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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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Sep 2003 Oct 2003 Nov 2003 Dec 2003 Jan 2004 Feb 2004Mar 2004 Apr 2004 May 2004 Jun 2004 Jul 2004 Aug 2004
September 2004
There were three Dunlin and two Ringed Plover on Denny this evening, and a Common Sandpiper on Herriott's Pool. Two 'common' birds in very short supply this autumn were also seen today - a Yellow Wagtail with Pieds at Herriott's Pool this evening, and two juvenile Hobbies over Stratford Bay this morning (with one later over Twycross). Big news though was an unexpected record count of Caspian Gulls - two. The usual second-winter was at Twycross late this afternoon, and an adult was seen briefly at Herriott's Pool this evening.
The only birds of note were on Herriott's Pool today - five Dunlin and an adult Mediterranean Gull.
Better weather today - the House Martins have virtually all gone, and the first Meadow Pipits of the autumn are now appearing. A juvenile Arctic Tern was on Denny, and a Raven was over the Parkland this afternoon.
Still over 1000 House Martins, but little else of interest; just one each of Greenshank (Twycross) and Green Sandpiper (Stratford hide) were reported today.
On the other hand, six new species for Chew have been recorded recently, all leaf-mining microlepidoptera. Hardened birders look away now:

Stigmella speciosa (on sycamore), Stigmella samiatella (sweet chestnut), Caloptilia rufipennella (sycamore), Phyllonorycter lantanella (guelder rose) and Phyllonorycter platani (London plane).

The latter is notable as it is a recent colonist that feeds only on London plane. It was new to Britain in 1989 in London, and was discovered in the centre of Bristol, where its foodplant is widespread, in 2000. It was looked for unsuccessfully at Chew in 2003 on just about the only plane at the lake (and probably the only one for miles around), but several mines were found very easily today on the same tree.

Phyllonorycter platani  
copyright Rich Andrews
Phyllonorycter platani
Little improvement - still at least 1000 House Martins over the lake, with single Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Little Owl and Yellow-legged Gull being the highlights. The Egyptian Goose was back on bread patrol at Picnic Site no.1, and the Gannet was relocated at Blagdon today.
Little Owl  Athene noctua
copyright Rich Andrews
Little Owl  Moreton Lane
Strong westerly winds at this time of year always bring a glimmer of hope for something unusual. However, such conditions normally fail to produce anything at all, and today was no exception. The main feature was an estimated 1800 House Martins, with much smaller numbers of Swallows and Sand Martins, a Swift and a Black Tern also over the main lake. There were no reports of the Gannet today.
The evidently rather poorly Gannet was still floating about in the centre of the lake this afternoon, and the juvenile Black Tern also remained. An adult Mediterranean Gull, three Pintail, two Wigeon and a Peregrine were all in Stratford Bay this afternoon, and a pair of Ravens were over Burledge Hill. Two Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper were the only waders of note.
A juvenile Black Tern and the second-calendar year Gannet were both still present this afternoon, and a juvenile Peregrine was seen briefly in Stratford Bay. Otherwise, one Green Sandpiper and a small number of Swallows were the highlights in what has so far been a dire month for common passage migrants at the lake.

BLAGDON: No sign of the Gannet, although the juvenile Pectoral Sandpiper was still showing well with Dunlin and Ringed Plovers in front of the Lodge this evening.
Migrant Hawker  Aeshna mixta
Copyright Rich Andrews
Migrant Hawker  Sutton Wick Lane
Click picture for larger image
Southern Hawker  Aeshna juncea
Copyright Rich Andrews
Southern Hawker  Sutton Wick Lane
Click picture for larger image
The second-calendar year Gannet was still present today, along with a Black Tern.

BLAGDON: The other Gannet remained (as with the CVL bird, apparently in less than peak condition), but another surprise in the form of a Pectoral Sandpiper came at the Lodge this morning. Unfortunately it could not be relocated this evening.
What would otherwise be a typically quiet day was enlivened by the appearance of a second calendar-year Gannet - a real lake rarity, there are only ten previous records. It was present until dusk. Other birds today included single Common Tern, Black Tern, Little Egret, Hobby, Skylark and a couple of Greenshanks still.

BLAGDON: Another Gannet, an adult, was off the Lodge this evening.
Very quiet again today, with the Whinchat and four Black Terns remaining from the weekend, and the Caspian Gull again in Stratford Bay this morning.
A dreary day, not helped by the fact that the birding is just a little slow at the moment. The four juvenile Black Terns and four Greenshanks remained, with two each of Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper propping up the awful wader totals. A drake Pochard x Tufted Duck was in front of Stratford hide, a Hobby was over the Parkland, and the Caspian Gull was again on Herriott's Pool this afternoon. The wet weather drew in a few hundred Sand Martins and House Martins; Swallows were again notable by their absence.
Highlight was a colour-ringed juvenile Osprey that flew south over Herriott's Bridge this morning. The four Greenshanks were close in front of Stratford hide this evening, along with three Green Sandpipers, four Black Terns, about half-a-dozen Snipe and a Common Gull. A late Swift and a single Hobby was also seen.
The four Greenshanks were in front of Stratford hide, and the Whinchat was still on Moreton Bank, along with a male Redstart.
There were four Greenshank on Herriott's Pool this morning (only), the Little Egret was again in front of Stratford hide, and Moreton Bank had single Whinchat and Skylark - the latter is usually only seen as an autumn passage migrant at Chew, although they breed on nearby farmland. The seagull was again at BK hide.
Two Greenshank, three Green Sandpipers and six Snipe were in Stratford Bay this evening. Nearby a single Wheatear was in Moreton Bank field. 23 Wigeon were off Moreton Bank amongst the Gadwall and Coot.
At least four Little Gulls were new in today, with three Black Terns and one Common Tern.
Only four Black Terns remained from yesterday, although an eclipse drake Red-crested Pochard in Stratford Bay was a not entirely unexpected find (most 'new' autumn RCPs seem to be found around the same time as Black Tern influxes). The Little Egret was again in Stratford Bay, and the Caspian Gull was at BK hide along with three Yellow-legged Gulls and a Great Black-backed Gull. Seven Wigeon and a Hobby were also present.
Just for a change, the Spotted Crake was again reported on Heron's Green Pool, although the boredom was somewhat relieved by the fine sight of a flock of 52 Black Terns which showed at close range in front of Stratford hide this evening. Other birds included a Little Egret on Herriott's Pool, a Ruff on Moreton Bank, and adult Peregrine watched feeding on Moreton Point this evening.

Thanks to Gary Thoburn for the Spotted Crake photo.
Spotted Crake  Porzana porzana
Copyright Gary Thoburn
Spotted Crake  Heron's Green Pool, 31st August 2004
Still virtually no change - the Black-necked Grebe, Spotted Crake, Caspian Gull and nine Black Terns again the highlights, with five Snipe and single Kingfisher, Wigeon and Pintail in Stratford Bay this evening.
More of the same today - the Spotted Crake and the Black-necked Grebe remained in position; the only new birds reported were 14 Black Terns.

SEVERNSIDE: A juvenile Rose-coloured Starling was present at New Passage this evening. Severnside Birds
The Spotted Crake remained at Heron's Green Pool, and the Black-necked Grebe was again in Stratford Bay. Two Turnstones and two Hobbies were the other highlights.
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