click CVL to go back to the homepage

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.

Seen anything good? Want to use any of the images on this website? Please

Click here for the logbook index   Click here for last month's news Birding Top 500 Counter
October 2008

The Long-tailed Duck was still in its usual spot today, and a Water Pipit, two Stonechats and three Snipe were in the Moreton area. A group of 47 Wigeon were notable arrivals today - this species rarely occurs in numbers at Chew now.

No sign of the Whooper Swan today, but another site rarity today was a Short-eared Owl, seen flying over the middle of the lake being mobbed by gulls at 13:30, then again at 15:00. The Long-tailed Duck was still present, if rather elusive, and three Greater Scaup at Stratford hide were new-in. Other birds seen today were a Water Pipit near Moreton Bank, 20 Siskins at Stratford and a Chiffchaff along Moreton Lane.

Splendid news. The adult Whooper Swan was still present this morning on Herriott's Pool. At one point it left the lake NE at 08:10, but reappeared on the pool shortly after, where it remained until 13:30, when it flew off high to the east.

At least one Water Pipit was on the stony island at Heron's Green Pool this morning.

Whooper Swan
The Whooper Swan showed rather nicely at Herriott's Pool this morning. Sadly your webmaster was so unconvinced that the bird would still be at the lake on his pre-work visit, (least of all within loaf-throwing distance) that he didn't bother bringing his camera. How very remiss. (Richard Mielcarek)

Despite the high water levels and dearth of common waterbirds, October has nevertheless seen a decent, albeit unspectacular turnover of lake scarcities. However they all fell back in the wake of a bird which arrived this afternoon that hasn't been reliably seen at Chew since 1974. A Whooper Swan. You might snigger, but it ranks alongside Common Eider as one of the most improbably rare birds on the Chew list. Sadly it wasn't found until dusk in Stratford Bay, looking bemused as the gull roost built up around it. Let's hope it's still there in the morning...

The Long-tailed Duck was still on the east side of Stratford Bay this afternoon, but as always, was a right bugger to locate. Looking across from Stratford hide, in front of where the left side of Burledge Hill drops down towards the white buildings of Weeks Green Farm, follow down to the front of the main reedbed, and it often favours an area here. A juvenile Great Northern Diver off Nunnery Point this afternoon may well have arrived on the back of the rain and wind which came through last night and this morning. The adult drake Scaup hybrid was again in Stratford Bay.

An adult drake (eclipse) Red-breasted Merganser was seen at Moreton this afternoon, and three adult Mediterranean Gulls were seen in the roost. Another late Reed Warbler was trapped and ringed this morning.

The Long-tailed Duck was again seen on the east side of Stratford Bay, very distantly from Stratford hide. A female Greater Scaup was at Moreton, and a drake Scaup-type hybrid has been seen in the last few days. Two Redpolls and a few Redwings were also seen today.

Despite being looked for every day since Sunday without avail, the Long-tailed Duck surfaced again just before lunchtime in exactly the same place which it was last seen on Sunday.

A Red-breasted Merganser was at Stratford today. A Redpoll and five Skylarks flew west.

No sign of the Long-tailed Duck. Having said that, not only was there was quite a bit of disturbance from Pike fishing boats today, it should be remembered that Long-tailed Ducks can stay under water for periods of up to one week, so it may still be around somewhere. New in today were five Little Egrets at Heron's Green Pool. Other birds around the lake included ten Goldeneye, three Stonechats, three Redwings, a Green Sandpiper and 30 Meadow Pipits.

The Black-necked Grebe remained on the east side of Stratford Bay today, but a surprise find in the same place was a female/first-winter Long-tailed Duck. We usually expect one or two, perhaps every other winter, but one so early in the autumn is unusual. Two Mediterranean Gulls (an adult and a first-winter) and a Goosander were also seen in Stratford Bay this afternoon.

A Black-necked Grebe was seen in Stratford Bay this afternoon (at long range down the east side); also seen were two Snipe, a Dunlin and a Green Sandpiper. A very late Reed Warbler was trapped at CVRS this morning - their latest ever in over 45,000 Reed Warblers! It weighed 19.7 grammes (a real porker, compared to a normal summer weight of 10 to 12 grammes). The first Redwing of the autumn was also trapped and ringed this morning.

A first-winter Little Gull was seen at Herriott's End and off Nunnery this afternoon.

A Ruff at Stratford hide this afternoon was a surprise - remarkably this is the first record at Chew since January 2007. A Mediterranean Gull was seen in the roost.

Just when it looked as though we were heading for a Spotted Crake-free autumn, one pops up! Seen very distantly from Stratford hide, it was watched briefly amongst the willows at the southern end of Moreton Bank. Other birds around the lake today included four Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, a first-winter Little Gull, four Stonechats, a Wheatear and a Garganey.

A first-winter Caspian Gull was seen in the roost this evening along with two Mediterranean Gulls and a Yellow-legged Gull.

A Rock Pipit which dropped in at Nunnery Point this afternoon was the best/only bird reported today.

Rock Pipit
Rock Pipit on the breakwater at Nunnery Point. An uncommon migrant at Chew.

A Merlin today was a good Chew bird; a Hobby and 25 Swallows were more expected.

Five Wigeon, a Common Sandpiper and a Kingfisher were in Stratford Bay this evening.

No sign of the phalarope today, and no sign of much else, either. A Yellow-legged Gull was at the main dam, a Barn Owl was seen this morning and late this afternoon at Heron's Green Pool, nine Pintail were at Herriott's Pool and a Common Sandpiper was at Heron's Green Bay. An adult Mediterranean Gull was seen in the roost this evening.

A first-winter Grey Phalarope was a nice find by the dam wall in Heron's Green Bay this morning; it later moved off to the more traditional spot of slap-bang in the middle of the lake, making it rather difficult to view in the choppy water. Other birds today were single Common Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper in Heron's Green Bay, with a Crossbill seen in flight over there. The strong south-westerlies 'grounded' in the order of 1000 House Martins over the main lake, with one or two Swallows amongst them.

Four Little Egrets were at Heron's Green Pool today, with the first Goosander of the winter nearby in the bay. Also present were one each of Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Snipe. At least 30 House Martins and five Swallows were over Sutton Wick.

Yellow-browed Warbler
The Yellow-browed Warbler ringed at Cameley last Saturday (Bob Medland)

back home top of page