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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 logbooks for the previous year, or follow the link to the right for the complete index.
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Aug 2003 Sep 2003 Oct 2003 Nov 2003 Dec 2003 Jan 2004 Feb 2004Mar 2004 Apr 2004 May 2004 Jun 2004 Jul 2004
August 2004
The Spotted Crake was showing well all morning on Heron's Green Pool, and the juvenile Black-necked Grebe was also on view in Stratford Bay. The second-winter seagull was also in Stratford Bay briefly before flying towards the east shore.

A Clouded Yellow was seen behind Moreton hide.
The Spotted Crake was again on view at Heron's Green Pool today between 07:30 and 07:35 and again at about 19:30. On both occasions it was on the north-west edge, to the right of the island as you look from the road. Two Swifts were over the fields behind Stratford hide this evening.
The Black-necked Grebe was still amongst the Tufted Ducks in Stratford Bay this morning; otherwise a fairly poor showing, with just two Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, four Common Terns and two or three Yellow-legged Gulls around the lake, with the seagull considered to be a Caspian Gull again in Stratford - Bay. The wind and drizzle this morning 'grounded' several hundred House Martins - surprisingly, hardly any Swallows were present, although one late Swift was seen. A Little Egret and a Peregrine were also seen this afternoon.
Again no sign of the Spotted crake in a brief search this evening (although of note, the water levels along the edge of the main reedbed are now looking particularly good for rails and crakes at the moment).

Elsewhere, large numbers of Black-headed Gulls are now moving through - amongst them in Stratford Bay tonight were one Yellow-legged Gull, three Mediterranean Gulls (one adult and two juveniles), and one Common Gull; the latter is always remarkably scarce here in early autumn.
Mediterranean Gulls  Larus melanocephalus
Copyright Rich Andrews
Two juvenile/first-winter Mediterranean Gulls - Stratford Bay
Both the Ferruginous Duck and Black-necked Grebe were still in Stratford Bay today.
Shock news today of a rare seagull that everyone could agree on - a superb summer plumage adult Sabine's Gull flew south through Stratford Bay at lunchtime today. Unfortunately, the spectacle didn't last and normal service was resumed when the second-winter seagull was relocated. Stratford Bay also held three Greenshank, the Ferruginous Duck and single Black-necked Grebe, Little Egret and Hobby. Two Common Sandpipers and five Yellow-legged Gulls were at the Bernard King hide this morning.

There was no sign of the Spotted crake this evening.
The female Ferruginous Duck remained in Stratford Bay, and yesterdays Turnstone was again present at BK hide and then in Heron's Green Bay. Others included a Black-necked Grebe in Stratford Bay, one Dunlin and nine Black-tailed Godwits at BK hide, three Black Terns and one Common Tern.
The Spotted Crake was seen again this evening for about ten minutes at 19:30. The female Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay, along with a juvenile Kittiwake, a Turnstone, four Black Terns, two Common Terns and two Little Terns (the latter briefly at 10:00). The seagull was also seen again in Stratford Bay from 11:30 to 12:00.
A Spotted Crake at Heron's Green Pool was a welcome, albeit predictable bird this evening, not least because it was seen it the same place yesterday. Today it was on the edge of the island (on the east side, as you look from the road). The female Ferruginous Duck was also still present in Stratford Bay, long with a juvenile Mediterranean Gull this evening. Other birds included eight Black Terns and twelve Common Terns, three Green Sandpipers, and (from Bernard King hide) three Common Sandpipers, one Dunlin and a Greenshank.

In contrast to last year, and despite similar water levels, wader and duck passage so far has been pretty poor. Wood Sandpipers in particular have so far been notable by their absence, and Garganey are also unusually hard to come by.
The Little Gull and two Black Terns remained from yesterday, and three Redshanks in Stratford Bay were new in. Highlight of the day would have been the probable Arctic Skua seen at long range this evening, though an immediate search failed to relocate it. Five late Swifts were over Woodford Hill this evening.
A similar feel to the preceding week. With the exception of a brief adult Kittiwake, most of the best birds were single juveniles, including Little Gull, Black Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Little Egret and Black-necked Grebe. Two Dunlin (one adult) and two Common Sandpipers were in Stratford Bay this evening, and a total of six Green Sandpipers were seen.

The first two Red Underwings of the year were roosting together on the fisherman's hut in Stratford car park this evening - they are surprisingly regular at this site.

