click to go back to the CVL homepage
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.
Eight Bewick's Swans remained in Stratford Bay; the Bittern was again at Herriott's Pool at around 16:30 this afternoon.
Five Bewick's Swans were still present today (the original group of three seems to have moved on), whilst Goosanders have now increased to eight (two drakes).  Otherwise, three Black-tailed Godwits, two Snipe and c.20 Pintail were the best birds.
A Little Egret in Stratford Bay was new in today, as were a further five Bewick's Swans (the original group of three is still present). The Bittern was again in the NE corner of Herriott's Pool at 11:00 and at 15:30. Other birds included a Goosander and two Snipe.
A bit more effort today, and a few more birds as a result: A Barn Owl was seen hunting at the back of Heron's Green Pool at 09:30 this morning (reportedly there for a week); at least one Bearded Tit was heard calling from Herriott's Bridge, and the three Bewick's Swans are still present. Other birds included a Little Owl (Moreton Lane), a female Blackcap, a Peregrine, a Stonechat, 60 Fieldfares, 30 Redwings, twelve Siskins, one Dunlin, two Black-tailed Godwits, one Snipe, and at least six Cetti's Warblers heard calling around the lake. The Bittern again showed at Herriott's Bridge at 16:50.
The three Bewick's Swans were again on the East Shore this afternoon - other birds included a Peregrine, three Green Sandpipers and two Goosanders.
The three Bewick's Swans were still on the East Shore; otherwise interest was limited to a Bittern at Herriott's Pool this evening, in the 'usual' spot by the road in the NE corner.

An effort to fill in a few gaps in the lake's microlepidoptera list produced a few new species of Nepticulidae (leaf-miners), notably Ectoedemia rubivora - a bramble-feeding species which was new to the BRERC (Avon) area last October.

BRISTOL: The Yellow-browed Warbler is still present today in Clifton Wood.
Ectoedemia rubivora
Copyright Rich Andrews
Ectoedemia rubivora  25th October 2003
Bird of the day was a Yellowhammer (south over the dam); other birds included the three Bewick's Swans still, three Goosanders, two Stonechats (Heron's Green Pool), plus c.80 Fieldfares in the dam overflow and 80 Redwing.  Waders are still hanging on - 31 Snipe, nine Dunlin, nine Black-tailed Godwits and three Green Sandpipers.

BRISTOL: A Yellow-browed Warbler is in a small wood at the southern end of Clifton Down, at the junction of Bridge Valley Road and Ladies Mile (Fountain Hill).  Apparently since 15th!
Three adult Bewick's Swans in Spring Bay were a welcome sight this afternoon.  Formerly the second half of October could be almost relied upon to produce a few Bewick's, but the in the last few years there have been barely any at all during the autumn or winter.  Other birds included six Dunlin, and an adult Peregrine hunting over Twycross this afternoon.
The first two Goosanders of the winter were seen today - almost a month later than usual.  Waders included six Green Sandpipers, seven Black-tailed Godwits and three Dunlin.  Two Ravens were also reported.
A few more birds to report today - at least 85 Fieldfares moved through, and 20 Redwing were feeding on the Bittern Trail (along with single Chiffchaff and Marsh Tit).  Picnic Site No.2 also held two Redpolls.  Other birds included a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, a Raven, six Snipe, seven Dunlin and two Black-tailed Godwits.

A late Migrant Hawker was on the wing this afternoon at Hollow Brook.
More of the same.  Again.  Although there are still good numbers of birds around the lake (especially wildfowl), there are few species of real note.  Common Gulls are moving through in numbers now - a check of the roost also produced a single adult Mediterranean Gull this evening.  Goldeneye now number c.25; other birds today included single Peregrine and Dunlin.
A quiet day - in fact one Redshank and 13 Snipe were the only birds worth reporting.  Water levels seem to have have dropped noticeably since last weekend.
A Bearded Tit was in the main reedbed north of Herriott's Bridge this morning.
A bit more coverage produced a good selection of scarcities today.  A female/juvenile White-headed Duck reappeared in Stratford Bay (it seems to be in rather heavy tail-moult), see Paul Burrows' Nature Photography for a picture.  A Bearded Tit was heard at the unusual location of the East Shore this morning, and a Rock Pipit was seen in Villice Bay.  Waders were even harder to come by today - just eleven Snipe, three Green Sandpipers and one Golden Plover were recorded, although wildfowl are still present in good numbers - including 18 Pintail, two Goldeneye, a Scaup and the Egyptian Goose (but no Goosanders yet).  Passerine migrants included a handful of Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, as well as single Brambling and Redpoll, two Siskins and at least 27 Redwings.  Other birds were a Mediterranean Gull in the roost this evening, and (as if that wasn't exciting enough) a count of 139 Carrion Crows feeding around the margins of the lake today, including the bizarre white-winged individual still (see the link above).
Still fairly slow going.  The Black-necked Grebe was still in Stratford Bay, along with two Dunlin and five Ringed Plover.  17 Black-tailed Godwits, eleven Snipe and two Green Sandpipers completed the wader totals; hopefully we can expect a few Golden Plover this month with the water levels as they are.  An adult Mediterranean Gull, a Peregrine and a Kingfisher were the only other birds of note.

A colour-ringed juvenile intermedius Lesser Black-backed Gull seen at Twycross Point on 26th September has been traced to Søgne, Vest-Agder, at the southern tip of Norway.  It was ringed in the nest 69 days previously.  A Lesser Black-back seen today in Heron's Green Bay had been ringed in July 2001 on Flatholm (the third record of it from Chew this summer, and the first report of a Flatholm-ringed bird here in 15 years!)

With water levels so low, there have been many sightings of colour-ringed large gulls stood around the lake.  Most bear a two-letter code from the Bristol colonies, although a few are from further afield.  If you see any, please send the details to Pete Rock, the co-ordinator for large gull colour-ringing schemes.
A Sanderling today was an unusual record.
A slight improvement today - the Black-necked Grebe is still in Stratford Bay, as were two Grey Plovers - something of a rarity at Chew in recent years (they flew off north-west).  An adult Little Gull was also new in, whilst waders included eleven Black-tailed Godwits, eight Snipe, five Dunlin and single Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper.  25 House Martins were also seen.
Still no improvement - eight Black-tailed Godwits, two Green Sandpipers, two Pintail, ten House Martins, and single Water Rail, Peregrine and Yellow-legged Gull were the pick of todays birds.
Another quiet day - waders of note in Stratford Bay were one Ruff, one Black-tailed Godwit, four Dunlin and up to seven Ringed Plovers.
Single Knot and Spotted Redshank were new today; otherwise the main interest was provided by the Black-necked Grebe and a Stonechat.
The Pectoral Sandpiper was again in Stratford Bay, but was seen to leave the site.  The Black-necked Grebe remained, but other interesting birds were few - Peregrine, Whinchat (Heron's Green Pool), twelve Black-tailed Godwits, four Ruff and two Green Sandpipers.
A further decrease in numbers from the weekend.  One Pectoral Sandpiper remained in Stratford Bay, as did a single Black-necked Grebe.  Other birds included 18 Black-tailed Godwits, four Ruff, 15 Snipe, three Green Sandpipers, six Swallows, a juvenile Peregrine and the Egyptian Goose.  There has been no sign of the Spotted Crake all week.  No Greenshanks today, either.