SEVERNSIDE BIRDS



























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December is one of the quietest months with only 164 species recorded during the month. It can be a good month for wildfowl with the chance of Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander if inland waters freeze or some fly by Bewick’s Swans. A good selection of seabirds have occurred in December gales including Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, Leach’s Petrel, Little Auk, Grey Phalarope and Pomarine Skua. Other rarities have included a stunning male Desert Wheatear (2013), Green-winged Teal (2013), Egyptian Goose (2013, 2019), Glaucous Gull, Waxwing (2010) and in the winters of 1940 & 1941, Cirl Bunting.  

December 2020


31st December
A frosty -3°C morning with most of the wetland pools frozen. A morning visit to Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland produced 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 800 Dunlin, 90 Curlew, 140 Oystercatchers, 70 Redshank, 400+ Lapwing, 6 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Herons, a Water Rail, 55 Canada Geese, 350 Wigeon, 200+ Teal, 32 Shoveler, 18 Gadwall, 5 Tufted Ducks and 3 Stonechats, A female Snow Bunting, 3 Jack Snipe, 4 Snipe, 4 Stonechats, 6 Rock Pipits, single Peregrine and Raven were reported at Aust Warth.

30th December
A frosty, sunny morning with some of the wetland pools had a covering of ice. Combined reports from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area included a Merlin, 800 Dunlin, 90 Redshank, 80+ Curlew, 150 Oystercatchers, 400 Lapwing, a Snipe, 300+ Wigeon, 140 Teal, 30 Canada Geese, a Little Egret, 2 Grey Herons and 3 Stonechats. A male Blackcap was seen feeding in a Severn Beach garden.

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                                                        the view from New Passage towards Aust Ciff and Warth, 30.12.20

29th December
A flock of several thousand murmurating Starlings were seen over New Passage late afternoon.

28th December
A cold, grey and damp day with snow on the Welsh side of the estuary. Reports from the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area included a Merlin, 28 Canada Geese, 24 Gadwall, 30 Shoveler, 480 Wigeon, 180 Teal, 8 Tufted Duck, 230 Lapwings, 39 Oystercatchers, 63 Curlew, 82 Dunlin, 34 Snipe, 93 Redshank, 5 Grey Herons, a Little Egret, 2 Water Rails, single Kingfisher and Kestrel. A pair of Stonechats and at least 160 Dunlin were seen at Severn Beach.

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                                                                                       Merlin, Northwick Warth 28.12.20

27th December
A quiet day with just 100 Lapwing, 110 Curlew, 90 Dunlin and 60 Redshank reported from New Passage.

26th December
A increasingly breezy day with the leading edge of Storm Bella arriving. A Brief visit to Pilning Wetland produced just the usual, 130+ Teal, 8 Tufted Ducks and 250 Black-headed Gulls.  A Brent Goose was seen floating up river from Severn Beach late afternoon.

25th December
A crisp, bright and sunny day, the lull before the predicted arrival of Storm Bella. Combined reports from Northwck Warth/Pilning Wetland included 350+ Lapwing, a Little Egret, 130 Teal, 20 Shoveler, a Water Pipit (flew from 2nd sentry box pool on the wetland) a Chiffchaff and 2 Stonechats. A flock of 5,000-10,000 murmurating Starlings were seen over Northwick Warth before going to roost in the reed bed and in a garden at New Passage. Another flock of murmurating Starlings were seen over Severn Beach railway station.

24th December
A day with some sunshine at long last. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included 2 Water Pipits (on a grassy puddle on the wetland), a female Merlin, 300+ Lapwing, 85 Curlew, 40 Redshank, 100 Dunlin, 280 Wigeon, 140 Teal, 26 Shoveler, 4 Tufted Ducks, 185 Canada Geese, 2 Stonechats and a Kestrel.

23rd December
Yet another extremely wet day resulting in standing water in many fields and all the wetland pools approaching full. A brief visit to Pilning Wetland/New Passage produced at least 400 Lapwing, 70 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 20 Turnstones, a Little Egret, 400+ Wigeon, 120+ Teal, 30 Shoveler, 14 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Ducks and 2 Stonechats.

