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July is the quietest month on Severnside with only 158 species having been recorded. It does have a more optimistic feeling to it than June, with the appearance of returning waders and in recent years the regular appearance of Mediterranean Gulls. Unusual species seen have included Glossy Ibis (2019), Cattle Egret (2017), Great White Egrets (2018, 2019), Temminck’s Stint (2017), dispersing Crossbill, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Goshawk and a Stone Curlew (1999). A spell of strong SW or W wind usually produces a few Storm Petrels and Manx Shearwaters.

July 2020

31st July
The hottest day of the year so far reaching 32°C. The month ended with the 5th Severnside record of Cattle Egret. At least 3 were present commuting between the New Passage and Pilning Wetland. Other reports from here included a Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpipers, 10 Little Ringed Plover (3 chicks), 5 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, 27 Lapwing, 67 Redshank, 50 Dunlin, 7 Turnstones, 3 Curlew, 5 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons, a Bar-headed Goose, 260 Canada Geese, 171 Mallard, 2 Teal, a Shoveler and a Yellow Wagtail.

                                                                           Cattle Egret, Pilning Wetland 31.7.20  © Matt Plenty

30th July
A hot (28°C) day. Combined reports from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area involved 2 Yellow-legged Gulls (adult & juvenile), 350+ Black-headed Gulls, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Common Sandpipers, 22 Dunlin, 102 Redshank, 21 Oystercatchers, 5 Turnstones, a Little Egret, 261 Canada Geese, 3 Swifts, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a Siskin.

29th July
An afternoon visit to New Passage and Pilning Wetland produced a Bar-headed Goose, 230+ Canada Geese, 6 Little Ringed Plovers (3 chicks), 150 Dunlin, 15+ Turnstones, 70+ Redshank, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 90 Goldfinches, 100 Linnets and a Lesser Whitethroat.

28th July
A mainly dry and sunny day. The plastic neck collared Black-tailed Godwit, 200+ Dunlin, 70 Redshank, a Common Sandpiper, a Little Egret, 200+ Canada Geese and a hunting Peregrine were seen from New Passage.

27th July
An windy day. An afternoon visit to New Passage/Pilning Wetland produced a Black-tailed Godwit (with a section of what appears to be plastic tubing around it’s neck. It was photographed at WWT Slimbridge recently), 5 Little Ringed Plover (3 chicks), 200+ Dunlin, 50 Redshank, 25 Lapwing, a Little Egret, 3 Grey Herons and at least 250 Canada Geese.

26th July
Two Mediterranean Gulls (adult & 2nd summer), 4 Little Ringed Plover (3 chicks), 100 Dunlin, 24 Curlew, 18 Oystercatchers, 40 Redshank, single Turnstone, Little Egret, Hobby, Peregrine and Crossbill were reported from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area.

25th July
A wet day. Much the same was reported from New Passage/Pilning Wetland including 4 Avocets, 4 Little Ringed Plover (1+ chick), 200+ Dunlin, 75 Redshank, 30+ Lapwing, a Turnstone, 2 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons, 190 Canada Geese, a Bar-headed Goose, 10 Mute Swans (one cygnet) and a flock of 25 Swifts.  

24th July
Four Avocets,150 Dunlin, 25+ Lapwing, 45 Redshank, and 130 Canada Geese were reported from Northwick Warth. A Little Egret was seen at Severn Beach.

23rd July
Morning and evening visits to New Passage/Pilning Wetland produced 4 Avocets, 7 Little Ringed Plover (including 3 small chicks still present), 25 Black-tailed Godwits, single Bar-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper, 210 Dunlin, 20+ Lapwing, 94 Redshank, 2 Little Egrets, 180 Canada Geese and a Bar-headed Goose.

                                                                                  Little Ringed Plover chick, Pilning Wetland 23.7.20

22nd July
Once again, all reports were from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area involving a Bar-tailed Godwit, 4 Avocets, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 47 Black-tailed Godwit, 230+ Dunlin, 5 Turnstones, 108 Redshank, 18 Oystercatchers, 49 Curlew, a Water Rail and a Redstart.

21st July
At least 210 Dunlin, 30 Black-tailed Godwits, 50 Redshank, 9 Oystercatchers, 4 Curlew, 3 Turnstones and 86 Canada Geese were reported in the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area.

20th July
Combined reports from Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland included 90 Canada Geese, 4 Avocets, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 10 Little Ringed Plover (including 3 chicks), 40+ Redshank, 60+ Dunlin, 25+ Lapwing, a Turnstone, a Little Egret and 2 Ravens.

