BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

August 2013 News


Rarity Highlights within the last year: Ferruginous Duck and Lesser Scaup.

Updated 1 June, 2013


Thursday 1st August

No news from the lake today.

I walked the next leg of the South West Coast Path with friends from Seatown to Seaton, a long 16.5 miles, over Golden Cap, through Lyme Regis and the Undercliffs National Nature Reserve - a very special place.

Friday 2nd August

I saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam this evening.

Joanna Dailey emailed me to say that the remaining chick of Osprey white 'YA' was ringed on Monday afternoon and is now Blue '6H'. After some debate, it seems we are no clearer about its sex and it may yet be as long as 2 weeks before it fledges. The other young ospreys on nest 2 fledged over the course of last weekend. To see images and up-to-the-minute news click http://kielderospreys.wordpress.com/

My friends and I walked the SWCP from Seaton to Sidmouth today, another 12.0 miles, up and down the challenging cliff path. It was cooler, but the hills were significantly harder, especially on tired legs! We saw several 2nd generation Wall Browns Lasiommata megera along the path near Sidmouth.

Saturday 3rd August [Sunshine and thundery showers]

Pick of the bunch today were 3 Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus, again all appeared to be adults, and at least a single Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. The water level continues to fall, so I went around to Rugmoor gate to check the birds on Rugmoor Point. I saw a single Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus among the throng there and a Sand Martin Riparia riparia over what's left of the bay. We have had large gulls of all ages, including lots of juveniles, back on the lake for the last couple of weeks among which are lots of Herring Gulls Larus argentatus.

The water level is absolutely ideal for us to discover Spotted Crakes that drop-in during the month of August. None have been seen since the two in 1996 mainly, I suggest, because it's so difficult gaining a decent viewpoint to see birds that like to feed in marginal cover at Blagdon. I'd suggest scanning the opposite bank from Top End hide, and scoping the south side from Rugmoor/Peg's Point. It's about time we found another, they occur almost annually at Chew less than 3 miles away, and probably occur more frequently than records suggest at Blagdon too.

It was nice to meet Ron Harrison and his wife at the lake this afternoon. They have been looking at and photographing the orchids for many years, and today were snapping Small Skippers Thymelicus sylvestris at Top End.

Sunday 4th August [Rain showers]

I spent an hour and a half at the lake early this morning, but have very little to report I'm sorry to say. The only bird of interest was a grey-backed ♂ Aythya close in at Bell's Bush that to me at least looked like a hybrid Common Pochard x Tufted Duck. It had the head shape of a Tufted with a yellow eye but with a thicker neck, the bill was dark grey, the breast was showing through like a Pochard, with grey flanks and a slightly darker grey mantle that didn't appear to show any vermiculations at the range I was viewing from (circa 100-150 metres). Structurally, it gave me the impression of having Pochard parentage and it kept close company with a ♂ Common Pochard Aythya ferina. I'm guessing it's probably the bird that Chris Stone saw on 2nd July, though I haven't talked to him about it yet, and I don't know what kind of view he had of his bird.

I couldn't see any shorebirds at all, though there was a family party of Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea on the dam and I spotted 3 juvenile Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula, probably of the brood first noted on 24th July at Top End. There were three large flotillas of Tufted Duck, off Ash Tree, Peg's Point and Top End, nearly all of which are drakes in various stages of moult. I've seen a single Eurasian Teal Anas crecca on a couple of occasions in the last week, but saw 5 at Wookey Point today.

Monday 5th August [Sunshine and showers]

An early morning visit didn't turn up a single wader. This afternoon my niece Layla and I spent the afternoon surveying invertebrates at Top End where we found 11 species of butterfly, including 2 Clouded Yellows Colias croceus visiting the Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis flowers. John Harris, marooned in a broken down weed-cutting boat at the time, drew our attention to 2 Peregrines Falco peregrinus over the North Shore / Indian Country and between the showers we saw a couple of Common Swifts Apus apus over Top End too (they will be on their way south any time soon). While sitting out the storm in the bird hide this afternoon, I saw the entire brood of Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula, which was something of a relief because so many have been picked off by large gulls before fledging in the past.

Tuesday 6th August [Dry and mainly sunny]

There was a steady stream of large gulls dropping onto the lake to bathe during the morning including 2 adult Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis. A couple of Common Linnets Carduelis cannabina flew over Wood Bay when Layla and I picked up the moth trap which we ran at Holt Copse last night. The only waders noted this morning were 3 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus.

