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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. Click here for the logbook index
on 26.09.2003
Only one Pectoral Sandpiper could be found today; other waders included two Dunlin, three Ringed Plover, three Black-tailed Godwits, four Ruff, four Green Sandpipers and three Greenshank. The Spotted Crake remained, as did one Black-necked Grebe and the Greater Scaup in Stratford Bay. The only new birds in were single juvenile Arctic and Black Terns.

SEVERNSIDE:  The juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper was still present at at Northwick Warth today.
The two Pectoral Sandpipers were again in Stratford Bay, but were flushed by a Peregrine this afternoon.  The decline in wader numbers continues; nine Black-tailed Godwits, four Ruff, nine Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, two Greenshanks, five Dunlin and four Ringed Plover were seen today. Other birds included at least one Raven, a Hobby, a Garganey (Heron's Green Bay) a drake Tufted Duck x Pochard and the first Siskin of the autumn. The Spotted Crake and at least four Water Rails were still on Heron's Green Pool.

SEVERNSIDE:  A welcome visitor today was a juvenile Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Northwick Warth.  Photos are at Severnside Birds.
Both Pectoral Sandpipers were still on the shore to the right of Stratford hide this afternoon.  Other waders included five Dunlin, four Ringed Plover, one Little Stint, five Ruff, 57 Snipe, three Black-tailed Godwits, five Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper and just three Greenshanks. The Spotted Crake was again at the southern end of Heron's Green Pool, along with at least three Water Rails. Wildfowl included 18 Pintail, one Garganey (Heron's Green Bay) and the Egyptian Goose, which today was on the lawn at Woodford Lodge. Other birds included three Yellow-legged Gulls (two adults and a juvenile) and two Kingfishers; one of which was fishing from the pontoons at Woodford Bank.
Water levels
For those of you who haven't had time/haven't been able/can't be arsed to visit the lake just lately, the lake is now 59% full (compared to 77% this time last year).  The tree stumps on Little Denny are just beginning to appear, and there are large fringes of mud down the East shore and at Herriott's End. The picture to the right is the view from Stratford hide this afternoon.

If you look very carefully you might be able to see two Pec Sands behind the green tump in the left of the picture. Possibly.
Stratford Bay
Copyright Rich Andrews
Stratford Bay  26th September 2003
Little news today, other than that the two Pectoral Sandpipers were still present this evening in the usual spot.
The two Pectoral Sandpipers managed to locate each other today - unfortunately they are both now largely out of view in front of Stratford hide! The Spotted Crake was reliable as ever on Heron's Green Pool, along with five Water Rails. The two Black-necked Grebes were still in Stratford Bay, along with a Little Gull.
Surprise of the day (or not) was the discovery of a second Pectoral Sandpiper in Stratford Bay this afternoon. The original bird was still being elusive as ever behind the mound in front of the hide, whilst the second bird was feeding with Snipe around Stratford Island (although it was briefly in front of the hide). Otherwise, wader numbers appear to have dropped since the weekend, although there are still loads of Snipe present. The Ring-necked Duck was in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon (roosting on the old road), and the Spotted Crake was reported again on Heron's Green Pool this morning. Other birds included two Garganey (Stratford and Heron's Green Bay) and a Wheatear (Stratford Islands).
Pectoral Sandpiper  Calidris melanotos
Copyright Rich Andrews
Pectoral Sandpiper  23rd September 2003
The juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was being its usual elusive self again today, spending nearly all day behind the tump in front of Stratford hide.  There were still two Little Stints, two Ringed Plover and a Dunlin with it. The eclipse drake Ring-necked Duck showed well in front of Moreton hide this afternoon, and the Spotted Crake was again on Heron's Green Pool. Other birds included the four Garganey still, six Common Terns, nine Green Sandpipers (all in Heron's Green Bay), two Wheatears (Stratford Bay), a Spotted Flycatcher (Main Dam overspill) and the Ruddy Shelduck (Denny).
Highlight today was a flock of five dark-morph Arctic Skuas (two adults and three juveniles - a site record) that appeared over Stratford Bay at 15:10. They flew straight over and headed off high west towards Blagdon.  Meanwhile, the Spotted Crake was still on Heron's Green Pool, along with at least three Water Rails, five Green Sandpipers and one Garganey. The Pectoral Sandpiper was still present, again, virtually always out of view in front of Stratford hide. Other birds there included four Little Stints, two Dunlin, two (or four) Ringed Plover, two Ruff, six Black-tailed Godwits, two Garganey (with another in Heron's Green Bay), two juvenile Black-necked Grebes and a juvenile Hobby. The drake Ring-necked Duck and juvenile Scaup were both still present with the Aythya flock; unfortunately there was a lot of disturbance so the birds were rather mobile. A Wheatear in Spring Bay was the only other bird of note. Finally, well done to Messrs Vinicombe and Higgins who recorded a total of 8235 wildfowl on the duck count today.

A Hummingbird Hawk-moth was seen at Herriott's today.

