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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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  MAY 2009

The male Ferruginous Duck was still tarting about with the female Pochards in Stratford Bay today.

The male Ferruginous Duck was still present in front of Stratford hide, joined today by a Little Egret.

A male Ferruginous Duck and a Dunlin were in Stratford Bay today.

A Temminck's Stint was an unexpected find at Heron's Green Pool this evening. It was seen, and heard calling as it flew around the pool, but then flew off high west, and disappeared from sight. The sub adult Purple Heron was also seen again this evening, in flight over the main reedbed before it departed high to the south. Two Dunlin were at Heron's Green Bay, and a brood of five Barnacle Geese has appeared on Herriott's Pool.

A male Ferruginous Duck was at Herriott's Pool this afternoon.

A surprise this afternoon was the appearance of a second male Ferruginous Duck; the usual bird was sat on the island in front of Stratford hide when the second one flew down the west side of Stratford Bay (over the other bird), and landed between the two far islands towards the ringing station. A Hobby was seen between Moreton and Stratford.

A Little Tern was seen at the dam this afternoon, and the male Ferruginous Duck was again on the island in front of Stratford hide. The windy, rainy weather produced the expected numbers of Swifts, with smaller numbers of hirundines. A second-summer Mediterranean Gull at Stratford hide this afternoon was a noteworthy May record.

A four-tern day! Single Little Tern, Common Tern, Black Tern and three Arctic Terns were present tonight. The male Ferruginous Duck was at Stratford hide this afternoon, and a Marsh Harrier was seen over the main reedbed. What chance this nasty weather system brings in something decent this weekend? There have been Red Kites all over the place this week, and 11 Pomarine Skuas were at Severn Beach this evening - surely a decent rare ought to be on the cards?

Finally, a single Black Tern put in an appearance today. Terns have been in particularly short supply so far this spring. A Sanderling and a Dunlin were on the wall at Heron's Green Bay.

Two Sanderling on the causeway at Heron's Green Bay were a typical May migrant; also seen today were 500+ Swifts, 12 Common Terns, one Arctic Tern and a Hobby.

A Marsh Harrier was seen over the main reedbed today.

Despite eluding everyone this morning and afternoon, the Purple Heron reappeared at Heron's Green pool from 19:30 until dusk, when if flew off towards Blagdon. A Black-tailed Godwit was at Herriott's Pool.

A Purple Heron at Heron's Green Pool today was an excellent find; only the fifth Chew record. It favoured the area around the south-west corner of the pool, but did remain out of view for hours at a time. It was also seen in Heron's Green Bay this afternoon. A Ringed Plover was also seen in the bay.

Purple Heron
Sub-adult Purple Heron over Heron's Green Bay.

The male Ferruginous Duck was in front of Stratford hide this afternoon, a Cuckoo was still singing at Moreton/Stratford, and an Oystercatcher was at Nunnery Point. A partial albino Common Swift with a white belly, white rump and white back was seen from Stratford hide; possibly the same individual which has been seen here once or twice most summers for the last few years. It follows news of one seen last week with a white rump.

A Little Tern was seen briefly this afternoon, and three Dunlin were on the island in front of Stratford hide.

A Marsh Harrier was seen from Stratford hide late this evening, and (finally) a Cuckoo was heard from there.

The male Ferruginous Duck was still hanging about with the Tufted Ducks on Herriott's Pool this afternoon.

Water levels are now down to the level they were at the end of last September, with an early appearance of that island in front of Stratford hide. If we get a dry July, perhaps I might get to see a Greenshank this autumn.

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