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This page brings you the latest bird and wildlife sightings from Chew Valley Lake (and occasionally elsewhere). Every effort is made to keep the information on this page accurate, but it's quite possible that the odd stringy record slips in every now and then.
No sign again of the Blue-winged Teal, but Stratford Bay still held the White-headed Duck and drake Ferruginous Duck.  Greenshank continue to be in good supply this autumn; at least 22 were present today. Other waders included five juvenile Little Ringed Plovers (Twycross - BK hide), eight Common Sandpipers, 17 Ringed Plover (the highest numbers since 1995!), eight Dunlin, the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper, one Green Sandpiper, three Ruff and six Black-tailed Godwits. Other birds included an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Garganey, a Pintail, a Water Rail (Heron's Green Bay), a Yellow Wagtail and a Whinchat (Heron's Green Pool).

SEVERNSIDE: The Beach boys' purple patch continues with a Wryneck at Northwick Warth today.
The juvenile White-headed Duck and the female Ruddy Shelduck were still in Stratford Bay today, as were a Curlew Sandpiper (the first of the year), 15 Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, two Common Sandpipers, seven Greenshank, five Ruff and a Swift.  The Egyptian Goose was on the spillway at Herriott's Bridge, and the female Blue-winged Teal was seen again with a Garganey at Herriott's End late this evening.

SEVERN BEACH: A juvenile Red-backed Shrike was found this morning - the first Avon record since 1988.
The White-headed Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Ring-necked Duck and Ruddy Shelduck remained in Stratford Bay.  Other birds included the Egyptian Goose on Herriott's Pool, five Black-tailed Godwits, eight Common Sandpipers, c.20 Greenshank, a Redshank and a Garganey.
Stratford Bay still held the White-headed, Ferruginous and Ring-necked Ducks; the Ruddy Shelduck, Egyptian Goose and Garganey also remained. Waders included four Little Ringed Plover, eleven Ringed Plover, four Dunlin, five Ruff, 14 Greenshank, two Green Sandpipers and at least one Common Sandpiper. Twenty Common Terns put in a brief appearance at 07:45 - only five remained through the day, but were later replaced by up to nine Black Terns and three Little Terns. Two late Swifts were also noteworthy.
The juvenile White-headed Duck was still in Stratford Bay all day, along with the Ruddy Shelduck and drake Ferruginous Duck.  There were four Black-tailed Godwits on Herriott's Pool, and five Ruff was the highest count of the autumn so far.  There were no reports either way of the Blue-winged Teal or Ring-necked Duck.

A Weasel was on the new breakwater at Nunnery Point this evening.
A juvenile/female White-headed Duck was found in Stratford Bay this afternoon (presumably the bird found at Slimbridge on the weekend); it joins the ever-increasing menagerie which still includes Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, Garganey and Goldeneye. And just to liven things up, a Spotted Crake was seen again in Stratford Bay this evening, this time at long range from the hide looking towards Herriott's End in the main reedbed opposite. Other birds seen today included c.30 Common Terns, a juvenile Arctic Tern, five Little Ringed Plover, 13 Ringed Plover, plus a few Greenshank, etc etc....

The first Red Underwing of the year has appeared at the 'traditional' site of the fisherman's hut at Stratford.
Little change again today - the Blue-winged Teal and one Garganey were still on the shore in front of Stratford hide, whilst the Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck were still in Stratford Bay.  During the day they can be distant, and tricky to find amongst nearly 3000 ducks, grebes and Coots; closest views are normally first thing in the morning looking south from Wick Green Point (before the haze builds up).  Waders today included an Oystercatcher, up to 13 Ringed Plover, two Little Ringed Plover, one Dunlin, four Black-tailed Godwits, ten Snipe, four Green Sandpipers, 13 Common Sandpipers and up to 12 Greenshank - the latter seem to be having their best passage at Chew since 1995.  Other birds included two Whinchats (Nunnery Point/Parkland), two Yellow-legged Gulls, the female Goldeneye and the (already flightless) Ruddy Shelduck.

Moths overnight included five Silver Ys, four Rush Veneers, one Small Mottled Willow and second brood examples of Peach Blossom and Eyed Hawk-moth.
The Blue-winged Teal, Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck were all still present in Stratford Bay today, along with two Wood Sandpipers, five Greenshank, the Ruddy Shelduck and a Wheatear.  Elsewhere, there were three Common Terns on the main lake, and the Egyptian Goose was on Herriott's Pool.

