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May is the third most productive month of the year with at least one individual of 178 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), Spoonbill (1998), Honey Buzzard (1991), Kentish Plover (2004), Broad-billed Sandpiper (1988), Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1990), Temminck’s Stint (2004), Long-tailed Skua, Sabine’s Gull, Franklin’s Gull (1984), Roseate Tern (1990) and White-winged Black Tern (1990).

May 2007

May 31st
The late spring passage of waders continued with 16 Sanderling, 90 Ringed Plover, 80 Dunlin, a Turnstone and 6 Curlew being reported from Severn Beach. The usual Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and a Lesser Whitethroat were all seen from New Passage.

May 30th
A wet day but a dry spell this evening produced a high count of at least 33 Sanderling, 110 Ringed Plover, 100 Dunlin, 6 Turnstones, 4 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel and a Peregrine at Severn Beach. A brief visit to Northwick Warth produced another 3 Turnstones, 5 Dunlin, 24 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwings, 60 Shelduck and 2 Canada Geese.

                                                         Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover, Severn Beach 30.5.7

May 29th
Sightings from Severn Beach shore included 77 Ringed Plover, 72 Dunlin and a Peregrine. The usual 80+Shelduck and 2 Lapwings were seen on Northwick Warth. Single Lesser Whitethroats were seen at New Passage and the Orchard Pools. Four Ravens were reported from Chittening Warth.

May 28th
A dry day but the North East wind remained. Sightings from Northwick Warth included 5 Sanderling, a Grey Plover, 2 Ringed Plover, 30 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwing, 88 Shelduck, 2 Sedge Warblers and 2 late Sand Martins. Sightings from the shore at Severn Beach included 64 Ringed Plover, 50 Dunlin, another Sand Martin and a Cuckoo was seen flying up river. Nearby, the Mute Swans had produced 6 cygnets on the Orchard Pools and a Lesser Whitethroat was still singing.

May 27th
A dismal wet day with a strong cold North East wind. The briefest of visits to the Severn Beach wader roost produced just 30 Ringed Plover and 30 Dunlin.

May 26th
A Spotted Flycatcher remained at New Passage and nearby 80 Shelduck, 2 Lapwings remained on Northwick Warth. The afternoon wader roost at Severn Beach contained 60 Ringed Plovers and 50 Dunlin. A Lesser Whitethroat and at least 3 singing Reed Warblers were present at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. Other wildlife seen at Severn Beach included a Grass Snake, several dragonfly species including Hairy Dragonfly, Emperor Dragonfly, Four-spotted Chaser and Black-tailed Skimmer. A Southern Marsh Orchid also found in bloom.

May 25th
Two Spotted Flycatchers were found at New Passage. Sightings nearby on Northwick Warth included 80 Shelduck, 3 Lapwings, a Whimbrel, 25 Oystercatchers, a brood of 4 downy Little Grebes, a similar number of young Coot and 2 Sedge Warblers. A singing Lesser Whitethroat was present at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. A Peregrine and another Lesser Whitethroat were found at Aust Warth. A Tree Pipit was seen at Chittening Warth.

May 24th
The settled weather continued. There were 19 Ringed Plover, 14 Dunlin, a Peregrine and a Common Tern from the shore at Severn Beach and a Tufted Duck, a Coot brood, at least 5 Reed Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat nearby at the Orchard Pools. Sightings from Northwick Warth included 5 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 80 Shelduck, 25 Oystercatchers and a Lesser Whitethroat.

May 23rd
Another dry and sunny day. Reports from Severn Beach included a Sanderling, 22 Ringed Plovers, 20 Dunlin, at least 10 singing Common Whitethroats and 5 Wheatears. There were 2 Whimbrel, 3 Dunlin, 80 Shelduck plus 2 young birds, 28 Oystercatchers, 4 Lapwing and 2 singing Sedge Warblers on Northwick Warth. A Lesser Whitethroat was feeding young at New Passage. At least 8 Whitethroats, 4 Reed Warblers, 6 Sedge Warblers, a Stonechat, 5 Ravens and a Coot brood were reported from Chittening Warth.

May 22nd
There were just 4 Sanderling, 20 Ringed Plover and 12 Dunlin at Severn Beach. Another 10 Dunlin and 6 Ringed Plover were seen from New Passage. The usual Shelduck, Oystercatchers and Lapwings were still on Northwick Warth. Single Lesser Whitethroats were present at New Passage, Northwick Warth and Severn Beach. The drake Ring-necked Duck reappeared on the square roadside pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works four days ago and was still present today.

May 21st
Sightings from Severn Beach included 3 Sanderling, 45 Dunlin, 14 Ringed Plover, a Cuckoo and a Lesser Whitethroat. The usual 4 Lapwing, 80 Shelduck and 30 Oystercatchers remained on Northwick Warth. There were 5 singing Sedge Warblers, 3 singing Reed Warblers, 5 Ravens and a dead Fulmar at Chittening Warth.

