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May is the fourth most productive month of the year with at least one individual of 190 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 (1991,2011), Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Marsh Harrier, Osprey, Kentish Plover (2004), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1990), Temminck’s Stint (2004), Broad-billed Sandpiper (1988), Dotterel (2011), Franklin’s Gull (1984), Laughing Gull (2012), Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Roseate Tern (1990) and White-winged Black Tern (1990).

May 2015

31st May
A breezy end to the month. At least 19 Sanderling, 39 Ringed Plover and 13 Dunlin were seen on the evening high tide at Severn Beach.

30th May
The first Spotted Flycatcher of the spring, the second Red Kite of the year, 7 Canada Geese, 24 Oystercatchers, a Raven and a Wheatear were seen at New Passage. A Grey Plover and a mixed flock of 35 Dunlin/Ringed Plover were seen from Severn Beach.

                                                                     Spotted Flycatcher, New Passage 30.5.15 © John Martin

29th May
Just 5 Ringed Plover, 3 Tufted Duck, single Little Egret and Wheatear were seen at New Passage.

28th May
A breezy but sunny day. A high tide visit to the shore at Severn Beach produced just 13 Ringed Plover and a single Dunlin and nearby a Cetti’s Warbler remained at the Orchard Pools. A late Wheatear, a Hobby, a Little Egret, 34 adult Shelducks and the first brood of the year were seen at New Passage. A Little Egret was seen at Aust Warth.

                                                                                              Shelduck, New Passage 28.5.15

27th May
A visit to New Passage produced 37 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck and a mixed flock of 30 Dunlin/Ringed Plover.

26th May
Just 17 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plovers, 11 Canada Geese, 3 Tufted Duck and 2 Little Grebes were reported from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area. A Cetti’s Warbler was heard at the Orchard Pools in Severn Beach.

25th May
Reports from the Northwick Warth area involved a fresh dead Jack Snipe at the Grebe Pond (first May record!), a Red Kite (south at 10.05, north east at 11.10), a Little Ringed Plover (wetland), 26 Dunlin, 21 Ringed Plover, 3 Tufted Duck, single Little Grebe, Cuckoo and Raven.

                                                                                              Red Kite, Pilning Wetland 25.5.15

24th May
A morning visit to New Passage/Northwick Warth produced a Little Egret, 26 Ringed Plover, 31 Dunlin, 29 Oystercatchers, 9 Canada Geese, 20 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Duck, a Little Grebe, 6 Stock Doves, 12 Collared Doves, 2 Jays and a Mistle Thrush.

23rd May
Nothing of note was reported today.

22nd May
Just 1 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 4 Black-headed Gulls and a Gadwall were reported from the Severn Beach shore and a Cetti’s Warbler was heard nearby at the Orchard Pools. A mixed flock of 60 Ringed Plover/Dunlin, 35 Oystercatchers, 20 Shelduck and a Little Egret were seen from New Passage. I had the opportunity to witness 3 Avon Gorge Peregrine chicks being colour ringed this afternoon and getting up close with the adults and young.

                                                                                    adult female Peregrine, Avon Gorge 22.5.15

                                                                                       Peregrine chick, Avon Gorge 22.5.15

21st May
A fine sunny day. Combined reports were of 8 Sanderling, 33 Dunlin, 22 Ringed Plover and a Yellow Wagtail from the Northwick Warth area and 8 Sanderling, a  mixed flock of 20 Ringed Plover/Dunlin and a Wheatear at Severn Beach.

                                                                                  Sanderling, Severn Beach 21.5.15 © Vic Savery

20th May
Another quiet day. A Little Egret, 22 Oystercatchers, 16 Dunlin and a Hobby were reported from the New Passage area. Ten Sanderling were reported from Severn Beach. With thing being so quiet I made the easy trip south to Hampshire to say a long staying Greater Yellowlegs and a 1st summer Bonaparte’s Gull both of which would be popular here.

                                                                                   Greater Yellowlegs, Titchfield Haven 20.5.15

                                                                                     Bonaparte’s Gull, Southampton 20.5.15

19th May
A Curlew Sandpiper, 21 Ringed Plover, 9 Dunlin, 4 Tufted Duck and a Little Grebe were were reported from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area. Combined sightings from the Severn Beach shore involved 11 Sanderling, 30 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 23 Curlew and 6 Whimbrel and nearby 2 Cetti’s Warblers were reported at the Orchard Pools.

