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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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on 04.04.2007

April 2007

A Black Tern was the only bird of note reported so far this weekend.

A male Whinchat was on Moreton Bank this morning, with two Whimbrels on Stratford Island, three Common Terns, 50+ Swifts, a Ringed Plover, a Cuckoo, and the first Hobby of the year over Herriott's Pool.

A pair of Sandwich Terns near Villice Bay at lunchtime were good birds to see at Chew - sometimes we only get one record a year.

Some proper spring birds! Five Common Sandpipers, one Common Tern, two Cuckoos, c.100 Swifts, 40 House Martins, eleven Sedge Warblers and four Garden Warblers were found today. Two Yellowhammers over North Shore were a notable sighting of this proper CVL scarcity.

Again, a quiet day - a flock of 58 Swifts, a Lesser Whitethroat (main reeds) and a Cuckoo (Stratford) were the avian highlights.

The first odonata of the year were on the wing today - a couple of Beautiful Demoiselles at two locations. However, the bizarre sighting of the month award goes to the Badger watched eating frogs on Moreton Lane at 10:30 this morning.

A party of 24 Swifts over Sutton Wick this morning was the only noteworthy record - this is turning out to be a very quiet spring so far.

The female Greater Scaup was in Stratford Bay today, otherwise, little to report: four Reed Warblers, a Lesser Whitethroat (near Stratford hide), and a couple of Sedge Warblers. The lake itself was very quiet - not even any terns yet. Of interest, four Raven chicks were ringed earlier in the week - this is the third year running they have bred at Chew.

No sign of the main birds from yesterday, but a Little Gull and a Greenshank on Herriott's Pool this morning were new-in. There was still only a single Reed Warbler reported today, but the Common Sandpiper count has now increased to five.

A day of quality at the lake, with three good 'local patch' birds today - the Osprey reappeared over Herriott's mid-morning, then a Grasshopper Warbler was briefly heard reeling by the puddle on Moreton Lane (most birders have seen more Ospreys than Groppers at Chew). Bird of the year so far though, was a male Ring Ouzel at No.1 Picnic site this afternoon. A Chew tick for just about everybody, this individual made an unusual sight as it fed under a sallow on the shoreline, just beyond the wire fence at the north end of the car park. The only previous Chew record was of one with a flock of winter thrushes in a hedge along Moreton Lane in November 1985.

fuscus, copyright R Mielcarek The first two Swifts of the year were also seen today, along with a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, the female Greater Scaup and two Common Sandpipers. A gull showing characters of an adult Baltic Gull was seen on Herriott's Pool this evening. In the field, the bird was quite a striking-looking gull; note in the photo the bird appears to be standing in a hole, but it was actually shorter-legged than the graellsii present, as well as being smaller. Thanks to Richard Mielcarek for the photo.

Apparently a Camberwell Beauty was photographed at Claverton Down recently.

An Osprey was the highlight of the day, and unusually for a spring bird, it hung around for a few people to catch up with it. It was first seen at Herriott's Pool this afternoon, but disappeared towards White Hill after catching a fish. It was then relocated sat in a tree between North Widcombe and South Widcombe, but flew off in the direction of East Harptree at 19:15. Other birds today included a drake Garganey in flight and the female Greater Scaup in Stratford Bay, and a Whitethroat at Moreton Lane.

The first Cuckoo was heard calling today - always distant, but eventually pinned down in the Moreton area. Another 'new' migrant was a male Redstart along the big hedge in Moreton Bank field; found at lunchtime and still present late this evening. Otherwise, more of the same, with Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs more in evidence now, and a couple of Reed Warblers again today. The female Greater Scaup was still in Stratford Bay this evening, along with 17 Goldeneye. The Bar-headed Goose was again on Herriott's Pool, where a brood of ten Mallard ducklings has emerged, and there were two Kingfishers seen today - at Herriott's Pool and past Stratford hide this morning. There was a late report of an Osprey at Heron's Green Bay this morning.

Some birds seen early today: female Greater Scaup and Sedge Warbler at Stratford hide, and a Reed Warbler at Herriott's Bridge.

There were four adult Little Gulls today, along with six House Martins (a rather late first for the year), and a Curlew seen in flight.

Adderstongue Ferns are now 'up' on the Parkland.

Three Little Gulls were new-in this afternoon; also seen today were two Common Sandpipers and an Oystercatcher. There was a second-hand report of a Red-legged Partridge at Villice Bay on Monday.

There were single Dunlin, Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper on the main dam this morning. The drake Tufted Duck x Greater Scaup was still in Stratford Bay, and a pair of Wigeon were still around.

A surprise this morning was a partridge sp. which flew across Heron's Green Bay towards the Parkland - both Grey and Red-legged are rarities at Chew! More normal observations were five Willow Warblers (at last!), three Green Sandpipers, a White Wagtail on the dam, and a first-summer Yellow-legged Gull.

No sign of the scoters this morning (as expected), but the two Garganey were still amongst the plethora of ducks in the centre of the lake, along with an adult Little Gull and up to 31 Shelducks. There were a few Swallows this afternoon, a Green Sandpiper in Heron's Green Bay and the drake Tufted Duck x Greater Scaup was in Stratford Bay. A Raven was a surprise sight on the causeway at Heron's Green Bay this afternoon, stuffing its face with bread!

Green-winged Orchids are now beginning to appear on the Parkland.

Four Common Scoters (three drakes and a female) were a nice, if not unexpected find this morning - almost impossible to miss looking across the flat calm lake from Wick Green Point. They were still present later this afternoon, along with two drake Garganey dabbling about in the middle of the lake. A late Pintail was also there this evening. The only summer migrants of note were a few Sand Martins, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs around the lake.

A warm spring day, but the only migrants of note were three Swallows this morning. If the good weather keeps up perhaps we might hear the first Reed Warblers of the spring in the next few days. The drake Tufted Duck x Greater Scaup was off Moreton Bank this afternoon.

Of note, BW are now pumping from the lake, and the level has dropped noticeably; the water level is now at least six inches below maximum (96%).

A little more in the way of quality today in the shape of a pair of Black-necked Grebes from Stratford hide this afternoon. Also present were a second-summer Mediterranean Gull on Herriott's Pool, 220 Sand Martins and two Swallows.

The drake Garganey was still around the Moreton area today, although rather elusive. The drake Tufted Duck x Greater Scaup was still in Villice Bay, and there were at least two Swallows with the flock of c.120 Sand Martins today.

There's nothing like some quality to start the month as you mean to go on - a Bar-headed Goose at Herriott's Bridge.

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