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This page brings you the latest bird and wildlife sightings from Chew Valley Lake (and occasionally elsewhere). Most updates will be on a weekly basis, although they will probably be more frequent at busy times. Records are taken from various sources and should be regarded as unconfirmed.
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November 2005
SUNDAY 27th
The Grey Phalarope seems to have moved on, but the juvenile Velvet Scoter was still present this afternoon, off Moreton hide. Also seen today were one Lesser Redpoll, up to five Little Egrets, one Green Sandpiper, two Bewick's Swans, one Red-breasted Merganser, two or three lovely hybrid Aythyas and the Bittern at Herriott's Pool again this afternoon.

CLEVEDON BAY:
No sign of the Upland Sandpiper today.
SATURDAY 26th
Another Grey Phalarope was found today - a first-winter in Heron's Green Bay. It seemed to favour the area around the old exposed bridge where it showed all afternoon. Also still present were the Velvet Scoter, two Bewick's Swans, two Dunlin, the adult drake Red-breasted Merganser and an adult Peregrine.
THURSDAY 24th
Ten Bewick's Swans (five of which were first-winters) and the first-winter Velvet Scoter were the highlights, but other birds included five Little Egrets, twelve Goosanders, ten Dunlin, four Water Pipits, two Ravens, a Peregrine and the sort of quality ducks for which Chew is justifiably famous - the drake Canvasback x Pochard and a drake Pochard x Ferruginous Duck. Remember, if you think you've found a rare duck, it's probably a hybrid.

CLEVEDON BAY:
Upland Sandpiper - still there. And the Pale-bellied Brent Goose.
MONDAY 21st
An increase in Goosander numbers today - 18 were seen, which although not bad by recent standards is a shadow of the numbers we were getting this time ten years ago. Another new duck was a drake Canvasback x Pochard; it's not clear as to whether or not this may be a different bird to the usual drake of recent years. Otherwise, still three Little Egrets, ten Dunlin, six Water Pipits, two Peregrines, a Raven , three Stonechats and three Chiffchaffs. Two Jack Snipe on Heron's Green Pool were almost certainly different to the four birds seen yesterday at a 'secret' location, suggesting a good number are at the lake at the moment.
SUNDAY 20th
Another day of thick fog, freezing temperatures and frost! It was difficult enough to even see the puddle-ducks on Herriott's Pool, let alone anything on the main lake, nevertheless a few birds were recorded: three Snipe, four Jack Snipe (the first of the year), four Water Rails, seven Water Pipits, 30 Linnets, a Curlew and two Little Egrets.

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was again at Channel View Farm. Note that access has now been arranged for the remainder of the birds stay; birders must park ONLY at the Perfect Bite Cafe car park (ST396674 on Middle Lane), then walk the remaining distance to Channel View Farm. Please don't bugger up future access for local birders by parking on Middle Lane nearer the site, or in the 'usual' place at Channel View Farm! Thanks!!
SATURDAY 19th
A foggy day, the only birds seen were two Stonechats and a Chiffchaff in front of Stratford hide, three Little Egrets in Heron's Green Bay, also two Bewick's Swans, and two Ring-necked Ducks reported on Herriott's Pool. Glad I went to the seaside.......

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was still at Channel View Farm, showing well again in the frost! Also this morning was a Short-eared Owl, the first-winter Pale-bellied Brent Goose and five fly-over White-fronted Geese. Two Whooper Swans later in the day were another very good record for the old county of Avonshire.
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
I managed some decent shots of the Upland Sand this morning; click the thumbnails above for a larger image. Thankfully, it was on the main path as I arrived, and after a short wait it approached us twice as it fed on the frosty track, before moving into the adjacent sheep field. Luckily the light was perfect. Note the frost causing the tertials to droop on the first three images - this bird should be on it's way to South America at the moment, not sat in sub-zero temperatures in a field in England!

