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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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  OCTOBER 2011

Both the Ring-necked Duck and Ferruginous Duck were still present, as was a male Greater Scaup this morning. The Spotted Sandpiper was also still at Herriott's Pool. The rest as follows (singles unless stated): Red-crested Pochard, three aythya hybrids, Red-breasted Merganser, two Dunlin, two Black-tailed Godwits, Little Stint, Green Sandpiper, Yellow-legged Gull, nine Snipe, Swallow, two Mediterranean Gulls, Peregrine and 100+ Linnets.

The ducks are all still present with the Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard and the two Red-breasted Mergansers still. A Grey Plover was new, as was a Little Stint. Two Black-necked Grebes were seen, and the Spotted Sandpiper was still at Herriott's Pool, elusive as usual.

Still a few different birds moving through, with a Spotted Redshank and two Little Gulls new-in, and a second male Red-breasted Merganser today. Other birds included the female Garganey, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard and two White Wagtails.

A note from Alan Ashman at CVRS: "...this morning we caught and ringed a Reed Warbler, quite a late date but not exceptional as we have caught a few in November in past years, but this bird weighed a staggering 20.9 grams. Checking the weights of 51,000 captures we've made, it beats our previous heavyweight by some 2 grams. Not bad for a bird whose normal summer weight is between 10 and 13 grams."

Highlights today included the Spotted Sandpiper still, the male Ferruginous Duck, the male Red-breasted Merganser and a Merlin.

The adult Spotted Sandpiper was still at Herriott's Pool today, and the two Long-billed Dowitchers were back in Stratford Bay. Other highlights were a Yellowhammer and 457 Wigeon.

A juvenile Spoonbill was a good new bird today; it came in high from the south at 17:45 and continued without landing. Also seen today were (one each of) Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Ring-necked Duck, Red-breasted Merganser, Golden Plover and Ferruginous Duck.

The adult Spotted Sandpiper (now in winter plumage) was still at Herriott's Bridge today. Also, the Red-breasted Merganser, a Long-tailed Duck (from Blagdon), one Red-crested Pochard and a Garganey were seen from Stratford Hide. An adult Mediterranean Gull was on Herriott's Pool.

The two Long-billed Dowitchers were still at the Ubley End. Also there were 104 Golden Plover, three Black-tailed Godwits and a Ruff.

Two Red-crested Pochards, the Ring-necked Duck and Ferruginous Duck were still present today, as was a male Red-breasted Merganser and 19 Goldeneye. Also 18 Dunlin, two Ruff, three Ringed Plover, one Green Sandpiper and two Swallows. A few Water Rails have been seen around the channel at Herriott's Bridge in recent days.

A Great White Egret was seen for 15 minutes on Herriott's Pool this morning; it flew off south and was not seen again. The Spotted Sandpiper was also still present, along with one Pectoral Sandpiper. The Ferruginous Duck and a Garganey were the pick of the other birds seen today.

The two Long-billed Dowitchers were both back at the original location this morning.

Both Long-billed Dowitchers were back in Stratford Bay today, favouring the tree stumps where the River Chew runs into the bay. The two Pectoral Sandpipers and the Spotted Sandpiper were also still present.

Two Black-necked Grebes (Heron's Green/Stratford Bay) were new-in; otherwise more of the same... Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck, two Red-crested Pochards, Whimbrel, two Ruff, Ringed Plover, 16 Dunlin, Snipe and Peregrine.

An early Long-tailed Duck was off Green Lawn this afternoon, and a Black-necked Grebe was at Top End.

The two Long-billed Dowitchers were still in Stratford Bay this morning, but could not be located this afternoon. The two Pectoral Sandpipers remained on the spit in front of the hide there, and the Spotted Sandpiper (now with very few spots) was still at Herriott's Pool. The Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck were also still present.

Also seen today (single birds unless stated)... Garganey, six Goldeneye, four Goosander, Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Knot, two Ruff, Ringed Plover, 18 Dunlin, four Green Sandpipers, two Turnstones, three Snipe, c.20 Linnet, 50+ Skylark (in small flocks overhead), and 10 Swallows.

