February is generally another quiet month with only a total of 148 species seen in past Februarys. Gales in this month have produced Storm and Leach’s Petrel, Pomarine Skua and all four records of Puffin. Other rarities seen include Ring-billed Gull (1987), Great Grey Shrike (1999,2000) and Cirl Bunting (1943).
Another cold frosty morning was disappointing, with none of the hoped for ducks from inland reservoirs. The best Northwick Warth could produce was a group of 4 Ravens heading south. At Severn Beach, a male Stonechat was seen on the salt marsh, the Black Redstart was relocated away from the disturbed sea wall in Beach Road, 4 Lesser Redpolls were present at the Orchard Pools and 2 Siskins joined Goldfinches on my garden feeders. Another 2 Siskins were present at New Passage.
Siskin and Goldfinch
Freezing temperatures overnight resulted in a Great Crested Grebe being seen off Northwick Warth this morning. Other birds here included a Merlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit and 14 Common Snipe. A Kingfisher was in the pill at New Passage. The salt marsh at Aust Warth produced a Stonechat and good numbers of Reed Buntings, 2 Ravens and 2 Siskins flew over here. The best that could be found at Chittening Warth was a Water Pipit, 11 Common Snipe and a Green Sandpiper. There was very little of interest at Severn Beach, with 70 Common Redshanks, 90 Oystercatchers and 500 Dunlin present on the late morning high tide, a male Stonechat was seen nearby at the Orchard Pools.
A cold morning with a light covering of snow that soon thawed. An influx of Golden Plovers was noted at Severn Beach, with 30 flying north and another 8 settled with Starlings on the grassy play area behind the burger hut. The Black Redstart was also seen here. Other birds at Severn Beach included 10 Ringed Plovers, a female Merlin, a male Stonechat and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits. A flock of at least 200 Turnstones roosted on the rocky beach at New Passage and 2 Grey Plovers were present on Northwick Warth.
A male Merlin and a Raven were both seen on Northwick Warth, the presumed same Merlin was later at Aust Warth. The Black Redstart was still on the sea wall at Severn Beach and 2 Lesser Redpolls were still at the Orchard Pools. Heavy snow fall in the afternoon stopped any further birding.
A third winter Yellow-legged Gull was seen on Northwick Warth along with 200 Dunlin, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Bar-tailed Godwit. An interesting record involved 4 Ravens together over New Passage. At Severn Beach, the Black Redstart remained faithful to the sea wall and 2 Lesser Redpolls were seen at the Orchard Pools.
Almost a repeat of yesterday; 200 Dunlin, a Black-tailed Godwit and a Pintail amongst 200 Wigeon at Northwick Warth, 800 Dunlin with 70 Common Redshanks at Chittening Warth. The Black Redstart was still on the sea wall behind the burger hut at Severn Beach.
The wind dropped today but finding birds was still difficult. A Black-tailed Godwit and 50 Turnstones were present at Northwick Warth and 2 Ravens flew over New Passage. At Severn Beach, the Black Redstart remained on the sea wall, a male Stonechat was seen on the foreshore and 4 Lesser Redpolls were present at the Orchard Pools. There were 800 Dunlin and 70 Common Redshanks at Chittening Warth.
There was no respite from the strong north east wind, but the appearance of an Avocet just south of Severn Beach, at New Pill, made being out in the cold worth while. Other birds seen at Severn Beach included a “fly by” summer plumaged Mediterranean Gull, a Water Pipit, a male Stonechat, the Black Redstart on the sea wall, 8 Lesser Redpolls and 2 Siskins at the Orchard Pools. A male Merlin was seen at both Chittening and Aust Warths. A Green Sandpiper was present at the Sea Bank Pools, a Raven was seen on Northwick Warth, while a Brambling was found in the mixed Chaffinch and Linnet flock at Old Passage.
The cold north east wind strengthened, producing a very raw day. The Black Redstart continued to show very well and sing in the shelter of the sea wall at Severn Beach. Other birds at Severn beach included 2 Ravens, 100 Dunlin, 5 Ringed Plovers and a Golden Plover. Another Golden Plover was seen at New Passage, another Raven and 2 Chiffchaffs were seen at Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth.
Another bitterly cold day with a moderate north east wind. At Severn Beach the Black Redstart was back on the sea wall, single Water Pipit, Rock Pipit, Stonechat and Raven were seen on the salt marsh, 2 Lesser Redpolls and a Green Sandpiper were present at the Orchard Pools, a drake Goosander flew north east. Waders seen here at high tide included 500 Dunlin and 5 Ringed Plovers. A visit to New Passage produced a Peregrine, 2 Ravens, a Black-tailed Godwit and Golden Plover with 30 Redshanks. Of interest, a fresh dead Black-headed Gull was found here wearing an Estonian ring.
A biting cold north east wind, both high tides in the hours of darkness resulted in the quietest day of the year so far. There were 150 Dunlin, 40 Turnstones and a Black-tailed Godwit at Northwick Warth, 2 Lesser Redpolls at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach and a Peregrine at Chittening Warth.
There were 200 Dunlin at Northwick Warth along with a Black-tailed Godwit and the usual Lapwing flock. Several visits to Severn Beach failed to produce the Black Redstart today, but it may have been disturbed by the many “half term” visitors. Two Peregrines were present at Chittening Warth.
Another quiet day. The female Merlin was seen again on Northwick Warth, with a Golden Plover,
4 Pochard and 2 Pintail also present there. At Severn Beach; 3 Rock Pipits were seen, the Black Redstart was still on the sea wall, 5 Tufted Ducks, 5 Gadwall, 6 Coot and a Little Grebe were seen nearby at the Orchard Pools.