This afternoon I met Mervyn Pearce looking over the dam and he was watching 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam that I presume must have flown in during the day. He also said he'd met two ladies who'd seen a Clouded Yellow Colias croceus at Flower Corner this afternoon. Layla and I had a walk around Butcombe Bay earlier, looking for hoverflies and saw Platycheirus rosarum, a new species at the lake for me. We checked out Odanata and found Azure Damselfly Coenagrion puella, Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum and Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea, a typically poor return this year, it seems.

If you haven't spotted it before, we are running a moth and bat event at the lake on Friday night (see above).

I ran my 15W Heath Trap overnight (min. temp. 12 Celsius) at Holt Copse and caught:

Wednesday 7th August [Dry and sunny]

Early this morning I checked the dam, but there was no sign of any Sandpipers or other waders, then Layla and I checked the 15W Heath Trap run overnight (min. temp. 9 Celsius) at Home Bay Point and found some of the species we'd caught yesterday at Holt Copse:

Then we went to Bicknoller in West Somerset for much of the day on a Somerset Invertebrates Group field meeting that was primarily aimed at looking for Bumblebees in the village.

After tea I went to the lake but didn't see any new birds, though I did see 9 Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus and a Badger Meles meles while I was there.

Thursday 8th August [Warm and sunny]

There were 2 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola in Rugmoor Bay this morning. Ron Harrison and his wife saw 2 Clouded Yellows Colias croceus at Top End and Mervyn Pearce reported a single from in front of the Top End hide as well as a Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea in the trees around the hide, and has added 3 Common Redshanks Tringa totanus, on Rugmoor Point, to my earlier list.

Layla and I checked the 15W Heath Trap run overnight (min. temp. 9 Celsius) at Spinney Point and we had a much better catch:

This evening Layla and I went to a Badger Meles meles sett that I know and watched 5 animals for about 20 minutes until it got too dark to see them. Then we crept away to leave them getting on with their evening.

Friday 9th August [Cloudy and breezy]

I had a visit from Geoff Davies today, who does a BTO Breeding Bird Survey square at the lake on the North Shore, and we spent the day pottering about looking at the wildlife. This morning we saw a Garganey Anas querquedula in front of the Lodge and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos during the afternoon on Rugmoor Point. A longhorn beetle, Rutpela (formerly Strangalia) maculata, and lots of Common Red Soldier Beetles Rhagonycha fulva were noted at North Shore car park and we caught both Small Thymelicus sylvestris and Essex Skippers T. lineola at Top End.

As to the evening event, the bat workers did us proud, especially Daniel (Batdan) Hargreaves, and the top line was that we added another species to the site list when a Leisler's Bat Nyctalus leisleri came into a harp trap after most people had gone home. We didn't catch a Nathusius' Pipistrelle, but Adrian Bayley (visiting from Devon), Dave Cottle (Somerset Bat Group) and Lucy Delve (Bath Nats.) picked up at least one on their bat detectors. I think somewhere between 30 and 40 bats of 6 species were caught, but as I don't have the full details to hand, I will put together a report and post it on the Bat News page sometime tomorrow, when I get the information from Daniel.

I'm sure Mike Jenkins won't mind me (selectively) quoting an email he posted to Bristol Wildlife at 0454hrs when he got home as follows: "I stayed until the last bat trap was dismantled at 03.30 and it was fantastic. I saw species of bats new to me, one I'd never even heard of and to top it off :- I've always wanted to see a Long-eared Bat since I was a kid but never thought I would and was over the moon when the main bat guy Daniel held up his hand containing this superb creature. One of the best things I've ever seen... a truly spectacular beast... I'd encourage anyone with even the remotest interest in bats to take advantage of any further meets of this type, actually, if you're generally interested in wildlife, just go, you won't see bats as you see them in the hand... not just a shadowy shape flitting around in the gloom. Further, the people involved are friendly, helpful and it's educational for sure. But really, yep, you get to see bats up really close, that's the long and short of it and it's bloody marvelous." Now there's an endorsement if ever there was one!