A rarity-strewn day if ever there was one. The two Long-billed Dowitchers from Blagdon were relocated in front of Stratford hide this morning, along with the two Pectoral Sandpipers still present. The adult Spotted Sandpiper was still at Herriott's Bridge as well. The latter is nearly always out of view at the NW corner of the pool on the causeway - you have to wait for it to walk sufficiently far east along the wall to view from by the overspill. Or you could wait until it flies to roost on one of the islands at the back of the pool. The dowitchers are the ninth and tenth American waders (of five species) to be seen at Chew this autumn!

The male Ferruginous Duck was still at Moreton, and two Red-crested Pochards were with the massive duck flock in Stratford Bay, along with two aythya hybrids. Also today: four Goldeneye, two Goosander (the first of the autumn), one Egyptian Goose, one Garganey, one Whimbrel, one Knot, 33 Dunlin, one Ringed Plover, one Turnstone, two Ruff, one Snipe, two Green Sandpipers, two Peregrines, one Wheatear and a Yellowhammer.

The Spotted Sandpiper and two Pectoral Sandpipers remained, in the same places as yesterday. Also, a late Garganey and the male Ring-necked Duck were seen from Stratford hide.

Two juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers were seen today (first found yesterday). View from Bell's Bush looking left, or from the road just west of there. As with Chew, permits are required.

The two juvenile Long-billed Dowitchers at Blagdon.

The Spotted Sandpiper (Herriott's causeway) and two Pectoral Sandpipers (the spit in front of Stratford hide) were all still in position today, with further reports as follows (single birds unless stated): Red-crested Pochard, Ring-necked Duck, Ferruginous Duck (Moreton), two Goldeneye, two Ruff, Knot, Ringed Plover, 25 Dunlin, Green Sandpiper, five Snipe, Yellow-legged Gull, Merlin (Bishop Sutton), Wheatear, and 20 Linnets.

A Rock Pipit was seen at Nunnery Point this afternoon, and two Pectoral Sandpipers were still at Stratford.

Three adult Common Scoter (two males and a female) were new in this morning. Two Pectoral Sandpipers, 13 Dunlin and two Ruff were in Stratford Bay, as were two Red-crested Pochard, and one each of Wheatear, Whimbrel, Ring-necked Duck and Ferruginous Duck.

Today's list... one Ferruginous Duck, three Red-crested Pochards, one Whimbrel, three Ruff, one Dunlin, three Pectoral Sandpipers, one Spotted Sandpiper, one Turnstone and one Wheatear.

The Spotted Sandpiper, three Pectoral Sandpipers, Ring-necked Duck and Ferruginous Duck were all still present, and new-in were two Red-crested Pochards. Also, one Whimbrel, four Ruff, six Dunlin, one Green Sandpiper, seven Snipe, one Arctic Tern, one Wheatear and one Peregrine.

A pair of Bearded Tits was seen briefly at Herriott's End before flying towards the main reedbed. Still present were three Pectoral Sandpipers, the Spotted Sandpiper, the male Ring-necked Duck, the male Ferruginous Duck, four Ruff, one Dunlin and a Whimbrel.

Three Pectoral Sandpipers were in Stratford Bay today; that's our fifth Pec and eighth American wader of the autumn! The Spotted Sandpiper was still at Herriott's Bridge, with other counts of one Whimbrel, three Dunlin, four Ruff, one Dunlin, 192 Wigeon and the male Ferruginous Duck.

The adult Spotted Sandpiper was still at Herriott's Pool today, but another surprise appeared in the form of a second Pectoral Sandpiper. Both birds were watched at Herriott's End (from the bridge) with Lapwings amongst the tree-stumps. Our fourth Pec of the autumn! The male Ring-necked Duck was visible from Stratford hide amongst the huge wildfowl flock, an Egyptian Goose was at Denny, and seven Black Terns were off Nunnery Point.

A quick watch from Stratford hide this evening produced the Ferruginous Duck and Ring-necked Duck, two Little Stints, one Green Sandpiper, three Ravens and a Yellow-legged Gull. The Spotted Sandpiper was again at Herriott's Pool, roosting on one of the islands this evening.

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