2010 News

January February March April May June July August September October November December

Common GreenshanksTringa nebularia, Holt Bay © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Review of the Year

The year started with snow and ice during which time the lake all but froze over and a Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris was seen by some of the Bristol Water estates staff on the North Shore. A Eurasian Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons and redhead Smew Mergellus albellus visited in February. The goose-fest continued in March with a Western Greylag Anser anser anser and Bar-headed goose hybrid spending time at the lake.

A radio-tagged Osprey Pandion haliaetus, named 'Nimrod' by his captor Roy Dennis, spent the night at Butcombe Bank en route north from Africa to Findhorn Bay in North Scotland in mid-April and a Peregrine Falco peregrinus, ringed as a recently-fledged juvenile in Avon Gorge, appeared at the Pumping Station. June heralded the arrival of large numbers of Red-eyed Damselflies Erythromma najas on the lake and a Wall Lasiommata megera butterfly sunning itself briefly on the road - both rare visitors.

The low water level in July provided good conditions for migrant shorebirds (waders) to drop in, and drop in they did! A record 44 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia were counted one day and a few Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea arrived for the first time in several years. On 26th August, in excellent fall conditions, I counted 98 Common Terns at first light. However, October was the top month, with a Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus found on the 4th by Mervyn Pearce, a Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and the first recorded Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia on the 24th, albeit a fly-through. Mervyn found a drake FERRUGINOUS DUCK Aythya nyroca on 1st November which had gone next day, and the Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii, named 'Blagdon' by Slimbridge WWT staff, came back to the lake before the big freeze set in at the end of the month. Nearly 300 Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo were counted one day in December, no doubt the numbers being boosted by visitors from Chew Valley Lake, driven over to fish in the icy conditions, and once again a Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris was seen.