PRINTS FOR SALE: The images above are for sale, as are the ones below taken last weekend, and also the Grey Phalarope; 2.50 for a 6x4 and 3.00 for a 7x5 including p&p. Larger sizes are available - please contact me via the icon on the homepage.
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Copyright Rich Andrews

First-winter Pale-bellied Brent Goose - Clevedon Bay
FRIDAY 18th
The female Ring-necked Duck was still on Herriott's Pool early this afternoon. Also, a juvenile Velvet Scoter has (re)appeared in the Roman Shallows area. Other birds were one Black-necked Grebe (Moreton), seven Bewick's Swans, 13 Goosanders, two Water Pipits (from Stratford hide), two Little Egrets and two Chiffchaffs. The Bittern was seen again in flight at the back of Herriott's Pool at 16:25, and at least 50 Snipe have materialized on the now partially-drained Heron's Green Pool.

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was again at Channel View Farm.
THURSDAY 17th
CHEW STOKE:
A Hawfinch was seen in a garden for fifteen minutes this morning before flying off north.

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was still at Channel View Farm.
WEDNESDAY 16th
Just one Ring-necked Duck (the female) was seen on Herriott's Pool today. Also seven Bewick's Swans, four Water Pipits, a Raven and a Peregrine.

BLAGDON:
A Grey Phalarope was at Ash Tree.

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was still at Channel View Farm.
MONDAY 14th
The first night of sub-zero temperatures at the lake, and another out-of-season bird, this time a juvenile Marsh Harrier - a lucky find during a chance visit at 07:50, seen as it left its roost in the trapping area. Normally we only get these in spring or late summer. There are still two Ring-necked Ducks on Herriott's Pool, with five Bewick's Swans, six Goosanders, 17 Dunlin, one Green Sandpiper, one Water Rail, six-plus Water Pipits, three Chiffchaffs and two Ravens. The Bittern was seen again at 16:40.

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was still present today.

ASHTON COURT:
The Grey Phalarope was still spinning around on it's unlikely pool today.
SUNDAY 13th
A pair of Ring-necked Ducks were still on Herriott's Pool this afternoon, and the Bittern was seen in flight again at 16:38 - it flew along the east side of Herriott's Pool and landed in the reeds in the SE corner. A very late Northern Wheatear was on Nunnery Point this afternoon, whilst yesterdays adult Little Gulls were replaced by a first-winter (an unusually dark-winged bird).

The rest as follows: one Little Egret, seven Bewick's Swans, ten Goosanders, six Golden Plover, 15 Dunlin, two Green Sandpipers, two (first and second-winter) Mediterranean Gulls, and four Water Pipits. Up to two Merlins have also been seen in recent days, but no sign of the Velvet Scoters since the end of last week.

CLEVEDON BAY:
The Upland Sandpiper was still present today, only it was a little less accommodating than yesterday, preferring to be viewed with a telescope in a field just inland of the seawall. The first-winter Pale-bellied Brent Goose was also still present; at low tide this afternoon it was on the estuary just south of Channel View Farm, near the two 'wrecks'.

ASHTON COURT:
Don't know why I haven't reported this before, but the first-winter Grey Phalarope was still showing at extremely close range on a pond on the golf course (it's been here since Wednesday). Drive in through the main gates, opposite the road to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, then park up where the road ends by a barrier. The pool is just up the slope on the right, surrounded by a six-foot wire fence.
Grey Phalarope  Phalaropus fulicarius
Copyright Rich Andrews

First-winter Grey Phalarope - Ashton Court
Click on the thumbnails to view:
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
Grey Phalarope
SATURDAY 12th
Most of the Chew birders were elsewhere today, so no news on the scoters etc, although at least two Ring-necked Ducks were still present, the Bittern was seen in flight late this afternoon at Herriott's Pool, and two adult Little Gulls were feeding off Nunnery Point over the gull roost. Note that the water levels are rising rapidly now.

The big news of the day, at least as far as Chew is concerned, was an Otter at Herriott's Pool this morning - the first record since those late last year.

CLEVEDON BAY:
An amazing discovery this morning was an Upland Sandpiper in fields between Channel View Farm and the seawall. It showed well for the rest of the morning and at least the early part of the afternoon as it moved to a field just inside the seawall. It was difficult to get too close due to the number of people watching the bird but it did get close enough at one stage for some decent images.

