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December is one of the quietest months with only 168 species recorded during the month. It can be a good month for wildfowl with the chance of Red-breasted Merganser and Goosander if inland waters freeze or some fly by Bewick’s Swans. A good selection of seabirds have occurred in December gales including Black-throated and Great Northern Divers, Leach’s Petrel, Little Auk, Grey Phalarope and Pomarine Skua. Other rarities have included a stunning male Desert Wheatear (2013), Eastern Yellow Wagtail (1993), Cattle Egret (2022), Green-winged Teal (2013), Egyptian Goose (2013, 2019), Glaucous Gull, Waxwing (2010) and in the winters of 1940 & 1941, Cirl Bunting.  

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Combined Species Total so far in 2023 = 188

my total so far = 177

6th December
Sunshine and cloud and a light South East breeze. Two White-fronted Geese were seen flying North East at 10.15 this morning from Aust Cliff/services. Combined reports from the Pilning Wetland/New Passage area included 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 260 Lapwings, 35 Redshank, 23 Curlew, 200 Dunlin, 3 Grey Herons, 55 Greylag Geese, 18 Canada Geese, 3 Mute Swans, 37 Shelduck, 310 Wigeon, 160 Teal, 45+ Shoveler, 15+ Gadwall and a Rock Pipit. Another 60 Curlew, 40 Redshank, 6 Oystercatchers, 80 Dunlin, 2 Turnstones, 50 Wigeon, 10 Shelduck, 6 Gadwall, a singing Cetti’s Warbler and a Rock Pipit were reported from Severn Beach.

5th December
A cool, grey day with a light North wind. Early morning reports from Aust Cliff/services included 6 Goosander heading up river, 3 Lapwing, 12 Fieldfares, 9 Siskins, single Peregrine and Brambling. A Knot, 180 Lapwings, 60 Redshank, 51 Curlew, 46 Turnstones, just 8 Dunlin, 3 Grey Herons, 53 Greylag Geese, 120 Canada Geese, a Pochard, 3 Tufted Duck, 3 Pintail, 65 Shelduck, 60 Shoveler, 25 Gadwall, 350 Wigeon, 375 Teal, 100 Mallard, single Kestrel, Grey Wagtail and Rock Pipit were reported from the Pilning Wetland/New Passage area. Combined reports from Severn Beach involved 200 Dunlin, 32 Curlew, 30 Oystercatchers, 12 Redshank, 7 Turnstones, 24 Shelduck, 40 Wigeon, 5 Gadwall (at the Orchard Pools), 2 Water Rails, single Kittiwake, Kingfisher, Stonechat and Grey Wagtail.

4th December
A miserable and very wet day. A very brief and wet high tide visit to the Pilning Wetland/New Passage area produced just 13 Curlew, 40 Lapwings, 50 Dunlin, 2 Grey Herons, 55 Greylag Geese, 62 Canada Geese, 11 Shelduck, 170 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, 130 Teal and 2 Tufted Duck.

3rd December
A warmer (7°C) but cloudy and wet day. The only reports from the Pilning Wetland/New Passage area included 69 Black-tailed Godwits, 1000+ Dunlin, 120 Lapwing, 12 Curlew, 20 Oystercatchers, 80 Redshank, 5 Grey Herons, 56 Greylag Geese, 150 Canada Geese, 21 Shelduck, 260 Wigeon, 230 Teal, 45+ Shoveler, 16 Gadwall, single Kestrel and Stonechat. Another 200 Dunlin, 15 Redshank, 11 Shelduck, 55 Wigeon, 40 Teal, a Gadwall, single Grey Wagtail and Rock Pipit were reported from a morning visit to Severn Beach.

2nd December
Another -2°C day with persistent icy fog and most of the freshwater pools covered with ice. Morning reports from Severn Beach included a Short-eared Owl, 15 Black-tailed Godwits, 9 Ringed Plover, 200 Dunlin, 25 Oystercatchers, 9 Redshank, single Snipe, Lapwing and Grey Heron, a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 2 Shelduck, 86 Wigeon, 48 Teal, 4 Stonechats, 3 Rock Pipits and a Cetti’s Warbler. Another 150 Black-tailed Godwits, 100 Dunlin, 2 Turnstones, 10 Lapwing, 7 Snipe, 10 Curlew, 23 Redshank, a Grey Heron, 24 Coots, 52 Greylag Geese, 103 Canada Geese, a Mute Swan, 5 Shelduck, 150 Wigeon, 110 Teal, 55 Shoveler, 35 Gadwall, a pair of Pintail, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Stonechats, single Peregrine and Sparrowhawk were reported in the Pilning Wetland/New Passage area in poor visibility. Early morning reports from Aust Cliff/services in dense fog involved 23 Dunlin, single Redshank and Snipe, 3 Teal, 3 Chiffchaff, single Pheasant, Grey Wagtail and Rock Pipit.

                                                                                    Stonechat, Pilning Wetland 2.12.23

1st December
An icy -2°C start to the day. A male Marsh Harrier, 230 Black-tailed Godwits, 1000 Dunlin, 140 Lapwings, 30 Oystercatchers, 20 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 2 Snipe, 2 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Herons, 55 Greylag Geese, 260 Canada Geese, 42 Shelduck, 550 Teal, 200 Wigeon, 50+ Shoveler, 12 Gadwall, a Tufted Duck and a Stonechat were seen in the Pilning Wetland/New Passage area. At least 200 Dunlin, 10 Redshank, 12 Curlew, 20 Shelduck, 60 Wigeon, 40 Teal, 2 Ravens, 4 Siskins and a Peregrine were seen at Severn Beach.

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