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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 on the thumbnails below to see the monthly logbook for the previous year, or follow the link to the right for the complete index.
May 2003 Jun 2003 Jul 2003 Aug 2003 Sep 2003 Oct 2003 Nov 2003 Dec 2003 Jan 2004 Feb 2004Mar 2004
April 2004
The Bar-tailed Godwit is still at Picnic Site No.1.
Dismal weather, but good birds for those who braved the rain today. Arctic Terns were evidently moving through during the day; there were 16 at 09:30, ten early this afternoon, increasing to 21 by 14:30, but then none at 18:40. The Bar-tailed Godwit was still at No.1 Picnic Site all day, with a Yellow Wagtail and Whimbrel nearby on the dam. A Little Egret was on Heron's Green Pool, whilst the cloud and rain 'grounded' an impressive 2000 Swallows, 1000 House Martins, and a less impressive 500 Swifts. A Common Sandpiper was on Herriott's Pool this evening.
Bar-tailed Godwit  Limosa lapponica
copyright Rich Andrews
Bar-tailed Godwit 28th April 2004
The evidently confused Bar-tailed Godwit was still amongst the picnic tables by the tea shop today; an adult Little Gull was on Herriott's Pool, plus two Hobbies there.
A bizarre sight today was a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding with Mallards on the lawn at No.1 Picnic Site; it moved on to the dam when the disturbance became too much for it. Normally a bit of a rarity at Chew, this one arrived following a small influx at Severnside over the weekend. A Wood Warbler in woodland near Moreton Point was another good, albeit more predictable passage migrant - best place for these is normally Sutton Wick or the Bittern Trail. A Common Tern, a Ringed Plover, three Dunlin, a Yellow Wagtail and two Hobbies were the other birds of note.
Best bird was another drake Garganey - in exactly the same place, and doing exactly the same thing as the last one - feeding off Nunnery Point with a pair of Mallards. A Common Sandpiper on Herriott's Pool was the only other bird of note reported.
Generally quiet on the lake - two Greylags in Stratford Bay, departing high west were the most noteworthy wildfowl; the only other water birds of note were eight Common Sandpipers.
The first Cuckoo of the year was finally seen today (Moreton/Stratford); there were single Reed and Sedge Warblers singing in Stratford Bay, as well as a few Willow Warblers. A Yellow Wagtail flew NW during a rainstorm, and two Common Sandpipers were on Herriott's Pool. 200 Sand Martins, 40 Swallows and a few House Martins were also around.
The first Garden Warbler of the year was seen today - a tail-less bird at Hollow Brook. Other birds were two Common Terns on the main lake and two Common Sandpipers at Herriott's Pool.
Less action today - two or three White Wagtails, three Common Sandpipers and ten-plus Swifts were the migrant highlights, although notable was a count of 24 Common Buzzards in the Heron's Green/Moreton area.
Much of the day was hard going due to the persistent rain, although when things did brighten up this afternoon, a few birds were seen - best of which was another Redstart at Moreton Cottage. A few hundred hirundines and a Swift were forced down by the rain, but the only other bird of note was an injured Yellow-legged Gull on pontoons at Woodford Bank.
Yellow-legged Gull  Larus (argentatus) michahellis
copyright Rich Andrews
adult Yellow-legged Gull 18th April 2004
Redstart  Phoenicurus ochruros
copyright Rich Andrews
male Redstart 18th April 2004
An Arctic Tern spent most of the day around Denny and Picnic Site No.2. Waders were represented by a Little Ringed Plover and a Common Sandpiper on the dam, a Green Sandpiper on Heron's Green Pool, and six Black-tailed Godwits on Herriott's Pool - one of which nearly ended up inside a Peregrine. Another Whitethroat was on the Parkland (along the old road), along with another Redstart (a female). This species seems to be coming through in good numbers locally this spring. Reed and Sedge Warblers are beginning to make themselves known from various reedbeds around the lake, and a few more Swifts passed through this morning. A Raven flew over the Parkland this afternoon. Willow Warblers seem to be in particularly good supply this spring, following their bad year in 2003 - hopefully the first Cuckoos should be in any day now, provided they can be bothered to turn up at all this year.

