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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.
Autumn's here - it's official!  Two Greenshank, three Little Ringed Plovers, three Common Sandpipers and two Green Sandpipers were present this morning - a sure sign that return passage has begun.  The drake Ferruginous Duck was off Sutton Wick at 06:00, then moved back to Herriott's Pool by 07:00.  Other birds included Hobby (Stratford), Kingfisher (Bernard King hide), and a juvenile Black-headed Gull, the Egyptian Goose, and the reappearing female Mandarin (all at the main dam).

Non-avian sightings were two (adult and cub) Red Foxes at BK hide, and Marbled Whites are now on the wing in Villice Bay.
A little quieter than last weekend - amongst the few birds seen were the drake Ferruginous Duck on Herriott's Pool, and also a Hobby there.  Numbers of Black-headed Gulls are on the increase - there were over one hundred roosting on the lake tonight; the first juveniles should appear any day now.

The water levels are dropping early this year, and have even dropped a good few inches since last weekend - there's now a small patch of mud in front of Stratford hide.  Hopefully we'll get some birds this autumn!
The only birds reported today were a Hobby and two Green Sandpipers in Villice Bay.
One of the drake Ring-necked Ducks was still in Stratford Bay today; otherwise there were further signs of movement with c.30 Sand Martins moving south, and single Redshank and Green Sandpiper on Herriott's Pool.  A Cuckoo on Moreton Bank was noteworthy (this species, along with Willow Warbler has been virtually absent this year), whilst a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull was also on Herriott's Pool, along with a first-summer Common Gull.
A quieter day, with the Red-crested Pochard still present, along with one Common Tern, a Peregrine, and two Redshank on the main dam.
No sign of yeterday evening's Little Tern, though both Common Terns were still present at first light, the female Red-crested Pochard was still in Stratford Bay, with one Green Sandpiper on Herriott's Pool. A Kingfisher past Stratford hide was the first one seen at the lake for a while.  There was a definite Aythya theme today, with the Ferruginous Duck showing occasionally on Herriott's Pool, plus a 'fine' selection of hybrids on the lake, including two drake Pochard x Tufted Duck, a drake Pochard x Canvasback, and an apparent drake Pochard x Ferruginous Duck. Unfortunately the drake Ring-necked Ducks appear to have gone shy today.   Lake totals of eleven Greylags and 278 Gadwall are a sure sign that the autumn build-up has begun; numbers of Canada Geese, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Coot and Great Crested Grebe are already on the increase. Ruddy Shelduck anyone?

What was probably another first for Chew was found in front of Stratford hide this afternoon - a male Lesser Emperor. It was seen in flight a few times over a twenty minute period, but unfortunately the observer failed to see the insect well enough to be 100% certain.  Good numbers of Black-tailed Skimmers are also on the wing there now.

An actinic moth-trap left on the east shore overnight produced a much bigger catch than a similar effort last month; species of local note were two Dingy Shells, Pine Carpet, Dark Sword-grass (migrant), Southern Wainscot, and Silky Wainscot.
Drinker  Philudoria potatoria
Copyright Rich Andrews
Drinker larva - 22nd June 2003
The Great White Egret was still on Moreton Bank from 05:00 to 05:40 before flying off south over Herriott's Pool, where the drake Ferruginous Duck was still present.  Two Curlew, a Redshank and two Green Sandpipers were also seen early this morning. Otherwise, most of the action took place in the late evening: two Common Terns, a Little Tern and the female Red-crested Pochard were all off Sutton Wick, whilst at Herriott's, new broods of seven Shelduck and two Branacle Geese have appeared - both species appear to be having a good year at Chew.

