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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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April 2006
The Whiskered Tern was still present for a couple of hours after dawn, but appeared to have left the site after about 08:10. Other birds included Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, a Common Tern (late morning), and the first brood of Mallards. This afternoon, two Arctic Terns appeared, and a Red Kite was watched flying south down the lake and over Burledge Hill.
Another rarity! In what has become a really good month for Chew, the lake's fourth ever Whiskered Tern was discovered off Woodford Bank this afternoon. Apparently a second-summer bird, this was a welcome addition to the Chew lists of most local birders, with the exception of a few old people who saw the two previous birds in 1983. It seems to favour the fish-traps around the mouth of Villice Bay, and is best viewed from Woodford Bank. It occasionally moves further towards the Stratford Bay area, but note that you will need a permit from Woodford Lodge to view the bird from elsewhere within the lake enclosure.

The only other news was of a flock of at least 500 Swifts which arrived this afternoon.

Thanks to Paul Bowyer for the Whiskered Tern images below.
Whiskered Tern 
copyright Paul Bowyer Whiskered Tern 
copyright Paul Bowyer
The female Greater Scaup was still in front of Stratford hide today, and a Lesser Whitethroat was still along Moreton Lane. The old lane across the Parkland is normally a good spot for these at the end of April as well. A Yellow Wagtail was at Heron's Green this afternoon.

Green-winged Orchids are now in flower on the Parkland.
The pre-dawn rain produced a flock of 15 Arctic Terns first thing this morning - by 09:45 all but five had left, and were replaced by a Little Tern - the latter is another 'tricky' species at Chew, and true to form, was only seen for a few minutes. Two Black Terns arrived later (off No.1 picnic site), with other birds around the lake including one Dunlin, Hobby (Hollow Brook), Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat (Moreton Lane) and good numbers of hirundines, with smaller numbers of Swifts amongst them.
Still a few migrants around today, with a Grasshopper Warbler at Moreton and two male Whinchats at Heron's Green Pool being the most noteworthy. There seems to be more Sedge and Reed Warblers around the lake now, with Garden Warbler also now in. 'Outgoing' migrants included three Lesser Redpolls and a Brambling. Two Hobbies were over Sutton Wick at 20:20 this evening; earlier there had been one near Herriott's at 14:00. Four Common Terns were still on the lake as well.

As well as the overwintering Commas, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Brimstones that have been flying for a while now, the first Orange Tips and Green-veined Whites were on the wing today.
Evidently there have been good numbers of migrants locally in the last day or two, and thankfully Chew received a few this morning. Best of the bunch was a female Pied Flycatcher at Moreton, and nearby, a male Redstart at Heron's Green was another good site record. Both species are barely annual at Chew - Pied Fly in particular is usually very difficult to catch up with. Other migrants along Moreton Lane included three Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat, a Garden Warbler and numerous Phylloscs. Up to 24 Common Terns and one Black Tern were seen throughout the day, this evening showing at close range off Woodford Bank. Two Common Sandpipiers were at Nunnery Point, and the two Ring-necked Ducks were still on Herriott's Pool.
The run of Avon cripplers continues....the first ever twitchable Stone Curlew in the area was found at 19:30 on Northwick Warth at ST 552872. About ten lunatics managed to see it before nightfall!

The Chough was still present first thing this morning, but evidently left the site, as searches later in the day drew a blank. A male Ring Ouzel was present, however.
Eight Swifts were over the lake this evening.

An unexpected find this morning was Avon's first Chough since 1941. It frequents the area around ST 330663, but this evening was around the trig pint and Sand Point itself. Although a surprise find, it wasn't beyond the realms of possibility given the small population now breeding across the Bristol Channel on the Gower. Which is exactly where this bird came from - it had been colour-ringed there as a nestling in 2004, and was last reported a few weeks ago in the Ogmore area.
More raptor excitement today, with three different Osprey sightings this morning - whether they relate to one, two or three birds is unknown. Otherwise, three Common Sandpipers were at Herriott's Pool this morning, and eleven Great Black-backed Gulls were again around the lake.
The Red Kite was still present over Burledge Hill and the southern end of the lake first thing this morning. Normally, the day would already have been complete with such a good Chew bird, but something better happened! Shortly after it flew off, an adult Laughing Gull appeared over the bridge, then circled off and wasn't seen again. Not only the first CVL record, but only the second for 'Avon' to boot.

