BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

August 2010 News


Sunday 1st August

Sean Davies emailed the following this morning:

"This morn: ad Dunlin in flight from The Lodge, 2 juv LRP's at east end of Green Lawn, 1 Spot Fly (Long Bay), the female Wigeon again nr Rugmoor Bay, 1 Green Sand and 4 Common Sands in Butcombe Bay."

Monday 2nd August

Mervyn Pearce paid a quick visit and saw one of the Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata still at Hellfire Corner and reported seeing a Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus butterfly (a first for him at the lake) in the same vicinity.

I didn't get to the lake until dusk this evening and watched as a Fox Vulpes vulpes chased around a meadow causing havoc among 12+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos called at Wood Bay and there were 57 Canada Geese Branta canadensis strung out over the lake. The 'tide' is still going out and the level is dropping rapidly. The Bristol Water website is saying Blagdon is just 60% full today.

Tuesday 3rd August

The Lapwings Vanellus vanellus were obviously fed-up with being harassed last night and were sitting quietly at Long Bay this evening, where I was able to count 20. Also at Long Bay, I heard a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata calling (presumably one of the Lodge Copse brood or adults) and counted 69 Canada Geese Branta canadensis. A female Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis was off Rugmoor Point and one of the Tawny Owl Strix aluco chicks was calling from Hellfire Corner still.

The wader (shorebird) migration seems to have dried up for the time being, but if the water level continues to drop then we should get some in during the next couple of months - but will we see a mega?

Neighbour Jenny Barr gave Ce a jar with two caterpillars in, that she had removed from her lettuces, for me to identify. They appear to be larvae of the White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda (see http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=2060), a pretty and reasonably common moth hereabouts.

Wednesday 4th August [Cooler than of late with showers, some heavy, on a westerly breeze that shifted WNW late on]

Nothing of note at the dam end this evening but there were waders at the Top End where I heard at least 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a Common Redshank Tringa totanus and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos calling. A Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula also flew south east over me calling as I walked beside Holt Bay. A brood of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata (at least three) were together at Long Bay, where I found a dead Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes on the road; the result of a RTA.

59 Canada Geese Branta canadensis and 12+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus were feeding on the Holt Farm pastures.

With the level having dropped to the point where the weed beds just offshore are drying out, the focus of the bird action is likely to be at the Top End, rather than in front of the Lodge where the anglers can now fish in clear water again.

Thursday 5th August [Warmer today with a westerly breeze in the afernoon]

Buoyed up by last nights wader fest, I got up really early and went down before work this morning. It is still quite difficult to see birds at the Top End from the hide but I did see the female Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope on Wookey Point, a Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a female White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba, 11 Teal Anas crecca , 2 Common Swifts Apus apus (they've already left the breeding colony in the village) and several warblers in the bushes including Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus one of which was singing.

Friday 6th August

The Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia was still at Top End at lunch time today. I also saw a Common Whitethroat Sylvia communis at Wood Bay, the first recorded at the lake for 9 years unless anyone else can tell me otherwise?

After the visit to the lake I drove to Cornwall. I saw a couple of small Shearwaters Puffinus sp. fly around Land's End with a group of Gannets Morus bassanus.

Saturday 7th August

Sean Davies wrote to me: "On Saturday the only waders were 1 Greenshank and 3 Green Sands at Top End and 3 Common Sands around the lake. 5 Kestrels were on Rugmoor Point. Noticeably more Willow Warblers about than the previous weekend."

I woke up early this morning at the Land's End Hotel with a fabulous view out over the sea and saw a Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximus working the slack water close to the crab pots between 0745 and 0800 hrs.

At 0915 hrs I set off to cycle to near Okehampton, a very hilly 106.5 miles away. We stayed at the Bearslake Inn overnight and enjoyed a lovely meal before turning in at the end of a tiring day.

Sunday 8th August

Sean Davies added "Nothing much to add.. Sunday: 1 Redshank in Holt Bay, maybe the same as your bird. 12 Grey Herons were around the lake, including 7 together at the entrance to Butcombe Bay."

I finished my cycle ride when I got home at 1645 hrs with another 96.7 miles under the belt. Quite an adventure after having only started cycling again 11 weeks ago.

After a BIG bowl of pasta I went down to the lake and found 4 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus at Top End, a juvenile Common Redshank Tringa totanus on Rugmoor Point, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Holt Bay, 25 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus at Long Bay and a dead Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus in front of the Lodge at the waters edge.