The Bristol & District Moth Group turned out in force for the National Moth Night meeting as well, and 9 lights were run around the lake. So, a huge thank you to Ray Barnett and the group for supporting the event. It was overcast and quite warm at 14 Celsius as it got dark but the sky cleared and the temperature dropped to about 10 Celsius later and the catch tailed off somewhat. I think the last light was turned off around 0300 hrs though most had gone by then. I know about 18 new species for the site already with the lists from the final two lights to come in. Highlights I know about included a Gold Spot Plusia festucae, Vestal Rhodometra sacraria, Campion Hadena rivularis and Brown-veined Wainscot Archanara dissoluta, though I'm sure there will be others that have yet to be determined. Again, Ray and I will co-ordinate the details and get a report with list sent out to participants. I'll also post details on the website linked from the News Page in due course. I've got pots full of moths to check through today that Alan Bone collected at my traps, that he ran for me while I was running around. So special thanks to him, Bristol Water for allowing us access overnight, and everyone who came and made the night such a wonderful success. I crawled into bed as it was getting light at 0430hrs this morning, a happy bunny!

Saturday 10th August [Sunny spells]

Sean Davies visited the lake this morning and emailed to say he'd seen 2 juvenile Garganey Anas querquedula in front of The Lodge, plus 3 Common Greenshanks Tringa nebularia in Rugmoor Bay, with 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and 2 Eurasian Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus on Rugmoor Point. Thanks Sean. I spent nearly all day working on the moth list from last nights field meeting and didn't get down to the lake until dusk when I went back to release those brought home to check and photograph. While I was there I heard at least 2 Eurasian Oystercatchers fly west past Rainbow Point in the gloom and drizzle.

More sightings made yesterday included a Badger Meles meles at Green Lawn, a Grass Snake Natrix natrix at the Lodge entrance at about 0100hrs (cold and fairly limp) and 3 Wasp Diving Beetles Dytiscus circumflexus caught in the moth traps run at Rugmoor Bay. There's a picture of the Leisler's Bat Nyctalus leisleri on the Bat News Page.

Sunday 11th August [Sunny]

This evening I saw a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola at Rugmoor Point, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Rugmoor Bay and heard a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus at Wood Bay. There was no sign of yesterdays Garganey in front of the Lodge. There has been a noticeable draw-down of the water level over the weekend and Tiny's Shallow is likely to start attracting waders in the next few days. At the moment Rugmoor Point/Bay and Wookey Point at Top End are the most likely spots.

Monday 12th August [Sunny intervals and warm]

The Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola was still on Rugmoor Point this morning, albeit on the lake side, so not visible from Rugmoor Gate and there was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos there as well, with 2 more at Cheddar Water. A Garganey Anas querquedula feeding in front of the Lodge, had a fairly extensive white belly suggesting it's an adult rather than a juvenile, but I didn't see the open wing. An adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis was bathing on The Island, and 6 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus were standing around in Wood Bay. I saw a small flock of Sand Martins Riparia riparia at Top End and counted 60 Common Moorhens Gallinula chloropus (the highest count since Sept. 2006) and 162 Canada Geese Branta canadensis. Finally, there was another Clouded Yellow Colias croceus at North Shore car park and I must mention a picture shown to me of a Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia taken on 8th August at the Pumping Station (4th site record, I think) by one of the fishery rangers, Tom Caruso.

Tuesday 13th August [Sunny and warm]

Things are starting to look up, and today the Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola was still on Rugmoor Point with 5 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, there were 4 other Common Sands with one each at The Island, Long Bay, Cheddar Water and the dam, which also hosted 2 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula.

Friends and I walked an 8 mile stretch of the Mendip Ring long distance path today and saw a Little Egret Egretta garzetta beside the mill stream at ST5531, Lydford-on-Fosse.

Wednesday 14th August [Rain showers]

This morning the Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola was still on Rugmoor Point (viewable from the gate) and showing quite nicely in the flat, grey light. There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, one there and one on the dam, and 2 adult Dunlin Calidris alpina on the little island in front of the Lodge known as Tiny's Shallow. I had a good look through the wildfowl and the only birds of note were 2 juvenile Common Shelducks Tadorna tadorna on Wood Bay Point.

Thursday 15th August [Driving drizzle first thing]

I made a quick visit this morning before going off to Devon for two days to do more of the South West Coast Path. The Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola was on Rugmoor Point, as were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos. There was a Garganey Anas querquedula in front of the Lodge again, and this one looked like a juvenile, with little white on the belly and the feathering looking very neat.

