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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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May 2006
No birds today, but noteworthy was the second lake record of Green Hairstreak - two near Moreton Cottage. The only previous sighting was of two behind the sailing club eleven years ago; despite searching, they were never seen there again.

The unseasonal rains and winds have raised the water noticeably this week - top level is now only a few inches below 100% (no doubt upsetting many nesting waterbirds); of note the 'Stratford Lane puddle' has put in an early appearance, and is just about passable in a normal road car. The winds have also brought down that huge willow that grew just to the south of Stratford hide.
The continuing winds produced another Fulmar this afternoon - unfortunately this one was also a brief visitor, only being seen for ten or fifteen minutes from Nunnery Point. An Arctic Tern was also brought in by the weather, as were the obligatory masses of Swifts.
A second calendar-year Red Kite was watched behind Herriott's Pool this afternoon at 15:45. It then circled slowly and drifted towards Burledge Hill with a Buzzard, and was lost to view. Two Hobbies were still showing well in the area just before the kite appeared.
A first-summer Kittiwake was another casualty of the strong winds we've been having of late, but even more of a surprise was an adult Gannet, watched over the lake for ten minutes at 15:20 - a rare bird at Chew. The Turnstone had relocated to Stratford Islands this afternoon, with other birds including three Hobbies, one Peregrine, and an albino Swift - perhaps the bird seen in previous years at the lake?
A brief Turnstone at Herriott's was the highlight today; two Whimbrel were also seen on the main dam and two Common Terns were also reported. Two Hobbies showed well hawking insects over Herriott's Bridge this afternoon.
Another windy day; a few thousand Swifts were over the lake, but little else was seen.
The unseasonal weather produced something of a Chew mega today. One observer was lucky enough to find a Fulmar in Stratford Bay at 12:45; it then flew up high and headed off west. This is only the sixth Chew record, and the first since 1996 (which was also found by the same person!) Two Arctic Terns and two Common Terns were also dumped in by the windy weather, and single Curlew and Hobby were also seen.
Five drake Garganey were on Herriott's Pool at 09:15 this morning. At Moreton Lane, no sign of the Turtle dove today.
Another twitch! The run of good birds continues with what must be the lake's first twitchable Turtle Dove for years. Found at lunchtime, and still present early this evening, it seemed to favour the stretch of Moreton Lane by the puddle (c.100m from Stratford car park). That's four Chew ticks for your webmaster in less than a month - normally I'm lucky to get one a year!

Thanks to Gary Thoburn for the images below:
Copyright Gary Thoburn
Turtle Dove, Moreton Lane
Copyright Gary Thoburn
Drake Garganey, Herriott's Pool
Six Garganey (five drakes, one of which was a first-summer male) were on Herriott's Pool today - a very good spring count, and remarkably, all by the sluice near the road! Also around the lake were at least two Hobbies, a Little Egret and a Black Tern.
The three drake Garganey were together on Herriott's Pool this evening, an Oystercatcher was on the small island in front of Stratford hide, and a Black Tern was off Nunnery Point. A Grey Plover was heard calling overhead this evening - a good bird for Chew.
There's now three drake Garganey (two on Herriott's Pool), and two Black Terns, with other birds seen today including one Curlew (over the dam at 10:00); two Dunlin and one Hobby (Stratford Bay).
Perhaps surprisingly, no sign of the Nightingale today, unfortunately. The drake Garganey was still present, though, along with single Common Tern, Arctic Tern, a 1st-summer Little Gull and a Hobby at Woodford.
The run of good Chew birds continues - a couple of nice finds this morning were a drake Common Scoter and (not before time) the first Garganey of the year, both in Stratford Bay. However the real bird of the day was a Nightingale singing in Villice Bay - it showed well very briefly this evening but was otherwise a little elusive in a dense alder/hazel thicket next to the B3114. This is the first CVL record since 1994 of this locally scarce bird; in recent years they've really declined at their strongholds in the Avon area.

Other birds around the lake were: Hobby, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, at least three Cuckoos and a male Tufted Duck x Pochard.
The Greenshank was still there this morning, as was the Little Egret and a Common Sandpiper.
Birds of note today were as follows: three Hobbies, three Common Sandpipers, one Greenshank, one Dunlin and one common Tern.
A Common Tern this morning was the only bird of note reported today.
The waders that we would normally be lucky to get arrived today - a Sanderling and a few Dunlin (three of the latter to be precise) were on Heron's Green Pool this morning. The drake Canvasback x Pochard, here for his umpteenth spring was found on Herriott's Pool today.
An Arctic Tern (sailing area), a male Whinchat (Heron's Green Pool) and a Cuckoo (Stratford) were the only birds of note reported today.
Evidently the miserable weather has produced something of a wader miracle this afternoon, as a flock of at least 80 Bar-tailed Godwits was seen to arrive from the east and pass overhead, followed by 15 Dunlin, a Whimbrel and three Ringed Plovers. Normally in spring we're lucky to get a Sanderling and a few Dunlin. A double-figure count of the latter is noteworthy, but the godwit flock is well in excess of the previous record count - seven!

Also moving through this afternoon were c.21 Arctic Terns and 16 Common Terns amongst the 3000+ Swifts and 500+ hirundines. Three Common Sandpipers and a White Wagtail were on the main dam, and a Little Egret was on Moreton Point (arrived this afternoon, also from the east).
Two Arctic Terns and one Hobby were the only birds of note reported today.
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