March is a slightly better month than February, with a total of 161 species recorded during this month. Freezing conditions on inland lakes can produce some unusual wildfowl. As each day passes the expectation of an early spring migrant increases, Wheatears usually being seen by mid month along with Chiffchaffs, Sand Martins, possibly Little Ringed Plovers, Sandwich Tern or an early Garganey. Rarities have included Avocets, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls, Hen Harrier and Cetti’s Warbler (2003), Bearded Tit (2004), Great Grey Shrike (2004) and Red Kite (2005).
A quiet end to the month with a strong North East wind. A male Merlin was seen early this morning at Aust Warth. A dark-bellied Brent Goose and Pintail were reported from Chittening Warth. There were just 20 Shelduck and 50 Teal at Norhwick Warth. A visit to the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach produced just 3 Tufted Ducks and 4 Gadwall.
An early Sedge Warbler was found at Chittening Warth this morning where 3 Blackcaps and a Coot brood were present. A first winter Mediterranean Gull was reported from Aust Warth. The usual 45 Shelduck, 40 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 30 Curlew, 4 Redshank, 14 Pied Wagtails and a few singing Chiffchaffs were the only birds worth a mention from Northwick Warth in a cold North East wind.
A cooler and quieter day. Sightings from Northwick Warth included a male Wheatear, the female Merlin, a Raven, 18 Pied Wagtails, 40 Shelduck, 55 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 30 Curlew and a single Redshank. A pair of Tufted Ducks were seen on the river from Severn Beach.
The day was spoilt by fog until mid afternoon when there were a few interesting sightings. The female Merlin, a Raven, 7 House Martins, at least 40 Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, 10 Pied Wagtails, a White Wagtail, a Tree Pipit, 7 Snipe, 2 Tufted Ducks, 2 Shoveler, 40 Shelduck, 30 Teal and 25 Oystercatchers were all reported from Northwick Warth. A party of 18 dark-bellied Brent Geese and another 2 Swallows were seen from Severn Beach this evening.
Swallow, Northwick Warth 28.3.7
A male and a female Wheatear were seen at New Passage on a misty day. Reports from Northwick Warth included a calling Water Rail at the Grebe Pond, a female Merlin, 17 Redshank, 24 Curlew, 50 Teal, 26 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler and at least 5 Chiffchaffs. There were just 6 Dunlin and 5 Turnstones reported from Severn Beach and nearby there were 2 Jays at the Orchard Pools.
A warmer day today with the temperature passing 15°C. A male Wheatear and a Sand Martin were seen at Severn Beach where the only other reports were of a single Ringed Plover, 17 Turnstones and a small movement of Meadow Pipits. A female Merlin, 50 Shelduck and 50 Teal were seen at Northwick Warth.
It remains quiet nationally so there were no pleasant surprises here today. The only reports involved a steady but light passage of Meadow Pits again into the cold North wind, 2 singing Chiffchaffs, 6 Redwing and a Jay at Aust Warth. The dwindling duck flock remained off New Passage consisting of 45 Shelduck, 15 Teal and 2 Shoveler.
A steady passage of at least 80 Meadow Pipits in an hour heading into the cold North East wind at Severn Beach was a sign of some migration. Other than that just 12 Redshank, 60 Curlew, 20 Oystercatchers, 100 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler and 50 Teal were seen again in the Northwick Warth area. A Water Pipit and 3 Chiffchaffs were reported from Chittening Warth. Hopefully a sign of exciting birds to come, a Hoopoe was found a week ago just west of Bridgewater in Somerset. It showed well but distantly this afternoon on waste ground around some farm buildings.
Hoopoe, Knighton, Somerset 24.3.7
Things must improve soon with the warmer weather predicted to arrive in a few days. Sightings from Northwick Warth involved 32 Redshank, 28 Oystercatchers, 50 Turnstones, 2 Lapwings, single Snipe and Dunlin, 103 Shelduck, 50 Teal and 2 Shoveler. There were just 50 Curlew, 12 Oystercatchers and a Rock Pipit on the shore at Severn Beach and nearby, 6 Gadwall and 2 Chiffchaffs at the Orchard Pools.
