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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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June 2006
FRIDAY 30th
A Common Sandpiper was on Herriott's Pool this evening - looks as though autumn passage has started already!
THURSDAY 22nd
Two eclipse drake Garganey were on Herriott's Pool this evening; also present was an early-returning adult Mediterranean Gull, two Common Terns and a Peregrine.
SUNDAY 25th
The Redshank was still present today (heard calling), and a Curlew spent much of the morning flying around the lake. A female Goldeneye was seen in flight several times along the east shore.

A Red-belted Clearwing was seen in an orchard at Stoke Villice at a pheremone lure; as last year, there were several of the tortrix Neosphaleroptera nubilana attracted to the lure as well.
SATURDAY 24th
A Redshank at Heron's Green Pool was the most noteworthy bird news today. A female Goldeneye and a new brood of ten Shelducks were on Herriott's Pool.

There was no sign yet of any Purple Hairstreaks in the usual spot by the B3114, but an unexpected find was a White-letter Hairstreak, nectaring on water-dropwort in the nature reserve. This is the first one seen at Chew since the short-lived colony at the Bittern trail in the1990s. Two Grass Snakes were also seen today (difficult to find at Chew in recent years), and a Brown Hare was another good Chew record - unfortunately it was spread across the B3114.

A notable feature over the last week or two has been the big numbers of baby Frogs and Toads - it's easy to find small groups containing dozens of individuals on overgrown paths and other shady areas around the lake - to the casual observer, numbers seem quite exceptional this year.
THURSDAY 22nd
Five Black-tailed Godwits were new in today (four on Heron's Green Pool, one on Herriott's Pool). Unusually, all appeared to be of the nominate race limosa - virtually all of the passage and wintering birds we get in Avon are of the Icelandic race (islandica). Another oddity was a first-summer Arctic Tern, along with a Common Tern, a Hobby and a Goldeneye.
TUESDAY 20th
The first juvenile Black-headed Gull appeared today.
SATURDAY 17th
As can be expected, still little happening on the bird front. However, the hot weather and high water levels have evidently done the dragonflies well, as there were plenty flying today. As well as a few Emperors, the first Ruddy Darters have now emerged; a pool on the East Shore near Sutton Wick had several dozen teneral specimens in the pondside vegetation. Also there was a small colony of Four-spotted Chasers; normally this is a rare species at Chew - they bred following an influx in 2000 but these are the first records since. Another Libellula that's difficult to catch up with at Chew is Broad-bodied Chaser, but today there were at least six around a small spring in the nature reserve. A Beautiful Demoiselle in the main reedbed would have wandered in from the River Chew. It would be nice to see Red-veined Darter or Lesser Emperor at Chew this year!
Broad-bodied Chaser
Copyright Rich Andrews
Male Broad-bodied Chaser, Nunnery Point 18/06/06
Painted Lady
Copyright Rich Andrews
Painted Lady, Nunnery Point 18/06/06
WEDNESDAY 14th
A surprise this evening was an Avocet on Herriott's Pool - normally the few records we get of this species are in the late winter or autumn, so one in midsummer was most unexpected. Also on the pool was a drake Garganey - although it was sat in exactly the same spot on exactly the same island as the birds on Sunday, this was different bird.
MONDAY 11th
Two Common Terns were still present this morning, and a Clouded Yellow was also seen.
SUNDAY 10th
A really strange day, with only the fifth Chew record of Long-eared Owl. The bird was found sitting out in the open on a fence post on Moreton Bank at 08:15 - the couple who found it were able to go home to get a scope, then come back to the site and identify the bird, which was still there when they returned; it then remained there until 11:00!

Other birds today included three Common Terns, two (adult and second-summer) Yellow-legged Gulls, two Garganey (an eclipse male and a female) and the first brood of Shelducks on Herriott's Pool.

There were a lot of Painted Ladies and Silver Ys at the Parkland this morning, along with the first Ringlets and Meadow Browns. Both Silky Wainscot and Obscure Wainscot are also on the wing now. Speaking of non-birds, three plants have been added to the Chew list in recent weeks; Heath Spotted Orchid (hundreds on the Parkland, although many appear to be hybrids with Common Spotted Orchid); Yellow Archangel (Sutton Wick Lane) and Foxglove (Moreton - possibly planted). There have been a number of sightings of Red-eared Terrapins in the channel at Herriott's Bridge in recent weeks.
SATURDAY 3rd
Late news concerned a male Red-backed Shrike seen on Wednesday 31st May in the nature reserve. Subsequently it emerged that a possible 'Lesser Grey Shrike' had been seen around the Blue Bowl on Thursday 25th but could not be relocated, despite being looked for. In addition, there was an unconfirmed report of a Red-backed Shrike nearby at Redding Pits (Winford) in early May.

SAND POINT: Of note, Glanville Fritillaries are now on the wing on the south side of the point, just beyond the trig point.
THURSDAY 1st
A Red Kite was seen again over Herriott's at 15:30 today.
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