19th July
A good selection of birds were reported from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area included a drake Common Scoter, the Wood Sandpiper, 14 Little Ringed Plovers (including 3 chicks), 4 Avocets, 7 Sanderling, 2 Common Sandpipers, 22 Black-tailed Godwits, single Greenshank and Ruff, 90 Redshank, 32 Lapwing, 33 Dunlin, 3 Grey Herons, 4 Little Egrets and 3 Ravens.

18th July
Reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included the Wood Sandpiper, 8 Little Ringed Plover including 2 new chicks (the 4th brood seen this year), 40 Redshank, 25 Lapwing, 80+ Canada Geese, 70 Shelduck, 2 Yellow Wagtails, single Raven and Peregrine. At least 300 Black-headed Gulls were roosting on the afternoon high tide at Severn Beach.

17th July
The Wood Sandpiper remained on Pilning Wetland where 12+ Little Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, a Common Sandpiper, 40+ Redshank, 30+ Lapwing, at least 300 Black-headed Gulls and a Yellow Wagtail were also seen.

                                                                                  Wood Sandpiper, Pilning Wetland 17.7.20

16th July
The Wood Sandpiper, 4 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, 7 Dunlin, 40 Linnets, a juvenile Redstart and 7 Ravens were reported from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area.

15th July
Combined reports from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area included the adult Wood Sandpiper, an adult and 3 juvenile Avocets, 4+ Little Ringed Plover, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 25+ Lapwing, 50+ Redshank, 5 Dunlin, 18 Oystercatchers, 20 Curlew, a Turnstone, 3 Little Egrets, 8 Canada Geese including 3 goslings, 9 Mute Swans (one cygnet), 80 Shelduck including 4 well grown ducklings, 2 Ravens and a flock of 80+ Goldfinches.

                                                               juvenile Lapwing, Pilning Wetland 15.7.20    

Breeding waders 2020

Following on from successful breeding of Lapwing and Little Ringed Plovers in the last 3 years and the first nesting attempt of Avocets in May 2018, I was optimistic for a good breeding year in 2020.

It was a pleasant surprise in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdown to find Avocets mating on 10th April. Over the next few weeks up to 4 nests were watched with one pair producing 3 young on 5th June and 2 additional freshly hatched chicks were discovered on 14th June but were not seen subsequently, presumed predated. On 7th July the 3 near full size juveniles were seen flying for the first time. This represents the first successful breeding of Avocets in South Gloucestershire/Avon.

Little Ringed Plovers were present on site from March and three nests were located including one pair that nested on a stony track (I notified the landowner and traffic a cone and a short detour were put in place for a month). During the incubation period it was nail biting to watch the local Magpies, Jackdaws and Crows getting close to the nests and only the distraction behaviour of the adults keeping the eggs safe. One brood of 4 chicks appeared on 30th May, all of which were seen to grow to full size and fly. Another 3 chicks hatched from another nest and were seen for 3 days before they disappeared into the grassy vegetation. The third nest, on the track, hatched at least 2 chicks but they moved into cover almost immediately and were not seen again. A surprise find; a fourth brood of 2 freshly hatched chicks were found on 18th July and a third chick appeared the following day..

A pair of Oystercatchers were observed incubating for 4 weeks but suddenly disappeared, presumed predated.

On 13th June, while checking the progress of the nesting Oystercatchers and Little Ringed Plover nest 2, I was surprised to observe a pair of displaying and mating Ringed Plover. After a while I watched one of the birds settle on what appeared to be a nest scrape. Over the next 2 days I saw the Ringed Plovers incubating but they left the area the same day as the Oystercatchers and were presumed to also have been predated as the nests were only 3 metres apart.

It was difficult to determine the exact number of Lapwing pairs and success. Between 8 and 10 pairs were present from early spring, three nests were located but with the constant predation by Corvids followed by repeat laying the first 3 Lapwing chicks were eventually seen on 9th June. At least 4 other broods of 2/3 young were seen, some being predated and others managing to seek cover of vegetation and reaching full size.

A pair of Redshank were seen on multiple visit in April, May, June and July and seemed to be protective of  a particular area of sedge but no nest or chicks were seen.

All in all a good year with 3 out of 6 breeding species being successful.

14th July
Sightings from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area involved a Sandwich Tern, a Wood Sandpiper, 9 Avocets (including 3 juveniles), 4 Black-tailed Godwits, 51 Redshank, 5+ Little Ringed Plover and 2 Kingfishers.

13th July
A Wood Sandpiper, at least 4 Avocets, 8+ Little Ringed Plover, 4 Black-tailed Godwits, a Common Sandpiper, 54 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, single Dunlin, Little Egret, Kingfisher, Peregrine and Kestrel were seen on Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland. Five Common Scoters were seen from New Passage drifting towards Severn Beach. Click on the Wood Sandpiper image below for a short Youtube video.

