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This page gives you the latest bird and wildlife news from Chew Valley Lake (and sometimes elsewhere if there's anything 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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  AUGUST 2011

WEDNESDAY 31st
The two Marsh Harriers were seen again today, and were watched going to roost in the main reedbed opposite Stratford hide this evening. There is still a continuing turnover of waders with 40 Ringed Plover today, two Little Stints, one Curlew Sandpiper, four Dunlin, one Little Ringed Plover, one Ruff, two Turnstones, five Greenshank, four Green Sandpipers and four Common Sandpipers. Other birds seen today were three Garganey, two Pintail, one Yellow Wagtail, one Wheatear, two Mediterranean Gulls, a Peregrine and a Tawny Owl. The female Ferruginous Duck x Tufted Duck was again at Stratford hide.

TUESDAY 30th
Two Marsh Harriers (an adult female and a juvenile) were good value spending half an hour sat in front of Stratford hide this afternoon; they then roosted in the main reedbed. Two Peregrines and two Hobbies were also seen today.

A few waders were still present; three Knot, one Turnstone, 26 Ringed Plover, seven Dunlin, one Curlew Sandpiper, one Little Stint, one Lack-tailed Godwit, two Ruff, five Greenshank, 11 Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers and a Snipe. Also three Wigeon, a male Ferruginous Duck x Pochard, one Garganey and one Wheatear.

MONDAY 29th
It appears as though there has been a few birds leaving overnight, although there have been one or two arrivals as well. Notable amongst the incoming was a male Ring-necked Duck in front of Stratford hide; presumably the bird from Blagdon. A Redshank and a Whimbrel were the 19th and 20th species of wader recorded at Chew over the bank holiday weekend - pretty good going. A Wheatear seen at the Parkland.

Otherwise, it was mostly birds remaining from previous days... 24 Ringed Plover, five Dunlin, six Knot, one Turnstone, one Curlew Sandpiper, seven Greenshank, four Ruff, seven Common Sandpipers, 11 Green Sandpipers, one Garganey, two Peregrines, one Mediterranean Gull and one Common Tern.

SUNDAY 28th
There was no sign of the Temminck's Stint today, however the common waders continue the fine run of form. Our first Curlew Sandpiper of the autumn flew in this afternoon, and the small wader flock in Stratford Bay also contained eight Dunlin, one Little Ringed Plover, six Knot, one Little Stint, one Sanderling, one Turnstone and 64 Ringed Plover; the latter is the highest count at Chew since 79 in the autumn of 1992. The all-time record count is 150, in autumn 1989. Other waders today were one Black-tailed Godwit, four Ruff, seven Greenshank, ten Green Sandpipers and eight Common Sandpipers, but there was no sign of the Wood Sandpiper.

The non-waders as follows... six Black Terns, three Common Terns, one Garganey, at least two Hobbies, one Peregrine, one Swift, one Yellow Wagtail, one Spotted Flycatcher, and another Grasshopper Warbler and two Whitethroats at CVRS amongst continuing good numbers of Sedge Warblers; in fact 76 of the latter were ringed this morning.


The juvenile Curlew Sandpiper at Stratford this afternoon.

SATURDAY 27th
The juvenile Temminck's Stint reappeared this morning, and showed intermittently until dusk. Looking north from Herriott's Bridge, see where the channel running into the lake bends to the right before it disappears out of view behind the reedbed. The stint gets in the short green vegetation on the dry lake bed just away from the channel, and on the waters edge along the channel itself. However it spends long periods out of view.

There were a good number of other waders around the lake today as well, most of which were in front of Stratford hide. In no particular order: one Little Stint, 31 Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, one Sanderling, six Knot, three Greenshank, seven Black-tailed Godwits, three Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers, three Ruff, one Turnstone, one Wood Sandpiper, one Spotted Redshank, one Snipe and three Little Ringed Plover. Also at the lake today were two Garganey, three Pintail (the first of the autumn), two Black Terns, one Common Tern, four Yellow-legged Gulls, one Hobby, and ten Yellow Wagtails roosting at Herriott's Pool this evening. A female Ferruginous Duck hybrid was also seen in Stratford Bay this afternoon.

