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November is still a month worth looking for birds. It has a respectable total of 158 species recorded during the month with a few surprise birds. The most interesting include; Great Northern Diver (1984), Ring-necked Duck (2000), White-rumped Sandpiper (1998), Long-tailed Skua (1994), Woodlark, Shorelark, Snow Bunting, Lapland Bunting, the only records of Cory’s Shearwater (2000), Whooper Swan (1983) and Richard’s Pipit (1993).

November 2003

November 30th
A dry bright morning turning damp and overcast by the afternoon. A good thrash of the area produced 90 Oystercatchers, 120 Dunlin and 2 Stonechats at Severn Beach, with the Orchard pools producing the usual Little Grebe, a Chiffchaff and reasonable numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares. Another 2 Stonechats were seen at New Passage. The Wigeon flock on Northwick Warth had increased to at least 500 birds with 150 Dunlin, 60 Redshank and 120 Lapwings also present. There were 3 Stonechats at Aust Warth and a Peregrine was on the pylon again.

November 29th
A strong southerly wind made finding birds difficult. There were 2 Stonechats and a Merlin at Aust Warth and a flock of at least 20 Long-tailed Tits below Aust Cliff. On Northwick Warth at least 300 Wigeon were seen with 200 Dunlin and 30  Redshank. There were another 2 Stonechats on the sea wall at New Passage.

November 28th
A Water Rail was heard calling at Aust Cliff,  a Peregrine was on the Pylon, 2 Ravens, 2 Stonechats and 2 Bramblings were also present here. Northwick Warth was quiet with just 150 Dunlin, 65 Redshank, 120 Lapwings and 6 Snipe. There were 3 Rock Pipits at New Passage, a Blackcap at Severn Beach and 200 Dunlin off Chittening Warth.

November 27th
A reasonable selection of birds were seen today after a frosty night. At Aust Warth, at least 2 Bramblings were seen with a flock of 50 Chaffinches beneath the Cliff. A Peregrine was roosting on the large Pylon here and the two Stonechats remained near the road. There were 600 Dunlin on Northwick Warth along with 60 Redshank, 160 Lapwings and 20 Snipe. The adult Mediterranean Gull was seen here in the first field north of the rubbish tip. The Black Redstart was seen again at Severn Beach on the seawall near the burger bar. A Chiffchaff was seen at the Orchard Pools and 2 Blackcaps were present in a garden at New Passage. A Little Egret was reported flying from a drainage Rhine in the Terra Nitrogen works towards Severn Beach.

November 26th
A Woodlark flew north east along the seawall at Severn Beach, calling continuously last seen heading over the beach below the Second Crossing. A Black Redstart was on the concrete seawall opposite the shops. A flock of 30 Kittiwakes were present in windy conditions. An adult Mediterranean Gull was present at Northwick Warth with 300 Dunlin, 150 Lapwings a Grey Plover and a Peregrine also present. The 2 Stonechats were still at Aust Warth.

November 25th
An adult Yellow-legged Gull was present at Severn Beach. The female Merlin was at Northwick Warth with 200 Dunlin, 50 Redshank, 160 Lapwings, 350 Teal and 200 Wigeon. A drake Tufted Duck was seen off  New Passage and a female was on the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. Two Stonechats remained at Aust Warth.

November 24th
After an icy night. The Snow Bunting remained at New Passage. At Northwick Warth there was an influx of 800 Dunlin with 70 Redshank, 150 Lapwings and 10 Snipe also being seen. There were 2 Stonechats  along the sea wall at New Passage and another pair at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.

November 23rd
A biting cold north east wind produced the first Snow Bunting of the year, feeding on the beach at New Passage. Northwick Warth produced the female Merlin, 80 Redshank, just 20 Dunlin, 100 Lapwings, a Golden Plover, 350 Wigeon and a fly over pair of Goosander and 3 Bramblings. An adult Mediterranean Gull, Water Rail  and two pairs of Stonechats were seen at Aust Warth. A late afternoon walk beneath the concrete sea wall at Severn Beach produced a Black Redstart and 12 Ringed Plovers.

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                                                                                        Snow Bunting, New Passage 23.11.3

November 22nd
A wet day on Northwick Warth produced a Spotted Redshank amongst 80 Redshank, 100 Lapwings, 2 Snipe and  a walk around the“ grebe  pond” produced 5 Jack Snipe. A Kingfisher and 2 Chiffchaffs were present at New Passage. A drake Goldeneye was seen amongst the Wigeon flock at Aust Warth late afternoon. There were 8 Gadwall on the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. Another Jack Snipe was flushed at Aust Warth late afternoon.

November 21st
Another grey murky day. There was a movement of finches at first light over New Passage with Bramblings, Redpolls and Siskins all being seen in just a few minutes. The flock of at least 360 Wigeon remained on Northwick Warth with 25 Shelduck, 30 Redshank and a Raven. Two Stonechats remained at Aust Warth and another was at New Passage. Two Redpolls were seen at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.

