April is the second most productive month of the year with a total of 185 species seen. A month when the last of the “winter” birds depart and the first “summer” birds arrive. Birds to expect are at least four Tern species, Skuas, “ sylvia” Warblers, Common Redstarts, Whinchats, Yellow Wagtails with the chance of Pied Flycatcher, Grasshopper Warbler, Wood Warbler and Hobby. Rarer sightings include; Slavonian Grebe (1989, 2000), Ring-necked Duck (1988), Sabine’s Gull (1990, 1992), Red-rumped Swallow (1988) and Willow Tit (1988).
A good start to the day involved 3 pale morph Pomarine Skuas flying up river past Chittening Warth where 2 Wheatears and a Cuckoo were also seen. A Tree Pipit flew over New Passage this morning. Later in the morning there were 5 Arctic Skuas settled on the river off Northwick Warth. An afternoon sea watch from Severn Beach in rain and murky conditions produced 120 Arctic Terns in addition to at least 280 “Commic Terns”.
The tern movement continued this morning with 140 “Commic Terns” at Chittening Warth with 38 Bar-tailed Godwits, 84 Dunlin and 7 Whimbrel also being seen here. The tern numbers increased during the afternoon with single flock of 700 birds off Severn Beach, with a Little Egret flying with them. The total for the day was in excess off 1000 birds. All of the birds that came close enough were identified as Arctic Terns and it is assumed most, if not all were this species, with no confirmed sighting of Common Tern. A bonus was the first 2 Little Terns of the year at Chittening Warth, 25 Kittiwakes and a Great Crested Grebe off Severn Beach. A male Redstart was present on a wire fence at Old Passage and the steady passage of Swifts continued.
The passage of Terns continued at Severn Beach with 120 Arctic Terns and another 300 “Commic” Terns being seen. There were 2 second summer plumaged Mediterranean Gulls displaying to each other at Chittening Warth, where a Whinchat, Cuckoo, 70 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Ringed Plovers, 40 Dunlin were also seen. The only notable birds at Northwick Warth were 3 Whimbrel and there was a steady passage of Swifts throughout the day.
There was a reasonable passage of Terns from Severn Beach, involving 50 Arctic Terns and another 120 “Commic” Terns at great distance. Other birds at Severn Beach included 19 Whimbrel, 2 Wheatears and a steady movement of at least 50 Swifts this morning. A Greenshank was seen in the Pill at New Passage, 9 Bar-tailed Godwits, 14 Whimbrel, 1 Curlew, a Lesser Whitethroat and 2 Wheatears were present nearby on Northwick Warth. Further south at Chittening Warth, notable birds included a male Whinchat, female Merlin, 3 Wheatears, 70 Bar-tailed Godwits and 2 Knot.
Migrants at Severn Beach today included the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year, a Wheatear and a Lesser Whitethroat. Waders here included 100 Dunlin and 32 Ringed Plovers. At Chittening Warth there were 2 Cuckoos, a Raven, 4 Wheatears, a Lesser Whitethroat, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, 4 Grey Plovers, 22 Whimbrel and 80 Bar-tailed Godwits. The female Merlin, 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Wheatears, a Whinchat, 9 Whimbrel and 26 Bar-tailed Godwits were seen on Northwick Warth.
An even warmer day (22°C) and the first 2 Reed Warblers of the year at Chittening Warth. A good selection of waders were seen between here and Severn Beach, 104 Bar-tailed Godwits, 2 Grey Plover, 2 Knot, 4 Whimbrel, 17 Ringed Plovers and 12 Dunlin. A Yellow Wagtail flew north here and there were 5 Wheatears on the foreshore. Lesser Whitethroats were heard singing at Severn Beach, Northwick and Aust Warth. Cuckoos were seen at Chittening Warth, New Passage and Aust Warth. A late Merlin was seen on Northwick Warth and the first 2 Swifts of year were seen over Severn Beach, early evening.
Merlin, Northwick Warth 25.4.4 © Chris Trott Bar-tailed Godwits, Severn Beach 25.4.4.
A very warm day (20°C). There were 2 parties of Redpoll at Severn Beach totalling 15 birds containing at least 2 Common Redpolls. Surprisingly these were only the second “patch” record. A male Whinchat and 2 Wheatears were seen on the foreshore here. A drake Common Scoter floated down river off New Passage. There were 4 Whimbrel, 3 Bar-tailed Godwits and a Black-tailed on Northwick Warth this afternoon. At dusk, there was a heavy passage of Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel low inland over Severn Beach Village with flocks totalling 200 birds in just 30 minutes being seen and heard.
