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This page gives 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 24.06.08

June 2008

A small arrival of birds today, with five Common Terns and (unusually) a first-summer Arctic Tern in Heron's Green Bay, and a pair of Common Scoters on the main lake. The putative American Herring Gull was still on Herriott's Pool.

Purple Hairstreaks are now on the wing in the traditional spot in the 'Parkland' car park by the B3114.

An early morning visit to Herriott's produced a single Hobby over the main reedbed.

The putative American Herring Gull was seen on Herriott's Pool again today.

The putative American Herring Gull was seen on Herriott's Pool until 17:52 this afternoon. The two (now half-grown) Goldeneye ducklings remain.

Seven Sand Martins were seen in Stratford Bay late this evening

The run of unseasonal birds continues with a Bittern seen in flight at Moreton Bank this afternoon. Perhaps this might be a bird from the Somerset Levels? The RSPB has just announced that two nests have been found for the first time at their Ham Wall reserve. The putative American Herring Gull was still present at Herriott's this afternoon.

The Quail was back on the Parkland today, and a Kingfisher was seen in flight past Stratford hide.

The drake Canvasback x Pochard has reappeared at Stratford hide.

The putative American Herring Gull was still at Herriott's today, and the Quail was still calling from Lower Gurney Farm - audible from the car park at Stratford hide in the prevailing wind. A Green Sandpiper was in Heron's Green Bay, and the two Goldeneye chicks are still with us. There were big numbers of Swifts in the murky weather today; House Martins were also very much in evidence.

Although it's midsummer's day, the first signs of autumn movements should be visible now - there are already groups of Gadwall, Coot and Canada Geese gathering around the lake, and the first juvenile Black-headed Gulls should be appearing any day now.

There was further excitement on the plant front when the pile of earth at Woodford Bank was found to contain a further three weeds that were new to Chew - Wild Oat, Fool's Parsley and Opium Poppy.

Juvenile Tawny Owl. 16th June 2008 (Gary Thoburn)

The Quail was back at Lower Gurney Farm today (there was no sign of one on the Parkland today - it's assumed that the same bird has been heard at both sites). The putative American Herring Gull was also still at Herriott's Pool.

The/a Quail was calling on the Parkland today.

The Quail was still calling from the field at Lower Gurney Farm, whilst the putative American Herring Gull was still at Herriott's. The Long-eared Owl was again reported - this time back at Moreton. The Goldeneye brood is reportedly now down to two.

'Quality' is a word seldom used at Chew in June, unless preceded with 'no' or 'poor'. Today was an exception however, with a small but noticeable Quail-shaped gap in the Chew list finally being filled. From Stratford hide car park, go over the wooden stile and follow the public footpath south along the fence into the third field (300 metres from the car park). The Quail was singing intermittently early afternoon at least.

Four Common Scoters (a first-summer male and three females), a Nuthatch (in the copse behind the path at the Quail location), a male White Wagtail (main dam) and a Red Kite (seen from the Quail field) completed the list of midsummer oddities. The putative American Herring Gull was still at Herriott's Bridge today.

In a repeat of Saturday's events, the putative American Herring Gull was being watched at Herriott's Bridge early this afternoon when it got up to see off an Osprey, which flew in from the south and continued up the lake.

The putative American Herring Gull is still being seen at Herriott's Pool, although it can be absent for long periods. The three baby Goldeneye and the oversummering Pintail were still present today; an adult Peregrine was seen over Stratford this evening.

Second-summer Yellow-legged Gull. 9th June 2008 (Brian Stretch)

Two drake Common Scoters were on the Roman Shallows first thing this morning - a typical June record. The putative American Herring Gull was again present today. Hardcore seagull-botherers will no doubt be interested to see some notes on this bird by Andy Davis and Keith Vinicombe, together with a load of photographs - click here. Note that the bird is being reported here as 'putative' because although the pattern of the primaries matches many smithsonianus, variation is such that it doesn't represent one of the 'diagnostic combinations' as given by Adriaens and Mactavish in their recent Dutch Birding paper.

Once again the putative American Herring Gull was at Herriott's Bridge late morning/early afternoon, showing nicely 'at bread' to a handful of local birders. At 13:25 the gulls at the bridge flew up as an Osprey came over. It makes you wonder how many of these must go through unnoticed! The Goldeneye brood of three chicks was still present again this morning.

Many thanks to everyone who has sent in photographs over the last few days - sorry if I haven't put them all up!

Putative adult summer American Herring Gull. For some additional shots, have a look at Severnside Birds

Osprey over Herriott's Bridge - I did manage some pictures directly overhead, but this going-away shot fits on the page better! You can see another effort here

The putative American Herring Gull was seen at Herriott's Bridge again this lunchtime; the Goldeneye brood was seen again today and reported as being reduced to four, then three chicks.

Female Goldeneye with chicks (John Aldridge) 4th June 2008.

No sign of the Long-eared Owl or the Goldeneye family today, although a small brood of Shelducks has emerged on Herriott's Pool. A Kingfisher was heard at Herriott's End, and up to four immature Great Black-backed Gulls were on Herriott's this evening amongst what can only be described as a rather ugly-looking flock of Lesser Black-backs.

Female Goldeneye with chicks (Mike Gillett)
4th June 2008.

Another day of noteworthies at Chew - the Long-eared Owl reappeared this afternoon at Heron's Green Pool, where it showed intermittently into the evening. A Barn Owl was also watched there. Even more remarkable however was the appearance of a brood of six Goldeneye; even though female Goldeneyes have been seen on a few dates in the summer months at Chew over the last few years, this was completely unexpected - not least because no-one's seen a Goldeneye here for weeks! The closest breeding sites are in Scotland; needless to say this is a first for Chew.

Long-eared Owl - Heron's Green Pool. Luckily for the assembled Chew-listers, it spent much of its time this evening sat on the closest fence post to the road (with a Barn Owl wafting about in the field behind!)

A female Marsh Harrier was at Herriott's End, then Stratford Bay at 12:40.

A Long-eared Owl was disturbed from the wood at Moreton hide this afternoon - it flew off across Heron's Green Bay into the wood at Nunnery Point. An excellent record, and only the sixth at CVL. Normally only a winter bird in 'Avon', it's noteworthy that the last one at Chew was also a summer record; in May 2006, at Moreton. A Pintail was still on Herriott's Pool today.

Of note, a large adult 'Herring' Gull seen around the lake over the last few weeks is considered by some observers to show possible characters of American Herring Gull. It's hoped that photographs of the wingtip pattern will help sort it out over the next few days, but in the meantime, it can occasionally be found feeding on one of the many dead Pike floating on the lake, or sometimes at the Herriott's Pool overspill.

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