November 20th
The Wigeon flock at Northwick Warth has increased to 365 birds. Other birds here included a female Merlin, just 12 Dunlin and 25 Shelducks. Three Blackcaps were together in a garden at New Passage and a Peregrine flushed all the gulls here. At Severn Beach there were 10 Ringed Plovers on the beach while the Orchard Pools held 5 Gadwall, single Little Grebe and Tufted Duck. At Aust Warth 4 Stonechats were present. Yesterday’s Caspian Gull could not be found despite searching. However  the “large Gulls” visiting New Passage vary greatly from day to day so it may still be in the area.

November 19th
An adult Caspian Gull, the first Severnside record, was an excellent find at New Passage this morning. It was pushed off by the rising tide and flew off south at 11.15. The same or another adult/near adult bird was reported present on the field just north of Northwick Warth tip at 1.40 this afternoon. It was very quiet  for other birds with 100 Lapwings, 45 Redshank and just 9 Dunlin at Northwick Warth. There were 2 Peregrines, 5 Ringed Plovers and 60 Oystercatchers  at Severn Beach. The 2 Stonechats remained at Aust Warth.

November 18th
Another murky day with drizzle, with less to report than yesterday. There were 300 Wigeon at Northwick Warth and nothing else except for a Peregrine eating a Lapwing. The 2 Stonechats remained at Aust Warth.

November 17th
A grey murky day produced very little of interest. At Northwick Warth there were 250 Lapwings, 50 Dunlin, 45 Redshank, 50 Turnstones and a Shoveler. Chittening Warth produced even less with just 120 Dunlin and 2 Rock Pipits. There were just 5 Ringed Plovers on Severn Beach.

November 16th
Another dry and bright day. Chittening Warth produced one Short-eared Owl, 500 Dunlin, 2 Water Rails, single Jack Snipe, Chiffchaff, 2 Stonechats and flyover Siskins, Brambling and Redpolls. An elusive Black Redstart was seen around the houses at New Passage. A Jack Snipe was flushed on the Grebe Pond at Northwick Warth, yesterdays Golden Plover remained with the flock of 200 Lapwings and 85 Redshank on the foreshore here. The Orchard Pools at Severn Beach produced 5 Gadwall, single Green Sandpiper and Little Grebe and the old orchard held good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfares.

                                                                                              Fieldfare, Severn Beach 16.11.3

November 15th
A sunny day with light wind produced some interesting birds. The most notable was a Lapland Bunting (last recorded in 1996) first seen on Northwick Warth, then later on Aust Warth before flying off over Aust Cliff. Other birds at Aust Warth included two Stonechats and a Water Rail. There were 300 Wigeon, 200 Lapwings, 60 Redshank, a Golden Plover and a Merlin at Northwick Warth. The Orchard Pools at Severn Beach had 6 Gadwall, single Little Grebe and Blackcap, at least 80 Redwings were feeding here in Hawthorns. At Chittening Warth, a Jack Snipe, Water Rail, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Short-eared Owls were seen late afternoon.

November 14th  
After a blustery night, a sea watch at Severn Beach produced a Diver Sp. seen three times in flight. It eventually flew high north over the bridge. Other seabirds included a Common Scoter and at least 80 Kittiwakes. At least one Brambling was present with a flock of Chaffinches on the rocky beach beneath the Second Crossing and a Peregrine flew south past here. A Green Sandpiper was seen at Chittening Warth. There were 250 Lapwings and 200 Turnstones at New Passage over the high tide. Two Stonechats remained at Aust Warth.

November 13th
An adult Yellow-legged Gull joined the adult Mediterranean Gull at New Passage. Other birds here included 250 Lapwings, 30 Dunlin and a Chiffchaff. There were three Stonechats at Severn Beach, the two Stonechats remained at Aust Warth where a Corn Bunting was also seen.

November 12th
The Mediterranean Gull remained at New Passage and Northwick Warth along with 250 Lapwings, 41 Common Redshanks and 160 Wigeon. There were still two Stonechats at Aust Warth and just four Ringed Plovers on Severn Beach.

November 11th
A grey damp day with the usual birds present. The adult Mediterranean Gull was at New Passage, 50 Dunlin, 200 Lapwings, 30 Redshank and 3 Shoveler remained  at Northwick Warth. There were 8 Ringed Plovers on Severn Beach, at the Orchard Pools there were 5 Gadwall, a pair of Blackcaps, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers feeding here on Teasels were an interesting sight. Two Stonechats and a Blackcap were seen at Old Passage.

