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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 28.08.2007

August 2007

An Osprey was seen over Herriott's Pool this lunchtime.

Two Black-necked Grebes were in Heron's Green Bay today.

The first Pintail of the autumn was on Herriott's Pool this morning; other birds seen today were single Hobby and Common Sandpiper, and the eclipse drake Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck in Stratford Bay.

The Garganey was still at Heron's Green Pool this evening, and was probably the best of the bunch today, which included: three Wigeon, single Hobby, Little Gull, Ringed Plover and Water Rail, two Common Sandpipers and three Green Sandpipers. What appeared to be an eclipse drake Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck was seen in Stratford Bay.

Still a few good birds turning up - Heron's Green Pool had the pick of the bunch today, with a Spotted Redshank (a winter plumage bird, different from yesterday's bird), a Garganey, a Snipe and the first Stonechat of the autumn. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull flew over there this evening. Other birds elsewhere included single Kingfisher, Green Sandpiper and Peregrine, two Common Sandpipers and three drake Wigeon.

A moth trap was operated overnight; the clear night and subsequent cold conditions lakeside conspired to produce the staggering total of four moths in the trap this morning. Truly woeful.

A Spotted Redshank on Herriott's Pool was new-in today. A Yellow-legged Gull and a Common Tern were off Nunnery Point this evening.

A Snipe was on the flattened reedbed/matted weed in front of Stratford hide this evening.

An adult Sabine's Gull was an unexpected find early this afternoon - seen briefly from Stratford hide but sadly wasn't seen again. A juvenile Common Tern was also present.

The female Ferruginous Duck was in front of Stratford hide again today.

A decent morning, though predictably, most of the good birds had webbed feet: the first-summer drake Ferruginous Duck, again showing well with Pochards in the floating weed just in front of Stratford hide, at least ten Great Black-backed Gulls, c.1000 House Martins, one Little Egret (Heron's Green Pool), an adult Common Tern, and the juvenile Little Gull still, which was joined by the first juvenile Arctic Tern of the autumn. A juvenile/1st-winter Yellow-legged Gull was at the overspill on Herriott's Bridge.

This afternoon, a female Ferruginous Duck was also present in Stratford Bay; one wonders whether the adult drake from the previous few years will also turn up?

Thanks again to Gary Thoburn for the picture. I should get out more!

Copyright Gary Thoburn
drake Ferruginous Duck - Stratford Bay, 18th August.

The Ferruginous Duck was at Stratford Bay again this morning, also today were two Hobbies, a juvenile Little Gull, c.20 Sand Martins, a Swift and two Little Egrets (one each on Heron's Green Pool and in Heron's Green Bay).

Three Black-tailed Godwits flew south mid-morning, the Black-necked Grebe was still present and there was a notable fall of Willow Warblers (c. 15 juveniles) around Stratford and Herriott's early in the morning.

Almost autumn-like this evening, with the juvenile male Red-crested Pochard still present (Heron's Green Bay), two Garganey (Heron's Green Pool), and the Black-necked Grebe still.

An Otter was seen just north of Herriott's Bridge this evening.

A juvenile/first-winter Red-crested Pochard was another decent new arrival today (seen from Stratford hide); also today were the Black-necked Grebe, four Common Terns, single Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper and an adult Yellow-legged Gull in the usual place - a buoy in the middle of the lake.

The monthly wildfowl count took place today - just over 2000 Coot and 485 Great Crested Grebes were the highlights in what was generally a poor result. The Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay, along with most of the aforementioned Coots and grebes. A brief Wood Sandpiper was a surprise find at the main dam, otherwise just three Common Sandpipers and a Black-tailed Godwit were the best of the waders.

Again, no sign of the Spotted Sandpiper, but the Ferruginous Duck is still present in Stratford Bay. Single Peregrine and Hobby were over Herriott's Bridge just before it got dark, along with c.200 Swallows.

No sign of the Spotted Sandpiper today. Five Black Terns and a Common Tern were off Sutton Wick, and on the main dam were two Greenshanks, an Oystercatcher and an adult Yellow-legged Gull.

The Spotted Sandpiper was again present at the top end of the lake, but rather elusive, being seen with one or two Common Sandpipers either on the main dam or at North Shore (at the latter site on a thin strip of mud and floating vegetation between the two picnic sites). The Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay (it's not going anywhere at the moment - it can't fly). Also, Kingfishers seem to be particularly difficult to miss at the moment; early mornings at Herriott's Bridge and anywhere between Whalley Bank and North Shore are quite good places to look.

Thanks to Richard Mielcarek for the Spotted Sandpiper photo.

Copyright Richard Mielcrek
Spotted Sandpiper

Although elusive at first, the Spotted Sandpiper was relocated and spent most of the afternoon and evening between the two picnic sites. A Spotted Crake was a nice find at Heron's Green Pool this morning, but wasn't seen again this evening. A Wood Sandpiper was heard calling at Heron's Green this morning, where there were also two each of Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Ringed Plover, and six Whimbrel over. Single Common Tern, Common Gull and Mediterranean Gull were also seen by the extra pairs of eyes at the lake today! Also, the Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay.

Copyright Rich Andrews
The world's worst Spotted Crake photograph was taken this morning.

A rarity! And a proper one at that. Just as it was getting dark this evening, a Spotted Sandpiper was found on the main dam. Not some crappy juvenile either - one with actual spots on! Sadly as it was found at 20:50 only a few people managed to see it before it got too dark. This is only the second for Chew; the previous one was in October 1982.

The Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay, along with a 'new in' Black-necked Grebe. A Dunlin was also on the main dam earlier this evening, and a Common Sandpiper was there later (with the Spotted Sand). There was also a Spoonbill at Chew this morning on Herriott's Pool - it flew off north. Definitely a quality rather than quantity day at the lake today.

The drake Ring-necked Duck is still present.

The Ferruginous Duck was still present today. Six Common Terns were also present.

A male Lesser Emperor was seen in front of Stratford hide this morning; following last years sightings this wasn't too unexpected. It was almost certainly seen a few days ago as well.

I get quite a few e-mails each summer about the terrapins that live in the lake - normally they're too far out to get a photo, but unusually one was basking at close range on the causeway at Herriott's Bridge last week and Gary Thoburn has kindly supplied this photo of it. They're Red-eared Terrapins (or at least I think they are), native to North and South America. They're unwanted pets that have been illegally introduced into the lake.

Copyright Gary Thoburn
Red-eared Terrapin Terrapin mutant-ninjensis.

The first-summer drake Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay this morning.

Moth-trapping was decidedly poor in the clear (cool) weather overnight. Full list here.

The first-summer drake Ferruginous Duck was in Stratford Bay this morning, a Kingfisher was at Herriott's Pool and at least one Common Tern was on the main lake. A full-grown brood of Shoveler has recently been found at Heron's Green Pool - a real event, as this is the first successful breeding at Chew since 1991.

A Brown-veined Wainscot was an unusual find inside Stratford hide this evening - normally they're hard enough to find inside a moth trap! Moth trapping overnight produced a few wetland specialities, but nothing much, considering the time of year. Full list here.

A few waders are on the move again - just about the only place they can land is on the concrete embankments - in Heron's Green Bay there were single Redshank, Dunlin and Little Ringed Plover. The Ferruginous Duck was again in Stratford Bay.

A juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen over the reedbed near Herriott's Bridge this morning.

Ten Little Egrets at Heron's Green Pool this morning was a surprise - a record number for the lake (beating the previous max by one). Also present today were a juvenile Little Ringed Plover on the main dam and a Green Sandpiper on Heron's Green Pool.

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