Monday 9th August

I counted 26 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Holt Farm alongside Long Bay feeding with 10 Canada Geese Branta canadensis and a large flock of corvids. At Top End there were 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and a Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia still but two young Foxes Vulpes vulpes were running about on the shoreline disturbing everything and making it difficult for me to spot new birds that may have arrived.

I walked home via Butcombe village and spotted 4 Glow-worms Lampyris noctiluca shining their little green lights in the roadside hedges despite the light drizzle.

Wednesday 11th August

There was a Common Redshank Tringa totanus calling in front of the Lodge this evening and I heard 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus calling further along the south shore. I also heard one of the young Tawny Owls Strix aluco food-begging at Hellfire Corner again on the way back home.

As I walked up the hill after dark I saw 4 shooting stars - an early foretaste of the Perseid meteor shower.

Thursday 12th August

I saw 3 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia at Burmah Road this evening and heard a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus calling, without seeing it. 42 Canada Geese Branta canadensis grazed in the Holt Farm fields.

According to the Bristol Water website the lake is only 52% full today as opposed to last year when it was 70% full.

Friday 13th August

There were 5 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia between Burmah Road and Top End with a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus asleep there too. 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos fed along the Long Bay shore where there were 5 of the 8 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea present at the lake this afternoon. I counted 25 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus close by and 54 Canada Geese Branta canadensis on Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge. Tomorrow morning we will be doing the monthly WeBS count, so I hope the balloons don't come over or there'll be ducks flying all over the place!

Saturday 14th August

Thankfully for us (sadly for the fiesta) early rain kept the balloons grounded as we started the WeBS count. I have posted totals on the WeBS Counts page but highlights included 8 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia mostly around Wood Bay Point, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 3 of which were on Home Bay Point, 29 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina on Tiny's Shallow, 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago along Burmah Road and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta at Top End. Phil Delve counted 914 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula (mostly males and not far off the lake record) and I counted 670 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos. The female Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope was still present and the first Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata have arrived, but we couldn't see any Garganey Anas querquedula or, unusually, Canada Geese Branta canadensis.

Sunday 15th August

At work (Somerdale, Keynsham) today I saw 2 juvenile Northern Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe in the paddock along the old stone wall.

Monday 16th August [Warm and sunny with a westerly breeze]

I was out all day yesterday and unable to visit the lake, so was amazed at the change in birds since carrying out the WeBS count on Saturday. For a start I was able to count 33 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia from Rainbow Point. This is an unprecedented number in my experience, but there have been counts of up to 42 in 1973, 1980 and 1984. Also, the 15 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca counted on Saturday had become 119 at Top End this evening.

Other birds of note included 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula (4 adults and a juvenile), a Dunlin Calidris alpina (juvenile), a Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 5 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, at least one Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, an adult Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea and a Barn Owl Tyto alba.

Tuesday 17th August [Warm with sunny intervals and light drizzle with a westerly breeze]

There was a beautiful red sunset this evening. Standing on Rainbow Point I was able to count 26 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia spread around the Top End from Peg's Point to Wood Bay Point. There were also 6 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula (4 adults and 2 juveniles), a Dunlin Calidris alpina (juvenile), a Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, and a couple of Barn OwlsTyto alba. Tawny Owls Strix aluco have started singing again during the last week.

The lake is less than half full with a level of 49% (per Bristol Water website).

At Somerdale, Keynsham I saw a juvenile Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe and a late Common Swift Apus apus today.

Thursday 19th August [Bright early on with a SW breeze, then steadily clouded over with rain in the evening on a southerly wind]

In front of the Lodge this evening there were what looked like 8 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the Dunlin Calidris alpina (juvenile) and all too briefly a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus with a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola (the first since 2005). It got dark very quickly as rain swept in and I was only able to make out 3 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia at Burmah Road in the gloom but there were likely to have been more. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to have a better look around tomorrow afternoon.

The Canada Goose Branta canadensis flock has swelled to 119, but most flew off towards Chew as it got dark.

Friday 20th August [Warm but changeable with showers on a strong southerly breeze]

I saw the Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola this evening over at The Island. In addition there were 15 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the lone Dunlin Calidris alpina (juvenile), 28+ Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2+ Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, a single Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Common Swift Apus apus and 4 (feral) Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis among the 219 Canada Geese Branta canadensis. I saw the female Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope on the dam this evening.

A local angler told me he had seen 2 Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus along the Butcombe Shore early this morning when walking his dogs, but I didn't see them on either of my visits.