Migrant Hawkers are now on the wing in good numbers around the lake.
Red Underwing  Catacola nupta
Copyright Rich Andrews
Red Underwing  21st August - Stratford car park
The female Ferruginous Duck was still present, as was the juvenile Little Gull and three Black Terns - one of which was chased around the lake by a Hobby for five minutes! A Ruff was in Stratford Bay, and three Yellow-legged Gulls were at BK hide.
A few good birds again today, though still no real numbers of anything yet (and still no Wood Sandpipers either!). A juvenile Little Gull and four Black Terns were on the main lake, a Greenshank and the two Little Ringed Plovers were still in Villice Bay, and, rarest birds of the day - two Turnstones in Stratford Bay.
The female Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay (flightless, so it ought to remain for the time being!), also a juvenile Mediterranean Gull on Herriott's Pool this evening, two Little Ringed Plovers in Villice Bay, and two Common Terns.
Main news today was the reappearance of the female Ferruginous Duck in Stratford Bay. One of the Black-necked Grebes was also still present there, on the east side of the bay along the edge of the main reedbed - you'll definitely need your scope for that one! Also present was a single Sanderling on the main dam, two Oystercatchers, one Black-tailed Godwit, two Little Ringed Plovers, three Snipe, four Green Sandpipers, a Cuckoo (behind Moreton hide), and that seagull at Herriott's Pool again.
Four Black-tailed Godwits and a Common Sandpiper were on Herriott's Pool, with four Green Sandpipers, two Kingfishers and three Common Terns in Stratford Bay. The 'Caspian Gull' was again on Herriott's Pool late this afternoon.
A juvenile Knot was at BK hide this morning; also new in was a second juvenile Black-necked Grebe in Stratford Bay. Otherwise, three Redshank, two Little Ringed Plovers, a Dunlin and one Ruff were in Villice Bay, a Common Sandpiper was on Herriott's Pool, and eight Common Terns on the main lake.
A juvenile Black-necked Grebe and the first two Ruff of the autumn were in Stratford Bay this morning. Elsewhere, things are slowly picking up - an early adult Little Stint and a Greenshank were at BK hide, along with the obligatory three Yellow-legged Gulls. Ten Common Terns and two Black Terns were on the main lake, and up to eleven Green Sandpipers and seven Common Sandpipers were scattered at various points around the lake. A few Swifts were also moving through,and two Little Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin were in Villice Bay, along with the bird that most people can't decide whether it looks like a Caspian Gull or not, now in second-winter plumage. Photos at Paul Burrows' website here.
Another nice, though hardly inspiring selection today, clockwise, from the north; BK hide - three (two adult and one first-summer) Yellow-legged Gulls; Herriott's Pool - two Black-tailed Godwits and one Common Sandpiper; Stratford hide - five Common Terns, two Green Sandpipers and two Common Sandpipers; Heron's Green Bay - 17 brief Black-tailed Godwits; Villice Bay - two Little Ringed Plovers, three Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers and one Dunlin.
The Garganey in Stratford Bay proved a little more accommodating today (it was right in front of the hide), also up to 13 Common Terns were present. Variously scattered waders included one Dunlin, eight Common Sandpipers and seven Green Sandpipers. Two juvenile Mediterranean Gulls were on Stratford Islands this evening.
Another 'tern day' - again with a notable exodus as the day progressed. 30 Common Terns were present at 08:15, then 20 by 10:15, and just 14 at 13:00. Up to seven adult Black Terns however remained throughout (although the absence of any juveniles would indicate that there's been a departure from yesterdays birds). Otherwise, wader interest continues with four Green Sandpipers, twelve Common Sandpipers, two Redshanks, a Little Ringed Plover and a Ringed Plover.

A juvenile Mediterranean Gull and six Common Sandpipers were on Herriott's Pool late in the afternoon.
Another muggy, grey day; another good day for terns - 62 Common Terns and four Black Terns were the maxima this afternoon, although as seems to be typical of late, most had left by this evening. One Green Sandpiper, four Common Sandpipers (three Stratford Bay, one Herriott's Pool) and two Lesser Whitethroats (Moreton Bank) were the other birds of note.
The first Whinchat of the autumn was at Moreton Point today - the best places to look for others in the next few weeks are along Moreton Bank and Heron's Green Pool; sometimes small parties occur. Eight Common Terns and a juvenile Black Tern were on the main lake - the latter in Stratford Bay this evening, along with a Garganey on the edge of the main reedbed. A Common Sandpiper was on Stratford Islands.

A Clouded Yellow was seen behind Stratford car park.
When the water levels begin to drop, the first exposed mud is in Villice Bay, so the only waders of note were all there today - six Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers and a Dunlin. A Garganey was still on Heron's Green Pool.
A total of eight Common Sandpipers were found around the lake today, with four Green Sandpipers in Villice Bay. Four Yellow-legged Gulls (two adults and two first-summers) were in front of Bernard King hide, the first Snipe of the autumn was in Stratford Bay, and a Whitethroat was in front of Moreton hide.
There were still twelve Black Terns this morning, but they all flew off west at 11:30. Six Common Terns and a Little Egret were the other species of note.
A bit more like autumn today - a very respectable flock of 129 Black Terns the highlight, with a juvenile Marsh Harrier also seen.
Great weather, but still little happening - this morning at least. Ten adult Common Terns in Heron's Green Bay this morning were the only birds of any real note; otherwise just three Green Sandpipers (Villice), one Common Sandpiper (Stratford), a Redshank and three Greenshank (Heron's Green Bay) and three Yellow-legged Gulls (Bernard King hide).

In the afternoon however, a small arrival took place when there were twelve Common Terns, four Arctic Terns, seven Black Terns and an adult Little Gull. A second-winter Mediterranean Gull was also seen.

Non-bird interest was limited to a Red Fox on the East Shore and one or two Purple Hairstreaks still on the Parkland.
Yellow-legged Gull
Copyright Rich Andrews
First-summer Yellow-legged Gull 1st August 2004
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