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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 2013

Single Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin were in Stratford Bay, with four Little Egrets there.

Two Bewick's Swans were at Moreton today, and a few Skylarks and Redwings were seen heading south over the lake.

A Spotted Redshank in Heron's Green Bay was today's highlight. Waders have been notable by their poor numbers this autumn.

In the event, we were just south of the centre of the overnight low which brought strong winds to the south, so we weren't quite as battered as we might have been. The only birds to report were a female Goosander and the female Red-breasted Merganser off Nunnery Point, the seven Bewick's Swans in Heron's Green Bay, two Dunlin, one Black-tailed Godwit and a Peregrine.

An adult Little Gull this afternoon was new-in, and a late Swallow was at Herriott's Pool. Unusually, the latter appeared to be an adult; most of the late autumn Swallows tend to be juveniles.

A quieter day today - single Redpoll and Kingfisher (Nunnery Point), two Dunlin and a Black-tailed Godwit (Stratford) were the only birds of note.

OK so it's not at Chew and not even a bird, and not technically even in Bristol, but it's not difficult to make an exception for this superb male Vagrant Emperor seen briefly in a Hanham garden this afternoon.

Not many of the few British records of this dragonfly are seen perched at such close range, so to obtain such a fine picture (with an iPhone!) surely deserves a prize of some kind...

Vagrant Emperor (Rob Laughton)

Seven adult Bewick's Swans were at Denny today, but the wader flock has dwindled to just a single Black-tailed Godwit. Good numbers of Skylarks were seen moving SW.

A Clouded Yellow was at Moreton.

A Crossbill was seen flying over Nunnery Point, and a Wheatear was at the main dam. A flock of seven Bewick's Swans was new-in.

An adult Mediterranean Gull was at Herriott's End in the pre-roost gathering this evening.

Two Greater Scaup were at Stratford Bay this afternoon, along with 20 Ringed Plover, two Little Stints, four Ruff and one Black-tailed Godwit. A Red-breasted Merganser was also seen.

Fly Agaric is now up at picnic site no.1 by the entrance gate - 14 fruits/spikes/stools whatever they are.

Two adult Bewick's Swans were rather early birds today; they were at Blagdon yesterday.

What was presumably the Blagdon Glossy Ibis paid a brief visit this afternoon - it obviously didn't like the place any more than on the first flying visit.

The Glossy Ibis putting in a brief appearance. (David Hughes)

A few more new arrivals today, including a Black-necked Grebe (Moreton) - only our second of the autumn, which is a very poor year for this species. Four Common Scoters (two adult males and two female types) in the same area were also new-in. Two Kingfishers were seen at Herriott's Pool (unusually, briefly on the railings at the lay-by), with the following all seen from Stratford hide: nine Dunlin, one Little Stint, four Ringed Plovers, three Ruff, one Grey Plover, eight Snipe, one Jack Snipe, one Rock Pipit, three Goldeneye and 59 Pintail. Three Green Sandpipers were in Heron's Green Bay.

Although it appears quiet, with little in the way of news, and routine fare being reported by visitors, there are thousands of duck at Chew at the moment, including big numbers of Teal, Tufted Duck and (by Chew standards) Wigeon - perhaps they will repay closer scrutiny in the coming weeks?

A male Bearded Tit reported at Stratford hide today was a good find - this species is rare and almost impossible to twitch at Chew. Two Grey Plovers there were new-in, and a Jack Snipe was found on the pool in front of the hide today.

Also seen were two Ruff, seven Dunlin, one Little Stint, one Common Sandpiper, one Goldeneye and a few small groups of Redwings.

Two Common Cranes were seen circling over the south end of the lake this afternoon; they then flew off south. The first record of Crane at Chew, albeit likely to be released birds from the Somerset Levels.

Crane has always been a very rare bird in Avon; prior to 2010 there were only four records. Since 2010 there has been a number of birds seen in the Avon area, with seven records in 2012. All but one of those recorded last year were thought to be some of the 57 feral birds from the release programme on the Somerset Levels. It seems probable that the Avon Bird Report will be publishing Crane records as highly likely to have originated from this source unless there is evidence to indicate otherwise.

Another quiet day; the trees were particularly bereft of passerines today, as were the mist nets at CVRS this morning. Waders numbered just one Little Stint, two Ruff, eight Dunlin and six Ringed Plover at Herriott's End/main reedbed shore today. Other birds of note were two flyover Siskin and a Kingfisher at Nunnery Point.

There continue to be small numbers of Red Admirals moving south across the lake; also, late Common Darter and Common Blue Damselfly were still on the wing today.

Click here for a few leaf-miners found at the lake today.

A quiet afternoon produced c.30 Swallows, eight Ringed Plover, two Dunlin, three Little Stints and three Ruff of note.

A Grey Shoulder-knot was seen on the fishermen's hut at Stratford car-park.

The Great White Egret was seen again today, albeit briefly as is the form with this species at Chew. A Grey Plover flying west was a typical autumn record, but is one of the only records of 'coastal' waders at Chew this autumn - a very poor result.

Other species of note - two Goldeneye, three Black-tailed Godwits, six Ruff, 19 Ringed Plover, 16 Dunlin, one Curlew Sandpiper, three Little Stints, three Little Gulls, one Sand Martin and a juvenile Hobby.

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