A Ringlet at Sutton Wick was new for the year, as was a migrant Rush Veneer there.
After years of flaunting itself in every neighbouring county, Great White Egret finally made it onto the Avon list today.  Found outside Stratford hide this afternoon, it spent the rest of the day making itself unpopular with the local Grey Herons between Moreton hide and the trapping area.   Photos of the bird can be found at Severnside Birds here.  Meanwhile, a drake Ring-necked Duck was still in Stratford Bay, and a pair of Garganey were on Herriott's Pool, as was the reappearing drake Ferruginous Duck. Who said June was dull?
The two drake Ring-necked Ducks have once again located each other; both were in Stratford Bay this afternoon, along with the female Red-crested Pochard.  A first-summer Yellow-legged Gull, a Common Tern and a Curlew were the only other birds of note.
Another hot day, but with a few more birds seen - Redshank, Ring-necked Duck and Red-crested Pochard in Stratford Bay, and two Common Terns on the main lake.  The first Pochard broods have now emerged; one on Herriott's Pool and one by the main reedbed.

A late evening walk along the old road from Heron's Green to Villice produced a few moths of note - one Silver Y and the first three or four Plutella xylostella of the year, plus a remarkable 158 Yellow Shells (one every two metres!)
A hot, sunny day, with little to report bird-wise.  Six Teal and 32 Lapwing on Herriott's Pool were a notable increase on last week - looks like autumn passage has started already!  The three Shelduck broods on the pool are still more or less intact, whilst two broods of Barnacle Geese (two and three) has also appeared there.

A cursory boot through the meadows between Moreton Cottage and Moreton Bank produced the first few Meadow Browns and Six-spot Burnets of the year, as well as three Painted Ladies, one Red Admiral and two Silver Ys. Other moths of note were Dichrorampha alpinana, Bryotropha terella (both new for Chew) and Micropterix calthella.  A rather large Grass Snake was disturbed from the edge of the road near Moreton hide, and a Red Fox was the subject of a peculiar amount of interest to the Gadwall flock on Herriott's Pool.
The only bird reported today was a single drake Common Scoter - a typical June record.

Over 100 of the tortrix Bactra furfurana were found around small patch of spike-rush in Villice Bay - not uncommon on a national level, but there seems to be few records of this species locally.
The only birds recorded on a breif visit this evening were five Greylags and one singing House Sparrow.
Sunshine and showers with a stiff breeze - good conditions for Swifts if nothing else, and at least 3000 were over the lake this afternoon, along with a Hobby in Heron's Green Bay.  Other birds included a drake Ring-necked Duck on Herriott's Pool, an Oystercatcher in Stratford Bay, with one or two drake Tufted Duck x Pochard again (Stratford and Herriott's Pool).  There was no sign of the female Red-brested Pochard in Stratford Bay this afternoon.

One Painted Lady was on the wing at Nunnery Point.
Tufted Duck x Pochard   Aythya fuligula x Aythya ferina     Copyright Rich Andrews Tufted Duck x Pochard - 8th June 2003
A new bird for the year was a female Red-crested Pochard in Stratford Bay this evening - it had been at Blagdon on 5th, as had the drake Goldeneye, which also reappeared at Chew today.  Otherwise, the Egyptian Goose reappeared at No.1 Picnic site, and probably two drake Ring-necked Ducks were present this evening; one on Herriott's Pool and the other in Stratford Bay.  Continuing the wildfowl theme, the Gadwall flock on Herriott's has now increased to 137; other birds there this evening were five Shoveler, two Sand Martins, a second-summer Yellow-legged Gull, and a drake Tufted Duck x Pochard was in Stratford Bay.  There are now three Shelduck broods on Herriott's Pool - seven, seven and nine.
Encouraging news this morning was of a female Bearded Tit with a brood patch trapped at the ringing station.  This species has only bred once before, in 1991 - perhaps we can look forward to a repeat this year.  No sign of yesterdays Black-troated Diver, although the unseasonal form was maintained by a breif Dark-bellied Brent Goose on Herriott's Pool this afternoon.  The drake Ring-necked Duck was also on Herriott's Pool.

A Painted Lady (Stratford) and Silver Y (Villice) were the most interesting insects, although dozens of newly-emerged Glyphipterix thrasonella swarming around Juncus in Villice Bay were noteworthy.