Saturday 13 September – Severn Beach.

On a somewhat chilly and rather overcast morning some fifteen club members met at Severn Beach for one of the leader’s near annual BOC / Severnside coastal walks. However, with the Severn Beach high tide wader roost having become less attractive to the smaller shorebirds in recent years it was decided that a walk north along the sea wall to New Passage and Northwick Warth would be appropriate as good numbers of wildfowl and waders had been frequenting this area in recent weeks. Before the group set off from the meeting point a few small shorebirds were seen on the incoming tide. These included some twenty five Ringed Plovers and two juvenile Curlew Sandpipers; the latter was a target species for the morning’s walk! On the journey a large party of over one hundred House Martins were seen swirling around over Severn Beach and Pied Wagtail were particularly numerous on the grassy bank behind the sea wall. Also, a couple of Wheatear gave fleeting views but not all of the party saw them. On arrival at New Passage the tide was reaching its full height and good numbers of birds were gathering on the salt marsh. The first species of note was a juvenile Ruff that was consorting with a small group of Redshank. The leader attempted to ensure that everyone had good views of this individual. Of interest, four juvenile Ruffs had been present in the area during the preceding week. For a few minutes hundreds of migrating hirundines descended and flew low over the tide line, presumably picking off insects disturbed from the grass by the advancing waters. A couple of Kestrels that were interacting with each other flew overhead and disappeared toward the recently established wetlands. Most of the participants then walked north along the sea wall in order to obtain better views of the small waders and other species present but the cold northerly winds caused a number of members to abandon the trek and headed back towards Severn Beach. However, most saw a Hobby that performed very well over the salt marsh before it too disappeared. As well as the numerous wildfowl and waders, good numbers of Meadow Pipits and a few Skylarks were present on the salt marsh, the former caused some debate due to their rather bright plumage. For those attendees that continued to brave the chilly wind, four juvenile Curlew Sandpipers and a juvenile Little Stint were eventually located amongst the Dunlin and Ringed Plover flock. One of the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper had a small yellow flag with black letters EEP on its right tibia and a red and a metal ring on its left leg; this bird was of Norwegian origin. (Details of the Curlew Sandpiper are set out at the end of this report). All in all the meeting proved to be quite productive if somewhat cold. (Many thanks to Brian for leading the walk.)

Brian reported the details of the ring on the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper and received the information that it had been ringed in Revtangen,Norway on 3rd September 2014 at 16.00hrs. Revtangen is 950kms from Severn Beach.