Wintering waterfowl and waders in the Avon Valley

Avon Valleyby Lizzie Grayshon, Wetlands Research Assistant
Follow on Twitter: @WadersForReal

The Avon Valley floodplain holds both SPA and SSSI designations for wintering wildfowl and waders that include Bewick’s swans, Gadwall, Wigeon, White-fronted geese and Black-tailed godwits.

During the winter months the water meadows in the Avon Valley are often flooded and this creates favourable habitats for the wintering waterfowl.

My first visit to one of our hot-spot sites for 2016 was a little more challenging than the previous visits due to the higher level of water. Once I reached a good vantage point I was able to look through the mixture of over a thousand gulls to find a group of 84 Lapwing feeding in the softened mud.

Unfortunately they were too far away to search of any colour ringed individuals. Several Green Sandpipers were also scurrying around on the banks, due to the high water level I was unable to access the areas where last December I had seen both Common and Jack Snipe. However a little further down the valley I did flush several Common Snipe where there was a little less water.

Common Snipe

As for ducks there were two small flocks of Teal and Wigeon in the flood water along with a single Pintail. Over what would normally be water meadow, the water level was actually high enough to allow five Little Grebes to make short dives.


Hopefully the temperature will drop over the next couple of weeks and we will see more ducks coming in.

Support our Waders For Real Project

Lizzie is heavily involved in our Waders For Real Project, please support her and the team as they attempt to reverse the decline in breeding wader numbers in the Avon Valley.


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