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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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WATER LEVEL

87%

on 30.10.2007

October 2007

WEDNESDAY 31st
The three first-winter Greater Scaup were still in front of Stratford hide this afternoon, also two Water Pipits (in flight), the first-winter Little Gull an adult Mediterranean Gull and a female Greater Scaup-type hybrid.

TUESDAY 30th
The first-winter Little Gull was still present today, along with the apparent drake Greater Scaup x Pochard and his two possibly similar-parentaged female friends. No sign of the Ferruginous Duck though.

BARROW TANKS:
The adult Great Northern Diver was still on No.3 this afternoon, whilst over on No.2, a party of four Red-crested Pochards was an unexpected find. Another apparent drake Greater Scaup x Pochard was also there (very similar to the Chew bird which was present at the same time), with another funny-looking female duck that also looked like a Greater Scaup x Pochard.

MONDAY 29th
An Aythya-fest at the lake today; the flock in Stratford Bay today contained: one drake Ferruginous Duck, three Greater Scaup (including a juvenile drake and female presumably from Cheddar Res), the drake Canvasback x Pochard, the presumed drake Greater Scaup x Pochard and two other female Scaup-like hybrids. In addition to the ducks a first-winter Little Gull appeared late-morning, and there are still a few Siskins on the move.

SUNDAY 28th
A drake Ferruginous Duck was back in Stratford Bay this afternoon, along with an adult Mediterranean Gull, the drake Greater Scaup hybrid (the bird would appear to be closest to the rather unlikely pairing of Greater Scaup x Pochard), and our old friend, the drake Canvasback x Pochard. Goldeneye numbers are also up on last weekend.

There was an unusually large Starling roost at the lake this evening; various estimates from the observers were 'thousands', 'more than last weekend' and 'a bloody load'.

SATURDAY 27th
A first-winter Mediterranean Gull was in Stratford Bay this afternoon. Of note, the water level has dropped noticeably since last weekend.

THURSDAY 25th
Six adult Bewick's Swans were seen in flight over the lake today, which were relocated at...

BLAGDON:
Six Bewick's Swans were at Top End, and the drake Lesser Scaup remained.

BARROW TANKS:
The moulting adult Great Northern Diver was still present today. It has become apparent that this same bird was at Coate Water (Wilts) last Friday afternoon, and what appeared to be this bird was seen in flight over Grafham Water (Cambs) first thing the same morning.

SUNDAY 21st
Another quiet autumn day - 16 Goldeneye were in Stratford Bay this morning, and a Kingfisher or two were in the area.

BARROW TANKS:
An adult Great Northern Diver was a nice surprise today on No.3 - and still in summer plumage, save a few white feathers on it's face. Nearly all Great Northerns in 'Avon' are in non-breeding plumage; one looking like this is a rare sight around here:

Copyright Rich Andrews
Adult summer Great Northern Diver

SATURDAY 20th
A Woodcock was flushed from vegetation near Stratford Bay this morning, two Redpolls were seen nearby.

BLAGDON:
The drake Lesser Scaup is still present.

THURSDAY 18th
A Rock Pipit was in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon.

WEDNESDAY 17th
The Black-necked Grebe is still present; a group of eight Ravens were seen over Burledge Hill.

TUESDAY 16th
The Black-necked Grebe was still present today. Other birds were six Siskins, one Redpoll, one Skylark, several Redwings and Fieldfares, plus 52 Pintail. There seems to be a plethora of Aythya hybrids around the lake at the moment; at least four in the last few days.

MONDAY 15th
Two Rock Pipits were seen today.

SUNDAY 14th
No sign of the Cattle Egret in Heron's Green Bay or any of the surrounding fields today as far as I am aware. A Green Sandpiper was heard calling, a Kingfisher and eight Goldeneye were seen in Stratford Bay this morning, plus a few passerine migrants - small numbers of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Redwings wee seen/heard in flight over the lake this morning, and c.20 Siskins were around the Stratford Alder wood. Two first-winter Mediterranean Gulls were also seen this afternoon. This evening, there were 57 Pintail on Herriott's Pool, and over the road, a ringtail Hen Harrier was watched for several minutes making repeated attacks on the Starling roost in the main reedbed. A rare sight at Chew. It may well be worth looking for this bird from Herriott's Bridge first thing tomorrow morning as it is likely to have roosted nearby. Thanks to Milo Sweet for the photo.

