, 95 Lapwing, 60 Curlew, 8 Coot (good number for here), 55 Redwing, 35 Fieldfare and a flyover Siskin.

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                                                                          Egyptian Goose, NorthwickWarth  1.3.13 ©  John Martin

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                                                                          Egyptian Goose, Pilning Wetland  1.3.13 ©  John Martin

An impressive 37 Gadwall and 12 Shelduck, 12 Teal, 2 Snipe and 11 Redshank were seen at Chittening Warth, Ten Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard and a Little Grebe were seen on the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach. The 2 Twite remained at Aust Warth where the Barn Owl was present this afternoon.

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                                                                                 Twite, Aust Warth  1.3.13 © Gary Thoburn

A Little Gull, 7 Gadwall, 17 Teal, 5 Shoveler, 14 Tufted Duck, single Snipe, Kingfisher and Chiffchaff  were seen at the Square Pool at Avonmouth Sewage Works.
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