Sunday 13 September – New Passage & Pilning Wetlands

Six of us met at New Passage on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, later joined by a seventh. We started watching on the Severn Estuary at high tide, soon seeing Herons, Turnstone and many Curlew, Godwits, Black-headed Gulls, Dunlin, Redshank and Oystercatchers, though they were mostly some way off. Along the pill and saltmarsh we saw flocks of Linnets and Starlings with lots of Goldfinches, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtails and one Grey Wagtail bobbing on the short grass. All around our heads were Swallows and House Martins (we looked for Sand Martins which have been migrating over, but found none), and from the embankment we saw a Kestrel and Little Egrets, and pools full of Canada Geese. We were encouraged to find one of the Yellow Wagtails seen here recently, by the promise of a bottle of wine to the first to spot one, and we did! – at some distance, but eventually we were confident it wasn’t a Grey but a bona fide Yellow busy following a cow munching its way across the marsh. At the end of the side lane we saw one fine Ruff close up in the shallow pools, and more Ruff and Snipe on the edge of the water further off, the latter showing their stripes well. On the return leg we saw and heard Chiffchaff, and had a wonderful sight in one small area of the embankment hedgerow of Stonechats, Wheatears, Whitethroats and Robin perching and flying within a few inches of each other. Back at the Estuary the tide had fallen, and we saw Wigeon, Teal, and many Redshank scurrying along the water’s edge, one or two Ringed Plover and more Turnstone hidden in the seaweed. We saw a total of 45 species, which didn’t even include common species such as Blackbird, Tits or Dunnock! Many thanks to Lois for leading this very enjoyable saunter along the coastline and to the knowledgeable birders who kindly shared their knowledge with us less-experienced folk!
Alison Pilling.