BLAGDON:  The juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was again at Top End today

WESTON-SUPER-MARE SF:  Another Pectoral Sandpiper was found on the UV pools this morning.  Also four Short-eared Owls in the area.
The Pectoral Sandpiper was still present in Stratford Bay today, altough it's spending most of its time behind the vegetated mound to the right of the hide. And is therefore a little tricky to see. The Spotted Crake, however, is still showing well on Heron's Green Pool, along with at least six Water Rails. The falling water levels have now dropped sufficiently over the Roman Shallows to attract a huge flock of feeding Coot to the centre of the lake, along with most of the lakes Gadwall and Wigeon. The equally large Tufted Duck flock was also roosting here today; amongst them were the drake Ring-necked Duck still, and an early juvenile Scaup.  Waders were again in good supply; lake totals today were: 55 Snipe, 16 Greenshank, one Redshank, c.150 Lapwing, four Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, at least four Black-tailed Godwits, six Ruff, five Ringed Plover, two Dunlin and one Little Stint.  Wildfowl included four or five Garganey, one Goldeneye, eight Pintail, one Ruddy Shelduck (Denny) and one Egyptian Goose. Also today were two Black-necked Grebes (Stratford Bay/Roman Shallows), one Wheatear (Denny), and a Raven - the latter, unusually, was on Moreton Point (most are fly-overs).

Other wildlife:  A late female Black-tailed Skimmer was in Stratford Bay, and Spurge-laurel was found growing behind the Sailing Club today - the first Chew record.

BLAGDON:  The juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was still at Top End, with two Wood Sandpipers, a Whimbrel and sundry other passage waders and wildfowl.

KEYNSHAM:  The juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was seen again this morning in Handel Road.
Chew finally received it's share of the Pectoral Sandpiper influx today - a juvenile was seen for a few hours in the Stratford Bay/Herriott's End area this morning, only to disappear and then be seen again briefly this evening.  Other waders at the southern end of the lake this evening included 52 Snipe, eight Greenshank, five-plus Ruff, four Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, 15 Black-tailed Godwits and one Little Stint on Herriott's Pool (present since 16th). Other birds included two Black-necked Grebes still, twelve Pintail, one Goldeneye, one Garganey, a Yellow Wagtail and an adult Mediterranean Gull. The Spotted Crake was still showing well on Heron's Green Pool this morning.

BLAGDON:  A juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was also found at Top End this afternoon.
alba Small Copper  Lycaena phlaeas
Copyright Rich Andrews alba Small Copper
14th September 2003
The Spotted Crake again showed well on Heron's Green Pool today, along with at least two Water Rails.  Twelve Black Terns and one Common Tern were new in, as was a Curlew Sandpiper.  Little change in the other waders or wildfowl though: 21 Greenshank, one Redshank, one Spotted Redshank, 18 Black-tailed Godwits, three Dunlin, two Ruff, five Green Sandpipers, at least one Garganey, the drake Ring-necked Duck still (off Sutton Wick) and single Ruddy Shelduck, Egyptian Goose and Goldeneye.  At least one Black-necked Grebe remained, and a Bearded Tit was seen in the main reedbed (looking from Herriott's Bridge). Other birds included two Kingfishers and at least one juvenile Hobby.

Third-generation Small Coppers are now flying in good numbers on the Parkland; notable today was one of the albino form alba, in which the orange pigment is replaced by white.

KEYNSHAM:  The juvenile Rose-coloured Starling is still present; this evening on houses along Charlton Road and Lays Drive.
The Spotted Crake and up to five Water Rails showed well all morning on the south side of Heron's Green Pool. No sign of yesterdays Marsh Harrier, though new in were two (adult and juvenile) Sandwich Terns in Heron's Green Bay briefly. Otherwise, wader totals were 22 Greenshank, one Spotted Redshank, four Redshank, two Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, 42 Snipe, two Dunlin, one Ringed Plover, four Ruff and five Black-tailed Godwits. Wildfowl included 67 Wigeon, 14 Pintail, a female Goldeneye, two Garganey, the Ruddy Shelduck and the Egyptian Goose. The three Black-necked Grebes remained in Stratford Bay.  The first few Meadow Pipits of the autumn have also started passing over in the last few days.

KEYNSHAM:  The juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was again seen in the Coronation Road/Warwick Road area this morning, then again early this evening.  Thanks to Chris Trott for the photo.
Rose-coloured Starling  Sturnus roseus
Copyright Chris Trott Rose-coloured Starling
Keynsham, 13th September 2003
No full report today, though a productive evening visit for your webmaster yielded a Spotted Crake and three Water Rails on Heron's Green Pool, whilst Herriott's Bridge (looking north over Herriott's End) produced the Spotted Redshank still, three Black-necked Grebes, an adult Mediterranean Gull, Ruddy Shelduck, Egyptian Goose and a surprise sub-adult male Marsh Harrier over Moreton Bank from 18:35. Ten Black Terns, five Ringed Plover, two Pintail and two adult Yellow-legged Gulls were also present (BK hide).

