BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

July 2016 News


Friday 1st July [Occasional showers]

Not a great deal to report today from my early afternoon visit. There was a Green Woodpecker Picus viridis on the dam and a Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at the Hatchery, noted during routine Kent bat box checks (see Bat News).

Saturday 2nd July [Mainly sunny]

A visit earlier in the day failing to see 16-18 Black-tailed Godwits said to be flying towards Blagdon from Chew (thanks Mervyn Pearce), did at least turn up 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. I also watched the Red Arrows fly south over Top End when standing on the dam chatting to John Smythe. This evening, another visit saw an adult Common Redhsank Tringa totanus feeding along the water's edge on the dam, but no sign of the Common Sandpipers!

Sunday 3rd July [Sunny and breezy]

Mark Hynam sent me the following news: My first visit this morning for about a month. Dam wall 1 Common Redshank Tringa totanus, 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 1 Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, 2 European Greenfinches Chloris chloris, 3 Spotted Flycatchers  Muscicapa striata near the Bat House, 3 Brown Hares Lepus europaeus, 1 Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea and a pair of Eurasian Bullfinches Pyrrhula pyrrhula at Hellfire Corner.

Monday 4th July [Sunshine and cloud]

I spent most of today at Wytham Woods, near Oxford, checking bat boxes with friends Dani Linton, Denise Foster and Ken Anstey, so didn't get down to the lake until this evening. I saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, an Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca (probably a ♂), and 12 (11 adults and the first juvenile of the year) Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus on the dam wall. I also spent some time looking through the increasing number of (mainly ♂) Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula scattered around the lake.

Tuesday 5th July [Sunny and breezy]

Not a great deal to report from lakeside today, truth be told. There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and the Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca on the dam this evening, with more Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus than yesterday (including 2 juveniles). I had another look through the Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and found the regular ♂ Tufted x Pochard Aythya hybrid in Wood Bay where it spent time moulting last year. Will the ♂ Lesser Scaup return across the channel to moult this summer?

Wednesday 6th July [Sunny and warm]

I enjoyed a lovely walk with friends from Portishead to Clevedon this morning and saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos along the way. When I went to check the lake early this evening, I saw 2 Common Sandpipers on the dam wall and 4 more at Green Lawn.

Friday 8th July [Sunny and warm]

This evening I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam and an Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca on Holt Farm fields. Steve Hale reported the following from a visit today: 36 Mute Swans + 11 cygnets (surely 10, or we really do have 4 broods - I counted 4, 3 and 3 juvs earlier in the week), 12 Canada Geese (a very large undercount), 1 Egyptian Goose, 174 Tufted Ducks, 2 Cormorants, 4 Grey Herons, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Common Sandpipers, 21 Black-headed Gulls, 3 Great Black-backed Gulls, and 3 Goldcrests.

Saturday 9th July [Cloudy and warm]

Mervyn Pearce sent me news of 8 Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. Thanks Merv, and great to see you today. I boat fished with four generations of my family this evening - trout for breakfast in the morning! I also saw the lone Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca fly past the Lodge while I was out on the water and at least one Sand Martin Riparia riparia.

Sunday 10th July [Cloudy but mainly dry]

There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam this afternoon.

I spent the evening boat fishing at Chew Valley Lake in Villice Bay, where there was a large and noisy corvid roost and I saw 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. On the way home I saw a Little Owl Athene noctua sitting on a telegraph pole along Bickfield Lane, as I headed towards Moat Farm.

Monday 11th July

Sorry, no visit and no information to pass on today.

Tuesday 12th July

I didn't have time to visit today, but I had a verbal report from the Fisheries staff that angler John Horsey had good views of an Osprey Pandion haliaetus at Top End in the evening.

Wednesday 13th July

Avon Birds will be starting up again in the near future, under the ownership of Bristol Ornithological Club, when Mrs Trellis has trained the webmaster(s) to run it. I'd like to personally thank Steve Hale for the hard work he put in to building up such an excellent resource for 'us local birders.' Enjoy your birding now Steve!

I saw a Weasel Mustela nivalis run across the bottom of Station Road carrying a prey item this morning. Sarah Lambert emailed to say she had seen a Eurasian Hobby Falco subutteo over her house in Ubley at midday, chasing House Martins Delichon urbicum. This evening, I saw the Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca on Holt Farm fields and the ♂ Tufted x Pochard Aythya hybrid off Rugmoor Point. There are currently over 50 Mute Swans Cygnus olor on the lake if you include the 3 broods.

Thursday 14th July [Mainly sunny and dry]

I didn't have a chance to visit the lake again today, but Mervyn Pearce visited between 1530-1835 hrs and saw 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 6 Common Buzzards Buteo buteo, 1 Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus and a ♂ Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus. Later, Mark Hynam got in touch and told me he'd seen 4 Common Redshanks Tringa totanus and 5 Common Sandpipers and 4 Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea on the dam. Thanks guys.