Saturday 21st August [Warm but changeable with occasional showers on a southerly breeze]

After an early morning visit, Sean Davies sent me the following news:

"That's more like it! I couldn't find the Wood Sand but did see 37 Greenshank, 6 Green Sand, 6 Common Sand, 3 Blackwit, 8 Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 1 Wigeon, 1 Kingfisher. Most of the Greenshank were in 2 groups of 17 in Wood Bay and Butcombe Bay (the latter seen both at the beginning and end of my visit as I had another look for the Wood Sand so I'm sure there's no duplication)."

I enjoyed a really good visit around lunchtime today counting a record 44 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia (20 Butcombe Bay and 24 from Rainbow Point). I did see a flock of 18 fly east past Rainbow Point last night, in itself an amazing inland sighting, and I guess these were coming back from Butcombe Bay to Burmah Road to roost and were birds I'd missed yesterday afternoon.

Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, Holt Bay © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Also noted were 17 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 7 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and 17 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. The Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola may still be in Butcombe Bay with the Green Sands, I thought I saw it resting while counting Greenshanks, but couldn't relocate it afterwards.

Peregrine Falco peregrinus causing havoc among wildfowl, Holt Bay © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

There were 212 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, a juvenile female Peregrine Falco peregrinus and a male Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus around the lake.

Juvenile female Peregrine Falco peregrinus, Rainbow Point © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

The best sighting was when Mike Jenkins and I were coming out of the Top End hide. I saw a large orange butterfly fly along the road, but unfortunately Mike left before I relocated a Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia feeding at some brambles just inside the wood. I was not able to get a picture as it took to the wing when I approached it. I waited some time to see if it would come back, but it didn't. This is the first time I've ever seen this species at the lake but do recall hearing some time ago that Rupert Higgins had seen one either at Butcombe Shore or the Pumping Station. It does occur in local Mendip woods so a wandering individual could be expected now and again.

Alan Bone and I ran my two Robinson moth traps at Holt Copse from 2100 - 2330 hrs in the persistent light rain. We had rather a poor return considering how warm it was, but nevertheless added 10 spp. to the lake list. Additionally, we caught 2 Hornets Vespa crabro and 6 or more Forest Bugs Pentatoma rufipes under the Oak Quercus sp. trees.

Sunday 22nd August [Warm and sunny until late in the day]

The tide is going out! Top End today © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Another interesting afternoon with a pair of Ravens Corvus corax flying over the Pumping Station 'cronking' as I set up my telescope in front of the Lodge where there was a huge flock of Canada Geese Branta canadensis. I made the total 420 around the lake today, plus a white hybrid and another with an open white face as well as 4 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, plus a juvenile Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna feeding off Rugmoor Point.

On the wader front, I didn't attempt a full count of Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, as I didn't visit Butcombe Bay, but I still found 39 elswhere. There were also 16 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Dunlin Calidris alpina and 20 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. I'm sure I saw a Ruff Philomachus pugnax at Top End when viewing from Rainbow Point, but the Peregrine Falco peregrinus I photographed yesterday was back again today flushing birds every few minutes and I couldn't find it again by the time I walked there.

The tide is going out! Long Bay today © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Other things noted included 33 Moorhens Gallinula chloropus, quite a few Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta and a single male Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum.

Late news from Sean Davies who saw 13 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus today on his visit, superceding Mervyn Pearce's record count of 8 on 8th August 2004.

Monday 23rd August [Overnight rain gave way to a warm day until a rising westerly blow in the afternoon]

I had a quick look this morning and saw 36 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and a juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax on Tiny's Shallow, with 5 Common Redshanks Tringa totanus in front of the Lodge which flew off east. Elsewhere, I saw 18 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia in various spots and 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa at Top End.

This evening I was able to find 31 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia (with 19 feeding together at the head of Butcombe Bay) and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus but there was no sign of the Ringed Plovers, Ruff or Common Redshanks. At Top End I heard my first male Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope whistle (autumn is upon us) and saw another feeding out with the other wildfowl (presumably the over-summering female). There was also a Little Egret Egretta garzetta in flight over the Top End trees and the Black-wits were still present at Wookey Point.

Tuesday 24th August [Cooler today, with rain in the morning giving way to a strong westerly wind and sunny periods in the afternoon]

There were 7 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula on Tiny's Shallow this morning but they were flushed by a Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and flew off west while another 2 were on Rainbow Point with 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos. I counted 9 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and came upon a summer-plumaged Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres (the first for 6 years) feeding along the edge of Rugmoor Bay. I also noted the juvenile Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna again, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta were at Bell's Bush.