Friday 16th August

I didn't get back from Devon early enough to check the lake out this evening but, thankfully, Sean Davies had a scout around and found the following:

"The Wood Sand[piper] Tringa glareola still on Rugmoor Point and also there 5 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 1 Dunlin Calidris alpina and 2 Common Sand[piper]s Actitis hypoleucos. A [Common] Greenshank Tringa nebularia and a Green Sand[piper] Tringa ochropus on Wookey Point. Garganey Anas querquedula still in front of the Lodge."

Saturday 17th August [Overcast]

Sean Davies emailed as follows:

"Another look for waders this morning. Best were 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius at Rugmoor. Also around the lake: 4 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 5 Common Sand[piper]s Actitis hypoleucos, 1 [Common] Greenshank Tringa nebularia."

The last moth list has been received from the Moth and Bat Event last Friday, and subject to scrutiny by Ray Barnett, it looks like we recorded 121 species, with 34 new to the site. As soon as Ray gives me the okay, I'll publish the full list.

The Avon Bat Group 'Big Bat Bonanza' at Lower Woods in the evening was marvellous as we spent time with Eric Palmer of Glos Bat Group, who showed us his Bechstein's Bat research project.

Sunday 18th August [Sunny spells with an occasional shower]

This evening I saw 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius, 4 adult Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, a juvenile/1st-winter Dunlin Calidris alpina and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on Rugmoor Point. A Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and a Common Sandpiper were on Wookey Point and a lone Common Sandpiper was in front of the Lodge. There appears to have been an influx of ♀♀ Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula judging by the number of birds I saw with white face blazes. A count of Canada Geese Branta canadensis totalled 283 as the autumn build-up continues.

This morning I joined Avon Bat Group at Golden Valley LNR in Wick to check the boxes. We found a few Soprano Pipistrelles, a roost of Brown Long-eared and a couple of Leisler's Bats. There were also lots of Copper Underwings agg. in the boxes. Dan Flew caught a Signal Crayfish to show us and we spotted Nettle-leaved Bellfower by the path.

Monday 19th August [Breezy with sunny spells]

This mornings round turned up the first Ruff Philomachus pugnax of the autumn, a juvenile at Tiny's Shallow, plus 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius, 2 adult Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and a juvenile/1st-winter Dunlin Calidris alpina on Rugmoor Point. The Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia was still on Wookey Point with another Dunlin Calidris alpina and a Garganey Anas querquedula was at Top End accompanying a Northern Shoveler Anas clypeatus (it wasn't a Blue-winged Teal in case you're wondering). The usual adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis was loafing on Rugmoor Point and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam.

Note that I have now added a link to the moth list for the meeting held at the lake on 9th August. Thanks to all those who took part and helped add 36 new species to the site list.

Joanna Dailey sent me an email from Kielder to say that Osprey White 'YA', who visited Blagdon on his way north in the Spring, has managed to raise a single youngster to fledging with his new partner. The youngster, Blue 6H, flew off the nest for the first time last Thursday. It has since returned, and is still being fed rainbow trout by mum and dad today. Joanna and the watch team are thrilled that 4 Ospreys have fledged for the first time at Kielder this year. I'd be interested to know how many visitors they've had at the Osprey watch this year, it must run into thousands, and is surely something we could replicate locally with Bristol Water at the reservoirs. Anglian Water did the business at Rutland Water and could provide help and advice. There was massive public interest over the Easter period when the migrating Ospreys were held up at Blagdon and Chew and we could tap into it.

Tuesday 20th August [Sunny and warm]

There has been a clear out of the shorebirds overnight, so this mornings visit was a little disappointing to be honest. Those noted included a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Polish Water (by the Lodge), a Dunlin Calidris alpina at Tiny's Shallow, and two more Dunlin and a Common Sandpiper on Wookey Point. There was a Little Egret Egretta garzetta on Rugmoor Point, and while I was checking the gulls later, two flew along North Shore and into Butcombe Bay. I spotted the ♂ Aythya hybrid (probably a Tufted x Pochard) again at Top End while searching for the Garganey, which I couldn't find today.