May 20th
The first day of settled weather produced little of interest. Sightings from Northwick Warth included 6 Whimbrel, 20 Oystercatchers, 4 Lapwings, 12 Dunlin, 80 Shelduck, a Yellow Wagtail, a Wheatear and 4 Sedge Warblers. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was found at New Passage.The only reports from Severn Beach were of just 50 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plovers, 2 Turnstones and another Yellow Wagtail.

                                                                             Wheatear, Northwick Warth 20.5.7

May 19th
A windy morning following a very windy night produced a pale morph Pomarine Skua, 3 Manx Shearwaters, single Fulmar, Arctic Tern, Peregrine and Yellow Wagtail, at least 250 Dunlin and just 7 Ringed Plovers at Severn Beach. There were still 70 Shelduck and 3 Lapwings on Northwick Warth. The wind dropped in strength by the evening and there were no additional sea birds reported.

May 18th
A day of strong West wind produced a dark morph Arctic Skua off Severn Beach this morning and single Fulmar and Sandwich Tern this evening. Other sightings from here today included 400 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover, 6 Oystercatchers, 5 Whimbrel, single Sanderling, Turnstone and Peregrine. The usual 80 Shelduck, 30 Oystercatchers and a Little Egret were seen on Northwick Warth. A Wheatear was seen at New Passage.

May 17th
Sightings from Severn Beach today included 300 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plovers, single Sanderling,  Little Egret and  Lesser Whitethroat. A Whimbrel, 2 Lapwings, 80 Shelduck and 30 Oystercatchers were seen on Northwick Warth.

May 16th
There was little change in the number or variety of birds today. Sightings from Severn Beach included 1000 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling and 2 Whimbrel. The usual 90 Shelduck, 30 Oystercatchers, 4 Lapwing and 2 Sedge Warblers were reported from Northwick Warth.

May 15th
A Great Crested Grebe, 32 Oystercatchers, 2 Whimbrel, 70 Shelduck, 3 Sedge Warblers and a Lesser Whitethroat were reported from Northwick Warth. The Severn Beach wader roost contained 1200 Dunlin, 50 Ringed Plover, 3 Sanderling and 8 Whimbrel.

                                                                                         Dunlin, Severn Beach 15.5.7

May 14th
Once again the influx of waders was the most interesting event. The Severn Beach wader roost contained a high spring total of 2000 Dunlin along with 70 Ringed Plovers, 6 Turnstones and 2 Sanderling. Sightings from Northwick Warth included 70 Shelduck, 32 Oystercatchers, 2 Lapwing and another Sanderling.

May 13th
There was limited coverage due to torrential rain for most of the day. A bright sunny spell at 6 pm produced a fly over, calling Bee-eater, the first Severnside Record, that flew along the sea wall heading North East. Sightings from Severn Beach included at least 1800 Dunlin, 100 Ringed Plovers, 9 Sanderling, 15 Turnstones, 4 Whimbrel, a Bar-tailed Godwit, at least 20 Common Whitehroats, a Cuckoo and a Wheatear. Little was reported from Northwick Warth other than, 40 Shelduck, 2 Lapwings and a Canada Goose.

                                                                                   Sanderling, Severn Beach 13.5.7

May 12th
Another breezy day with just a few seabirds seen on the afternoon tide from Severn Beach; a dark phase Arctic Skua, 8 Kittiwakes and an Auk. There was an influx of Dunlin, with at least 1200 roosting on the beach (about three times the peak May count of recent years). Other sightings from  Severn Beach included 7 Whimbrel, 45 Ringed Plover, 15 Turnstones, single Wheatear and Peregrine. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 4 Lapwing and a Yellow Wagtail around the grazing cattle.

May 11th
The wet spell continues hampering any attempt of finding many birds. Another Pomarine Skua was reported flying up river from Severn Beach this morning. A mixed flock of at least 300 Dunlin and Ringed  Plover were seen here this afternoon. Sightings from a very wet Northwick Warth included 3 Whimbrel, 2 Lapwing, 35 Oystercatchers and 50 Shelduck.

May 10th
Another wet and breezy day produced a pale phase Pomarine Skua, a Great Skua, at least 3 Arctic Skuas (1 pale, 2 dark), 10 Whimbrel, 100 Dunlin and a Peregrine from Severn Beach. Just 30 Oystercatchers and the usual Shelduck were reported from New Passage.

May 9th
The wind eased today but there was plenty of rain. No seabirds were reported from Severn Beach but 2 Whimbrel, a Sanderling, 24 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 2 Peregrine were seen from the shore and a Common Sandpiper was found at the Orchard Pools. Sightings from Northwick Warth included another Whimbrel, 32 Oystercatchers, 50 Shelduck, a Sedge Warbler and 2 Lesser Whitethroats.