                                                                                              Sanderling, Severn Beach 19.5.15

                                                                                           Sanderling, Severn Beach 19.5.15

18th May
Northwick Warth sightings included a Little Ringed Plover (on 1st sentry box pool), 4 Sanderling, 22 Ringed Plover and 29 Dunlin (all on the Flash), 65 Oystercatchers, a Curlew, 20 Shelduck, the Bar-headed Goose, 11 Canada Geese, a Tufted Duck and 2 Wheatears. A mixed flock of 10 Dunlin/Ringed Plover and 3 Fulmar were seen on the windy evening high tide were seen at Severn Beach.

17th May
Sightings from Northwick Warth included a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Little Egrets, 63 Oystercatchers, a Bar-headed Goose, 11 Canada Geese, 30 Shelduck, 2 Tufted Ducks, 2 Little Grebes and 2 Wheatears. Another Little Egret was seen at Severn Beach.

16th May
A quiet day with just a Dunlin, 9 Black-headed Gulls, single Sand Martin, Whinchat and Peregrine reported from Northwick Warth and 2 Ringed Plover and 8 Dunlin at Severn Beach.

15th May
A warm and sunny day with some excellent sightings. The bird of the day was a ringtail Montagu’s Harrier that was watched for several minutes just after 10 am as it flew slowly north east along the sea wall before being mobbed by a Buzzard, then thermalling off high inland towards Aust village (only the 2nd Severnside record following the last way back in October 1991). A Spoonbill almost landed on the Grebe Pond at Pilning Wetland at 8.35 am before then flying off South. Other sightings from the Northwick Warth area included a least one Hobby, at least 7 Buzzards, single Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, a Cuckoo, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 3 Little Egrets, 2 Dunlin, 2 Black-headed Gulls, 5 Stock Doves, 13 Swifts, single Lesser Whitethroat, Siskin and Wheatear. An afternoon visit to Severn Beach over the incoming tide produced a Curlew Sandpiper, 3 Sanderling, 2 Grey Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 55 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 8 Oystercatchers, single Bar-tailed Godwit and Turnstone.

                                                                                           Spoonbill, Pilning Wetland 15.5.15
                                  Purely a record shot as it flew off, the camera was in a bag in the back of the car so only had
                                              a few seconds to point and shoot. Only the 10th Severnside record.

                                                                                   Curlew Sandpiper, Severn Beach 15.5.15

                                        Curlew Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Dunlin & Sanderling, Severn Beach 15.5.15 © Martyn Hayes

14th May
A day of rain and a cool east wind. A visit to Northwick Warth produced just 11 Canada Geese, 3 Tufted Duck, a Little Egret, 6 Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail. Sightings from Severn Beach included 2 Grey Plover, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Whimbrel, 12 Oystercatchers, 18 Dunlin and 10 Ringed Plover.

13th May
A warm and sunny day with a light east breeze produced a trickle of migrants. Sightings from the New Passage/Northwick Warth area included a Little Ringed Plover, 2 Sanderling, 16 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel,  a Little Egret, 39 Oystercatchers, 6 Canada Geese, 3 Tufted Duck, 7 Wheatears, a Yellow Wagtail and 5 Buzzards. An afternoon high tide visit to Severn Beach produced a Common Tern roosting on”the pipes”, a Grey Plover, 12 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, a Sanderling, 11 Ringed Plover and 5 Dunlin.

                                                                                        Common Tern, Severn Beach 13.5.15

                                                                                            Grey Plover, Severn Beach 13.5.15

                                                                                           Sanderling, Severn Beach 13.5.15

12th May
A very quiet day with just single Little Ringed Plover and Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, a Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck, 15 Black-headed Gulls and a Wheatear reported from Northwick Warth.

11th May
A Little Tern was seen fishing over the high tide from New Passage where other sightings included 40 Dunlin, 16 Ringed Plovers, a Sanderling and a Turnstone. A Little Ringed Plover, a Little Egret, 20 Wheatears (afternoon influx), a male Whinchat, 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats, a Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebes and 3 Swifts were present on Northwick Warth.

                                                                                             Little Tern, New Passage 11.5.15
                                                                                        Little Tern, New Passage 11.5.15

10th May
A high tide visit to Severn Beach produced just 22 Ringed Plover, 17 Dunlin, 4 Whimbrel, a Curlew and 30 Oystercatchers. Reports from Northwick Warth involved a Little Ringed Plover, 7 Whimbrel, 15 Stock Doves and 7 Wheatears.

9th May
Another breezy day. Sightings from Severn Beach included a pale morph Pomarine Skua that flew directly up river over the Second Severn Crossing at 09.45, 3 adult Gannets, an adult Kittiwake, 4 Black-headed Gulls, 11 Common Gulls, 50+ Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, 3 Whimbrel, 37 Swift and a Peregrine. Another 4 Gannets, single Little Tern and Little Gull were reported from Chittening Warth. The only reports from the Northwick Warth area were of 32 Oystercatchers, 6 Ringed Plover, 44 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, 3 Wheatears and a White Wagtail.