Copyright Milo Sweet
female Hen Harrier

BLAGDON:
The drake Lesser Scaup was still there this afternoon. It may be worth mentioning that there are now two hybrid drake 'Lesser Scaup-alikes' at Chew (hybrid duck capital of Britain) that could cause confusion. It's very possible that either one of them could fly to Blagdon, but evidently impossible that The Lesser Scaup could fly to Chew. The first hybrid is a bulky bird, first seen on August 26th; it has a smooth nape rather like a Greater Scaup, but has a bill-pattern like a Tufted Duck. The second is the bird that has been wintering at CVL for the last few years - pictures of it can be found here. Both birds are adult drakes moulting out of eclipse; they were with the Aythya flock in Stratford Bay this afternoon.

SATURDAY 13th
The Cattle Egret was still present in Heron's Green Bay this morning. Also the Black-necked Grebe, a Peregrine, a total of 45 Siskins, a Common Scoter, a Greenshank, a Dunlin and a late Reed Warbler were seen around the lake.

This afternoon, the Egret was more elusive, being seen briefly on the Parkland. Other new birds for today included a juvenile Arctic Tern (flew NW over the Parkland), a Rock Pipit (Nunnery Point, then in flight W over Heron's Green Bay), and two Stonechats (Heron's Green Pool).

BLAGDON:
The drake Lesser Scaup was in Long Bay this afternoon.

FRIDAY 12th
Whilst following up yesterday's Great White Egret report at first light this morning, I was quite surprised to find the bird was not only still present, but was a Cattle Egret! Initially in the dead tree on Moreton Point, it flew off over the B3114 but then flew back in and was present for most of the day; either around Heron's Green Bay or on the Parkland. This evening there was a Rock Pipit and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull at Herriott's Bridge. Thanks to Richard Mielcarek for the picture.

The only previous record of one at Chew was an unaccepted report in June 1988 (plus an escaped coromandus bird in 1994/95). Perhaps I should complain about the lack of good birds at Chew more often.

Copyright Richard Mielcarek
Cattle and Egret.

BLAGDON:
The drake Lesser Scaup was in Holt Bay this afternoon.

LONG ASHTON:
A Red Grouse was picked up dead by the roadside this morning. This follows a report of one flushed from rather more natural habitat on the Mendips recently.

THURSDAY 11th
There was a report of a Great White Egret in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon - unfortunately the bird was not present in the bay in a brief search subsequently.

TUESDAY 9th
A welcome good bird at Chew today - a juvenile Sabine's Gull was found late this morning and was still present this afternoon around the centre of the lake.

MONDAY 8th
Seven Little Gulls were present today.

SUNDAY 7th
Not much change from yesterday - the three Little Gulls, the Black-necked Grebe and the dead Lesser Black-backed Gull were all still present. Two Bramblings were with the Chaffinches in the cut maize patch behind Moreton hide, and a Golden Plover was heard in flight. Single Snipe and Lapwing were also seen in what has now become a four-wader weekend.

Leaf-mining microlepidoptera: The larvae of Psychoides filicivora are quite common on the Hart's tongue ferns at the bottom of Sutton Wick Lane at the moment.

SATURDAY 6th
The three Little Gulls were still present (the same birds as last Sunday), along with the Black-necked Grebe and two Goldeneye. More autumnal sightings were two Redpolls, seven Siskins and steady numbers of Meadow Pipits over Stratford Bay this morning, along with one Curlew. There were three Kingfishers seen today (Stratford hide, Wick Green Point and Herriott's Pool), and a Snipe was also seen.

In a desperate attempt to bring some action to this month's news I can report on a quite unlikely fight at Stratford hide between a Cormorant and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull this morning - the gull was left in what I can only describe as a knackered heap and eventually died. I hope someone finds a rare bird soon or I might have to start looking for leaf-mining microlepidoptera again.

There was a second-hand report of two Mink at Nunnery Point this morning.

BLAGDON:
The drake Lesser Scaup is still present today.

FRIDAY 5th
The Black Tern was still present today, along with two Little Gulls and the Black-necked Grebe still. A Skylark overheard was a sure sign that autumn is well and truly here.

WEDNESDAY 3rd
Still quite a few good birds today: the drake Ferruginous Duck and two Black-necked Grebes were still present, along with a female Common Scoter, 44 Pintail (Herriott's Pool), four Little Gulls, a Black Tern, a Redshank, a Hobby and (bird of the day) a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

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