BLAGDON: An Osprey (presumably yesterdays Chew bird) was at Top End this morning.
Black-tailed Godwit  Limosa limosa islandica
Copyright Rich Andrews
Black-tailed Godwit  23rd August 2003
A good number of waders at the lake today (by recent standards at least - in the last few years we've struggled to see a single Greenshank all autumn!)  Up to 25 Common Sandpipers, three Dunlin, two Little Ringed Plovers, eight Ringed Plover, five Ruff, seven Greenshank, one Whimbrel, six Green Sandpipers, four Black-tailed Godwits and ten Snipe were seen on the wildfowl count today.  On the duck front, the Blue-winged Teal, Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck remained in Stratford Bay, along with the Ruddy Shelduck, ten Wigeon, one Goldeneye and one Garganey. Other birds included four Yellow-legged Gulls, four Great Black-backed Gulls, six Kingfishers and two Yellow Wagtails.  An Osprey was seen over Herriott's Pool in the afternoon.

Orthoptera:  A Long-winged Conehead at Nunnery Point was the first record for the lake.  Two Clouded Yellows were also seen there.
The Blue-winged Teal, Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck were again still in Stratford Bay, as were three Garganey and a Hobby. Other birds seen this evening from BK hide were single Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Ruff, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper and Greenshank, with six Common Sandpipers and four Yellow-legged Gulls (three adults, one juvenile).
The female Blue-winged Teal was again in Stratford Bay; the drake Ring-necked Duck is still present (today on Herriott's Pool).  Other birds included two Garganey, three Greenshank, six Common Sandpipers, six Green Sandpipers, nine Snipe, a Ruff and five Common Terns.  Another photo of the teal can be found on Paul Burrows' site here.
The Blue-winged Teal was still showing well in front of Stratford hide, along with two Garganey.  A Little Egret was seen briefly in Villice Bay; other birds included the Egyptian Goose (Denny), two Common Terns, four Dunlin, two Ringed Plover and at least one Greenshank.  There was no sign of the Spotted Crake this evening - the stretch of shoreline it was seen on seems to have dried up over the last day or so.
More of the same today - the Blue-winged Teal, Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck were all still present in Stratford Bay, along with two Garganey. The Spotted Crake was seen again in Stratford Bay this morning.
The weekend's wildfowl remained today; the Blue-winged Teal, Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck all remained in Stratford Bay, as did the tame Ruddy Shelduck.  Two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were on the main dam this evening, along with the sporadically-reappearing Egyptian Goose.  Three Greenshank and a Ruff were also reported.
An adult Spotted Crake put in a welcome, albeit expected appearance at Herriott's End (main reeds) this morning.  The female Blue-winged Teal was relocated in Stratford Bay this afternoon, along with the drake Ferruginous Duck. The Ruddy Shelduck was still present (main dam), whilst other birds included 18 Greenshank (a high count), one Black-tailed Godwit, two Green Sandpipers, three Common Sandpipers, seven Snipe, six Common Terns, a juvenile Little Gull and a Nuthatch.

The MV light was run overnight; highlights were Maiden's Blush, Eudonia pallida, Epermenia falciformis, ten Silver Ys, twelve Rush Veneers, one Plutella xylostella and two more Small Mottled Willows.  A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was also seen on the ringing station buddleia.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth  Macroglossum stellatarum
Copyright Rich Andrews Hummingbird Hawk-moth  17th August 2003
A little more weekend effort produced a creditable list of wildfowl this morning; starting with the drake Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck in Stratford Bay (from Sutton Wick). The Blue-winged Teal was still at BK hide first thing, but was flushed by a hot air balloon and was then later relocated at Twycross, along with a Garganey and a Ruddy Shelduck.  The teal was then on Herriott's Pool later in the evening.  There were a further three Garganey and three Wigeon in Stratford Bay, a female Goldeneye off Sutton Wick, and another Garganey on Herriott's Pool.  Waders were still a little thin on the ground - four Greenshank, three Snipe, seven Common Sandpipers, five Green Sandpipers, one Black-tailed Godwit and one Ruff.

Moths trapped overnight (actinic) included six Silver Y, one Rush Veneer, one Udea ferrugalis and one Small Mottled Willow (about time!).
Small Mottled Willow  Spodoptera exigua
Copyright Rich Andrews Small Mottled Willow  16th August 2003
The female Blue-winged Teal was still present on East Shore this evening.  Other birds included 14 Black-tailed Godwits, two Ruff, three Greenshank, five Garganey and a juvenile Marsh Harrier briefly in Stratford Bay this afternoon.
No sign of the Blue-winged Teal in Stratford Bay at first light, although the five Black Terns had been joined by a Common Tern and the first juvenile Little Gull of the autumn.  The Little Egret was again on Heron's Green Pool this morning.  A more thorough search this evening did finally produce the Blue-winged Teal on Moreton Point, although it quickly flew off into Stratford Bay, where one of the drake Ring-necked Ducks had reappeared.  Passage waders included at least eight Black-tailed Godwits, two Ruff (including an adult male), three Greenshank, two Little Ringed Plovers and a Snipe.  The Garganey 'flock' has now increased to four.