When I got back to the Lodge at lunchtime, there were lots of large gulls coming in to wash off North Shore before flying to Tiny's Shallow to preen and doze. Although viewing was difficult due to the heat haze, I managed to pick out the ring details of five birds that I've sent to Pete Rock:

The first Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta were on the wing today at Top End, where I counted four.

I ran the 15W Heath Trap overnight (min. temp. about 13 Celsius) at Hellfire Corner and caught:

Wednesday 21st August [Sunny and warm]

It seems I got it wrong, the Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia was still present this morning, but spending more time feeding in the bay at Flower Corner out of sight, and Paul Williams emailed while I was at the lake to say he saw it yesterday. The full run down today is the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos still at Polish Water, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina and 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius on Rugmoor Point (view from the gateway), a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus at Bell's Bush, another Dunlin and Common Sandpiper at Wookey Point, and the first of the returning Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope at Hellfire Corner before they flew to Polish Water in front of the Lodge. Dave Northover told me he'd seen a couple of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata in Lodge Copse.

I will be carrying out the WeBS count tomorrow morning with Phil and Lucy Delve.

Thursday 22nd August [Sunny and warm]

We did the WeBS Count this morning and had a few surprise counts, with 1288 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula (a record count - well done Phil), 731 Common Coots Fulica atra, 709 Mallards Anas platyrhynchos and 81 Common Moorhens Gallinula chloropus. Shorebirds included an adult Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa of the nominate european race limosa, a Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina. Other nice finds included 2 Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (from Chew?), the Garganey Anas querquedula and an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. Two gulls with rings were noted:

Full details of the count are on the WeBS Counts page.

Friday 23rd August [Muggy and warm]

I didn't visit until late this afternoon (feeling rough) and when I got there I found a flock of commic terns on Tiny's Shallow, on the point behind the Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus. I resorted to looking at leg length to try and identify some of them and reckoned there to be 15 Artcic Terns Sterna paradisaea and 3 Common Terns Sterna hirundo. After some 5 minutes of viewing they suddenly took off and disappeared west over the dam. The Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 8 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos were in front of the Lodge, while Wookey Point, at Top End, hosted the Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia and another Common Sandpiper, with yet another Common Sandpiper on the dam wall. At Rugmoor Point I could only find a single juvenile Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius and noted two other plovers hunkered down with their backs to me among the stones on the point, that looked like they were probably Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula (an adult and juvenile). However, if anyone else sees them better than I did and thinks differently, please let me know.

Daniel Hargreaves arrived this evening and checked the Bat House to find out if we have any Nathusius's Pipistrelles Pipistrellus nathusii advertising, and I'm utterly relieved (after all the alterations this spring) to report that he heard at least one. I recorded Nathusius's flight passes on both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, so I knew they were in the vicinity.

Saturday 24th August [Cloudy but warm until the evening] International Bat Night

Andy Davis saw the Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa today and grabbed a couple of distant shots for posterity. Now we can let the rares committee decide if it is indeed a L. l. limosa or L. l. islandica.

The first UK National Nathusius's Conference went ahead at Ubley Village Hall today followed by a night of bat trapping around the lake by our guest delegates. I haven't heard the full details yet because I had to dash away to Yorkshire (so no bird news either I'm afraid). However, Daniel Hargreaves, who organised the conference with Jon Russ, and Lisa Worledge of BCT, rang me yesterday to tell me 5 ♂ Nathusius's Pipistrelles Pipistrellus nathusii were caught, all of which were new, among some 60-70 bats in total, of 8 or 9 species. As soon as I have full details I'll post them on the Bat News Page. It was a fantastic day and I know was well appreciated by those who came. I'll write a full report in due course and post some pictures.

Sunday 25th August

Amazing news today from John Harris (BW fisheries warden) who texted me that he'd seen 2 White-throated Dippers Cinclus cinclus at the bottom of the spillway while he was working. Unfortunately, they flew off downstream before he could get a good view or phone photo, but he has seen Dipper before and is fairly confident about his identification. This would be the first record since 1932, when Dippers regularly bred at the Pumping Station. They do occur occasionally at Rickford so it is possible. I checked the river for a mile or more downstream earlier this spring and thought the habitat didn't look too great for them to come up to the Pumping Station again, but who knows? We'll keep an eye open in the next week or two.

Monday 26th August

John saw the mystery birds again today, but is less confident of his initial identification now. So, maybe confirmation will have to wait until I get back later in the week.

