April 2009 News


Thursday 2nd April

5 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope on the dam and 2 adult Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus. Pipistrelle Pipistrellus spp. at Bell's Bush and Hellfire Corner and 3 of a larger bat sp. at Burmah Road. I also rescued several Common Toads Bufo bufo off the roads between the dam and the Lodge.

Friday 3rd April

Little to report except a Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis at Holt Bay.

Saturday 4th April

There was an Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus on the dam, 9 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, the drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid, 24 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, 3 Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus and 6 Common Goldeneye Bucephela clangula (2 adult drakes, a 1st-winter drake and 3 ducks). The Bee-fly Bombylius major was on the wing at Top End.

On the Mendips there was a Curlew Numenius arquata flying around calling at dusk over North Hill.

Sunday 5th April

My April Spring Migrant Walk around the lake produced 9 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, 26 Common Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, 10 Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus and 7 Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus. Other breeding birds included a pair of Mute Swan Cygnus olor in Butcombe Bay and 14 Rook Corvus frugilegus nests at Hellfire Corner. Other notable records today were 6 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, 4 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 7 Common Pochard Anas ferina (6 drakes and a duck) and the Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid.

Later, when walking on the Mendips at Rowberrow Plantation and above Burrington with Alan Bone we recorded 2+ Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus, 2 Viviparous Lizards Lacerta vivipara and, one of my favourites, a Green Tiger Beetle Cicindella campestris.

At ST468563 we found what is possibly the first Mendip record of Orange Underwing Archiearis parthenias - can anyone confirm if this is the case? There was a male Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Rains Batch.

Monday 6th April

There were 6 Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis (3 drakes & 2 ducks at the Lodge and a drake off Green Lawn) and 40+ Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica over the lake.

Tuesday 7th April

A lone drake Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope remained on the dam, 7 Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis (4 drakes, 3 ducks) were at the Lodge and 15 Sand Martins Riparia riparia over Cheddar Water, my first sighting at the lake this year, though others saw some while I was ill in bed during March. A pair of Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus were feeding together at Home Bay.

Wednesday 8th April

7 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (adult & 1st-winter drakes plus 5 ducks), 16 Common Pochard Aythya ferina, 23 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, 11 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca (5 pairs & a lone drake) and the regular drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid.

Friday 10th April

4 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (adult & 1st-winter drakes plus 2 ducks) and singles of Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica and a presumed Lesser Redpoll Carduelis cabaret calling in flight at Hellfire Corner were the most interesting birds.

I noted a male Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines at Top End, 5 Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus (one male) and 2 Foxes Vulpes vulpes at Rookery Farm, Ubley.

Monday 13th April

A lingering pair of adult Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula and 33 migrating Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus today.

Tuesday 14th April

The first Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos of the year arrived on the dam today. Mervyn Pearce told me he'd met a Jim O'Connel (?) today who reported having watched an Osprey Pandion haliaetus catch a fish at 1130 hrs and fly to the pines on Rugmoor Bank to eat it before flying off east.

Later, I saw 5 Gadwall Anas strepera (4 drakes) at the dam and a pair at Top End, a pair of Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna feeding over the North Shore aerator (perhaps the same birds present for several days last year doing the same thing), 2 pairs of Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula off Bell's Bush, 4 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, 13 Common Pochard Aythya ferina in 3 separate groups plus the drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid.

Wednesday 15th April [Strong easterly blow]

No sign of the Common Sandpiper. The drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid was still around and there was a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus hunting over the dam.

Thursday 16th April

A Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna on the dam, became a pair later at Wood Bay. There were 11 Canada Geese Branta canadensis.

Friday 17th April [Steady rain]

3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos (2 on the dam & one on Home Bay Point), a single Sand Martin Riparia riparia and circa 30 Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica plus the drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid.

Saturday 18th April

WeBS Count Day; Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula 4, Gadwall Anas strepera 6, Eurasian Teal Anas crecca a pair, Common Pochard Aythya ferina 4, Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis a single drake, Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus 2 adults, Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 99, Herring Gull Larus argentatus 16, Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus 2, Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos 4, Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna a pair at Rainbow Point.

Breeding records aside from the above include: A Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus nest was noted at Top End, a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major was drumming at Butcombe Bay, a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea was also carrying food at Butcombe Bay, 2 extra Rook Corvus frugilegus nests (total 16) have been built at Hellfire Corner and a Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti sang at Top End or Ubley Hatchery. There were 3 spp. of hirundines over the lake.

Green-winged Orchids Orchis morio were flowering at Green Lawn and both sexes of Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines were fying at Holt Copse.

Sunday 19th April

There was a Common Coot Fulica atra nest at the Lodge with 8 eggs in it (see photo) and I photographed a Common Buzzard Buteo buteo with a red tail.

Coot Fulica atra Nest, Lodge © Nigel Milbourne, 2009

The Bee-fly Bombylius major was noted at Top End and I photographed Alder flies (probably Sialis lutaria) at the Lodge.

Alder Fly, Sialis sp., Lodge © Nigel Milbourne, 2009

Monday 20th April

38 Rook Corvus frugilegus nests on Home Bay Point, a singing Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus in Home Bay reeds and the pair of Common Shelducks Tadorna tadorna still present. An angler reported an Osprey Pandion haliaetus to me today.

Tuesday 21st April

The Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna pair were at the dam today, the drake scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid was still present and a Tawny Owl Strix aluco was being mobbed by Common Blackbirds Turdus merula and a Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius in the copse behind the Top End hide.

Wednesday 22nd April

A Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus was singing at Hellfire Corner (per Mervyn Pearce), there were single Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam and at Green Lawn, the drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid was still present, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta flew west, a pair of Gadwall Anas strepera were hanging about in Holt Bay and there were 4 Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis (2 drakes & a duck at the Lodge and a drake at Wood Bay Point).

Thursday 23rd April

Today there were 4 Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis (same 3 drakes & a duck), the drake Scaup-a-like Aythya hybrid, a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at Top End and a singing Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus along the Burmah Road hedge.

Friday 24th April

5 Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis (2 drakes & 3 ducks) at the Lodge today, so obviously a turn around in personnel. A Peregrine Falco peregrinus was sitting on St. Andrews church tower from 1945 - 2015 hrs and may have roosted there overnight.

Saturday 25th April

20+ Common Swifts Apus apus, 15+ Sand Martins Riparia riparia, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta and the Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus was still singing along Burmah Road.

Sunday 26th April

The Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis was at Top End.

Tuesday 28th April

5 Ruddy Ducks Oxyura jamaicensis (2 drakes & 3 ducks) were at the Lodge still, a female Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with either 9 or 10 ducklings were in Long Bay (1st brood 2009), a Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo hunted at Top End and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was heard calling at Green Lawn.

Wednesday 29th April

A twitch for the Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis on the Isle of Portland this afternoon and when I got back I couldn't find anything of interest at the lake.

Thursday 30th April

There was a migrant Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and intriguingly 2 drake Gadwall Anas strepera were at Hellfire Corner. Could there be a sitting duck close-by? A female Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with 9 juveniles was at Hellfire Corner (2nd brood 2009) and another female with 7 juveniles was at Bell's Bush barrier (3rd brood 2009).

I found a single Adder's-tongue Ophioglossum vulgatum at Green Lawn for the first time today.