A Stoat was watched on the shoreline from Stratford hide this morning - there are few recent records of this species at Chew.
A Little Egret was on Heron's Green Pool first thing this morning, but a surprising find was a female Blue-winged Teal in front of Stratford hide this evening. On view for about ten minutes, it then walked out of view behind the island and wasn't seen again. There are four previous Chew records, the last of which was in September 1995. Other birds included (in Stratford Bay) three Garganey, two Greenshank, a Ruff, and five Black Terns off Nunnery Point.

Thanks to Gareth Jones for the photo.
Blue-winged Teal  Anas discors
Copyright Gareth Jones
Blue-winged Teal  12th August 2003
Little change from the weekend - a pleasant (though not exactly thrilling) selection of common passage waders included ten Black-tailed Godwits, four Dunlin, 13 Common Sandpipers, five Green Sandpipers, two Snipe and single Ringed Plover, Greenshank and Ruff.  Six Common Terns were new in, but peculiarity of the day was a leucistic juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Pictures of the bird are at Paul Burrows' site here.
There are now three Garganey in Stratford Bay, along with single Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Ruff and Snipe.  The Little Egret was again on Heron's Green Pool this morning; other birds included two Kingfishers, five Green Sandpipers, seven Common Sandpipers and the twelve Black-tailed Godwits still.

A couple of new moths for the Chew list were found this morning: Epermenia falciformis (two - actinic), and Depressaria daucella (inside the ringing hut at CVRS).
Two Garganey were in Stratford Bay this morning; other passage migrants around the lake included eleven Common Sandpipers, six Green Sandpipers, four Dunlin, one or two Greenshanks, and twelve Black-tailed Godwits on Herriott's Pool this evening.  Two adult Yellow-legged Gulls were again at Twycross Point, and a Tawny Owl was an unusual visitor to the feeder behind Stratford hide this evening.

There were still at least ten Painted Ladies in Villice Bay, along with a Clouded Yellow and loads of Silver Ys.
Clouded Yellow  Colias croceus
Copyright Rich Andrews
Clouded Yellow  9th August 2003
Painted Lady  Vanessa cardui
Copyright Rich Andrews
Painted Lady  9th August 2003
Less of the same today - one Common Tern, four Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers and one Garganey.

A Clouded Yellow was seen in Heron's Green Bay.
An encouraging sprinkling of passage waders today.  Ten Black-tailed Godwits were on Herriott's Pool, with one Oystercatcher, eight Dunlin, four Common Sandpipers, five Green Sandpipers and one Wood Sandpiper dotted around the muddy margins.  Other birds recorded were six Common Terns and two Yellow-legged Gulls.
First light, and only two Black Terns remained, although a scan from Sutton Wick did produce a juvenile Mediterranean Gull and the drake Ferruginous Duck.  The Little Egret was on Heron's Green Pool this morning.  (Of note there were six at Blagdon today).

In ideal conditions, an actinic moth trap on the east shore produced a respectable 200 moths of 48 species, including the first two Brown-veined Wainscots and August Thorns of the year, single Wax Moth and Limnaecia phragmitella.  An unfortunate Rosy Footman was found in a spiders' web at Woodford Lodge.
A very hot, humid August day - good conditions for Black Terns one would have thought.  And there were!  18 of them (all adults) had gathered by dark.  A Little Egret was also reported (but no location given).
Six Black Terns this morning were the first of the autumn; other birds seen were seven Common Terns (including the first juvenile), seven Common Sandpipers, three Green Sandpipers, one Wood Sandpiper, one Greenshank and a drake Tufted Duck x Pochard.
Extra weekend coverage produced a few more birds today.  Two Garganey in Stratford Bay were new in; other birds included the juvenile Wood Sandpiper, at least seven Common Sandpipers, four Green Sandpipers, single Redshank, Ringed Plover, Little Ringed Plover and Yellow-legged Gull, three Common Terns, and a Raven over No.1 Picnic Site.

The hot sunny weather produced hundreds of common butterflies on the uncut fleabane and knapweed around Villice Bay this afternoon, including the first of the summer brood of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Painted Ladies - at least a dozen of the latter were on the wing.  There were at least six Purple Hairstreaks showing well in the usual place by the B3114 (see July 12th), with a Clouded Yellow seen in flight there.
The Wood Sandpiper was still in Villice Bay, and a Spanish-ringed Sand Martin was controlled at CVRS.