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This page brings you the latest bird and wildlife sightings from Chew Valley Lake (and occasionally elsewhere)
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Dec 2003 Jan 2004 Feb 2004Mar 2004 Apr 2004 May 2004 Jun 2004 Jul 2004 Aug 2004 Sep 2004 Oct 2004 Nov 2004
December 2004
Two Mediterranean Gulls (an adult and a second-winter) were in the roost this evening, along with two adult Great Black-backed Gulls. There was a mixed flock of at least 350 Fieldfares and Redwings on the Parkland this afternoon, along with a hundred or so Starlings.
A male Stonechat was at Nunnery Point this morning, and a Raven flew east over the lake. Three Greater Scaup were at Woodford Bank/Villice Bay (two females and a first-winter male); as seems often to be the case, they were associating with the adult Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck.
Most of the birds were along the western side of the lake sheltering from the wind today; Stratford hide produced a female/first-winter Red-breasted Merganser, a Dunlin and ten Water Pipits. The latter (with one Meadow Pipit) were just in front of the 'island' to the right of the hide this afternoon.

BARROW TANKS: No sign of the Slavonian Grebe today.
There were three Water Pipits between Moreton and Stratford today, and three apparent Tufted Duck x Greater Scaup were seen at Moreton. Two adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the roost from Woodford Lodge this evening.
BARROW TANKS: A Slavonian Grebe on No.1 tank today was the highlight, although a flock of at least 80 Black-tailed Godwits flew over towards Chew this morning.
Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus
Copyright Rich Andrews

Slavonian Grebe - Barrow No.1 Tank, 19th December 2004
Click on the photo for another image
A few noteworthy birds were in front of Stratford hide this afternoon - two Dunlin, one Black-tailed Godwit, eleven Snipe, five Water Pipits (with just one Meadow Pipit), three Pintail and two Mediterranean Gulls - an adult, and a distinctive first-winter bird with grey tertials. A third Mediterranean Gull was at Bernard King hide, along with two Yellow-legged Gulls and a hybrid Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull. The Bittern again showed, in the rain, at 16:06 today. At least 175 Shoveler were present, including 145 feeding in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon.
Still two Greater Scaup present - one at Moreton hide, and the other at East Shore. Water Pipits continue to be seen at Stratford hide; there were three this afternoon, and the Bittern was seen again this afternoon - it flew in from the main lake at 16:28, and landed at the back of Herriott's Pool as usual.
At Moreton today were five Water Pipits, a first-winter Greater Scaup and two pairs of Stonechat. Four Black-tailed Godwits were at Herriott's End, and BK hide produced single Mediterranean, Yellow-legged and Great Black-backed Gulls.
BARROW TANKS: No sign of the Velvet Scoter today, but in what has become a purple-patch for the Tanks, an Avocet on No.1 was another top site rarity.
Following news of the adult Kumlien's Gull reappearing at Calne, a hopeful glance at a group of large gulls off the East Shore this afternoon produced the bird after about two seconds of looking! Presumed to be the same individual as the Wiltshire bird, this one was still present at 16:00, viewed from BK hide. Other birds included two Dunlin and a Water Pipit at Stratford hide, and an adult Mediterranean Gull in Spring bay.

BARROW TANKS: An exceptional find this afternoon was a female/first-winter Velvet Scoter on No.3 tank (the biggest tank, on the north-west side of the A38). It appeared settled to roost at 16:00, although was being harassed by gulls.
A little less today - odds and ends included four Bullfinches on the old road at The Parkland (they seem to be very reliable here, towards the north end by the dead-end), also a male Stonechat at Nunnery Point, an adult Yellow-legged Gull in the roost, and a Peregrine high over Herriott's Pool again late this afternoon (but no sign of any Bitterns tonight).
A Bittern was seen in flight at Herriott's Pool early this afternoon; also there was a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, a Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull hybrid, and six Dunlin were on the main lake. The two Bitterns showed again at 15:55 and 16:10 this afternoon.
One of the Bitterns flew to the back of Herriott's Pool at 16:26 this afternoon.
Highlight of the day was a male Merlin which flew through the Starling roost this afternoon (this species is hardly even annual at CVL); also this evening was an adult Peregrine and both Bitterns (16:06 and 16:15). This morning produced six Water Pipits and three Dunlin at Moreton and a juvenile Peregrine, an adult Mediterranean Gull and 17 Snipe at Stratford.
One Bittern was seen at Herriott's Pool again this afternoon, but in contrast to recent days, this time it was watched perched on top of reed stems for quite some time. As usual, it was on the north-east side of the pool. Elsewhere, a look around The Parkland produced a pair of Stonechats, two Dunlin (Villice Bay), a Raven and good numbers of Fieldfares. At least seven Water Pipits were in front of Stratford hide, but up to 17 were watched flying to roost in the main reedbed from Herriott's Bridge this afternoon.
The two Bitterns were again seen prior to 16:00 this afternoon in flight at Herriott's Pool; also from the bridge this evening were three Mediterranean Gulls and a Peregrine. The two first-winter Greater Scaups were both still in front of Moreton hide, as was the drake Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck and a Water Pipit. At least 355 Lapwings were in Stratford Bay - probably one of the highest counts of the year of this formerly plentiful species. A female Red-breasted Merganser was off Picnic Site No.1 this afternoon, but potentially the rarest bird of the day was a report of a Short-eared Owl at Moreton - they're hardly even an annual species at Chew.
There are now two Bitterns on Herriott's Pool; one flew from the usual spot by the road to the area behind the new bund at 15:47, and a second bird flew from the same area along the east side of the pool at 16:20. A single Dunlin was the only other bird of note.
The Bittern was seen in flight at 16:23 on Herriott's Pool this afternoon.
A flock of 200-plus Golden Plover was an unexpected find in front of Stratford hide today.
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