Other birds as follows: eleven Great Black-backed Gulls (the second most noteworthy seagull event of the day), three Yellow-legged Gulls, one Cuckoo, one Sedge Warbler, two Reed Warblers, one Swift and three Lesser Redpolls.
Bird of the month so far was undoubtedly a Red Kite, which was watched over Burledge Hill from 18:00 to 20:00 this evening. An untagged, second calendar-year bird, it showed almost continually with up to nine Buzzards. Best places to look for it are either Herriott's Bridge or Stratford hide, but away from the lake, it was watched at close range over Burledge Hill fort (ST581585) this evening.

A Swift was over CVRS at 09:15 this morning, with a Whimbrel there an hour later. There continues to be a notable absence of Acrocephalus warblers - there's usually a few of each singing from the reedbeds by now.
Two drake Mandarins were on Herriott's Pool early this morning, but could not be refound later in the day. The two Ring-necked Ducks, however, were still on the pool this afternoon. The murky weather this afternoon was no doubt responsible for a small influx of terns this evening; as well as yesterdays two Arctic Terns there were up to 18 Common Terns and one Black Tern. At least three Lesser Redpolls and three Bramblings were in the trees on Nunnery Point this evening, and two Common Sandpipers were nearby on the breakwater. An Oystercatcher was in Stratford Bay this evening.
Two Arctic Terns were the highlight today; other reports were a single drake Pintail and 25 Goldeneye. Unusually, a Cetti's Warbler was singing from the cleared area on Nunnery Point this afternoon.
The first Cuckoo of the year was at Moreton today. Other summer migrants have been a little slow, it seems; there are usually several Reed and Sedge Warblers in by now for example. The two Ring-necked Ducks were still on Herriott's Pool, and 'new' waders included one Common Sandpiper (Nunnery) and an Oystercatcher (Stratford Bay).
Both Ring-necked Ducks were still in Stratford Bay this evening. Other birds around the lake included a healthy total (by recent standards) of twelve Willow Warblers, two Common Sandpipers, a female Greater Scaup, eight Lesser Redpolls (Bittern trail), and at least six House Martins amongst the hirundine flock.
Another day of sunshine, showers and strong winds. The Ring-necked Duck pair were on Herriott's Pool this morning, then in Stratford Bay this afternoon, along with a drake Tufted Duck x Pochard. At least 210 Swallows were off Whalley Bank, along with one or two House Martins and a few Sand Martins. Three Common Sandpipers were nearby at the overspill.
Still fairly quiet. The two Ring-necked Ducks were still on Herriott's Pool this morning, along with the first Common Sandpiper of the spring. The blustery conditions produced the expected flocks of Swallows and Sand Martins, along with at least one House Martin. The small annual spring build-up of Shelducks appears to be underway; there were 19 in Stratford Bay this afternoon.

The shallow, clear water in front of Stratford hide seems to be a good place for Pike at the moment - several sizeable individuals were seen during the day.
A female Greater Scaup and a first-winter Little Gull were off Nunnery Point this evening.
A Jack Snipe on Heron's Green Pool was the first record of this species in 2006; otherwise the best birds were one Green Sandpiper and a female Greater Scaup. A Fulvous Whistling Duck was a surprise find with the puddle-ducks at Herriott's Bridge today.
The first Osprey of the year flew through today, typically for a spring sighting, it carried on NW at 12:55 without staying around. Nine Black-tailed Godwits also appeared to fly off north after flying around for a bit. Other birds were: two Little Ringed Plovers and a White Wagtail on the main dam, a Green Sandpiper in Heron's Green Bay and a pair of Greater Scaup.
The drake Ring-necked Duck was still around on Herriott's Pool today; other birds were a rather early Common Tern, a first-winter Little Gull, and a flock of up to 500 hirundines (mainly Sand Martins).
A male Bearded Tit was a good find in the Stratford/Moreton area this morning. Unusually, it hung around for a few birders to see it. It was wearing a ring, although this is unlikely to be a CVL-ringed bird - the last bird to be ringed here was a female in June 2003.
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