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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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  MARCH 2011

The Oystercatcher, first-winter Yellow-legged Gull and three male Greater Scaup were still present today. No sign of the Little Gulls, but two male Common Scoter, and an adult Kittiwake through at 10:30 were new. A Peregrine and c.500 Sand Martins were also recorded.

Five Little Gulls (four adults and a first-winter) were new-in today; the poor weather also produced 1000 Sand Martins one House Martin and 12 Swallows. Other birds seen today were the three Greater Scaup, an Oystercatcher and a first-winter Yellow-legged Gull.

First-winter Yellow-legged Gull (Keith Vinicombe).

The male Ferruginous Duck reappeared in Stratford Bay today; other birds seen were the three male Greater Scaup, 11 Goosanders, ten Willow Warblers, 17 Great Black-backed Gulls, 55 Sand Martins and two Swallows.

The first Orange Tip of the year was seen today.

Three Ruff in Villice Bay were a good spring count; other news was of four first-summer male Greater Scaups, 250+ Sand Martins, two Swallows, and a Green Sandpiper.

A good day at the lake today, with some decent quality for a change - two Garganey, a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, one Ruff, two first-summer male Greater Scaups, single Greylag and White-fronted Geese, 13 Black-tailed Godwits (in flight south), one Peregrine, and an adult male Hen Harrier NW over Villice Bay at 14:45. The Red-legged Partridge reappeared on the cycle track near Herriott's Bridge; a real Chew rarity although it has to be assumed that most of the records we have are of released birds.

Birds today were a Brambling at Nunnery Point, the White-fronted Goose at Stratford, a male Greater Scaup, 40 Sand Martins and two Little Egrets. Highlight was a Red Kite west over Herriott's End.

The White-fronted Goose was in the field just before Woodford Lodge this afternoon (out of view behind the hedges). At Nunnery Point early this evening were two male Greater Scaups, 152 Goldeneye and a Rock/Water Pipit seen in flight, unfortunately the call wasn't heard well enough to be sure. Might be worth checking tomorrow as Scandinavian Rock Pipit is a possibility at this time of year.

A Hare was seen on the Parkland.

A first-winter male Greater Scaup was at Moreton today. It could be worth keeping an eye on the increasing numbers of aythyas in case we get a return visit from last year's Lesser Scaup.

A Green Sandpiper and a Snipe were at Heron's Green Bay and two Chiffchaffs were heard singing.

60 Sand Martins were present off Nunnery Point this evening.

Two White Wagtails were at the dam at lunchtime, the White-fronted Goose was at Herriott's Pool and the first-winter male Greater Scaup was in the middle of the lake.

Three Sand Martins flew north past Stratford hide this afternoon. Little other bird news, but an Otter was seen from Stratford hide very early this morning.

A Red-legged Partridge was an unusual find in Moreton Bank field this afternoon; one had been reported at the Parkland yesterday. The gull roost again contained the adult Kumlien's Gull and three Mediterranean Gulls (two adults and a second-summer). Other birds seen were the White-fronted Goose (Herriott's Pool), four Sand Martins, and a male Brambling with Chaffinches at Nunnery Point.

The male Ferruginous Duck was seen at Stratford this morning, and the first-winter male Greater Scaup was in Heron's Green Bay. There were two noteworthies on the passerine front as well; our only Stonechat of the winter was at Moreton Bank and the first two Sand Martins of the spring were seen at the dam.

A Bittern was seen at Herriott's Pool from 15:00 to 15:45.

The White-fronted Goose was at Woodford Pond this afternoon (see homepage); other birds were 15 Goosanders (Denny), two Little Egrets (Stratford/Twycross), eight Linnets, one Snipe and an Oystercatcher (Stratford). The gull roost produced six Mediterranean Gulls (five adults and last night's second-summer), and the rare sight at Chew of a pair of Meds displaying.

Three Bitterns were reported at Herriott's Bridge this evening.

You need to go back to 1992 to have seen the water level as low as this at the beginning of March, but it does have the benefit that there are still a few bits of shoreline in front of the hides. You get to see things like this Little Egret. It does have its disadvantages though; with most of the reedbeds still dry we might not be seeing too many baby Coots and grebes this summer unless it buckets down in the next few weeks.

The first-summer White-fronted Goose and a first-winter male Greater Scaup were the wildfowl highlights, whilst Nunnery Point this evening was good value with an adult Kumlien's Gull, an adult Ring-billed Gull and three Mediterranean Gulls (two adults and a second-summer).

Birds seen this afternoon were the White-fronted Goose, male Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Goosander, two Dunlin, a Mediterranean Gull and an albino Black-headed Gull.

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