This evening a more thorough search for shorebirds (waders) turned up 34 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Dunlin Calidris alpina and 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos but no Ringed Plovers or Ruddy Turnstone. A Hornet Vespa crabro flew past me along the path at Butcombe Shore.

The lake is only 47% full today (per Bristol Water website).

Wednesday 25th August [Cooler again today with a SW breeze shifting to SE in the afternoon with heavy rain]

I only had time for a quick visit this morning, during which time I saw 11 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula on Tiny's Shallow with 4 Dunlins Calidris alpina, a juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax at Holt Bay, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa at Top End and 14 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia scattered about except at Butcombe Bay which I didn't have time to investigate.

Steve Hale of Bristol Ornithological Club sent me an email received from Phil Baber:

"We spent 2 hours in Top End hide yesterday pm in the awful drizzle and saw these...
Flock of at least 11 Ringed Plover, with a juv Dunlin and juv Little Stint. 4 Blackwit. 2 Green Sand. 1 Greenshank. 2 Whitethroat. 20 (?) Reed Warblers. A slice of the wader action in one small area. Was not possible to check anywhere else because of rain." I have just seen that a note left in Top End hide presumably by Phil also included 2 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava flavissima.

Thursday 26th August [Dreich!]

With excellent fall conditions prevailing over the last 24 hours I got down to the lake for a look before work this morning and was astounded to see a flock of 98 Common Terns Sterna hirundo flying about off the dam and then landing on Tiny's Shallow point briefly, but long enough for me to go through 85 of them to check their identification. When they got up and flew I had two opportunities to count the whole flock and got 96 and 98 respectively. I assume they were all Common's as I didn't spot anything different as I went through them counting. I also saw 23 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia scattered about in the gloom and mist.

Alan Bone and Roger Palmer visited during the afternoon and they saw a flock of about 80 shorebirds at Top End most of which were Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula according to Alan (he told me he counted 52 and there were up to 30 more birds behind them when he gave up). They also saw at least one Hobby Falco subbuteo. I arrived within half an hour of their leaving but the wader flock seemed to have left before I got there.

After tea, I did a quick search before it got too dark and found 32 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax at Butcombe Bay, 22 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 4 Dunlins Calidris alpina, a Little Stint Calidris minuta, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa.

There was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus graellsii in front of the Lodge that had a black darvic ring on it's right leg bearing a yellow A:C, by the looks of it. This is one of Pete Rock's birds, ringed locally, but we were unable to pin it down to an individual because the letters were not definitively identified. His birds turn up surprisingly rarely at the lake.

Friday 27th August [Warm & sunny for the most part]

Another very interesting evening at the lake with 2 yearlies a Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava flavissima at the head of Butcombe Bay and a Curlew Numenius arguata in Pipe Bay. Other waders included 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago in Butcombe Bay which flew off west, 33 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 11 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 5 Dunlins Calidris alpina, 20 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 1 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and 4 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis with the Canada Goose Branta canadensis flock. I saw a pair of Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis at Top End too. Meanwhile the Greenshank festival goes on......

Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, Holt Bay © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Saturday 28th August

I was out all day yesterday with two of my best pals endulging one of my other passions, steam trains, so missed a yearly found by Sean Davies on an early morning visit. He added a juvenile Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus to the growing list - nice work!

In addition to the Spotshank he saw an Osprey Pandion haliaetus, 37 Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 7 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula. Thanks to both Sean and Steve Hale of BOC for the news. There is a picture of the Osprey on the BOC sightings page taken by Sean - see Links.

Sunday 29th August [Breezy WNW with occasional showers]

Sean Davies sent me an email as follows:

"Shorter visit this morning - there were Spotshanks at Burmah Road and both Long and Butcombe Bays (at least 2 birds) plus a juvenile male Ruff in Wood Bay, 9 Green Sands all in Butcombe, 30 Greenshanks, 2 Common Sands. I struggled to find smaller waders both days - just a few Ringed Plover. Also, a Tawny Owl flew between Holt Copse and Hellfire Corner (possibly one of the juvs - Nige)."

Roger and Jean Staples reported:

"Wigeon 9, Ringed plover 16, Spotted Redshank 1, Greenshank circa. 23, Green Sandpiper 2, Dunlin 1 and Spotted Flycatcher 1."

