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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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  JANUARY 2013

THURSDAY 31st
Seven Little Egrets roosted at Denny this evening; 16 Goosanders were seen nearby. A decent total of 42 Wigeon was seen on the lake, and the Bittern was seen again at Moreton.

WEDNESDAY 30th
A Bittern was seen in the reedbed at Moreton hide this morning.

SUNDAY 27th
Three Brambling were still at Woodford/Stoke Villice Orchard this morning. Two Mediterranean Gulls (2nd-winter and adult) were seen in the roost tonight; the female Greater Scaup was also seen from there.

SATURDAY 26th
A Bittern was seen between Herriott's Bridge and Stratford Bay this morning. Two Dunlin and the first-winter Red-breasted Merganser were seen in flight past Nunnery Point this afternoon. Single Snipe and Goosander were seen between Moreton and Stratford, along with nine Stock Doves.

FRIDAY 25th
A flock of up to 40 Siskins has been feeding in a garden at Bishop Sutton.


Two male Siskins at Bishop Sutton this morning (Richard Keel).

THURSDAY 24th
A Barn Owl was seen at Nunnery Point this evening.

WEDNESDAY 23rd
A Barn Owl was seen behind New Manor Farm this afternoon. Five Bramblings (Woodford/Stoke Villice Orchard) and a Peregrine (Heron's Green Bay) were also seen.

MONDAY 21st
150 Fieldfare and 11 Brambling were still at the Woodford/Stoke Villice orchard.

SUNDAY 20th
A flock of 150 Fieldfare was feeding in the orchard at Stoke Villice this afternoon; good views could be had from the car either looking through the hedge at the entrance road to Woodford Lodge, or through the gate at the B3114 layby. Also eight Bramblings with them, including several smart adult males. At least 10 Barnacle Geese were at Woodford Bank.

Sutton Wick lane often attracts birds during freezing weather as it has flowing water running into the lake; today there were plenty of Redwings drinking and bathing there, and remarkably, a Woodcock. It was watched from a car late afternoon, then was seen again half an hour later in headlights as it fed on the unfrozen roadside.


The Woodcock feeding in Sutton Wick lane this evening. Very infrequently seen at Chew, and even then only briefly in flight as they flush from woodland. This one let me get out of the car and set up a camera and tripod about 20 metres away. Sorry about the red-eye. It was dark. Etc.

SATURDAY 19th
A thick covering of snow, and a few signs of birds moving with the weather - a Curlew flew SW over Herriott's Pool this afternoon, also 30 Skylarks flew S there.

A Barn Owl was seen again on the E side of Herriott's Pool at 13:00, also three Little Egrets there, and the male Red-breasted Merganser and 20 Goosander (Hollow Brook/Denny).

TUESDAY 15th
An adult Ring-billed Gull was seen in Stratford Bay this afternoon. Best of the rest were 20 Goosander, the first-winter Red-breasted Merganser, first-winter male Greater Scaup, 13 Shelduck, one Green Sandpiper, four Little Egrets and seven Wigeon.

SATURDAY 12th
A Barn Owl was seen hunting near the road at Villice Bay this afternoon. They have become very noticeable in daylight during the last few weeks. A Greater Scaup and four Pintail were seen off Sutton Wick.

FRIDAY 11th
The Siberian Chiffchaff was seen again in the Nature Reserve, along with at least two collybita Chiffchaffs. Please note that it's in an area with no public or permit access.

Six Little Egrets were at Herriott's Pool; the male Red-breasted Merganser was on the main lake. A first-winter Caspian Gull was seen in the roost off Sutton Wick; still a remarkably rare bird in this part of the country.

TUESDAY 8th
The two Greater Scaups were still present today, also seen were three Little Egrets, two Red-breasted Mergansers and 14 Goosanders.

MONDAY 7th
Five Little Egrets roosted on Denny this evening; 13 Goosander were also seen.

SUNDAY 6th
Nineteen Goosander were seen this evening; numbers increase as birds from nearby rivers arrive to roost. Also around the lake today were the female Greater Scaup (Moreton), three Brambling (Woodford/Stoke Villice), 15 Redpolls (Herriott's), Red-breasted Merganser, Egyptian Goose and a Little Egret (main dam). A Barn Owl was seen again at Heron's Green Bay/Parkland just before dusk.


The Siberian Chiffchaff was trapped this morning (Mike Bailey).

SATURDAY 5th
A Barn Owl was watched hunting at Herriott's Pool this afternoon at dusk; two Little Egrets were also seen there. The female Greater Scaup was still at Moreton. Late news of a Siberian Chiffchaff seen at Herriott's during the week; no sign today.

THURSDAY 3rd
A Barn Owl was seen at Nunnery this afternoon.

WEDNESDAY 2nd
Please bear with me if you've sent me an email recently - having one or two delivery issues. Thanks.

TUESDAY 1st
Happy New Year! Many thanks to everyone who sent me news and photos in 2012. Shame we went a bit quiet at the lake for the second half of the year but after autumn 2011 and spring 2012 it had to stop at some point!

I've just uploaded the wildfowl and wader counts from 2012; you can see for yourself the good bits and the less good bits here.

Two Greater Scaup (first-winter male Villice Bay, female Moreton) were seen today.

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