KEYNSHAM:  The juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was seen several times again today, usually in the Dunster Road/Park Road/Warwick Road area, but remained elusive.
A Spotted Crake on Heron's Green Pool was new today - it is on the south side of the pool along the edge of the emergent Juncus and reedmace. 31 Common Terns, three juvenile Arctic Terns and a juvenile Black Tern passed through (only the Black and an Arctic remained in the evening). Waders included a Spotted Redshank (second day), a Redshank, 13 Black-tailed Godwits, three Ruff, six Dunlin, 20 Greenshank, six Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper. The juvenile Little Gull was still present, as was a juvenile Mediterranean Gull this evening. Other birds included one Black-necked Grebe, three Pintail, three Garganey, the Ruddy Shelduck, two Hobbies and one Wheatear.

KEYNSHAM:  A juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was a shock find on the roof of local birding hero Alan Bone's house this evening.  Seen only briefly in Balmoral Road, it then flew off with Starlings towards the town centre.
Mediterranean Gull  Larus melanocephalus
Copyright Rich Andrews Mediterranean Gull  10th September 2003
Another movement of terns today - 41 Black Terns and two more Sandwich Terns passed through (the majority around midday). Predictable action otherwise; the three Black-necked Grebes remained, with a nice selection of waders still present, including three Ruff, twelve Dunlin, four Ringed Plover, twelve Greenshank and 15 Black-tailed Godwits (as usual, all juvenile islandica).  And don't forget the Ruddy Shelduck, one Garganey, and the Spotted Crake.
Most of the good birds were again in Stratford Bay, the highlight being five Sandwich Terns which flew through at 12:50 - typically, not lingering. The drake Ring-necked Duck was still present, as were the three Black-necked Grebes. Wader totals were 53 Snipe, eleven Dunlin, four Ringed Plover, four Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers, 18 Black-tailed Godwits, four Ruff, two Redshank and at least twelve Greenshank. Other wildfowl included three Pintail, four Garganey, one Goldeneye and the female Ruddy Shelduck. A Hobby, a juvenile Little Gull, an adult Yellow-legged Gull, a Swift, three Yellow Wagtails and a Wheatear were also seen.

SEVERNSIDE:  A Wryneck was at Severn Beach this morning.
No sign of the Spotted Crake in the haze across Stratford Bay, although the three Black-necked Grebes and one Garganey remained. Otherwise, the passage waders were the main interest, highlight today being two Knot at BK hide. Other totals included 41 Snipe, three Green Sandpipers, ten Common Sandpipers, five Little Ringed Plovers (Twycross), 17 Greenshank, twelve Black-tailed Godwits, nine Dunlin, seven Ringed Plover and five Ruff.  A White Wagtail was on Nunnery Point.
The Spotted Crake again showed at distance from Stratford hide, but notable today was an influx of c.45 Black Terns. Other birds of note included two Common Terns, ten Dunlin, five Ruff, 17 Black-tailed Godwits and a Turnstone. What was probably a Short-eared Owl flew across the B3114 at Heron's Green just after dark.

A Nathusius' Pipistrelle was captured this evening; Chew was the first site this species was known to breed at in the UK.
The three Black-necked Grebes and single Spotted Crake were still in Stratford Bay today, as was the moulting Ruddy Shelduck. At least ten Black-tailed Godwits were at Hollow Brook first thing; other waders included ten Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, eleven Greenshank, and three Ruff. Eight Black Terns and three Common Terns arrived during the day; other birds reported included two Garganey and two Tree Pipits.
The female Ferruginous Duck has reappeared off Wick Green Point; there are also three juvenile Black-necked Grebes there now. The Spotted Crake gave its usual appalling views in the main reeds again from Stratford hide - other birds today included up to 19 Black-tailed Godwits, five Ruff, 15 Ringed Plover, three Garganey, two Common Terns, three Yellow Wagtails, one Hobby, one Peregrine and still loads of Greenshanks (in Stratford Bay in particular).  As usual for early autumn, Common Gulls continue to be notable by their scarcity; this evening at Twycross Point the single representative was even outnumbered by two Mediterranean Gulls (juvenile and adult-type).
The drake Ferruginous Duck and White-headed Duck were both still in Stratford Bay, and the Spotted Crake was seen again this evening along the edge of the main reedbed.  The Black-necked Grebe and Ruddy Shelduck also remained; other birds included one Little Egret, one Garganey, 28 Greenshank, nine Black-tailed Godwits, four Ruff, eight Ringed Plover and the first Little Stint of the autumn.
New today was a juvenile Black-necked Grebe in Stratford Bay, joining the White-headed Duck and female Ruddy Shelduck. Wader interest continued with the juvenile Curlew Sandpiper still, 18 Greenshank, 15 Ringed Plover, six Dunlin and five Black-tailed Godwits.