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This page brings you the latest bird and wildlife sightings from Chew Valley Lake (and occasionally elsewhere). Records are taken from various sources and should be regarded as unconfirmed.

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on 17.04.08

April 2008

The Lesser Scaup was still present today on Herriott's Pool, with the two Pintail still and six Great Black-backed Gulls. The showers moved a few birds through the lake today, with two Little Gulls, two Black Terns, four Common Terns and two Arctic Terns present this afternoon, along with hundreds of Swifts. Up to eight Common Sandpipers, six Dunlin and a Hobby were also seen. A Cuckoo was heard calling in the Nature Reserve.

Two Black Terns today were the first of the year; four Little Gulls and two Common Terns were also present. The drake Lesser Scaup was also reported as being still present, and a Common Sandpiper was seen from Stratford hide.

The drake Lesser Scaup was seen again today, at Stratford Bay and Herriott's Pool, where a drake Mandarin was also seen. A male Whinchat was on Moreton Bank, whilst on the main lake were three Little Gulls (an adult and two first-winters), and two Common Terns - in addition there were another three of the latter on Herriott's Pool this evening, plus a Swift over, and a pair of Pintail. Up to twelve Common Sandpipers were seen around the lake this afternoon.

There were eleven Common Terns and six Little Gulls this evening, and single Hobby and Whimbrel from Stratford hide at midday.

A drake Garganey was on Herriott's Pool this evening.

Still some good birds around today - on the lake were six Little Gulls, three Common Terns, one Sandwich Tern and the first Arctic Tern of the year. In addition, a late flock of 40 Fieldfares was at Moreton, one Yellow Wagtail, c.500 Swallows and an Osprey was reported again this afternoon.

Still rather grey and murky today, but no rain and more birds! Seen around the lake today in no particular order: two Pintail, three Sandwich Terns, seven adult Little Gulls, two Common Terns, 1000 Swallows, 500 Sand Martins, 30 House Martins, one White Wagtail, three Sedge Warblers, 15-plus Reed Warblers, 14-plus Blackcaps, 20-plus Willow Warblers, two Tree Pipits, three Whimbrel, one Brambling, three Fieldfares, a Yellow-legged Gull, at least one Hobby, seven Swifts and five Yellow Wagtails. An Osprey passing through this afternoon was all set to become bird of the day until two Arctic Skuas appeared over the lake at 18:15.

A Red-eared Terrapin was a surprise find today - normally we only see them in the summer as the water levels recede.

Red-eared Terrapin (Keith Vinicombe).

A miserable, wet day. Six adult Little Gulls were the highlight - showing well (at least by Chew standards) in the mouth of Heron's Green Bay from Nunnery Point. The first Swift of the year was amongst the hundreds of Swallows and Sand Martins (but still only ones and twos of House Martin), a Common Sandpiper was on Stratford Islands and seven Whimbrel flew north over the lake.

At least five adult Little Gulls were a welcome sight today, as were a couple of Yellow Wagtails and a Black-tailed Godwit at Herriotts. Also seen were one Redpoll, two Common Sandpipers, 500 Swallows, 1000 Sand Martins and ten House Martins.

The Lesser Scaup showed well from Stratford hide today; other birds seen/heard around the lake were 15 Fieldfares, one Goosander, four Common Sandpipers, two Reed Warblers and up to seven White Wagtails.

The first Common Tern of the year was seen today, as was the first Redstart - a male by the puddle on Moreton Lane. The drake Lesser Scaup was still in Stratford Bay (from the hide, looking towards Denny/Wick Green Point).

The Lesser Scaup and the 'original' Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck were in Stratford Bay today, the female Greater Scaup was in Heron's Green Bay, and three Common Sandpipers and a Green Sandpiper were at the main dam.

Again, the Lesser Scaup was still in Stratford Bay, along with the female Greater Scaup and what would appear to be the drake Scaup hybrid that was until recently at Cheddar Res (see homepage for picture link). Other birds seen this evening: a male White Wagtail, one Green Sandpiper and four Common Sandpipers on the Main Dam, a Brambling at Sutton Wick car park, 75+ Swallows, 15 House Martins, 4000 Sand Martins and a Little Egret.

As well as the Lesser Scaup, a female Common Scoter was seen today, plus three Common Sandpipers, four Green Sandpipers, 21 Buzzards and two White Wagtails.

The drake Lesser Scaup was still in Stratford Bay today, along with the female Greater Scaup. Sand Martins were still in good supply, with c.5000 present.

Adult male Lesser Scaup - Stratford Bay (Gary Thoburn).

At last - the most long-awaited, oft-predicted addition to the Chew list finally appeared today: Lesser Scaup, floating about in Stratford Bay, having probably followed the Tufted Duck he fancies all the way from Barrow. Nice one. Also today were single Common Sandpiper and White Wagtail (Main dam), but the real event was a Chew world-record number of Sand Martins - a conservative count of 6700 was made from Stratford hide this evening.

An Oystercatcher was on the embankment at Heron's Green Bay this morning. The cold, wintry weather produced the expected masses of hirundines this afternoon; no counts were made, but numbers of Sand Martins were well into four figures, with the highest numbers of Swallows of the year so far - unusual to see them battling against a blizzard! Only a couple of House Martins were seen amongst them.

Two Black-necked Grebes were off Moreton this evening - good numbers of Sand Martins were again present, with several tens of Swallows amongst them. A Reed Warbler was heard singing at No.1 Picnic site, and other sightings were four Willow Warblers, six Blackcaps, a Redshank and a Red Kite over Burledge Hill. 595 Tufted Ducks were present, along with the female Greater Scaup still, and the Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck in Heron's Green Bay.

Big numbers of Sand Martins today; a count of 80 was made in the morning, but by the evening there were an estimated 2000 present - obviously a significant arrival of migrants during the day. There were also two Water Pipits in Heron's Green Bay, the female Greater Scaup (Moreton/Stratford), with other sightings of Yellow-legged Gull, Green Sandpiper, three Swallows, a Blackcap and the drake Greater Scaup x Tufted Duck.

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