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This page gives you the latest bird and wildlife news from Chew Valley Lake (and sometimes elsewhere if there's something good about). Records are taken from various sources and should be regarded as unconfirmed.

When you visit Chew, please remember that you'll need a permit to enter the lake enclosure or use the hides. You can get one from Woodford Lodge, the Tea Rooms, or by post. See my access page for full details. Seen anything good? Please

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  AUGUST 2009

MONDAY 31st
A quiet morning; the following were seen: two Ringed Plovers, one Black Tern, two Little Egrets, two Snipe and one Greenshank.

SUNDAY 30th
Most of the waders were at Moreton today - two juvenile Little Ringed Plovers, two Redshank, one Black-tailed Godwit, one Greenshank and a Dunlin. A Common Tern was also there. Villice Bay/Nunnery had three Common Sandpipers, two Green Sandpipers and two Little Egrets.

SATURDAY 29th
A breezy day, with three Arctic Terns and a Common Tern new-in. A Ringed Plover, three Greenshank, two Dunlin and three Little Egrets are amongst the reports received so far.

American Black Tern
This is what all Chew birders ought to be looking out for this autumn (along with Aquatic Warbler and Buff-breasted Sandpiper). An American Black Tern. This bird was at Farmoor today, with a Black Tern (pictured in some of the images above) and remarkably, a White-winged Black Tern. In a minute, I'm going to post one of these on Surfbirds, just as soon as I can think of some feeble excuse for the bad quality, as per posting rules.

FRIDAY 28th
A 'quick look' produced a Turnstone, a Ringed Plover and two Dunlin today.

WEDNESDAY 26th
More waders continue to move through, with 11 Ringed Plovers and a Whimbrel new-in today. The six Black Terns remained, joined by an Arctic Tern and a Swift.

TUESDAY 25th
An approachable Turnstone on the causeway at Heron's Green Bay was a new bird today. Other birds seen were six Black Terns, three Green Sandpipers, five Common Sandpipers, five Black-tailed Godwits, at least 11 Common Terns, four Little Egrets, one Red-crested Pochard (Stratford hide), one Whinchat (Heron's Green Pool), a Wigeon, a Hobby one Garganey (Herriott's Pool), and the Ferruginous Duck.

MONDAY 24th
Still a few new birds moving through, best of which were two Arctic Skuas south over Herriott's at about 11:00 this morning. Best of the rest was a Bar-tailed Godwit at Moreton, with other birds as follows: the Osprey seen again at 07:45, 19 Common Terns, eight Little Egrets, two Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, one Greenshank, ten Black Terns, one Goldeneye and the Red-crested Pochard still (Stratford Bay).

SUNDAY 23rd
Still some decent wader numbers moving through, with a few terns and an Osprey making it feel like a proper autumn is on the cards. At the moment, East Shore (Bernard King hide), Villice Bay, Moreton and Stratford are the places with the most birds (where the margins are shallower and have a bit of mud and open shoreline beginning to appear).

The full list as follows: at least 15 Common Sandpipers (including a flock of 13 in Villice Bay this evening), three Green Sandpipers, at least 15 Black-tailed Godwits (including a flock of c.12 which flew south over Herriott's this morning), six Greenshank, one Dunlin, two Little Egrets, seven Black Terns, two Common Terns, 12 Great Black-backed Gulls, one Garganey, the Ferruginous Duck (Heron's Green Bay), a Whinchat (Heron's Green Pool), one Hobby, two Ringed Plover, a Yellow Wagtail, a Redstart, and an Osprey over Woodford Lodge this afternoon, later over Twycross.

Two or three Brown Hares were on the Parkland this evening - at least two have been present for several weeks now (these always used to be rare at Chew).


Juvenile Common Sandpiper. Good numbers of these around the lake today.

SATURDAY 22nd
A little quieter, with two Snipe, one Greenshank, three Black-tailed Godwits, six Little Egrets and a Hobby reported today.

FRIDAY 21st
Still fair numbers of birds dotted around the lake; today's tally included the following: six Greenshank, six Green Sandpipers, seven Common Sandpipers, six Little Egrets, two Black-tailed Godwits, and one each of Garganey, Peregrine, Ruff, Whimbrel, Common Tern and Barn Owl.

The reed-flaying at Moreton and Stratford hides has now finished, with large sections of reeds now removed. You can see right across to Moreton Point, and down into the SW corner of Stratford Bay - places usually out of view even after the normal round of autumn reed-cutting. The water level is slowly falling again, too.

THURSDAY 20th
No sign of any terns this morning. Both the Ferruginous Duck and Red-crested Pochard are still in Heron's Green Bay (favouring the 'toe' of the bay). Single Garganey, Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwit, two Dunlin, four Green Sandpipers and six Common Sandpipers were also seen.

