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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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  JULY 2009

The juvenile Cattle Egret was seen in the cow field north of Heron's Green Pool today, but no reports were received on either of the adults. There were five Little Egrets still present.

An adult Cattle Egret was found on Stratford Islands this morning, later moving to the Heron's Green Pool area, where, by this evening there were three Cattle Egrets - two adults and a juvenile. The second record for Chew. Presumably they've bred on the Somerset Levels somewhere, as they did last year. They roosted at Denny with three Little Egrets.

A good smattering of passage waders were dotted around the lake (notwithstanding the increasing water levels following Monday's drenching) - four Green Sandpipers, nine Common Sandpipers, single Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Whimbrel. Other birds as follows: two Yellow-legged Gulls, an adult Mediterranean Gull, two Barn Owls, one Common Tern, two Arctic Terns, two Hobbies and two Tufted Duck broods.

Cattle Egrets
Juvenile (left) and two adult Cattle Egrets. The young bird still has a few juvenile down feathers on its crown.

Five Little Egrets, two Oystercatchers, a Sanderling, a Green Sandpiper and two Common Sandpipers were at Heron's Green this morning. Another Green Sandpiper was at East Shore, and an albino House Martin, another Green Sandpiper and a Redshank were seen at CVRS.

Time for a photo. There's no birds about so it'll have to be a moth. In spring 2006, I checked a few conker trees for the fabled Cameraria ohridella - the Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner, and failed to find any. That autumn, a few mines appeared, including about 50 or so on a tree at Chew Stoke Hill. Now, less than three years later there's billions of them about. They've infested every chestnut tree, and that original tree in Chew Stoke is absolutely stiff with them. There are clouds of them darkening the sky and you can't walk past without breathing in about a dozen. Click here for some more pics.

Four Little Egrets, two Oystercatchers and two Common Sandpipers were at Heron's Green today.

Three Little Egrets and a Common Tern were seen today.

Quite a few birds moving through today - five Little Egrets (including a colour-ringed bird), one Turnstone, one Oystercatcher, one Redshank, one Common Sandpiper, 60 Sand Martins and the long-staying Ferruginous Duck.

Four Oystercatchers were in Heron's Green Bay this morning.

Single Common Tern and Goldeneye still present. Surprisingly few Swifts, considering the now typical July weather.

The Ferruginous Duck was in Stratford Bay still (viewable at long range from Herriott's Bridge), and one Common Tern was present.

Three Black-tailed Godwits and three Common Sandpipers were in Heron's Green, and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was at Herriott's Pool.

The male Ferruginous Duck was still around today, with singles of Common Tern, Goldeneye and Common Sandpiper. Sand

Another quiet day, but a Whimbrel (Main dam) and a Green Sandpiper (Heron's Green Pool) were signs that autumn is just around the corner. That is, if we get one this year.

The Black-necked Grebe was still on No.1 today.

Moths again - a few wetland specialities trapped overnight, including Round-winged Muslin, four Silky Wainscots, Bordered Beauty and five Limnaecia phragmitella, plus a heather-feeding species which doesn't breed at Chew, but turns up every year - True Lover's Knot. For the full list, click here.

A summer plumage Black-necked Grebe was on No.1 today (also present yesterday).

Two Black-tailed Godwits and four Common Sandpipers were seen around the lake today, and the male Ferruginous Duck was still in Stratford Bay.

An actinic moth trap run at a new location overnight produced a tidy 47 species (110 moths), of which three would appear to be new to Chew - Large Emerald, Marbled White Spot and Phycitoides binaevella. Click here for the full list. Despite the swathes of Phragmites and hundreds of trap-hours clocked up over the years, there has still only ever been a single record of Chilo phragmitella at Chew.

A Polecat was found freshly dead on the A368 by Bishop Sutton tennis club this morning (or at least it appeared to be one rather than some ferrety-hybrid, from what I can find on the Interweb).

A group of 14 Black-tailed Godwits was on Herriott's Pool this afternoon, including a colour-ringed individual. Five Wigeon were on the main lake, and a Peregrine was seen over Herriott's.

The male Ferruginous Duck was at Herriott's End, and two Common Terns were also present.

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