Green-winged Orchids are now in full flower on the Parkland.
Green-winged Orchid Orchis morio
copyright Rich Andrews
Green-winged Orchid 18th April 2004
Another spurt of migration brought a few more birds in today, notably the first Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers of the year, along with good numbers of hirundines and the first Swifts. Four Black Terns were seen only briefly, but waders today included a good count of eleven Common Sandpipers along with Dunlin, Redshank, Little Ringed Plover and two Whimbrel. A male Redstart was along Moreton Lane, and a White Wagtail was seen at Nunnery; usually there are a few groups of migrant wagtails and pipits (mainly Pied Wagtails with the occasional Yellow and White, plus a few Meadow Pipits and summer-plumage Water Pipits) at suitable fields around the lake, such as the Parkland and Moreton Bank Field, but so far this year they've been largely absent.
The trickle of incoming migrants continues....the first Whitethroat of the year was seen at Stratford car park, whilst 'new' waders were two Whimbrel by the main dam this morning, five Common Sandpipers and two Green Sandpipers. Two (adult and first-winter) Little Gulls, a Black Tern and a Sandwich Tern were also on the main lake.
A male Redstart along the old road at the Parkland was today's highlight; a White Wagtail (main dam) and seven Black-tailed Godwits (Heron's Green Pool and then Herriott's Pool) were the other noteworthies seen today.
A small improvement, though still a little slow - two adult Little Gulls and single Yellow Wagtail, Common Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull were the highlights today.
A much more spring-like day today - at least the birding was a bit more pleasant even if there was little to see. A Kittiwake was reported this morning (but did not linger); other birds included a Redshank on the main dam and two Ravens over Sutton Wick. The warm, calm weather and a profusion of midges has provided ideal feeding conditions for dabbling duck on the main lake, most notably a drake Garganey with Mallards off Nunnery Point. Blackcaps and Willow Warblers are now much more in evidence, but still no reports of any Acrocephalus warblers, though.

The first Orange Tip of the year was seen on the Parkland today.
A pair of Garganey in Villice Bay were new in today, as were three drake Common Scoters off Moreton. This species has been having a good run of form in the last few weeks - some years they are difficult to catch up with at Chew. The only other bird of note was a Green Sandpiper at Heron's Green.
A Common Sandpiper was at No.1 Picnic Site, and five adult Great Black-backed Gulls were roosting on the main lake (a good total for Chew). The only other bird of note was the drake Tufted Duck x Pochard on Herriott's Pool still.
Little to report, other than an adult Kittiwake over the Roman Shallows this morning, and a Little Owl between Moreton and Stratford hides.
One adult-type Little Gull remained from yesterday, and the female Greater Scaup was still present off Moreton hide. Little else in the wet and windy conditions, apart from a small group of Swallows and Sand Martins feeding along the more sheltered shore between Moreton and Stratford.
Wind and rain produced a number of hirundines feeding low over the lake today - six House Martins (the first of the year), ten Swallows and at least 20 Sand Martins. Outgoing migrants were represented by 40 Fieldfares at the main dam first thing this morning. The gull roost is now very small, although four Little Gulls were present this evening.
A good day for rare raptors at the lake; two species that are barely annual here were seen within a few hours of each other - a Merlin was seen briefly as it flew across the lake, and the male Hen Harrier was seen again, flying NE from Herriott's Bridge. Three Brambling and a Lesser Redpoll were at No.1 picnic site, and the Eurasian White-fronted Goose was still on Herriott's Pool.
Two Brambling were at Moreton plantation today - a typical spring sighting. Birds often appear well into April, and are best looked for feeding high in larches, particularly at the picnic sites and Moreton.
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