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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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An Oystercatcher was at Nunnery Point this afternoon, and an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen in the roost.

A Green Sandpiper was at Herriott's Pool today, and four Ravens flew SE over Stratford Bay.

Barely four months after the last Chew Whooper Swan (the first since 1974), three more were found on Herriott's Pool this morning, in the company of a Bewick's Swan - itself a difficult bird to catch up with at Chew in recent years. A Bittern was seen in flight over the main reedbed.

Two Little Egrets were at Heron's Green Pool, a Barn Owl and a Water Pipit were in the Moreton area. The Pike fishing trials continue to cause disturbance amongst the wildfowl, today having the effect of herding most of the lake's 500+ aythyas into Stratford Bay, where a drake Greater Scaup could be found amongst them, alongside what appeared at first glance to be a second Scaup, however closer scrutiny revealed it to be a hybrid, almost certainly the bird seen at Cheddar last winter.

A drake Mandarin was with the Mallards at Herriott's Pool this afternoon (possibly the bird seen in January on the River Chew at Pensford).

The Marsh Harrier was seen again around Stratford Bay today, and a Red Kite was reported over Burledge Hill.

Two Peregrines (both adults) flew over the B3114 at Heron's Green this afternoon.

Two Barn Owls were seen around Herriott's this evening.

A Marsh Harrier put in a surprise reappearance at Moreton this afternoon; a Bittern was also seen in the flattened area of the main reedbed shown in the picture below (6th Feb, top). A Yellowhammer trapped at CVRS this morning was only the second ever to be ringed at Chew. Six Snipe and two Stonechats were also seen, but there was no sign of the Great Bustard in the fields behind Herriott's Pool today.

A first for Chew (except it doesn't count because it goes firmly on the 'E' list) was a Great Bustard which flew low south over Herriott's Bridge this afternoon. It was later relocated in fields near North Widcombe, then moving into fields SW of the pool. Previously, it had been reported on 30th January in the field behind the Doctor's surgery in West Harptree. A Barn Owl was seen at Herriott's Bridge early this morning, and again late this afternoon, giving rather splendid views as it hunted over the snow, ranging from the back of the pool, over the main reedbed and into the ringing station field. The escaped drake Pintail was at Herriott's Pool, along with the tame and very photogenic drake Goldeneye. A Snipe and a male Stonechat were at Heron's Green.

In a repeat of last winters events, two Hawfinches have recently been seen in a garden on a few occasions.

wing-tagged Great Bustard
A smart sight to see at Chew, this Great Bustard has come from the Salisbury Plain reintroduction project. Its appearance here isn't that surprising as a few have been seen on the Somerset Levels in recent winters. One (a different bird) was also seen in Keynsham on January 10th.

wet floor
Sadly, the quality of the birds couldn't match the quality of the signage at Chew today.

The drake Red-breasted Merganser was present at the Roman Shallows late this afternoon.

Main reedbed flattened by snow
After so many winters without any proper snowfall, it makes a change to see the lake covered with the stuff. At Herriott's Bridge, large swathes of the reedbed have been completely levelled by the weight of the snow. In fact almost all of the reed-edge around Herriott's Pool has now been flattened. This view above is looking north-east from the bridge, and the picture below shows the 'left-hand' corner of the pool. At least it doesn't take long to check for Bitterns!

Herriott's Pool

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