                                                                                   Wood Sandpiper, Pilning Wetland 13.7.20

                                                                          juvenile Little Ringed Plover, Pilning Wetland 13.7.20

12th July
Combined reports from Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland involved 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 240+ Black-headed Gulls, a Common Gull, 80+ Shelduck, a Teal, 8 adult and one Mute Swan cygnet, 3 Canada Geese goslings, one adult and 3 juvenile Avocets, single Common Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit, 5+ Little Ringed Plover, 50 Redshank and a Yellow Wagtail.

11th July
The usual Avocets, Little Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Shelduck flock and a Sparrowhawk were reported from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area.

10th July
Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included a Red Kite, 2 adult and 3 juvenile Avocets, 5 Little Ringed Plover, a Greenshank, 21 Redshank, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 18 Oystercatchers, 12 Curlew, 6 Dunlin, a Snipe, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Egrets, 80+ Shelduck, a Kestrel and a Yellow Wagtail.

9th July
The Wood Sandpiper, 8+ Little Ringed Plovers, 2 adult and 3 juvenile Avocets, 2 Common Sandpipers and 17 Black-tailed Godwits were reported from Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland. Another 2 Common Sandpipers, a Hobby, Peregrine and 3 Kestrels were seen at Aust Warth.

8th July
Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area involved a Wood Sandpiper, 6 Avocets, 10 Little Ringed Plovers, 13 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Common Sandpipers, a Whimbrel, 12 Oystercatchers, 23 Curlew, 30+ Lapwing with chicks, 23 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 2 Little Egrets, a Grey Heron, a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull, 80+ Shelduck, 3 Stock Doves, 4 Ravens, a Sparrowhawk and a juvenile Peregrine. A Hobby and 4 Kestrels were seen at Aust Warth.

7th July
A cool but less windy day. Morning reports from Pilning Wetland included an adult Mediterranean Gull, 3 adult Avocets plus 3 now flying juveniles, 9+ Little Ringed Plovers, 5 Black-tailed Godwits, 3 Common Sandpipers, 6 Dunlin, 10+ Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover, 20+ Lapwing plus 2 chicks, a Little Egret, 4 Grey Herons, 3 Canada Geese goslings, 3 Ravens and a hunting Hobby.

                                                                              Little Ringed Plover, Pilning Wetland 7.7.20

6th July
At least 5 Avocets, 6 Little Ringed Plover, 17 Dunlin, 25+ Lapwing, 4 Little Egrets, single Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper were reported from Pilning Wetland. Another Dunlin was seen at Severn Beach.

5th July
Another windy day. Combined reports from Severn Beach on the morning and evening tides included a female type Velvet Scoter, 2 Arctic Skuas. at least one Storm Petrel, 49 Manx Shearwaters, single Fulmar, Kittiwake and Raven. A Common Tern, 14 Dunlin, a Little Egret, the usual Avocets and Little Ringed Plovers were reported from Pilning Wetland this morning. A Crossbill was reported from New Passage.

4th July
A breezy day. The usual Avocets, 5+ Little Ringed Plovers, 16 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Green Sandpipers, 20 Redshank, 18 Dunlin, 26 Curlew, Lapwings with chicks and 240 Black-headed Gulls were reported from the Pilning Wetland area

3rd July
A windy day with rain showers. At least 300 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Little Egrets and a Curlew were seen at Severn Beach this morning. The usual 5 adult Avocets and chicks, 1+ Little Ringed Plover, 18 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Curlew, 12 Redshank, 13 Dunlin, a Ringed Plover and a Teal were reported from Pilning Wetland this morning.

2nd July
At least 10 adult Avocets plus 3 chicks, 51 Black-tailed Godwits, 6+ Little Ringed Plover, 28 Redshank, 5 Dunlin, 2 broods of Lapwing, single Green Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper were seen on Pilning Wetland.

1st July
A wet morning followed by a dry and sunny afternoon. Combined reports from Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland included a Mediterranean Gull, 120+ Shelduck, 38 Black-tailed Godwits, a Green Sandpiper, 1+ Ringed Plover, 15 Redshank, 2 Dunlin, 5+ Little Ringed Plovers, 5 adult Avocets plus 3 near full grown chicks, 25+ Lapwing, an impressive 12 Little Egrets, 3 Canada Geese goslings, one Mute Swan cygnet and 200+ Black-headed Gulls. A Little Egret and a  flock of 16 Black-tailed Godwits  flew over Severn Beach.