Tuesday 27th August

Paul Williams responded to my plea for news from the lake at lunchtime today as follows:

A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos in front of the lodge, 2 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus in Flower Corner and a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago on Wookey Point. There were also 30+ Northern Shovelers Anas clypeatus around Wookey Point.

Then Mervyn Pearce emailed the following:

"Hi Nige, very quiet at Blagdon today. I saw those waders on Rugmoor this afternoon 5pm, they were in among the stones not moving, 1 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula adult and the other three not sure. There was 1 Dunlin Calidris alpina with them. I had 2 Green Sandpipers at Top End and 1 Common Sandpiper right of the Dam (Pipe Bay). Also, 2 Common Snipe Top End  and only 1 Northern Lapwing. Tried different places to view the waders but always too far away. 1 Clouded Yellow Colias croceus by the gate at North Shore."

Finally, Sean Davies emailed: "Nothing to add apart from a flock of 14, Ringed Plover (8 or 9) and Dunlin (5 or 6) seen in flight and briefly settled from the Lodge."

Thanks guys - sorry I couldn't post this earlier, I forgot my laptop power cable when I went to York...

Wednesday 28th August

Paul Williams wrote: "Still not much to report. 4 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 1 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 1 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago on Rugmoor viewed from Wood Bay. Nothing from the other side by gate. 1 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus in the small pool in front of the hide. 1 Common Snipe on Wookey Point. 1 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the Dam. Nothing on Tiny’s. No sign of any Geese. Lots of anglers around the lake today."

Thursday 29th August [Overcast with sunny spells]

I spent the morning by the lake and saw 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 10 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a single Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus (though a gentleman from Wrington reported seeing two and a Common Greenshank), a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina, a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, 5 (2 adult and 3 juvenile) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius.

In front of the Lodge there were at least 16 (6 adults, an immature and 9 juveniles) Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus. Three had darvics on their legs, two of which I was able to read clearly:

As it got dark I went over to Rugmoor Gate and listened with my bat detector to see what was around. I recorded Noctules Nyctalus noctula almost continually, with the odd pass from Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus. Then, I drove back to Blagdon and had a listen by the Bat House at Pipe Bay. It was surprisingly quiet there and I only recorded 3 passes one of which, however, was a Lesser Horseshoe Rhinolophus hipposideros. This is quite exciting because we are trying to encourage them to use the bat house, having modified the slatted entrance on the east wall to accommodate their desire to fly into a roost.

I had a chat with John Harris earlier in the day and we've decided that the possible White-throated Dippers that he saw at the weekend were probably Common Sandpipers after all. His description of "bowed wings" when he saw them the second time gave me a clue.

Friday 30th August [Mainly overcast with sunny spells]

I worked my way back from Top End at lunchtime and was surprised to see that there's been something of a clear out of shorebirds. At Top End all I could see (partly due to the very difficult viewing) were 9 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. When I got to the Lodge I could see a dead 3-w Herring Gull Larus argentatus on Tiny's Shallow and as there wasn't anything else out there to speak of, I went to have a look. It's neck had been stripped of flesh and it wasn't ringed. Five minutes after I got back to the Lodge, I noticed 3 waders had just flown in; two adult Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and a Little Stint Calidris minuta.

Paul Williams emailed later with an update as follows: "Thanks for the message about the Stint, it was still there with the two Ringed Plovers at 5:15pm when I finished work. I checked the Top End again and the 6 Ringed plovers were back, along with the Dunlin Calidris alpina. Also two Green Sandpipers in Flower Bay."

Saturday 31st August [Sunny]

The Little Stint Calidris minuta was on Tiny's Shallow again today, with a single adult Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula and 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos this evening. I saw 2 more Common Sandpipers on the North Shore and at Top End there were 2 Dunlins Calidris alpina, 7 more Ringed Plovers (I can't rule out the possibility of a Little Ringed being among them), 9 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and a Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus.

I ran the 15W Heath Trap overnight (min. temp. 10 Celsius) at Bell's Bush but forgot to collect it until the afternoon, so only caught:

As the month rolls over, Bristol Water reported that the lake was 61% full on 27th August, even though we had above average rainfall in July (the first month this has happened this year).

It's galling to report that some miserable specimen has seen fit to drive on site this afternoon and dump household waste in a ditch that feeds the lake, with all the risk that this poses to the public water supply.