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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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  MARCH 2012

The first Little Ringed Plover of the year was at Heron's Green Bay early this morning; also four Curlew over the Parkland, three Green Sandpipers, one Snipe, two Little Egrets, the female Long-tailed Duck and the Spotted Sandpiper. Four Swallows and 40-plus Sand Martins were over Herriott's Bridge this afternoon; hirundines have been notably scarce this spring, probably due to the lack of dismal weather this month.

A Red Kite was seen over Herriott's Bridge at 18:00. Also today were the female Garganey still, and three Green Sandpipers (Herriott's Pool and the dam). No sign of the Cackling Goose at Herriott's Pool this morning (on its way back to Canada now, no doubt).

Don't forget it's the Chew Valley Bird Fair tomorrow and Saturday.

The Cackling Goose and Spotted Sandpiper were still at Herriott's Pool today, but new-in were a Greenshank and a White Wagtail. Other birds seen were three Little Egrets, 18 Great Black-backed Gulls, two Garganey (the overwintering female and a migrant male), one Pintail, 29 Goldeneye, two Green Sandpipers, one Snipe, two Sand Martins and a Raven.

An Osprey was seen this morning from Woodford Lodge, whilst a Red Kite was over Burledge Hill. The Cackling Goose and Spotted Sandpiper were still at Herriott's Pool and the Long-tailed Duck was at the main dam. The first Willow Warbler of the spring was at Nunnery Point.

A few new birds again today, first of which was an Osprey over the ringing station this morning. Last autumn's Cackling Goose which spent the winter at Torr Reservoir reappeared at Herriott's Pool, and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit was found on the main dam.

The Little Gull flock increased to six on the main lake (there were 17 off New Passage today). Also seen were the Long-tailed Duck (main dam), the Spotted Sandpiper, male Garganey (Stratford), Egyptian Goose (Herriott's Pool), Greater Scaup, a second-summer Mediterranean Gull (roost) and two Sand Martins.

A juvenile Glaucous Gull at Herriott's Pool this morning was a surprise; this species is difficult to see at Chew, with only about a dozen records. The Spotted Sandpiper was again at Herriott's Bridge this afternoon, although it does go missing for periods. Today it was joined by a Green Sandpiper.

Five adult winter (type) Little Gulls and the male Garganey were off Nunnery Point this afternoon, but Goldeneye numbers have decreased noticeably since last weekend. Also seen today were a Peregrine (Herriott's), the female Long-tailed Duck and male Greater Scaup (main dam), the female Garganey still (Stratford) and five Yellowhammers (Pumping Station entrance road).

On Herriott's Pool were nine Black-tailed Godwits and (unusually) a Knot. The Lesser Scaup and Greater Scaup were both off Stratford this afternoon, and a male Garganey was in Heron's Green Bay.

A Red Kite was seen over Herriott's Bridge at 16:05 this afternoon.

The four Pink-footed Geese were seen from Woodford today. The male Greater Scaup and two Green Sandpipers were also seen.

A small flock of c.25 Yellowhammers was in the stubble field just west of the BW entrance road by the main dam.

The Spotted Sandpiper was still at Herriott's Pool today, and the Lesser Scaup (BK hide), Long-tailed Duck (dam) and Garganey (Stratford) were also still present. 43 Sand Martins appeared during the rain this afternoon, and an adult Mediterranean Gull was seen hawking insects over the road at Heron's Green Bay with the Black-headed Gull flock. 145 Goldeneye were counted off Nunnery Point this evening, and a Marsh Harrier was watched quartering the main reedbed just before 18:00.

A rare close view of a Long-tailed Duck at Chew Gary Thoburn

A late arrival of c.100 Sand Martins over the lake today.

A Redshank was on the main dam.

The Lesser Scaup was relocated at Bernard King hide today; other birds around the lake today included the Spotted Sandpiper (Herriott's), female Long-tailed Duck (dam), three singing Chiffchaffs, one Woodcock, eight Siskin, six Green Sandpipers, three Little Egrets, four Pink-footed Geese (Woodford) and the female Garganey (Moreton).

A male Lesser Scaup was the highlight today. The bird seen only on February 23rd has been thoroughly looked for since then to no avail, but even so, it's difficult to know whether this is the same bird or a new one. It was watched distantly from Moreton hide and Nunnery Point with Tufted Ducks on the Roman Shallows.

Otherwise, a similar list to that posted yesterday; both the Spotted Sandpiper and Common Sandpiper were at Herriott's; also one Green Sandpiper (Heron's Green Bay), one Bittern (Moreton Bank), four Pink-footed Geese (Villice Bay/Nunnery Point) and the female Long-tailed Duck (Moreton).

The Spotted Sandpiper was joined by an early Common Sandpiper at Herriott's Pool today - the latter are unusual at Chew until later in spring when migration properly starts. The Egyptian Goose was also still at Herriott's Pool. The female Garganey was at Stratford again, and a Bittern was seen from there in the reeds on the south end of Moreton Bank. Two adult summer Mediterranean Gulls were seen in the distant roost this evening.

The Spotted Sandpiper remained on the causeway at Herriott's Bridge today. Other birds still present were the Egyptian Goose and four Pink-footed Geese (Herriott's Pool), Red-breasted Merganser (Moreton), Long-tailed Duck (Picnic site no.1), a Bittern (flew from the main reeds over to Herriott's Pool at 12:45) and one Green Sandpiper (Heron's Green Bay).

The four Pink-footed Geese were still present today (Villice), and the Spotted Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit were still at Herriott's Pool.

A little more coverage produced a decent haul today - two Black-necked Grebes (at BK hide this morning, moving to Moreton - one in full summer plumage, the other still in winter kit), the female Long-tailed Duck (Moreton), the Spotted Sandpiper (Herriott's - no sign of any summer spots yet), four Pink-footed Geese (Stratford, but mobile), the female Garganey (Stratford), a 'smallish' Canada Goose (Stratford - possibly the one seen last spring). Also around the lake today were single Peregrine, Green Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Chiffchaff and two Little Egrets.

The female Garganey. This bird is unusual not only in that it spent all winter in Somerset when it should have been in Africa, it has been tricky to age, even in the hand. She has several old, worn body feathers amongst fresher ones as would be expected on a first-winter, but also has fairly fresh wings with the greater covert pattern as would be expected of an adult.

A Bittern showed very well at Stratford hide this afternoon.

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