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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 03.05.2007

May 2007

An Oystercatcher on Herriott's Pool this morning was the avain highlight.

An actinic moth-trap was run overnight; others of interest were the micro-moth Alanbonia geofrella and a rather large queen Hornet near Stratford hide.

There was another Polecat sighting on the road near Bishop Sutton this morning at 05:30.

Still rather windy, but a little sunnier today - still the expected thousands of Swifts and hirundines around all day. A Little Egret at Herriotts Pool was a new bird; otherwise the only other highlights were the Cuckoo at Stratford still, and a Hobby again - this evening it flashed past Stratford hide at very close range before disappearing over the main reedbed.

Finally some proper numbers of Swifts this evening - c.10,000 were all over the lake, along with c.500 each of Swallow and House Martin. The Cuckoo was still singing on the west side of Stratford Bay, and a Common Tern was seen amongst the Swifts.

There were still c.1500 Swifts, c.500 House Martins and c.250 Swallows in the windy weather; the Peregrine was seen again today, and new-in were three Dunlin on the dam, and a Wheatear on Moreton Bank.

Another day of wet weather - the Grasshopper Warbler was seen again briefly this morning before the rain set in. Once the rain had passed this evening, a few more birds were seen, including a Black Tern, a Peregrine, a Hobby, and most peculiarly, a fully-grown juvenile Great Crested Grebe. There have already been a couple of young Great Crests seen at Chew this year, which is very early for this site, but this one is older than those, so must be from elsewhere.

The Grasshopper Warbler showed well this morning in vegetation just north of Heron's Green Pool, and was seen again late this afternoon. A Little Tern on the small island in front of Stratford hide after the rain stopped this evening was another good find - it spent the rest of the evening zipping up and down the lake amongst the large number of hirundines and Swifts. Two Oystercatchers and a Whimbrel were on the main dam, and two Whimbrel were later seen in flight over the lake. A Kingfisher was seen briefly on the willow to the right of Stratford hide, and two Hobbies were also seen late this evening - they flew onto the main lake from the west over Heron's Green Pool.

Some good birds were seen today, despite the continuing rain and wind. This morning, the drake Garganey had moved to Heron's Green Pool, where a Grasshopper Warbler was heard singing, and two Little Egrets flew west there. There were four Whimbrel and two Common Sandpipers on the main dam.

When the rain cleared this evening, two Dunlin and two Sanderling arrived on the concrete embankment at Heron's Green Bay, and a couple of Arctic Terns were seen, but the highlight was undoubtedly the huge numbers of Swallows over the lake - there were at least 3000, with very small numbers of Sand Martins, and a few House Martins as well. A Hobby was also present.

Almost a repeat of the last two days: two Arctic Terns, 1000+ Swifts, first-winter Mediterranean Gull, Cuckoo. Later this evening there was a drake Garganey at Stratford Bay, five Dunlin, one Arctic Tern, five-plus Common Terns, one Common Sandpiper and a high count of 1500-plus Swallows

Both Four-spotted Chaser and Broad-bodied Chaser were on the wing at Nunnery Point this morning before the rain set in.

More wind, more rain, more Swifts. And an Arctic Tern.

Another day of howling westerlies, which delivered two Arctic Terns and an adult Kittiwake to the lake - all three birds were off the sailing club this afternoon. The first-winter Mediterranean Gull was also still on the lake amongst the first-year Black-headed Gulls.

A change in the weather, with cold westerlies and cloud bringing the expected flocks of Swifts over the lake. Still present from Stratford hide this afternoon were the adult Little Gull and a Hobby over the main reeds, plus a first-winter Mediterranean Gull, and a couple of Dunlin flying through.

A good day for raptors, though sadly none of them looked particularly eagle-like: a female Marsh Harrier was seen over Villice Bay at midday, which then flew high over the main lake and towards Bishop Sutton. A Hobby gave excellent views as it hawked flies over Herriott's Bridge this afternoon, and was briefly joined by a second when a Red Kite rose from the fields behind Lower Gurney Farm being mobbed by Rooks. It gained height and drifted off south-west. On the main lake, an adult summer Little Gull was a nice find, and two Common Terns were also present.

Late this evening a Hobby was also feeding over the Moreton Bank/Stratford Bay area on those black midges - the air was absolutely thick with millions of them. A Cuckoo was also calling in Stratford Bay, and a drake Garganey was on Herriott's Pool.

Copyright Rich Andrews

Following the frog-eating Badger last month, another unexpected mammal sighting was made this morning - an apparent Polecat was seen at close range from a car on the A368 at New Manor Farm, carrying a small youngster in its mouth as it ran across the road.

A Little Ringed Plover on the main dam was a long-awaited first record of the year - there were also three Dunlin there. The Black Tern was still present today, and two Hobbies were also seen.

A Black Tern and eight Common Terns were seen today, and a Ringed Plover was on the main dam.

A Hobby over Heron's Green Pool was the only bird of note reported today.

Broad-bodied Chaser, Beautiful Demoiselle and Common Blue Damselfly were all on the wing today.

A female Marsh Harrier was the highlight today; typically it was seen briefly but did not stay. Other birds today included one Dunlin and a report of a Hobby.

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