22nd December
Another dismal wet day. Combined reports from the the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included a Firecrest, single Merlin, Peregrine and Kestrel, 53 Canada Geese, 50 Shelduck, 26 Shoveler, 520+ Wigeon, 130 Teal, 17 Gadwall, 10 Tufted Ducks, 400 Lapwing, 97 Curlew, 80 Redshank, 90 Dunlin, 28+ Snipe, 2 Little Egrets and 2 Stonechats. At least 100 Turnstones, 200 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 40 Redshank, 20 Shelduck and 40 Wigeon were seen from the Severn Beach shore.

21st December
A dull and very wet day. A high tide visit to Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland produced an adult Mediterranean Gull, 400 Black-headed Gulls (commuting between flooded fields and the flash), 2 Avocets, 400 Lapwing, 70 Redshank, 70 Curlew, 30 Turnstones, 90 Dunlin, 60+ Shelduck, 30 Canada Geese, 400+ Wigeon, 90 Teal, 7 Gadwall, 9 Tufted Ducks, 8 Shoveler, 3 Grey Herons, 2 Water Rails, single Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. Another 20 Shelduck, 100+ Turnstones and 100+ Dunlin were seen at Severn Beach.

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                                                                              Mediterranean Gull, Northwick Warth 21.12.20

20th December
A wet and mainly grey day. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included 5 Avocets, 110 Dunlin, 160 Curlew, 350 Lapwing, 180 Oystercatchers, 100 Redshank, 12+ Snipe, 20 Turnstones, 500 Wigeon, 40 Shelduck, 90 Teal, 2 Pintail, 4 Tufted Duck, 3 Grey Herons, single Water Rail, Mediterranean Gull and Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Stonechats and a Peregrine.

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                                                                                         Stonechat, Pilning Wetland 20.12.20

19th December
The 5 Avocets were seen with the usual ducks and waders at Northwick Warth this morning.

18th December
A wet day with strong Southerly wind. A late morning visit to Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland produced the 5 Avocets and the usual, 60 Canada Geese, 60 Shelduck, 400+ Wigeon, 140 Teal, 10 Tufted Duck, 12 Gadwall, 14 Shoveler, 200 Dunlin, 200+ Oystercatchers, 260 Lapwing, 60 Redshank, 90 Curlew and 2 Snipe. A brief high tide sea watch at Severn Beach produced just 10 Dunlin and 20 Shelduck.

17th December
A quiet day with just the usual 250 Dunlin, 60 Redshank, 200+ Oystercatchers, 80 Curlew, 350+ Lapwing, single Little Egret, Water Rail and Raven reported from the Northwick Warth area.

16th December
A breezy and wet day.The 5 Avocets remained on Northwick Warth.

15th December
Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included 5 Avocets, 250+ Lapwing, 20 Golden Plover, 100 Curlew, 230 Oystercatchers, 70 Redshank, 200 Dunlin, a Little Egret, 30 Canada Geese, 12 Shelduck, 240 Wigeon, 12 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 70 Teal and 4 Tufted Ducks.

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                                                                                           Avocets, Northwick Warth 15.12.20

14th December
A brief, low tide visit to Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland produced 160 Canada Geese, 14 Shelduck, 250+ Wigeon, 110 Teal, 16 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 8 Tufted Ducks, 230 Oystercatchers, 250+ Lapwing, 90 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 120 Dunlin, 2 Snipe and a Grey Heron.

13th December
A wet day with no reports received.

12th December
An even quieter visit to Pilning Wetland produced 260 Lapwings, 120 Dunlin, 5 Tufted Ducks and 2 Stonechats.

11th December
A quiet day with just 260 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 12 Shelduck, 12 Shoveler, 10 Gadwall, 4 Tufted Duck, 4 Grey Herons, 260 Lapwing, 100 Dunlin, 90 Curlew, a Kestrel and 3 Stonechats seen on a brief visit to Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland. An afternoon high tide visit to the Severn Beach shore produced 17 Ringed Plover, 300 Dunlin, 50+ Turnstones, 40 Shelduck, 40 Wigeon, a hunting Peregrine and 2 Stonechats.

