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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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  MARCH 2009

The male Ferruginous Duck was at Herriott's Pool again today, along with a male Garganey. Also seen today were 20 Swallows, three House Martins, two Blackcaps, five Chiffchaffs, one Snipe, 25 Fieldfares, three Redpolls and a Barn Owl.

The female Greater Scaup was at Stratford Bay this afternoon, and the male Ferrugnous Duck was at Herriott's Pool still. The fine weather meant that there was little in the way of hirundine activity, with just seven Swallows, two Sand Martins and a House Martin this evening.

Ferruginous Duck
The shy and elusive male Ferruginous Duck (Bill Dixon). Notice how this bird is always at the back of the pool when I'm there with my camera!

The male Ferruginous Duck was showing well at Herriott's Pool today, with a pair of Greater Scaups also on the pool. Also today: one Redshank, two Green Sandpipers, two Barn Owls, a Little Egret, a Raven, c.10 Swallows, 105 Goldeneye, two Chiffchaffs and two Blackcaps.

70-plus Sand Martins were seen over the lake today.

The Ruff was still at No.1 picnic site, and two Water Pipits were in the Moreton area.

An Osprey was seen over Nunnery/Villice at 11:50. The male Garganey and female Ruff were both still present, and an adult Little Gull was seen off Nunnery.

A good day for ducks today, with the male Ferruginous Duck still present on Herriott's Pool, the male Garganey on Heron's Green Pool, a female Greater Scaup on Herriott's and three Red-crested Pochards (two males and a female) at Herriott's End. One of the males was still present (from Stratford hide) this afternoon. Also present today were 101 Goldeneye, 40 Sand Martins, a Swallow, four Pintail, a first-winter Little Gull, a Little Egret, a Rock Pipit (Heron's Green Pool & Bay), at least three Green Sandpipers, and a female Ruff at No.1 picnic site.

Many thanks to those who have sent me news over the last couple of weeks - all should now appear below. I've been away in Cuba, hence the lack of updates.

Female Ruff, photographed at No.1 picnic site just as the sun was setting. The last two years have been absolutely dire for this species at Chew, with only two records - let's hope this bird doesn't turn out to be the only one in 2009! The area from the overspill, along the main dam to the first picnic site is the best place to see waders at Chew in the spring - in fact the recently-cleared area in front of the tea shop is the only bit of shallow, natural shoreline available, and could repay regular scrutiny in the next couple of months until the new reed-growth kicks in. Due to disturbance, an early morning visit is advisable.

Red-crested Pochards
The three Red-crested Pochards, with Pochards and a Tufted Duck (Gary Thoburn)

Five adult Little Gulls (main lake) and a Rock Pipit (Heron's Green Bay) were new-in today, and the Garganey and Ferruginous Ducks were both still present.

The male Garganey was again present on Heron's Green Pool today, where a Marsh Harrier appeared before heading north towards Villice Bay. In addition, a Barn Owl was seen over the pool.

The male Garganey was still present on Heron's Green Pool today, and a male Ferruginous Duck has appeared on Herriott's Pool.

A Hawfinch was again seen briefly in a garden this morning.

A male Garganey was at Heron's Green Pool today.

Six Sand Martins were seen in poor weather this morning; an adult Mediterranean Gull came in to Herriott's Pool with a large flock of Black-headed Gulls. A Green Sandpiper was also at Herriott's Pool and 80 Redwings were at Moreton.

The first-winter Mediterranean Gull was still at Herriott's this afternoon.

Four Pintail and a first-winter Mediterranean Gull were seen at Herriott's today.

Two Kittiwakes (adult and first-winter) were seen today. An adult Mediterranean Gull was in the roost.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was seen in the roost this evening.

Three Sand Martins were present today.

The first Sand Martin of the year was seen at Herriott's Bridge and Nunnery Point. A Green Sandpiper was at the main dam.

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