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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 18.11.08

November 2008

The Slavonian Grebe was still present this afternoon, off Moreton hide; it then flew up the lake and ended up off the poplar wood.

The Slavonian Grebe was seen off Herriott's Bridge this morning, and then in the afternoon from Stratford hide. The drake Red-breasted Merganser was also still present.

A Slavonian Grebe was a nice find in the Stratford Bay/Roman Shallows area this afternoon.

At least 40 Goosander today was an increase from the weekend; the drake Red-breasted Merganser was still amongst them. Also 30 Wigeon and 12 Pintail.

The third Great Northern Diver of the autumn was seen off Nunnery late this afternoon; also at/from Nunnery were two Mediterranean Gulls, the Red-breasted Merganser and a Chiffchaff.

An adult Ring-billed Gull in the roost this afternoon was the highlight; otherwise the male Red-breasted Merganser (Roman Shallows), a Little Egret (Hollow Brook), one Green Sandpiper (Nunnery), an adult Mediterranean Gull (roost) and two Kingfishers were the only birds of note.

The male Red-breasted Merganser (almost in full breeding plumage now) was in Stratford Bay this afternoon. Other birds today included 27 Wigeon, three Mediterranean Gulls and a Green Sandpiper.

A Black-necked Grebe seen off Moreton Bank this afternoon was the best bird reported; others around the lake included Little Egret (Heron's Green), Greater Scaup (Stratford), two Stonechats (Heron's Green Pool) and three Goosanders.

Barely a weekend seems to pass without another 'latest ever' Reed Warbler being trapped. And so it was again today, with yet another new bird (a fatty, at 17g).

The moulting male Red-breasted Merganser was with the Goosanders at Hollow Brook this afternoon, and at least one adult Mediterranean Gull was in the roost off Nunnery Point. A Fieldfare controlled at CVRS this morning had been ringed at Chew on 30th December 2006, and was also retrapped here on 7th January 2007.

A Little Egret at Heron's Green Bay, a Green Sandpiper at Herriott's and the Greater Scaup at Moreton were the only birds seen today.

An Avocet at Stratford Bay (visible only from Herriott's Bridge) was a good Chew bird today, and was the best of a fairly routine bunch on the wildfowl count: Greater Scaup, Red-breasted Merganser, two Water Pipits, 13 Goosander, five Kingfishers, 300 Pochards and 45 Goldeneye.

No sign of any Ring-necked Ducks today. The juvenile Greater Scaup and the adult male Red-breasted Merganser remained, however. Other birds today as follows: two Green Sandpipers (Heron's Green), 26 Snipe, 100 Fieldfares and ten Skylarks (flying SW), two Redpolls (flying S) and three Siskins.

A female Ring-necked Duck was at Moreton hide this afternoon (along with the juvenile Greater Scaup), but was difficult to view. A Little Egret was seen in flight over the lake.

Still a few spoils left over from yesterdays Ring-necked Duck-fest, with two males and a female still in the Moreton area. These are probably the three birds seen at Moreton hide and Heron's Green Bay yesterday afternoon, with the separate flock of five apparently having left. Wouldn't it be a good time to find a Redhead/Hooded Merganser/Bufflehead somewhere around here? The Great Northern Diver remained (Roman Shallows), and a Brambling was at Hollow Brook car park.

A peculiar day, to say the least. A first-winter male Ring-necked Duck was found on the north-east side of Denny Island this morning, sheltering from the awful weather with a few other aythyas. Subsequent efforts to relocate it in howling winds and pissing rain drew a blank, but then a remarkable five Ring-necked Ducks (four first-winter males and a female) were found swimming towards the sailing area from Bernard King hide. They then spent the rest of the day bobbing about in the middle of the lake like a flock of transient scoters, finishing off at dusk around the southern end of the Roman Shallows, towards Sutton Wick.

In addition, two more were seen for a few minutes in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon (a pair, which flew off at 15:04), and then a first-winter male was watched for about half an hour prior to dusk in front of Moreton hide, which was thought by one observer to have probably been the first bird from Denny this morning. Eight in one day is double the previous record count, which was a group of four birds in 1976/77.

The wind and rain also produced a couple of other good birds this afternoon - a phalarope sp. was seen fluttering over the lake surface at long range off Woodford Lodge until it disappeared into a squall, and a Great Northern Diver was later seen off Nunnery Point. This species is becoming quite regular after late autumn gales, it would appear. Also today were 14 Goosanders (Hollow Brook), the eclipse male Red-breasted Merganser (Denny), a juvenile Greater Scaup (Moreton), a Mediterranean Gull (Nunnery) and the male Canvasback x Pochard, which has reappeared in Heron's Green Bay.

Ring-necked Ducks

Ring-necked Ducks
First-winter male and female Ring-necked Ducks, Heron's Green Bay. Whilst hastening down the road to Nunnery Point in an effort to relocate a phalarope, I thought it would be a good idea to wind down the window and see if there were any Ring-necked Ducks in the bay. Which there were. How often does that happen?

The adult male Red-breasted Merganser was again off Nunnery Point this afternoon, with at least eight Goosanders seen around the lake. At least 20,000 Starlings were watched flying in to roost at the southern end of the lake this afternoon.

A Yellowhammer heard calling in flight was a good Chew bird this morning. A Redpoll, two Water Pipits and 40-plus Redwings wee also seen.

A pair of Greater Scaups and a Little Egret were in Heron's Green Bay today (no sign of the Ferruginous Duck). Two Water Pipits were seen near Moreton.

A Ferruginous Duck was seen in Heron's Green Bay today, with the Pochard flock in the north-west corner. A male Greater Scaup was also with the same flock. Two Stonechats and a Water Pipit were in the Moreton area.

The most noteworthy birds were seen at the ringing hut this morning, with two more Lesser Redpolls and another Reed Warbler; the (new) latest ever to be ringed here. One Little Egret, one Stonechat and up to three Red-breasted Mergansers were also reported. There's been no sign of the Long-tailed Duck this weekend, but it has been rather choppy out there; perhaps it could still be around, under the waves.


Reed Warbler (left) and Lesser Redpoll. The record for the latest-ever Reed Warbler to be trapped at Chew has been broken three times in the last three weekends.

Speaking of record dates, a Cetti's Warbler retrapped on 18th October had been ringed at CVL on 20th June 1999, making it at least 9 years, 120 days old - a new longevity record for the species.

A day of cold northerlies, and a proper wintry start to the month. The male Red-breasted Merganser was at Nunnery Point this afternoon, with a Dunlin in flight at Stratford (later at the main dam), a first-winter Little Gull in the middle of the lake, and 26 Pintail on Herriott's Pool. Three Lesser Redpolls were ringed at CVRS this morning.

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