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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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  FEBRUARY 2012

TUESDAY 28th
The Spotted Sandpiper reappeared on the causeway at Herriott's Bridge today.

SUNDAY 26th
The four Pink-footed Geese remained in the Stratford/Moreton Bank field area, but there was no sign of the Avocet today. The female Garganey was in front of Stratford hide this morning, and one Bittern showed there (reluctantly!) late this afternoon/evening. Also at Stratford this evening were one each of Snipe, Ringed Plover and Tawny Owl (the latter heard calling).


The Pink-footed Goose family

SATURDAY 25th
The four Pink-footed Geese remained; at first on Stratford Islands, then in Moreton Bank field. An Avocet on Herriott's Pool was unexpected, and another good bird to find at Chew. Two Bitterns were seen in the reeds to the left of Stratford hide late this afternoon, in the reedbed on the south end of Moreton Bank.

There have been no reports of the Yellow-browed Warbler or Spotted Sandpiper this week.

FRIDAY 24th
The four Pink-footed Geese from Blagdon were on the Parkland with the Canada Goose flock today. A good Chew record.

THURSDAY 23rd
The adult Ring-billed Gull was seen over the dam this morning, but new-in was Chew's fourth Lesser Scaup - a first-winter male in Stratford Bay.


The first-winter male Lesser Scaup (Keith Vinicombe)

MONDAY 20th
The Ring-billed Gull, Egyptian Goose, Smew, Greater Scaup and Bittern were all seen today.

SUNDAY 19th
A second-winter Mediterranean Gull was seen in the roost this evening. With flocks numbering in the hundreds on the south coast, it's perplexing as to why numbers at Chew have decreased in the last ten years. They should be at their peak here now. Two Bitterns were seen from Stratford hide this afternoon.


Yesterday's Bittern. More on Flickr.

SATURDAY 18th
The adult Ring-billed Gull and Egyptian Goose were both still at Picnic Site No.1 today, and a Bar-headed Goose was on the Parkland. A Bittern was seen in the cut reeds down to 15m at Stratford hide late this afternoon.


Good views were to be had of the Ring-billed Gull this afternoon. More on Flickr.

FRIDAY 17th
The adult Ring-billed Gull was again at No.1 picnic site; the female Garganey and a redhead Smew were seen flying past Stratford hide. The Spotted Sandpiper was again on the causeway at Herriott's this morning.

THURSDAY 16th
A Smew was at Herriott's again today.

TUESDAY 14th
The overwintering Garganey showed very well to a handful of people this afternoon.


Not too many ducks are trapped at Chew nowadays, so it was a surprise to find a female Garganey in a duck trap this afternoon. What are the chances of that? (Mike Bailey)

MONDAY 13th
The adult Ring-billed Gull put in a reappearance today at picnic site no.1. Three Smew again, as well.


The wound on the Ring-billed Gull's left wing appears to be healing up nicely - compare with Gareth Jones' picture taken on January 7th... http://www.pixelbirds.co.uk/January2012.html (Alex Carlisle)

SUNDAY 12th
Three Smew (one on Herriott's Pool and two at Stratford Islands) were present today; two male Red-breasted Mergansers were also seen, as was a male Greater Scaup. The Yellow-browed Warbler and a Chiffchaff were at Stratford hide. A Bittern was seen at Herriott's End.

SATURDAY 11th
The female Smew was in the channel at Herriott's Bridge today, showing unusually well (for a Smew) with Tufted Ducks. The Yellow-browed Warbler was in the small patch of reeds in front of Stratford hide this afternoon, the female Long-tailed Duck was off the dam, and the Spotted Sandpiper appeared on the overspill at Herriott's Pool late this afternoon.


The female Smew - never seen one as close as that before. More on Flickr.

FRIDAY 10th
A female Smew was found on Herriott's Pool today.

TUESDAY 7th
A female Garganey was in front of Stratford hide today (the late bird from last autumn which has since been seen at Blagdon), as was the Spotted Sandpiper and Jack Snipe. The Yellow-browed Warbler was seen behind Stratford hide with what was apparently an Eastern-type Chiffchaff. A Woodcock was flushed from the hedge by Stratford car park. A Bittern was seen in flight at 16:00 (flew from the pool over to the main lake) and the female Long-tailed Duck was off the dam.

SUNDAY 5th
A Bittern was seen in flight at Herriott's End at 15:00, and four Siskins flew over Herriott's Bridge shortly after. The female Long-tailed Duck showed well off the main dam again, and the Yellow-browed Warbler was in the sallows behind Stratford hide this afternoon, flycatching from the upper branches. A Nuthatch was heard calling from the alder wood at Stratford.

SATURDAY 4th
Another cold day with a dusting of snow; many of the more sheltered bays were iced over. The Yellow-browed Warbler was again seen on the ground in front of Stratford hide; a Chiffchaff and a Cetti's Warbler were also seen there. The Long-tailed Duck was still off the main dam (the Blagdon bird?).

THURSDAY 2nd
The Yellow-browed Warbler was watched feeding amongst the cut reeds in front of Stratford hide today. A female Long-tailed Duck was seen off the main dam, and the Spotted Sandpiper was reported as being still present.

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