Some of the birds have moved on by the looks of it. I didn't visit Butcombe Bay (too many dog walkers) but saw the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus at Polish Water (just left of the Lodge), 26 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 19 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, a single Dunlin Calidris alpina, 2 Ruff Philomachus pugnax (probable ruff and reeve due to large size difference), a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, a juvenile Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, an adult Common Tern Sterna hirundo, 10 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope and a Stock Dove Columba oenas that dropped in for a drink. I saw a number of Sand Martins Riparia riparia migrating through during my visit.

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropa

Hoverflies Syrphus sp. m&f

Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

© Nigel Milbourne, 2010

I met Ian Lucas who told me he had seen a male (presumed) Common Crossbill Loxia curvirostra at Cheddar Water taking a drink in late June while he was watching a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos - a great record. I still haven't seen one at the lake!

Monday 30th August [Warm and mainly sunny]

I visited the lake around 0900 hrs to do a quick wader count before joining the Avon Bat Group and YACWAG who came over to monitor the bat boxes. I saw a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus at the head of Butcombe Bay with 5 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and 6 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus but the whole lot were flushed almost immediately by dog walkers. Later I saw either the same, or another, Spotted Redshank at Polish Water by the Lodge, where I'd seen one yesterday with 2 more Common Greenshanks. There were 9 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula resting on Tiny's Shallow and more Common Greenshanks at Holt Bay, where Ian White was trying to photograph them, but they in turn were all flushed by two trespassing joggers - at that point I gave up! I did hear there was still at least one Ruff Philomachus pugnax present when I chatted to other birders later.

Sean Davies paid his usual early morning visit and reported: "Quick visit.... less of the same: 1 Spotshank (Long Bay), 1 Ruff, 23 Greenshank, 6 Green Sands, 9 Ringed Plover, 1 Dunlin, 2 Common Sands."

At 1000 hrs I met with Daniel Hargreaves and the team and we worked our way around the lake checking the bat boxes. We found 9 Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus (5 males and 4 females) and a single male Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus. I thought you might enjoy some pictures.

Processing a Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Rugmoor Bank © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, Pipe Bay Copse © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Long Bay © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Notice the dark mask and more pointed nose of the Common Pipistrelle compared to the plainer, more squashed-looking face of the Soprano Pipistrelle above. I have also included the shot below of Bat Bugs Cimex pipistrelli that were infesting a box containing 3 bats in the Pumping Station compound (thanks to Ray Barnett for confirming the id). Bat Bugs are close relatives of Bed Bugs and look very similar!

Bat Bug Cimex pipistrelli infestation, Pumping Station © Nigel Milbourne, 2010

Interestingly, we came across several boxes with Copper Underwing sp. moths in them (one of which I've, provisionally, specifically identified as Svensson's Copper Underwing Amphipyra berbera - the first I've ever knowingly seen - see BlagdonLists and detail on identification at http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=2298) and 3 boxes containing active Hornet Vespa crabro nests at Home Bay, Holt Copse and Rugmoor Bank.

This evening I counted 20 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 8 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, and single Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus and Ruff Philomachus pugnax.

Tuesday 31st August [Warm and sunny]

A very welcome email from Ken Hall today as follows:

"I walked along the south side of the lake this morning, as far as the lodge and back to the Ubley end. Having been out of the country for a few weeks, it was my first visit for ages, and the numbers of waders are impressive, even if not as many now as previously.

Greenshank: I got up to 29, scattered all along the lake Green Sandpiper: just one (near Wood Bay) Common Sandpiper: one (Holt Bay) Spotted Redshank: one (near lodge) Ringed Plover: 2 (ad, juv, near lodge) Curlew Sandpiper: 13 (3 Wood Bay, 10 at lodge) Little Stint (?): one at the lodge, with the Curlew Sands, but it didn't seem all that well marked to me, so I wondered whether it was a moulting adult rather than a juv (or even something else?). Couldn't really get as close as I would have liked.... Ruddy Duck: one in Wood Bay.
Peregrine: one zoomed about at the top end, then disappeared east. A male, from the size."

Ken's report of Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea is the first for 9 years at the lake - I'm off to go and have a look.

Well, I saw the 13 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea (4 at Green Lawn and 9 in flight that had just been flushed by an angler on Rainbow Point) and counted 25 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago in what's left of Long Bay, 2 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, the Little Stint Calidris minuta, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and a juvenile Red Knot Calidris canutus (the first for 5 years) in front of the Lodge at dusk. The juvenile Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna is still present as well.