It still remains quiet with cold weather delaying migrants. A visit to Northwick Warth produced 100 Shelduck, 8 Wigeon, 21 Oystercatchers and 7 Redshank. There were just 9 Redshank and 14 Oystercatchers on the shore at Severn Beach and nearby a Water Rail and a Chiffchaff were reported from the Orchard Pools.
A visit to Severn Beach shore for the 14.3 metre high tide produced a dark-bellied Brent Goose and a Water Pipit. A Water Rail was found nearby at the Orchard Pools. The goose was seen later from Chittening Warth where 50 Turnstones, 50 Curlew, 12 Oystercatchers and 2 Chiffchaffs and a Stonechat were also reported. Sightings from the Northwick Warth area included another Water Rail, 120 Shelduck, 40 Teal, 5 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 20 Oystercatchers, just 3 Redshank, 90 Curlew, 4 Buzzards, 4 Chiffchaffs and 11 Pied Wagtails.
A bitterly cold North wind limited coverage today. Just 26 Redshank, 20 Curlew, 100 Shelduck and 30 Teal were seen from New Passage before the single observer gave up and went home. A Raven was seen at Chittening Warth
Another cold and quiet day. Reports from New Passage involved just 90 Shelduck, 4 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 10 Oystercatchers and 40 Curlew. Two Tufted Ducks were seen on the Orchard Pools and 2 Chiffchaffs were the only notable sighting from the Sea Bank Pools at Chittening Warth.
An early morning visit to Severn Beach produced just 8 adult Kittiwakes and 90 Turnstones. There were still 20 Teal, 130 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler, 40 Redshank, 25 Oystercatchers and 50 Curlew at Northwick Warth. The evening tide at Severn Beach produced at least 30 Kiitiwakes, a Raven and 2 Ringed Plovers.
A quiet morning with just 28 Redshank, 22 Oystercatchers, 30 Curlew, 30 Shelduck, 30 Teal, 4 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, a Great Black-backed Gull and a few Chiffchaffs in the New Passage area. A West wind increased in strength during the afternoon producing a pair of Common Scoter, a second winter Mediterranean Gull, an adult Kittiwake, 60 Common Gulls, 4 Great Black-Backed Gulls along with 40 Shelduck and 25 Turnstones. A Peregrine was seen at Northwick Warth this afternoon.
The day got off to an excellent start when a Firecrest was found in a Severn Beach garden this morning. It was last seen moving through the railway hedge near the train station. Just 4 Redshank, 12 Oystercatchers, 3 Shoveler, 65 Shelduck, 48 Teal and a few Chiffchaffs were seen in the New Passage area. There were at least 30 Kittiwakes off Severn Beach on the late afternoon high tide.
A Little Egret, 2 Snipe, 12 Oystercatchers, 61 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 50 Shelduck and a Water Rail were seen on Northwick Warth. Nearby, 180 Turnstones, 15 Redshank, just 9 Dunlin and 3 Great Black-backed Gulls were seen from New Passage. A visit to the Orchard Pools at Severn Beach produced 8 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, a Tufted Duck and 2 Stock Doves.
A visit to Northwick Warth produced a male Merlin, 19 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, 60 Shelduck, 3 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Ducks and several Chiffchaffs.
A fine warm day (15°C) but little to report. There were 9 Knot and 20 Redshank at New Passage. A Peregrine, just 6 Dunlin, 2 Shoveler, 50 Shelduck and at least 6 Chiffchaffs (possibly including the Siberian Chiffchaff) were seen on Northwick Warth. Just 2 Ringed Plover, 90 Turnstones and 60 Shelduck were seen at Severn Beach.
Another quiet day with just 90 Turnstones, 21 Redshank, 30 Teal, 50 Shelduck and a Shoveler seen from New Passage. At least 3 Chiffchaffs were still in the hedge on Northwick Warth. Once again I was tempted away from Severnside and made the short trip to the Forest of Dean. A good selection of birds were seen in a few hours including a Great Grey Shrike, 2 Goshawks, 3 Crossbills, at least 3 Hawfinch, 2 Brambling, numerous Lesser Redpolls and Siskins and at least 15 Mandarin making the £5.10 toll to cross the Severn Bridge almost worthwhile.