10th December
A damp, grey and gloomy day. A low tide visit to Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland produced 4 distant Avocets among the flock of 280 Wigeon on the tideline, 40+ Canada Geese, 50+ Teal, 14 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Duck, 250+ Lapwing, 40 Redshank, 180 Dunlin, 50 Curlew, a Little Egret, 2 calling Water Rails, a female Merlin eating prey and 2 Stonechats. A brief high tide visit to the shore at Severn Beach produced 7 Ringed Plover, 400 Dunlin, 30 Oystercatchers, 100+ Turnstones, 45+ Shelduck, 50 Wigeon, 2 drake Shoveler, 3 Grey Herons and 3 Stonechats.

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                                                                                   Avocets, Northwick Warth 10.12.20

9th December
An afternoon visit to Northwick Warth/Pilnig Wetland produced 80 Canada Geese, 250+ Wigeon, 45 Teal, 12 Shelduck, 12 Shoveler, 10+ Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck, a Little Egret, a Grey Heron, 250+ Lapwing, 200+ Dunlin, 50+ Curlew and 70 Redshank. At least 30 Shelduck, 50 Wigeon, 120 Dunlin, 7 Ringed Plover, 100 Turnstones, 3 Grey Heron and 3 Stonechats were seen from the Severn Beach shore.

8th December
A chilly but sunny day. Four mobile Whooper Swans were seen in flight from Severn Beach where other sightings included 2 Peregrine, 35 Shelduck, 80 Wigeon, 20 Curlew, 3 Grey Herons, 3 Stonechats and a Sparrowhawk. The 4 Whooper Swans were relocated on Pilning Wetland at Northwick Warth where other reports included 200+ Lapwing, 80 Redshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwits, 200+ Dunlin, 30 Curlew, 10 Snipe, a Little Egret, 200+ Wigeon, 60 Canada Geese, 4 Tufted Duck, 12 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, 8 Gadwall, single Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Cetti’s Warbler.

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                                                                              Whooper Swans, Pilning Wetland 8.12.20

7th December
A Short-eared Owl, a female Merlin, the usual waders and 4 newly arrived Pochard were reported from Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland. A male Blackcap was present in a Severn Beach garden.

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                                                                 Short-eared Owl, Northwick Warth 7.12.20 © Brian Thompson

6th December
Reports From the New Passage/Pilning Wetland area included a female Merlin, 50 Black-tailed Godwits, 160 Lapwing, 25 Oystercatchers, 260 Dunlin, 50 Redshank, 12 Curlew, 16 Snipe, 2 Turnstones, a Little Egret, 121 Canada Geese, 220 Wigeon, 6 Tufted Duck, 8 Shoveler and a Kestrel. A Jack Snipe was flushed on Aust Warth.

5th December
Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland area included a female Merlin, 50+ Black-tailed Godwits, 100 Oystercatchers, 80 Dunlin, 250 Lapwing, 40 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 60 Canada Geese, 30+ Shelduck, 250 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 12 Shoveler, 4 Tufted Duck and a Kestrel.

4th December
A Peregrine and female Merlin were seen on Northwick Warth and a Short-eared Owl, 2 Jack Snipe, 3 Snipe and a Snow Bunting were reported again from Aust Warth.

3rd December
A cold, wet day with no reports received.

2nd December
The usual 80+ Black-tailed Godwits, a Little Egret and mixed Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Wigeon flocks were seen from New Passage.

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                                                                                    Merlin, Northwick Warth 1.12.20

1st December
A bright and sunny morning. Combined reports from the Northwick Warth/Pilning Wetland included 2 Merlins (male & female), 2 Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, 180+ Black-tailed Godwits, 140 Lapwing, 1000 Dunlin, 30 Curlew, 2 Little Egrets, a Firecrest and a Cetti’s Warbler. A Snow Bunting, a Short-eared Owl, 3 Jack Snipe, 6 Snipe and a Stonechat were reported from Aust Warth.