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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 12.1.2007

January 2008

The Yellow-browed Warbler was still in the usual place today, and the Franklin's Gull was again seen briefly at Herriott's Pool just after 16:30. Elsewhere, the first-winter Little Gull was still around the centre of the lake, and four Mediterranean Gulls were seen at Herriott's this afternoon.

Yellow-browed Warbler - Chew Stoke Sewage Treatment Works (Simon Mackie)

The Yellow-browed Warbler was still present, showing well around midday at least. One local birder who has now seen three Yellow-browed Warblers at Chew has said that this bird is not strictly within the boundaries of the lake and is therefore not countable on anyone's Chew list. However it should be noted that it is considerably closer than the Twite at North Widcombe in 1979.

The Franklin's Gull was also seen again at Herriott's Pool for a few minutes at 16:45 before flying into the main roost.

The day got off to a good start this morning when a Yellow-browed Warbler was discovered just downstream of the main dam, at Chew Stoke Sewage Works. It was then seen well at least twice during the afternoon as it fed at the riverside by the perimeter fence, near the settling beds. Just goes to show the value of BTO Winter Atlas fieldwork! The sewage works are private and are kept locked, but the bird can be viewed from the public footpath that runs along the east side of the River Chew. It was favouring an area where there were quite a few reddish dogwood stems in the background as you look through the fence.

There were also some happy faces at the other end of the lake this afternoon with the reappearance of the second-winter Franklin's Gull on Herriott's Pool. This bird has been looked for (without success) almost every evening from Herriott's since it was seen briefly here on 20th. Even today, it was only seen for about ten minutes before it slipped off, but it was then relocated looking north from the bridge with other gulls in Stratford Bay before it flew off into the main roost.

The two Black-necked Grebes were still in Villice Bay, and a Black Swan has appeared on Herriott's Pool.

Second-winter Franklin's Gull - Herriott's Pool 29th Jan 08 (Rob Laughton)

Two Black-necked Grebes in Villice Bay were new today - this used to be a very rare bird in winter at Chew, but in an unlikely reversal of fortunes this species has been seen more frequently than Smew in recent winters (which is rapidly heading for its first blank winter ever at Chew). The Great Northern Diver was nearby off Woodford Bank, a Water Pipit was seen between Moreton and Stratford, and a first-winter Little Gull was in the centre of the lake.

An adult Yellow-legged Gull was on Herriott's Pool late this afternoon.

The Great Northern Diver was still present, off East Shore just before dusk, and the drake Red-breasted Merganser was also off Nunnery Point this afternoon. At Herriott's Pool this afternoon were two Mediterranean Gulls (an adult on the pool and a first-winter through), but rather unexpected were two Little Gulls (adult and first-winter) which flew straight over the road and into the roost. A Green Sandpiper was on the causeway.

A Bewick's Swan on Herriott's Pool today was a welcome visitor - this is now a scarce bird at Chew. Two Greylags on the pool were also new in.

In what can only be described as a proper seagull miracle, a second-winter Franklin's Gull was seen for a few minutes at Herriott's Pool this afternoon*. It flew onto the main lake, but a thorough search of the (at the time) rather small roost at Nunnery Point failed to produce the bird; a search of Heron's Green Bay also produced a blank. A long, long, long-awaited first for Chew.

The 'Iceland-alike' leucistic Common Gull was in the roost this evening, and the Great Northern Diver was off Moreton. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was still in Heron's Green Bay with the Goosanders.

* it was later discovered that the Franklin's Gull had been seen on the afternoon of 19th, but news was not made public at the time.

Three Mediterranean Gulls (two adults and a first-winter) and a couple of Yellow-legged Gulls were seen in the roost this evening.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was seen in the roost this evening in what were more like sea-watch conditions than a gull roost. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was still tarting around with the Goosanders at Nunnery Point this afternoon. A flock of c.300 Lapwing were around Stratford Bay today.

The juvenile Great Northern Diver was again off No.1 Picnic Site this afternoon. Other birds seen today were a Jack Snipe, 43 Goosanders, the drake Red-breasted Merganser, four Mediterranean Gulls (roost) and a Woodcock seen in flight at dusk over the Parkland car-park. Also in the roost this evening was a leucistic/albino Common Gull, looking not unlike a miniature first-winter Iceland Gull at long range.

An adult Mediterranean Gull and nine Pintail were at Herriott's Pool this afternoon, and an adult Ring-billed Gull was seen in the roost again. A few Skylarks overhead this morning were noteworthy.

A first-winter Mediterranean Gull was in the roost this afternoon, and four Siskins flew over No.2 picnic site. The juvenile Great Northern Diver was still off No.1 Picnic Site.

An adult Caspian Gull was seen on Herriott's Pool this afternoon.

A Great Northern Diver was seen off the main dam today, and an apparent Herring x Lesser Black-backed Gull was seen on Herriott's Pool.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was all that could be mustered in the roost this evening. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was in the Heron's Green Bay/Nunnery Point area again.

There continues to be evidence of what is presumably recent Mink activity at the lake - the bitten-off bill of a female Pochard was found on a blood-spattered mat of floating reeds this afternoon. Nice.

A Great Grey Shrike was seen briefly in the Bell's Bush area early this afternoon; sadly it then promptly flew off, and could not be relocated.

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