WEDNESDAY 19th
What a difference a week makes. Work has now finished at Stratford hide, and the new improved view from there this evening was of at least 65 Common Terns (a very good CVL count), four Little Egrets, a Mediterranean Gull, two Black-tailed Godwits, a Marsh Harrier, five Snipe, three Common Sandpipers, one Green Sandpiper, one Greenshank and a Black-necked Grebe.

Elsewhere were a Ruff (Moreton), two Oystercatchers, a Water Rail, and in Villice Bay were six Common Sandpipers, four Green Sandpipers and one Dunlin.

The reeds in front of Moreton hide were being cut today, as well.

MONDAY 17th
The juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen a few times again today; the Ferruginous Duck and Red-crested Pochard are also both still in Heron's Green Bay. At least three Black-tailed Godwits, four Redshank, two Dunlin, three Ringed Plovers, four Greenshank, six Common Sandpipers and four Green Sandpipers completed the wader tally.

SUNDAY 16th
At least four Little Egrets are still at the lake (including the colour-ringed bird), favoring the 'new' bay to the north of Stratford hide. Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers and Greenshank are still dotted around the lake; at least seven of the latter were present this morning. Two Ringed Plover, a Dunlin, three Black-tailed Godwits, four Redshanks and a Whimbrel were an encouraging sign for so early in the season, and all that with still a fairly high water level (although lower than it has been for over three years).

A female/juvenile Marsh Harrier was seen twice this morning (after first appearing yesterday afternoon); other birds today were the Ferruginous Duck (Villice Bay), two Garganey (Herriott's Pool and Heron's Green), and single Hobby and Swift. Great Black-backed Gulls are again in evidence this autumn; evidently a new record count (19) was made recently!

SATURDAY 15th
Two Greenshank, two Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Goldeneye and two Little Egrets were in the Stratford/Moreton area this morning. Three Black-tailed Godwits were at Villice/Heron's Green Bays, and a 2nd-summer Caspian Gull was seen briefly at Herriott's Pool.

A couple of actinic moth traps were left at a new site overnight; the good conditions and double the usual trapping power produced a fine total of 403 moths of 71 species, including three Crescents (following the first Chew record at a site about a mile away last weekend), six Brown-veined Wainscots, a Twin-spotted Wainscot, an Orange Footman, four Diamond-backed Moths, a Rush Veneer, a Dark Sword-grass and a high total of 100 Flame Shoulders. Click here for the full list.

Splendid news. Some chaps from BW have spent the last few days chopping down the reeds in front of Stratford hide - and what a good job they've done, as now you can even see into the hidden bay around the corner to the left. They will be working there early next week as well, and will also cut the reeds at Moreton.

moths
Flame Shoulders and Large Yellow Underwings getting cosy in an egg box. How do they manage to do this? There are 13 moths in this photo! Spot the Lesser Yellow Underwing.

FRIDAY 14th
Still some decent numbers of waders managing to find some shoreline to drop in at - six Black-tailed Godwits, five Greenshank, four Redshank, five Common Sandpipers and one Green Sandpiper.

THURSDAY 13th
Again, no sign of the Cattle Egret today, but a few birds from recent days were still about - Ferruginous Duck reported still present, juvenile Mediterranean Gull, juvenile Little Gull, juvenile Red-crested Pochard (Heron's Green Bay), Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, five Green Sandpipers, five Common Sandpipers, a Yellow-legged Gull and a Greenshank.

A Red Fox and a Grass Snake were a both seen on the road at Moreton Cottage this evening.

WEDNESDAY 12th
A bit of effort today and a few more new birds to report: two Arctic Terns, two Common Terns, two Little Gulls, two Yellow-legged Gulls, three Green Sandpipers, six Common Sandpipers, two Snipe, five Little Egrets, one Ringed Plover, a Goldeneye and the Ferruginous Duck. No reports of the Cattle Egret today.

Some pottering about brought a couple of new plants to the site list today - Ploughman's Spikenard and Imperforate St. John's Wort.

TUESDAY 11th
Again, most of the birds were seen in the western bays, with five Green Sandpipers, six Common Sandpipers, a Greenshank, a Goldeneye, a Ferruginous Duck, two Little Egrets and a Cattle Egret in Heron's Green and Villice.

MONDAY 10th
More or less the same today - Cattle Egret, seven Little Egrets, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Goldeneye, nine Common Sandpipers, seven Common Sandpipers and two Snipe.