Common Redpoll, Severn Beach 24.4.4 © J.P.Martin
The first Cuckoo of the year and 2 Wheatears were seen at Chittening Warth. A variety of birds were seen at Northwick Warth including 9 Whimbrel, single Little Egret, Common Tern, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Yellow Wagtail and Lesser Whitethroat. There were 2 White Wagtails at New Passage and another at Severn Beach.
A male Redstart was seen at Chittening Warth along with the Grasshopper Warbler and 3 Wheatears. The best birds to be found on Northwick Warth included a dark-bellied Brent Goose, a Lesser Whitethroat and 6 Wheatears. Notable waders today included 2 Common Sandpipers at New Passage, 16 Ringed Plovers and 2 Whimbrel at Severn Beach.
A Grasshopper Warbler remained at Chittening Warth along with a male Whinchat and a Yellow Wagtail. There were 2 Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Whimbrel on Northwick Warth, 16 Ringed Plovers roosted on Severn Beach.
There were 2 Grasshopper Warblers at Chittening Warth. The wader roost at Severn Beach held 24 Ringed Plovers. The only notable bird elsewhere was a Black-tailed Godwit on Northwick Warth.
Yesterdays Skua prediction was correct with 9 Pomarine Skuas being seen off Severn beach 08.20-9.15. Other birds seen today included a Wheatear and a female Redstart at Chittening Warth, single Stonechat and Lesser Whitethroat at Northwick Warth and another Wheatear at Severn Beach. The evening high tide at Severn Beach produced 70 Kittiwakes, single Sandwich Tern and Brent Goose.
Lower numbers of birds were seen this morning but still a good selection. There were at least 5 male Redstarts, (2 Aust Warth, 2 Northwick Warth, 1 Severn Beach), 2 Grasshopper Warblers were heard (Aust Warth and New Passage). Whinchats were seen at Severn Beach and Northwick Warth, Tree Pipits at Aust Warth and Chittening Warth. A Whitethroat was singing at Severn Beach and at least 20 Wheatears remained in the area. A Little Egret was seen on Northwick Warth. Waders seen this morning included 4 Common Sandpipers and 2 Whimbrel. Good numbers of Skuas were reported from the Somerset coast, further down the channel, some might be seen here in the morning....
Whinchat and Redstart, Northwick Warth 18.4.4
A morning visit produced 3 Arctic Skuas, Short-eared Owl, Grasshopper Warbler, 2+ Sedge Warblers, Whitethroat at Chittening Warth. Further up the estuary at Severn Beach there were 9 Common Scoters, 3 Wheatears, a Tree Pipit and another Grasshopper Warbler. There was yet another Grasshopper Warbler at New Passage with 6 Common Sandpipers and 2 Great Crested Grebes here. Nearby on Northwick Warth there were 30 Wheatears, 2 male Redstarts, single Little Ringed Plover, Lesser Whitethroat and Little Egret. An afternoon visit to Chittening Warth produced a male Pied Flycatcher at Sea Bank Pools, another 8 Wheatears and 2 Common Sandpipers at Stupp Pill. Severn Beach produced 34 Ringed Plovers, a female Eider, at least 70 Kittiwakes, a first winter Little Gull and 120 “fly by ”Whimbrel on the evening tide. Generally today, there were good numbers of singing Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers and a steady passage of Swallows throughout the area.
Short-eared Owl, Chittening Warth 17.4.4 © Gary Thoburn
The first Common Whitethroat of the year was singing at Chittening Warth this morning and the first Common Sandpipers including 3 in the pill at New Passage and 2 at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. At least 60 Wheatears were present today, including 30 together at Severn Beach and another 21 on Northwick Warth. Other birds at Severn Beach included 24 Ringed Plovers and 30 Turnstones. At Northwick Warth, there were 6 Whimbrel, a Yellow Wagtail and a steady passage of Swallows, Sand Martins and House Martins.
The first House Martins of the year involved 6 with 20 Sand Martins over Northwick Warth. A flock of 20 Whimbrel flew upriver on the afternoon tide with 3 Bar-tailed Godwits. There were 5 Wheatears at Chittening Warth and at least 10 different Willow Warblers were singing on the “patch” today.
At Northwick Warth, a drake Garganey was on the Grebe Pond, a Red- legged Partridge was seen walking along the sea wall towards Aust. Other birds here included 5 Wheatears and a Willow Warbler. At Severn Beach, 3 Arctic Skuas, a Great Crested Grebe were present offshore, 4 Whimbrel were present on the beach and another Wheatear and 3 Willow Warblers were seen.
