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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 contact me.


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In Association with Birding Top 500 Counter

  APRIL 2010

A Sandwich Tern for a few hours was the highlight this morning (they rarely hang around at Chew); the female Long-tailed Duck (Roman Shallows) and the male Ferruginous Duck (Herriott's Pool) were still present, and a very distant flock of c.40 small waders was seen in flight over the east shore during a rain shower. Other birds this evening included seven Dunlin, four Common Sandpipers, one Hobby. 300 Swallows, 1500 Swifts, and a Yellowhammer signing in the field opposite picnic site No.1.

The female Long-tailed Duck was still present today, and the female Marsh Harrier was seen again over the main reedbed this evening.

The Ferruginous Duck was again at Herriott's Pool this morning, with our first Cuckoo of the spring nearby. The female Long-tailed Duck and a Common Tern were present on the main lake.

A quieter day than of late - at least one Grasshopper Warbler was heard singing at Heron's Green Pool this morning.

More gull and tern arrivals today; four Black Terns briefly first thing, then seven Little Gulls (all but one of which were in stunning summer kit), ten Common Terns, one Arctic Tern and two Little Terns, made all the more agreeable by the fact that they were showing at rather close range in the mouth of Heron's Green Bay at midday. Normally they prefer the centre of the lake, miles from anywhere.

The female Long-tailed Duck was still present on the Roman Shallows, the Ferruginous Duck was again on Herriott's Pool, two Common Sandpipers were in Heron's Green Bay, the female Marsh Harrier was again over the nature reserve reed beds, a Hobby was seen at Moreton Point and c.300 Swifts were present during a shower this morning.

Shorelark - still there. The only Chew record was of one which spent a few weeks here in February and March 1963.

Chocolate-tip. Nice to see a few new species for the year in the moth trap overnight - full list here.

Another day of migration, with a continual arrival/departure throughout the day; early afternoon produced six Little Gulls and 15 Common Terns; by early evening there were four Little Gulls and 51 Common Terns; by dusk those figures had dropped to one and 31. Eight (two plus six) Whimbrel and a Greenshank moved through without stopping, and a female Marsh Harrier was seen a couple of times in the Moreton Bank area. The female Long-tailed Duck was at Stratford hide again, and a male Garganey was at Herriott's Pool, before flying over to the main lake.

A Shorelark on No.3 today was an excellent first for the site; an Osprey overhead this morning was also a good record for the tanks. Please remember that you need a Chew permit to visit this site.

The male Ferruginous Duck was on Herriott's Pool this morning, then later in front of Stratford hide. A Garden Warbler was singing on the Parkland (old road). A female Long-tailed Duck was seen at Moreton hide/Nunnery Point; it was first seen briefly on Wednesday, and then seen again yesterday.

The Redstart was still at the Parkland this afternoon, but again there were new birds coming through - 18 Common Sandpipers, two Little Gulls, three Greylags, a sub-adult male Marsh Harrier, a female Wheatear, four Whimbrel, one White Wagtail, two Dunlin and a Little Ringed Plover.

There were two Redstarts along the lane at the Parkland today, with another reasonable list of migrants including two Little Gulls, eight Common Sandpipers, one Dunlin, c.40 Swifts and c.300 Sand Martins. No Cuckoos yet.

A Redstart was along the old road at the Parkland today, as were the first Lesser Whitethroats of the spring - this site is nearly always the first place to see them when they arrive. Other migrants were 14 Common Sandpipers, one Garden Warbler and five Sedge Warblers.

A Grasshopper Warbler at Nunnery Point today was the highlight amongst a small wave of migrants hitting the lake today, including eight White Wagtails (all Nunnery Point), six Common Sandpipers, five Sedge Warblers and three Reed Warblers.

A Red Kite was seen heading towards Chew from Compton Martin this morning - there have been more records locally this spring than ever before, by some margin it seems. A pair of Marsh Tits was at Hollow Brook, seven Common Sandpipers and a Dunlin were also seen.

A Swift over Herriott's Bridge this evening was our first of the year; the Ferruginous Duck was also still there. There are small numbers Reed Warblers to be heard singing around the lake, but still very few.

The male Ferruginous Duck was on Herriott's Pool this evening.

Five Greylags on Herriott's Pool this morning were new-in; they only remained for a short while before leaving to the north. The Reed Warbler was still singing to the south of Stratford hide, and a Sedge Warbler was singing between Moreton and Stratford. There was no sign of any of yesterdays Little Gulls or Garganey.

No reports of the Lesser Scaup after Thursday.

Some moths last night: 28 Hebrew Characters, 14 Clouded Drabs, nine Common Quakers, six Small Quakers and one each of Engrailed, Dotted Border, Chestnut and Twin-spotted Quaker (to 40w actinic).

Cormorant with rubber pike lure
Look at the state of this Cormorant on Herriott's Pool this afternoon.

A few more spring migrants were about today, including a Sedge Warbler (Heron's Green Pool), two Reed Warblers (Stratford and Moreton), a pair of Garganey (Stratford) and up to 24 Little Gulls this evening, all of which appeared to have left by sunset. A Crossbill at Moreton Point then flew across Heron's Green Bay.

The Lesser Scaup was off Moreton Bank this morning, and an Osprey was reported flying NW at 18:15.

A Weasel was seen along Moreton Lane.

Three Common Sandpipers (main dam and Nunnery Point), two White Wagtails (Nunnery Point) and a Grasshopper Warbler (heard singing at Moreton) were the pick of the migrants today, whilst the Lesser Scaup was still at Stratford.

The first White Wagtail and Common Sandpiper of the year were new-in today; the male Lesser Scaup was still at Stratford, a Curlew was at Moreton and a female Marsh Harrier was also seen.

An Otter was found dead on the road at Herriott's Bridge this morning.

A Red Kite flew over the B3114 at Villice Bay this afternoon, heading towards Chew Stoke. The Lesser Scaup was back in front of Stratford hide this morning.

The Lesser Scaup (Moreton) and adult Little Gull were still present today; the cold windy weather produced several hundred hirundines at Woodford Bank this afternoon, most of which were Swallows, with smaller numbers of Sand Martins and three House Martins. A small flock of c.12 Dunlin flew south down the lake at midday. The recent rains have pushed the water level up over the overspill for the first time since last February.

The Lesser Scaup was again in Stratford Bay this afternoon, and the first Osprey of the year flew NE during a rainstorm at 11:20. One adult Little Gull and c.1000 hirundines were also present - Swallows and Sand Martins in roughly equal numbers, with one House Martin also seen.

The Lesser Scaup was still present today off Moreton; also around the lake were four Goosanders, one Little Egret and one Mediterranean Gull.

At 12:30 this afternoon an Otter was watched on the shore at No.1 picnic site, which then ran across the concrete slipway, along the entire length of the main dam and down over the overspill.

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