Birders at the site later this afternoon also managed to catch up with another Avon rarity - Pale-bellied Brent Goose! Although Dark-bellies are reasonably frequent on our part of the Severn Estuary, hrota hardly ever occurs. In fact I can't remember when the last one was!

Click on the thumbnails to view: If anyone wants prints, please contact me via the link on the homepage
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
Upland Sandpiper
WEDNESDAY 9th
A Merlin over Herriott's this afternoon was an expected, but good record - they tend to flash through in late autumn and can be difficult to catch up with at CVL. The usual noteworthies were all on view today - three each of Velvet Scoter, Black-necked Grebe and Ring-necked Duck, plus eleven Dunlin and two Curlew.
MONDAY 7th
No sign of the Purple Sandpiper today. Otherwise, the regulars remained: three Black-necked Grebes, three Velvet Scoters, three Ring-necked Ducks, three Peregrines, four Little Egrets, five Goosanders, a Red-breasted Merganser, a Dunlin and four Water Pipits.
SUNDAY 6th
The three Ring-necked Ducks were still present today at Herriott's Pool, but bigger news for Chew was a Purple Sandpiper in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon. It's only the third reliable record for the site, and in exactly the same place as the last (which was in 1991), at the north end of the old submerged road that runs through the bay. It spent much of it's time on the far side of the road, out of view from the B3114, but could be seen by looking back from the track that leads to Nunnery Point.

Evidently this wasn't the only new wader arrival today; also present were ten Black-tailed Godwits, four Dunlin, a Greenshank and a Redshank. The other 'goodies' from previous weeks were also still present - three Velvet Scoters, three Black-necked Grebes, one Red-breasted Merganser, two Bewick's Swans and three Water Pipits. Two Mediterranean Gulls were seen this evening, whilst a Bittern showed well in flight at 16:45 over Herriott's Pool. A late Swallow was also over Herriott's Pool briefly this afternoon.
SATURDAY 5th
No sign of yesterday's Grey Phalarope (although see below), but a big surprise this afternoon was the discovery of three Ring-necked Ducks on Herriott's Pool. All three (two adult drakes and a female) were watched diving together on the south-west side of the pool with a few Tufted Ducks just before dusk. Elsewhere around the lake, the three Velvet Scoters remained, along with the drake Red-breasted Merganser, seven adult Bewick's Swans, three Black-necked Grebes, one Water Pipit and a couple of Little Egrets. A late Common Sandpiper was at Whalley Bank, and four or five Mediterranean Gulls were present in the afternoon (four of which were in Stratford Bay).

BLAGDON:
A Grey Phalarope was on the south side of Rugmoor Point today. Photos can be found at Gareth Jones' website here.
FRIDAY 4th
As is often the case, the best storm-driven birds are found the day after the storm! Today, a Red-throated Diver and another Grey Phalarope were found; the diver was off Nunnery Point, but flew off high SW, and the phalarope was distant, off Moreton hide. The three Velvet Scoters remained, as did the three Black-necked Grebes and the eclipse drake Red-breasted Merganser. The wildfowl count today again produced an impressive number of birds; notable were 1170 Tufted Ducks, 2500 Teal and 600 Shoveler.
THURSDAY 3rd
Strong SW winds today failed to produce anything of note; the only new arrival was a juvenile Arctic Tern. The three Velvet Scoters began a remarkable third week at the lake, giving rubbish views at the north end of Stratford Bay virtually the whole time they've been here! Seven Little Egrets were sheltering from the wind in Heron's Green Bay this morning, otherwise the list has a familiar feel - two Black-necked Grebes, five Goosanders, one Red-breasted Merganser, ten Dunlin, one Ruff, two Yellow-legged Gulls, four Water Pipits, two Stonechats and an adult Peregrine.
WEDNESDAY 2nd
The list of birds is again beginning to look familiar: three Velvet Scoters, four Little Egrets, three Black-necked Grebes, five Goosanders, one Red-breasted Merganser, one first-winter Mediterranean Gull, two Yellow-legged Gulls, eleven Dunlin, one Ruff and one Water Pipit.
TUESDAY 1st
The three Velvet Scoters remained, plus three Black-necked Grebes, one Ruff, five Dunlin, eight Golden Plover, one Water Pipit and three Stonechats.
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