November 10th
The female Merlin was still present at Northwick Warth and successfully caught a Dunlin. Other birds here included 200 Lapwings, 30 Redshank and three Shoveler. The adult Mediterranean Gull was near here at New Passage. Two Stonechats were still on Aust Warth and a Water Rail ran across the concrete causeway beneath Aust Cliff. There was a Black-tailed Godwit at Severn Beach with 150 Dunlin.

November 9th
This morning there were good numbers of birds visible from New Passage, including 20 Black-tailed Godwits, 150 Lapwings, 120 Dunlin, 30 Redshank, 180 Wigeon and 90 Teal. The female Merlin was on Northwick Warth and a Jack Snipe was seen here on the Grebe Pond. Two Stonechats remained on Aust Warth and another four were seen on Chittening Warth. There were plenty of Redwings and a few Fieldfares feeding on Hawthorn bushes everywhere.

November 8th  
A Peregrine and female Merlin were seen disturbing the roosting flock of 250 Dunlin, 80 Lapwings and 30 Common Redshanks early this morning. The Grebe Pond held a flock of 80 Teal, a Water Rail and a Tree Sparrow. The Mediterranean Gull and a Chiffchaff  were seen at New Passage. Five Gadwall and a Blackcap were seen at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. At Old Passage there were still four Stonechats and fly over birds included two Redpolls, a flock of 500 Woodpigeons and 10 grey Geese, most likely to be White-fronted Geese.

November 7th
The adult Mediterranean Gull reappeared at New Passage this morning, five Gadwall were seen here this afternoon. Four Stonechats remained at Aust Warth and there were 120 Dunlin and 80 Lapwings at Northwick Warth. Five Gadwall were still present on the Orchard, Pools at Severn Beach and a Chiffchaff was singing here in the warm dry weather. Once again the best local birds were away from Severnside today. Six Woodlarks were present in a field at Long Ashton. These were probably the first flock  to be seen on the ground, for over twenty years in the County of Avon. Although they did show well, they were very difficult to photograph as they crept through long grass.

                                                                             Woodlark, Long Ashton 7.11.3 © Gary Thoburn

November 6th
A slight improvement today with a Black Redstart being found on fence posts at Aust Warth with four Stonechats in the area. The female Merlin was present on Northwick Warth, with an increase in waders to  100 Lapwings, 45 Redshank, 75 Dunlin and 10 Black-tailed Godwits. Three Little Grebes swimming and diving in the estuary from New Passage were an unusual sight. At the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach there were 5 Gadwall and a Chiffchaff.

November 5th
It still remains very quiet with 2 Stonechats at Aust Warth and at least 20 Fieldfares flying over Aust Cliff. The female Merlin remained on Northwick Warth with 90 Lapwings, 30 Redshank and just thirty five Dunlin. A Rock Pipit was seen at New Passage.

November 4th
Another very quiet day made even worse by news of seabirds in Gloucestershire; a Little Auk yesterday,  just a few miles up river at Lydney, and a Leach’s Petrel today further up at Awre. They must have floated or flown past! At New Passage there were 30 Dunlin, a Rock Pipit a few Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and Redwings. The Lapwing flock on Northwick Warth increased to eighty five birds and there were 135 Wigeon here. At Chittening Warth, 170 Turnstones and 80 Oystercatchers remained. There were still 2 Stonechats at Aust Warth.

November 3rd
After strong overnight South West winds, it was disappointing that none of the expected seabirds could be found today, even though a good selection of species (including Little Auk and Sabine’s Gull) were seen further down the estuary in Somerset Waters. There were 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 65 Lapwings, single Grey Plover and Shoveler at Northwick Warth. At Chittening Warth, 180 Turnstones and 50 Dunlin were present.

November 2nd
A wet and blustery start produced 11 Kittiwakes from Chittening Warth. There were 160 Turnstones, single Rock Pipit, Stonechat and Kingfisher here as well. The Mediterranean Gull and a Black-tailed Godwit were seen at New Passage. The female Merlin was still on Northwick Warth and a Peregrine was at Severn Beach. Away from Severnside this afternoon, this first winter Spotted Sandpiper was a nice bird to see at Barrow Gurney tanks, to the south of Bristol. This is only the second Avon record. The previous record was at Chew Valley Lake in 1982.

                                                                                     Spotted Sandpiper, Barrow Gurney 2.11.3

November 1st
A dry bright start to the month with small numbers of migrants still flying over including 5 Bramblings, 4 Siskins, 2 Redpolls at New Passage and a Yellowhammer at Aust Warth. There were 9 Black-tailed Godwits, 40 Redshank, 30 Lapwings and a pair of Shoveler at New Passage. The female Merlin was seen on Northwick Warth. There were 180 Wigeon and 2 Stonechats at Aust Warth and a Little Egret flew inland over here. At least one Brambling remained in Willows around the pond at Old Passage. A visit to Severn Beach early afternoon produced a Grey Plover, 9 Ringed Plovers and a Stonechat.