Mandarin, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire 12.3.7
Another warm day with bright sunshine. The surprise find was a “Siberian” Chiffchaff in a hedge near the second sentry box on Northwick Warth. It was located by it’s distinctive piping peep call, very different to the call of a Chiffchaff. It showed well briefly but not as often as the other 4 Chiffchaffs present. The only other reports received were of 20 Redshank, 20 Oystercatchers, 60 Curlew, 50 Shelduck and 30 Teal from New Passage and a Kingfisher and 2 Stonechats at Chittening Warth.
“Siberian” Chiffchaff, Northwick Warth 11.3.7
A warm (14°C) but quiet day. Reports from Northwick Warth included a Grey Plover, 120 Turnstones, 90 Curlew, 2 Lapwing, 32 Redshank, just 6 Dunlin, a Snipe, 80 Shelduck, a Bar-headed Goose flying South and a Chiffchaff. Four pairs of Gadwall and a Little Grebe were seen on the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.
To relieve the boredom, a visit 20 miles north to Slimbridge WWT produced a good selection of birds including Glaucous Gull, Temminck’s Stint and Spotted Redshank.
Glaucous Gull, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire 10.3.7
Only the second Severnside record of Richard’s Pipit was reported this morning with Skylarks near the flash on Northwick Warth. After a few minutes it flew off North towards Aust Warth but could not be relocated. Other sightings from Northwick Warth included the male Merlin, a moribund adult Kittiwake hiding in the grass, 11 Snipe, just 3 Dunlin, 12 Redshank, 70 Shelduck, 2 Shoveler and a singing Chiffchaff.
At last the first sign of spring with a male Wheatear on Northwick Warth. The only other sightings here included 10 Redshank, just 8 Dunlin, 22 Oystercatchers, 80 Curlew, 70 Shelduck, 30 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 2 Tufted Ducks and 25 Common Gulls.
It remains quiet with 60 Dunlin, 80 Curlew, 20 Oystercatchers, just 2 Redshank, 70 Shelduck and 30 Wigeon from New Passage. Two Rock Pipits were seen at Severn Beach and the Water Rail was seen again at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth.
Sightings from New Passage included just 70 Dunlin, 42 Redshank, 40 Oystercatchers, 102 Curlew, a Snipe, 60 Shelduck, 70 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler and 38 Common Gulls. A Water Rail was present again at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth. At least 53 Pied Wagtails were counted in the flooded horse paddocks in Severn Beach.
Another wet day with just 42 Redshank, 100 Dunlin, 20 Oystercatchers, 62 Shelduck, 50 Wigeon, 4 Shoveler and 22 Common Gulls reported from New Passage. There were 40 Turnstones at Severn Beach and another 14 at Chittening Warth where 3 Stonechats were also seen.
Few reports were received on a windy and very wet day. Ten Snipe were seen around the Grebe Pond on Northwick Warth, 2 Peregrines and a Raven were seen at Chittening Warth and another Peregrine was seen at Aust Warth.
Another quiet day with just 300 Dunlin, 20 Redshank, 90 Curlew, 30 Shelduck, 120 Teal, 50 Wigeon and a Grey Wagtail reported from New Passage. The male Merlin appeared briefly on Aust Warth this afternoon and 2 Stonechats remained here. Just 35 Turnstones and 12 Oystercatchers were seen at Severn Beach.
Wheatear, Northwick Warth 8.3.7
Merlin, Aust Warth 3.3.7 © R. W. L. Bowerman
A day with few reports and little coverage due to the attraction of Cornwall. There were 54 Shelduck, 6 Shoveler, 50 Wigeon and 24 Oystercatchers from New Passage and another 30 Shelduck off Severn Beach.
I spent the afternoon in West Cornwall looking for a White-billed Diver that had been present in the Hayle estuary for most of the last week. The bird was found to be very obliging and showed at very close range. We were also lucky to see a Franklin’s Gull that roosted briefly on the estuary before it flew off inland.
White-billed Diver, Hayle, Cornwall 2.3.7
Franklin’s Gull, Lelant Station /Hayle, Cornwall
A quiet start to the month with just a Black-tailed Godwit, 34 Oystercatchers, 2 Redshank, 80 Shelduck, 5 Shoveler and 25 Teal reported from New Passage. A visit to the Sea Bank pools at Chittening Warth produced a Water Rail, a Chiffchaff and 30 Redwings. A Raven and another 40 Redwings were seen at Aust Warth. The drake Ring-necked Duck remained on the square roadside pool near Avonmouth Sewage Works.