May 8th
The strong winds persisted producing a flock of 9 Pomarine Skuas (8 pale, 1 dark) off Severn Beach that lingered for most of the day. Other sightings here included at least 5 Arctic Skuas (4 dark, 1 pale), 18 Manx Shearwaters, 5 Gannets, at least 4 Fulmar, 14 Kittiwakes, a “Commic Tern”, 40 Dunlin and a Whimbrel. Another 4 Gannets were seen this afternoon from Chittening Warth. Gary Thoburn kindly provided the images below. Pomtastic!

                                                             7 of the 9 Pomarine Skuas, Severn Beach 8.5.7  © Gary Thoburn

                                                                   Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 8.5.7  © Gary Thoburn

May 7th
A windy, wet and misty morning produced a reasonable selection of Seabirds. Sightings from Severn Beach
included 10 Arctic Skuas, 8 Gannets (5+2+1), at least 3 Fulmar, a 1st summer Little Gull, 36 Arctic Terns and 25 Kittiwakes. Other reports from Severn Beach included 40 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plovers, single Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel and Raven. Two Gannets and 2 Fulmar were seen from Chittening Warth. Northwick Warth remained quiet with just 40 Shelduck, 20 Oystercatchers, a Whimbrel and 2 Sedge Warblers to report. The wind increased in strength and produced 60 Kittiwakes this evening, one of which was taken by a Peregrine.

                                                                                           Fulmar, Severn Beach 7.5.7

May 6th
A sea watch this morning from Severn Beach in a light South West wind produced a “full spooned” light morph Pomarine Skua, at least 4 dark morph Arctic Skuas, 5 Gannets, 3 Fulmar, an Arctic Tern, a Kittiwake, a 1st summer Mediterranean Gull along with 5 Bar-tailed Godwits, 8 Whimbrel, 40 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover and a Peregrine. Just 32 Oystercatchers and a Wheatear were reported from Northwick Warth. An additional 5 Kittiwakes were seen on the incoming tide from Severn Beach this evening. Two Dotterel were found yesterday on the Blorenge in Gwent and with a low tide in the estuary this afternoon the temptation to cross the Severn Bridge was too much for me. These 2 birds showed very well near the summit.

                                                                                   Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 6.5.7

                                                                                    Pomarine Skua, Severn Beach 6.5.7

                                                                                         Dotterel, Blorenge, Gwent 6.5.7

May 5th
Reports from Severn Beach this morning included 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Bar-tailed Godwit, 6 Whimbrel, a Grey Plover, 100 Dunlin, 15 Ringed Plover, single Peregrine, Raven, Cuckoo and Yellow Wagtail. Another 24 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel, 5 Lapwings, 30 Oystercatchers, 50 Shelduck, 3 Wheatears, 3 Lesser Whitethroats and 3 Sedge Warblers were seen on Northwick Warth.

May 4th
A quiet day with a cold North East wind. Sightings from Severn Beach this morning included 9 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Whimbrel, 4 Grey Plover including 3 summer plumaged birds, 100 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover and 2 Peregrines. A sea watch from Severn Beach this evening produced 2 Arctic Skuas and 17 “Commic” Terns. The wind swept Northwick Warth produced 70 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Whimbrel, 4 Lapwings, 60 Shelduck, 2 Wheatears, 2 Sedge Warblers and a Whinchat.

May 3rd
Sightings from Severn Beach included a pale morph Arctic Skua, just 5 Common Terns, 27 Bar-tailed Godwits, 23 Whimbrel, 4 Grey Plover, 2 Sanderling, 110 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, a Little Egret, the first Hobby of the year and a Tree Pipit. A Great Skua flew North East past Northwick Warth in the company of a dark morph Arctic Skua. Other sightings from here included 147 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Knot, 6 Whimbrel, 3 Lapwings, a Little Egret, 50 Shelduck and a Wheatear.

May 2nd
Another sunny day with a moderate North East wind. Sightings from Severn Beach this morning included an Arctic Skua, 60 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Whimbrel, 2 Sanderling, 90 Dunlin, 30 Ringed Plover, 5 Wheatears, single Whinchat and Yellow Wagtail. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 230 Bar-tailed Godwits, 4 Knot, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Lapwing, 3 Sedge Warblers, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 flyover Siskins and a Whinchat. A sea watch from Severn Beach this evening produced another Arctic Skua, 60 “Commic” Terns and 6 Arctic Terns.

                                                                                     Arctic Skua, Severn Beach 2.5.7

                                                                                        Little Tern, Severn Beach 1.5.7

May 1st
A good start to the month with sightings from Severn Beach including 2 Arctic Skuas (pale and dark morph), 2 Little Terns, 9 Arctic Terns, 16 “Commic” Terns, 8 Common Scoter, a female Goldeneye, 180 Bar-tailed Godwits, 18 Whimbrel, 4 Grey Plover, a Little Egret, 130 Dunlin, a Sanderling, 30 Ringed Plover, 2 Yellow Wagtails, 3 Whinchats, single Wheatear and Tree Pipit. There were still 270 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Knot, 7 Whimbrel and 5 Wheatears at Northwick Warth.