CVRS trapped a Grasshopper Warbler this morning and had a good return of 39 Sedge Warblers.


Mr Vinicombe informs me he's been waiting for this since 1942.... Yellow-legged Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (Keith Vinicombe).

FRIDAY 26th
A Temminck's Stint was seen at Herriott's Bridge briefly this morning; unfortunately it wasn't seen subsequently. There are only (approximately) 13 or 14 previous Chew records.

Also seen today were one Spotted Redshank, ten Knot, one Little Stint, one Wood Sandpiper, two Ruff, 12 Ringed Plover, six Little Ringed Plover, four Dunlin, five Black-tailed Godwits, four Greenshank, ten Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers and a Yellow Wagtail.


The juvenile Spotted Redshank (John Martin).

THURSDAY 25th
Four Garganey was a decent count by recent standards this evening, and another Little Stint was new-in. The rest had a more familiar feel... 13 Ringed Plover, four Little Ringed Plover, an Oystercatcher, three Dunlin, four Ruff, one Spotted Redshank, two Black-tailed Godwits, , three Common Sandpipers, one Wood Sandpiper, seven Green Sandpipers, four Greenshank, two Mediterranean Gulls, three Hobbies, two Swifts and a Yellow Wagtail.

WEDNESDAY 24th
Thirteen Black Terns (eight juveniles) arrived at 09:15 from the NE over the Picnic Site and spent the rest of the day at the lake. Also seen today were two adult male Wigeon, two Garganey, 70 Little Grebes, nine Little Egrets, one Hobby, four juvenile Little Ringed Plover, nine adult Ringed Plover, 75 Lapwing, one Dunlin, two Ruff, one Black-tailed Godwit,one Snipe, the juvenile Wood Sandpiper (on the concrete wall at Herriott's Pool!), nine Green Sandpipers, two Common Sandpipers, one Spotted Redshank (commuting between Heron's Green and Stratford Bay), three Greenshank, four Yellow-legged Gulls, a first-winter Little Gull, and adult Common Gull and eight Common Terns.

TUESDAY 23rd
An Osprey over the southern half of the lake this afternoon was the highlight, and a few more waders today included our first Curlew Sandpiper of the year. Also seen were five Little Egrets, two Garganey, three Black-tailed Godwits, three Greenshank, one Spotted Redshank, one Ruff, 18 Ringed Plover, five Little Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, one Wood Sandpiper, nine Green Sandpipers, one Common Sandpiper, one Snipe, two Common Terns, and singles of Hobby, Peregrine and Whitethroat.

MONDAY 22nd
Today's list... three Garganey, two Wigeon, one Hobby, one Little Ringed Plover, ten Ringed Plover, 70 Lapwing, four juvenile Knot, one Dunlin, one Ruff still, three Black-tailed Godwits, the juvenile Spotted Redshank (commuting between Heron's Green Bay and Stratford Hide), three Greenshank, one Snipe, the juvenile Wood Sandpiper (Herriott's Pool), nine Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers, four Yellow-legged Gulls, and single Barn Owl, Yellow Wagtail and Nuthatch.

SUNDAY 21st
It gets to a point in the autumn where it's just a list of birds with very few words between them (I wish I could have said that in 2008)... six Little Egrets, three Garganey, six Ringed Plover, three Black-tailed Godwits, three Greenshank, two Ruff, ten Green Sandpipers (having a decent autumn, it seems), five Common Sandpipers, three Hobbies and singles of Little Ringed Plover, Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Peregrine and Tawny Owl.

SATURDAY 20th
A few waders seen during a brief visit this afternoon; six Green Sandpipers, six Black-tailed Godwits, three Greenshank, two Wigeon, and one each of Spotted Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover and Peregrine.

FRIDAY 19th
Still a good smattering of birds about, including our first Spotted Redshank of the autumn in Heron's Green Bay, and a Wood Sandpiper at Herriott's End. Also, two Ringed Plover, five Little Ringed Plover, three Black-tailed Godwits, one Ruff, three Greenshank, 16 Green Sandpipers, three Common Sandpipers, one Snipe, one Little Gull, one Hobby and two Swifts.

