Tuesday 29 December – Severn Beach

For the last Tuesday walk of the year a group of 31 set off from Severn Beach on a bright December morning. The good weather forecast and the opportunity of some exercise after the Christmas festivities ensured a high turnout! The estuary was at the top of the tide as we set off so we concentrated on the bushes and trees at the opposite side of the path to the estuary. We started with a flock of about 30 House Sparrows in one bush and quickly added Collared Dove, Carrion Crow, Robin and Magpie as well as a Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon and Stock Dove. There were flocks of Starlings of about 22 and 11 and 25 birds and we also saw Dunnock and Wren. Keeping an eye on the estuary gave us good numbers of Black-headed Gull and a couple of Curlews flying south west. We passed under the ‘new’ Severn Bridge and as we reached more open ground we saw eight Goldfinches) and 15 Meadow Pipits. Approaching Northwick Warth we had the nice sight of a flock of about 120 Lapwings (we saw another flock of about 240 birds later). We spent some time at the Warth as there was the usual variety of wetland birds and, of course, it gave us the chance to take our 11 am stop for a drink. There were very good numbers of birds around that included 59 Oystercatcher, 500 Widgeon, 28 Redshank, 24 Shelduck, 170 Dunlin, 155 Teal, 60 Shoveler and seven Gadwall. We also saw Mute Swan, Grey Heron and two Dark-bellied Brent Geese. At this point some of the group returned to Severn Beach. Those of us who carried on saw a Grey Wagtail and had excellent views of a Stonechat. Further sightings included Pochard, Pied Wagtail, Common Gull, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Little Grebe and some of the group saw a Reed Bunting. Thank you to David Body for agreeing to lead ‘at the last minute’ and to Nick Hawkridge for keeping his usual accurate bird list and we finished with a nice round total of 50 species. Mike Landen