A quieter day today, the best birds at Northwick Warth were 4 Pintail, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Golden Plover with the Lapwing flock and the female Merlin. There were another 2 Black-tailed Godwits, a Peregrine and the Black Redstart at Severn Beach. A visit to the Sea Bank Pools at Chittening Warth produced a Green Sandpiper. A total count of 116 Shelducks was made today.
The exceptional run of luck and good birds continued this morning when I found an adult Spoonbill at Northwick Warth. It was seen at distance, spending most of its time sleeping at the waters edge until forced to move by the rising tide. It was watched feeding shortly before it departed north to Slimbridge. This is only the third “patch” record, following birds in April and May 1998. The picture below is the best I could manage at ¾ mile range in the grey early morning light. Other birds at Northwick Warth included female Merlin, single Black-tailed Godwit and Golden Plover. At Severn Beach, the singing Black Redstart was still on the sea wall, a third year Yellow-legged Gull was roosting on a shingle island, a Water Pipit and 2 Rock Pipits were seen in the salt marsh and 4 Lesser Redpolls were present at the Orchard Pools. A visit to Chittening Warth produced 2 Ravens an 2 Peregrines and a pair of Pintail. A male Merlin was seen this afternoon at Aust Warth.
The first Little Egret of the year was seen on Northwick Warth this morning. Other birds here included a Merlin, 120 Turnstones, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Golden Plover, 2 Shovelers and a pair of Gadwall. A large flock of Fieldfares was present in the fields, several Skylarks were in song in the fine weather and a party of Long-tailed Tits showed well in the sea wall hedge. A Kingfisher was seen at New Passage. A pair of Canada Geese flew inland over Severn Beach and were relocated on the Orchard Pools, where 5 Lesser Redpolls and 2 Siskins were also seen. The Black Redstart was still on the Severn Beach sea wall and at least 5 Rock Pipits were seen in the salt marsh. There were 2 Ravens, a Green Sandpiper and a Stonechat at Chittening Warth this afternoon.
On Northwick Warth, there were 300 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Golden Plovers and 400 Lapwings. A male Merlin was hunting some of the singing Skylarks here. A Kingfisher was seen in the pill at New Passage. The Black Redstart remained on the sea wall at Severn Beach and there was a gathering of at least 60 Shelducks on the mud flats here. There were still 2 Ravens and 2 Chiffchaffs at the Sea Bank Pools, Chittening Warth.
A good assortment of birds today but none of the recent rarities could be found. The Black Redstart was still on the sea wall at Severn Beach where a male Merlin and 4 Rock Pipits were also seen. The Merlin was also seen at Northwick Warth where waders included 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, a Black-tailed Godwit and 400 Dunlin. Two Canada Geese off New Passage were the first record of the year. Birds seen at Chittening Warth included a Raven and 2 each of Peregrine, Chiffchaff and Lesser Redpoll. A Stonechat was present at Aust Warth.
Another thorough search at Chittening Warth failed to produce the shrike, but 2 Ravens, 2 Peregrines, a Lesser Redpoll were seen here with an unusual sight of a mouse, making the most of the warm weather snacking on dry rabbit droppings! The discovery of a Shorelark at Severn Beach late morning was a bonus. The bird gave excellent views on the salt marsh 150 metres north of the discharge pipes near two large tyres. Also at Severn Beach, the Black Redstart was still on the sea wall, 5 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Little Grebes and 4 Gadwall were seen at the Orchard Pools.
Sea Bank Power Station
The Shrike could not be found today at Chittening Warth but 2 Ravens were seen there. At Severn Beach an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen and the Black Redstart was in its usual spot, 5 Lesser Redpolls were seen nearby at the Orchard Pools. The 2 Bar-tailed Godwits were still on Northwick Warth with 400 Dunlin.
The Great Grey Shrike was still present this morning. It was seen to catch a Blue Tit in Hawthorns near Sea Bank Power station. Two Peregrines were also seen here. On Northwick Warth a good selection of birds included 2 Ruddy Shelducks with the small Shelduck flock, 500 Dunlin, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and a Black-Tailed Godwit. At Severn Beach, the Black Redstart remained on the sea wall, 2 Lesser Redpolls, 2 Siskins and a Green Sandpiper were seen at the Orchard Pools. Two Stonechats and a female Merlin were seen on Aust Warth.
After four weeks, the Great Grey Shrike reappeared in the scrub at Sea Bank Power Station, Chittening Warth. It was found late afternoon and watched until dusk. It attempted to catch a Greenfinch but just missed! This certainly livened up a cold day with a biting North West wind. The 2 Bar-tailed Godwits remained at Northwick Warth with usual flock of Lapwings, Wigeon and Teal. Notable birds at Severn Beach today included the Black Redstart on the sea wall, 60 Turnstones roosting here at high tide and a Green Sandpiper in a wet field.
A brief high tide visit to Severn Beach produced 100 Lapwings, 30 Turnstones and a Knot on the rocky beach near the second Crossing, the Black Redstart was still on the sea wall near the concrete slip way.
A Bar-tailed Godwit and Jack Snipe were seen at Northwick Warth and the first ever February record of Common Treecreeper was seen here near the Grebe pond. A Green Sandpiper and 3 Water Pipits were seen at Chittening Warth late afternoon.
At Severn Beach the Black Redstart was being very territorial, singing from rocks below the sea wall, and chasing off Pied Wagtails and Rock Pipits. The female Merlin was seen on Northwick Warth, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and a pair of Pintail were also seen here amongst the large flock of Wigeon and Teal. There were 2 Stonechats on Aust Warth.