THURSDAY 18th
A few more arrivals today in another wave of rubbish weather, notably a new Little Stint, a juvenile Little Gull, five Black Terns, an Arctic Tern and eight Common Terns during the day.

Others as follows... two Wigeon, one Black-necked Grebe, one Oystercatcher, six juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 14 adult Ringed Plover, 50 Lapwing, one Ruff, three Black-tailed Godwits, two Greenshank, nine Green Sandpipers, four Common Sandpipers, four Yellow-legged Gulls, one Hobby, 15 Swifts, 200 Sand Martins, 100 Swallows, 500 House Martins, and 250 Goldfinches.

BLAGDON:
With the aythya flock at Blagdon this autumn, it's not surprising that a male Ring-necked Duck was found there today, as was a female Ferruginous Duck. The usual male Ferruginous Duck is also still there, in wing moult so will be at the lake for a while.

WEDNESDAY 17th
An Osprey this evening from 18:00 to at least 20:30 was (I think) the first seen at Chew this year. A juvenile Marsh Harrier from 17:00 to 17:30 was also a nice find.

Also seen today were two male Wigeon, an eclipse male Garganey, 60 Little Grebes, a summer plumage Black-necked Grebe (different from Monday's bird), nine Little Egrets, a juvenile Peregrine, one Hobby, six Little Ringed Plovers, nine Ringed Plovers, 45 Lapwings, one Ruff, one Dunlin, four Black-tailed Godwits, one Redshank, one Greenshank, six Green Sandpipers, five Common Sandpipers, seven Yellow-legged Gulls, an adult Black Tern and a Wheatear.

Thanks to those who have replied about terrapins. There is at least one still in the lake, or at least there was this spring.

TUESDAY 16th
An early visit to the lake today produced eight Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, three Common Sandpipers, six Green Sandpipers and one each of Little Stint, Ruff and Greenshank.

MONDAY 15th
The monthly WeBS count took place today. A strange count, with some species present in record numbers and others perplexingly scarce.

The good news... 180 Mute Swans and 430 Gadwall were both new record counts for Chew (previous highest counts were 166 and 425 respectively). The dabblers are building up nicely with 224 Teal, 1045 Mallard and 85 Shoveler. Little Grebes are increasing after a terrible winter and a complete breeding failure, with 75 birds (the majority migrants from other waters). One Black-necked Grebe was also seen. However, four species in particular are present in below-average numbers, most notably Tufted Duck with only 165 counted. Great Crested Grebe (180), Coot (1940) and Moorhen (45) are also lower than would be expected in August with the lake in its current condition.

There are decent numbers of waders (by recent standards) dotted about the margins with ten Common Sandpipers, ten or 12 Green Sandpipers, six Black-tailed Godwits, one Ruff, 20 Lapwing, six Ringed Plover, one Dunlin, one Little Stint, five Oystercatchers, one Greenshank and one Wood Sandpiper (Heronís Green Bay). Five Yellow Wagtails, eight Yellow-legged Gulls, 11 Little Egrets, and two Peregrines were also seen.

On the insect front, a Small Heath reported on the Parkland was the first recent record of a species which now seems to be very uncommon Chew. Odonata continue to be notable by their absence; after a great early spring, dragonflies have been practically non-existent this summer, with hardly any hawkers or darters seen so far. The days of being able to walk through one of the lakeside meadows and disturbing Ruddy Darters every step of the way are now long gone.

Speaking of non-existent, has anyone seen a Red-eared Terrapin at Chew in recent years?

SUNDAY 14th
An small influx of Common Terns seems to have taken place overnight with 21 present this morning. Also around the lake were one Garganey, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, eight Green Sandpipers, one Redshank, one Greenshank, three Ruff, four Ringed Plover, five Common Sandpipers, two Water Rails, one Peregrine and the first two Yellow Wagtails of the autumn.

SATURDAY 13th
The Dunlin and Ringed Plover seem to have left, but there were still a few other waders around today: none Black-tailed Godwits, one Ruff, one Redshank, nine Green Sandpipers and one Common Sandpiper.