Friday 15th July [Overcast with spells of drizzly rain]

This morning there were 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and a Common Redshank Tringa totanus on the dam wall at 0715 hrs. This evening in drizzly, overcast conditions, I saw a single Common Sandpiper on the Overspill and over 100 Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus on the dam. Many of the Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula had flown up to the dam end to feed.

Steve Hale reported the following on Avon Birds (which is reporting again while in transition to BOC ownership): 39 Mute Swans + 7 cygnets, 198 Canada Geese, 1 Egyptian Goose, 2 Great Cormorants, 1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Herons, 4 Little Grebes, 9 Great Crested Grebes (3 on nests), 2 Common Buzzards, 3 Common Sandpipers, 1 Common Redshank, 55 Black-headed Gulls, 80+ Common Swifts, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Goldcrests, 200+ House Martins, 2 Common Chiffchaffs, 1 Eurasian Nuthatch, 6 Grey Wagtails, and 11 Eurasian Siskins (juvs in trees by Lodge).

Saturday 16th July [Overcast]

I had a disappointing search for the Lesser Scaup that's summered at the lake for the last two years. There was no sign of it that I could see. Neither did I see the Aythya hybrid that I spotted a few days ago. There was a lone Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Cheddar Water. I also counted 41 adult Mute Swans Cygnus olor and 10 juveniles. Some of the Canada Geese Branta canadensis are flying again and visiting Holt Farm fields.

Sunday 17th July [Warm and sunny]

There were 6 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 4 on the dam and 2 on Home Bay Point, and the Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca was at Green Lawn. There were still Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata feeding young, and this evening I counted 45 adult and 8 juvenile Mute Swans Cygnus olor, although there was a missing adult and 2 juveniles around the Lodge. I saw a roosting Marbled White Melanargia galathea at Green Lawn.

Monday 18th July [Early mist, then hot and sunny.]

I saw 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam and 8 juvenile Common Moorhens Gallinula chloropus in front of the Lodge (2 broods?) without adults in attendance that I could see. Two sitting Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus have abandoned nests in the last two days as well.

Thursday 21st July

From Avon Birds: 43 Mute Swans, 200+ Canada Geese, 3 Grey Herons, 1 Common Buzzard, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 8 Goldcrests, 2 Common Chiffchaffs, and 5 Grey Wagtails.

Monday 25th July [Sunshine & drizzle]

There were 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam this evening.

Reported on Avon Birds: 46 Mute Swans, 232 Canada Geese, 1 Egyptian Goose, 4 Cormorants, 4 Grey Herons, 1 Little Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Common Buzzard, 3 Common Sandpipers, 70 Black-headed Gulls, 41 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Spotted Flycatcher (Lodge trees), 12 Grey Wagtails (dam end).

Tuesday 26th July [Dry with occasional sunny spells]

By my ready reckoner, I'd say the lake is about 78% full at present. There are some areas of exposed margin but these are subject to angling pressure, although I saw my first 4 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus of the autumn over Green Lawn this afternoon. There were a few boats fishing up by the dam wall, which meant there were very few birds to be seen there, so no Common Sandpipers were noted today. There has been a significant increase in the numbers of Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula in the last week, but despite close examination, I didn't spot anything unusual among them. I'm pleased to report our first brood (2 juvs., I think) of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus, and I saw a new juvenile Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus at Wood Bay. As I was leaving at tea time, a lone Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca flew down the lake and landed on Holt Farm fields.

Wednesday 27th July [Sunny and warm]

I received some news from Mark Hynam before I had a chance to visit as follows: 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos (Dam & Long Bay), a Little Egret Egretta garzetta (Rugmoor), 4 Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea, a family of 6 Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus, a brood of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus and a few Ruddy Darters Sympetrum sanguineum. Thanks Mark.

Friday 29th July

Reported on Avon Birds: 44 Mute Swans, 2 Grey Herons, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Common Sandpipers (dam end), 60 Black-headed Gulls, and 5 Grey Wagtails.

Saturday 30th July [Sunny and warm]

I paid an evening visit but had little time for birding - there were two people kayaking! I did notice 2 pairs of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus each with two juveniles and heard a Common Redshank Tringa totanus calling at dusk (presumably flying over unseen).

Sunday 31st July [Sunny, breezy and warm.]

I carried out a solo WeBS Count this evening, which given the number of waterfowl building up, wasn't exactly easy. Predictably, top totals were 1038 Common Coots Fulica atra and 495 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula. Now that they've grown their new flight feathers, the Canada Goose Branta canadensis flock seems to have moved on, leaving just 67 on the lake and surrounding pastures. It was hard to be sure just how many Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos were present, but I settled for a count of 8. The rest of the count is on the WeBS Page.