Garganey, Northwick Warth 14.4.4
Two Pomarine Skuas (adult and sub adult) were watched from Chittening Warth. A Little Egret was also seen here. A group of 7 Common Terns flew over the Second Severn Crossing at Severn Beach. Migrants seen elsewhere on the patch included 4 Willow Warblers and 4 Wheatears.
A fine spring morning produced a “reeling” Grasshopper Warbler, a Willow Warbler, a fly over Yellow Wagtail and a small movement of Sand Martins and Swallows at Chittening Warth. Other Willow Warblers were singing at Severn Beach and Northwick Warth. A flock of 30 Kittiwakes were seen off Severn Beach early afternoon. A total of 14 Wheatears were seen in the area today and there were Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs singing everywhere.
Grasshopper Warbler, Chittening Warth 12.4.4
Little to report than an obliging Water Pipit on the rocky beach just south of the Second Crossing, Severn Beach. A Tree Pipit flew over north east here. There were 5 Sand Martins and 1 Swallow at Northwick Warth.
Water Pipit, Severn Beach 11.4.4
Very little excitement today until a female Ring Ouzel was found at Chittening Warth late afternoon, eventually showing to the small group of birders present. A Willow Warbler was also singing here and at least 20 Swallows flew past. A Water Pipit, Common Snipe and 7 Lesser Redpolls were seen at Severn Beach. A Merlin was present on Northwick Warth.
A slight improvement this morning in fine weather. The first Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit of the year were both seen and heard flying over New Passage. A Brambling flew north over Northwick Warth where 2 Little Egrets, a Common Snipe and Grey Plover were also seen. A new Willow Warbler was singing at Chittening Warth and at least 14 Swallows were seen in the area.
No better today, with just 2 Swallows at Northwick Warth and another at Chittening Warth. When I am forced to report Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker and 2 Tufted Ducks at the Orchard pools you can see how quiet it really is!
The spring migration seems to have almost stopped at the moment. The only birds of note were 12 Lesser Redpolls at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach and a single male Wheatear on Northwick Warth.
A cold North West wind seems to have slowed down migration. A total of 4 Swallows and 3 Sand Martins were seen this morning. A Green Sandpiper was present at Chittening Warth. At New Passage, a female Merlin chased a Turnstone low over water, 200 yards from the shore. The wader just escaped this raptor to be snatched from the air by a Peregrine! A first winter plumage Mediterranean Gull was also seen here. A single Willow Warbler remained at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach.
At Severn Beach in less wind, a Fulmar flew down the sea wall this morning, just 6 Kittiwakes and 2 Little Gulls were seen this evening. A partially oiled dead adult Gannet was found on rocks near the Second Crossing. Nine Ringed Plovers roosted on the beach. The Little Ringed Plover was seen again today. A female Ruddy Shelduck was seen off Chittening Warth and there were 2 Swallows at New Passage.
A night of torrential rain and gusty winds resulted in some interesting sea birds from Chittening Warth and Severn Beach. The best birds by far were 3 “spooned” pale morph Pomarine Skuas that repeatedly flew past Severn Beach for several hours late afternoon. At least 7 Arctic Skuas were seen including 3 this morning that eventually passed very high over the Second Severn Crossing. Other sea birds included 300 Kittiwakes, single first winter Little Gull, first winter Mediterranean Gull, Fulmar, Common Tern and drake Common Scoter. Other birds of interest included a Water Rail and Swallow at Chittening Warth. The Black Redstart was relocated on the sea wall at Severn Beach at the southern end near the “Pipits Court” flats. A Raven flew south past here and a Willow Warbler was singing again at the Orchard Pools. A male Little Ringed Plover was found mid afternoon.
Little Ringed Plover 4.4.4.
An early morning visit to New Passage produced 3 Sand Martins, 2 White Wagtails and a male Sparrowhawk. The female Merlin was present again on Northwick Warth and there were many singing Chiffchaffs in the area. An early male Redstart was found at Chittening Warth and also the first Willow Warbler of the year was present at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. A flock of 80 Kittiwakes were seen just before high tide this evening and at least 5 Swallows were seen in the area today.
There was no improvement in the quality of birds today despite fine settled weather. A Sand Martin, 2 Blackcaps, 6 Ringed Plovers and 15 Turnstones were the only birds worth a mention.
A quiet start to the month with 3 Sand Martins and a Canada Goose at the Orchard Pools, Severn Beach. A female Merlin and Little Egret were seen on Northwick Warth. There were Chiffchaffs in song almost everywhere.