FRIDAY 12th
A similar picture to yesterday, although a few of the waders have moved on; 13 Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, seven Black-tailed Godwits, one each of Ruff, Redshank and Greenshank, six Green Sandpipers, two Garganey (Stratford), six Little Egrets and a Peregrine.

THURSDAY 11th
Things seem to be picking up with the arrival of a few more waders (12 species in total) today, perhaps an effect of this crappy weather we're having... 12 Dunlin, 18 Ringed Plover, one Ruff, one Redshank, four Little Ringed Plovers, 45 Lapwing, 11 Black-tailed Godwits, two Greenshank, eight Common Sandpipers, ten Green Sandpipers, one Wood Sandpiper, one Whimbrel, 12 Little Egrets, six Yellow-legged Gulls, 12 Swifts, 335 Canada Geese, two Garganey and one Wigeon.

WEDNESDAY 10th
Still some common species are in low numbers but others are beginning to pick up; a count of 395 Gadwall was just 30 short of the lake record. A Wood Sandpiper at Bernard King hide was the highlight, with other reports of 55 Lapwing, two Black-tailed Godwits, on Redshank, one Greenshank, six Green Sandpipers, three Common Sandpipers, one Egyptian Goose, one Garganey, one Wigeon, 57 Little Grebes, nine Little Egrets, six Yellow-legged Gulls, a juvenile Water Rail, one Peregrine and a small fall of Willow Warblers.

TUESDAY 9th
Our first Wheatear of the autumn was amongst the highlights today... four Little Egrets, two Ringed Plover, one Little Ringed Plover, six Dunlin, two Greenshank, seven Green Sandpipers, three Common Sandpipers, one Wheatear, two Yellow-legged Gulls and a Peregrine.

MONDAY 8th
A juvenile Marsh Harrier at Stratford hide was the best of the reports today; it was seen at Chew at 13:25 then at Blagdon 35 minutes later.

A good count of 300 Gadwall was made on the lake, with smaller numbers of Teal (90), Shoveler (60), Garganey (two) and Wigeon (one). Other counts were of 12 Little Egrets, 35 Lapwing, two Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, three Black-tailed Godwits, ten Green Sandpipers, ten Common Sandpipers, three Greenshank, seven Yellow-legged Gulls, 30 Great Black-backed Gulls and 35 Sand Martins.


Baby Bullfinch, Moreton Lane (Keith Vinicombe).

SATURDAY 6th
The only news from the weekend was a single report from this morning... one Little Ringed Plover, one Green Sandpiper, two Common Sandpipers, five Little Egrets and 12 Stock Doves.

FRIDAY 5th
Still a little quiet, despite the ideal water level, and being in the bosom of autumn passage: one Egyptian Goose, one Garganey, 48 Shoveler (new birds arriving), 13 Little Egrets, seven Little Ringed Plovers, 70 Lapwings, seven Green Sandpipers, 13-plus Common Sandpipers and five Yellow-legged Gulls.

THURSDAY 4th
Our first Black Tern of the autumn was seen today, with eight Common Terns. There were nine Little Ringed Plovers still today, also two 'ordinary' Ringed Plovers this morning, one Common Sandpiper, four Green Sandpipers and 11 Little Egrets.

WEDNESDAY 3rd
Only 14 Little Ringed Plovers this morning.

A couple of hours moth trapping at Hollow Brook this evening produced a total of 72 species, best of which was Chew's first Catoptria falsella and Clavigesta purdeyi. We also had a migrant - a Dark Sword-grass. Full list here, and one of tonight's Sallow Kittens here.

TUESDAY 2nd
Another record count of Little Ringed Plovers this evening - 16 on the shore at Herriott's End. Other new arrivals today were three Sandwich Terns and a Little Gull; a count of 18 Common Sandpipers also indicated some new migrants arriving.

Other news was of the Egyptian Goose, one Wigeon, 17 Shoveler, 12 Little Egrets, one Hobby, 50 Lapwings, two Dunlin, eight Green Sandpipers and eight Yellow-legged Gulls.


A couple of moth oddities... A Beautiful Hook-tip, taken at Dundry (left, Dave Nevitt), and a Single-dotted Wave from Chew (right).

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