SUNDAY 9th
A good selection of birds was seen today, of which the following were in the Heron's Green area: one Cattle Egret, three Little Egrets, two Barn Owls, two Wigeon, three Common Terns and singles of Garganey, Greenshank, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard and Canvasback x Pochard. Elsewhere around the lake were at least nine Green Sandpipers, six Common Sandpipers and two Black-tailed Godwits. An Osprey was reported this morning, and a Red Kite was seen from Herriott's Bridge this afternoon.

The continuing sunny weather (three days in a row - we must be due another fortnight of rain now) has meant that butterflies have been in good supply. Any patch of lakeside Water Mint is likely to produce good numbers of Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Painted Ladies; the meadow on the south side of Villice Bay is in particularly good form at the moment. A Clouded Yellow was seen at Herriott's, but surprise of the day was the discovery of two Silver-washed Fritillaries near Moreton Cottage - only the third record for the lake. An overnight moth trap in the clear, cold, moonlit night was predictably boring this morning, with the exception of one moth - a Crescent; the first for Chew and the fourth post-1940 'Avon' record. Click here for the full list.


Juvenile Reed Warbler. Being a non-ringer, I can't say I'm really any sort of an authority on fault-bars. However I'm reliably informed that these are classics.


Crescent. Again, the value of using battery-powered traps at locations around the lake never trapped at before shows with the first Chew record of this local wetland species.

SATURDAY 8th
Seven Little Egrets and the juvenile Cattle Egret were on Heron's Green Pool this morning; nearby at Moreton were four Redshank, a Greenshank and a Green Sandpiper, with a Black Tern and a Common Tern on the main lake. Two Garganey, a Wigeon, a Goldeneye and two Hobbies were in the Heron's Green Bay area.

Stratford hide. The reeds at Stratford have now grown to such a height that it is impossible to see anything at all from the hide. Please stop bickering about it in the hide logbook. There is a simple reason for this. In a normal summer, the water levels drop, enabling BW to bring in a tractor in the autumn and mow a large swathe all along the shore in front of the hide. However, for the last three summers, water levels have been so high that there has been no vehicular access to the lake shore.

Hence the reeds have grown unchecked since they were last mown in 2005, growing higher each year.

FRIDAY 7th
There were six Little Egrets and the juvenile Cattle Egret on Heron's Green Pool this morning. The cattle in the field west of the B3114 have now been moved, so the Cattle Egret spends time out of view in other cow fields when not on the pool or in the bay. A juvenile Red-crested Pochard was in Heron's Green Bay today (its arrival coinciding again with the arrival of Black Terns at the lake), and the drake Ferruginous Duck was still present there. Two Green Sandpipers and a Common Sandpiper were in Villice Bay, and a Garganey at Herriott's Bridge was also new today.

The colour-ringed Little Egret is still present, and has now been traced to a scheme in Hampshire.

THURSDAY 6th
The first Black Terns of the autumn (five) arrived today, along with three Common Terns. The juvenile Cattle Egret is still in Heron's Green (no sign of the adult), now with four Little Egrets and the Ferruginous Duck.

WEDNESDAY 5th
Still two Cattle Egrets, six Little Egrets and the Ferruginous Duck. Also today were single Goldeneye, Wigeon, Redshank, Peregrine and Common Tern.

TUESDAY 4th
The two Cattle Egrets and four Little Egrets remained. Other birds seen today were the male Ferruginous Duck, two Goldeneye, two Green Sandpipers, an Arctic Tern, a Yellow-legged Gull and nine Great Black-backed Gulls.

MONDAY 3rd
There are now up to six Little Egrets and two Cattle Egrets in the Heron's Green Bay area (careful you don't overlook the dark-billed, dark-legged juvenile Cattle Egret when it hangs around with the Littles on the pool). A juvenile Mediterranean Gull, a Yellow-legged Gull and two Common Terns were also seen.

SUNDAY 2nd
Both Cattle Egrets were again in the cow field or Heron's Green Bay/Pool today; at least four Little Egrets (including the colour-ringed bird) were in the Heron's Green/Villice area. A juvenile Mediterranean Gull was at Herriott's this evening, and six Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper were in Heron's Green Bay.


A selection of egrets. (L-R) The juvenile Cattle Egret, the remaining adult Cattle Egret (the other adult was much brighter than this one) and the colour-ringed Little Egret. The latter is evidently from a scheme in England - we've sent details to Slimbridge where the scheme is co-ordinated.

SATURDAY 1st
Two Cattle Egrets (an adult and the juvenile) were again in the cow field north of Heron's Green Pool today, occasionally commuting back to Heron's Green Bay or the pool. Two Little Egrets were at the main dam, and in Heron's Green Bay were two Common Sandpipers, a Green Sandpiper and up to nine Great Black-backed Gulls. Four Common Terns were on the main lake.

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