8th May
A Great White Egret was reported flying over the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach this morning (only the 2nd patch record) where a  Cetti’s Warbler was heard later. Sightings from the Severn Beach sea wall included 2 Hobby, 66 Swifts, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 5 Whimbrel, 11 Dunlin, single Ringed Plover and Peregrine. Reports from the Northwick Warth area included 3 Little Egrets, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Whimbrel, 40 Oystercatchers, 30 Shelduck, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebes, 6 Wheatears, 4 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Whinchat, 2 Swifts and a steady north east movement of Swallows, House Martins and a few Sand Martins.

7th May
A calm day with no seabird sightings. Combined reports from New Passage/Northwick Warth involved single Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 11 Dunlin, 23 Oystercatchers, 2 Gadwall, 2 Yellow Wagtails and 3 Sedge Warblers. A Little Egret, 4 Whimbrel, 3 Ringed Plover, a Peregrine, 10+ Whitethroats and a Yellow Wagtail were reported from Severn Beach and 23 Shelduck and a Wheatear were seen at Aust Warth.

6th May
Another unsettled and windy day producing a good selection of seabirds off Severn Beach. Combined sightings from Severn Beach involved 19 Pomarine Skuas (12 in one flock over the Second Severn Crossing early afternoon and 7 more later), 37+ Arctic Skuas, 6 Great Skuas, 3 Fulmar, 16+ Gannets, 2 Little Terns, single Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, 1st winter Mediterranean Gull and Common Tern, 6 Commic Terns, 10 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, single dark-bellied Brent Goose, Raven and Peregrine. Click on the Great Skua or either Pomarine Skua pictures below for a short videos on Youtube.

                                                                                  Great Skuas, Severn Beach 6.5.15 © Vic Savery

                                                                                            Arctic Skuas, Severn Beach 6.5.15

                                                                                      Arctic Skua, Severn Beach 6.5.15 © Vic Savery

                                                                                            Pomarine Skuas, Severn Beach 6.5.15

                                                                                       Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 6.5.15

5th May
An increasingly windy day. Morning and evening sea watches from Severn Beach produced 4 Pomarine Skuas (a pale morph with 2 dark morph @09.50 +1 dark morph @11.20), 16+ Arctic Skuas (only one on morning tide), 7 adult Gannets, 8 Arctic Terns, 2 Sandwich Terns (down river), 2 Fulmar, 33+ Kittiwakes, 3 Whimbrel, 15 Dunlin, a Wigeon and 5 Swifts. An afternoon visit New Passage produced 26 Dunlin and a Ringed Plover.

                                                                                      Morning high tide at Severn Beach 5.5.15

4th May
A dark-bellied Brent Goose, 34 Shelduck, 3 Little Egrets, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 4 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 40 Oystercatchers, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Garden Warbler, a Whinchat and 3 Wheatears were seen on Northwick Warth. Another 15 Whimbrel were seen at Severn Beach and another 2 Whinchats were present at Aust Warth.

3rd May
A breezy day with periods of heavy rain and drizzle. Reports from New Passage/Northwick Warth included an adult Mediterranean Gull heading down river, 10 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Common Terns, a Little Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Tufted Duck, 9 Canada Geese, single Tree Pipit, Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatears, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, a Raven and 5 Swifts. A wet morning visit to Severn Beach produced a flyby Cuckoo, 11 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin, a Peregrine and 2 singing Lesser Whitethroats and 7 Kittiwakes and 20 Black-headed Gulls were seen on the evening tide.

2nd May
A few more migrants today but still waiting for things to improve. Reports from Northwick Warth included 2 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, single Whimbrel and Little Egret, 2 drake Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebes, 2 Whinchats, 2 Wheatears, 3 singing Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Tree Pipits, 9 Yellow Wagtails, 11 Swifts and a Siskin. Sightings from Severn Beach involved 2 Little Egrets, 5 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 3 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover, a Redshank, 9 Black-headed Gulls, 20 Oystercatchers, 2 Gadwall, 22 Shelduck and 3 Swifts. Two Cetti’s Warblers and 2 Lesser Whitethroats were reported from Chittening Warth.

1st May
A quiet start to the month. Reports from Severn Beach south to Chittening Warth included a Sanderling, 33 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, single Turnstone and Curlew, 9 Whitethroats, single Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear and Raven. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 4 Little Egrets, a Common Sandpiper, 5 Dunlin, 35 Shelduck, 11 Canada Geese, 2 Wheatears, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Yellow Wagtail.