BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

Daily News

A blog of sightings and up-to-date news from the lakeside

 

Sunday 5th July [Strong winds. Changeable.]

I had a look around mid-afternoon, and met Mark while I was there. Despite the conditions, it was eerily quiet from a birding in point of view. There were virtually no birds on all the exposed margins, with the exception of Rugmoor Point where all the Canada Geese Branta canadensis were huddled together in the teeth of the gale. I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba at Indian Country, but could find nothing of note until I got to the hide when I was able to tot up about 8 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta sheltering at Burmah Road, and the Greylag Goose Anser anser that was also feeding up the bank there. Mark went around to Rugmoor, after I had to leave, and found another 3 Little Egrets. So, there were at least 11 present on the lakeside, but neither of us did a roost count in the evening.

Saturday 4th July [Overcast with lots of drizzly showers]

I made two visits to the lake today, 1215-1415 hrs and 1915hrs until dark. On Green Lawn during my first visit I found 6 Shelducks Tadorna tadorna and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. I walked to Top End, after parking on Rainbow Point, and counted 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba as well as seeing a Devil's coach-horse Ocypus olens on the road at Wood Bay on the way back. Mark had come down just after me, so I told him about the Shelducks, but an angler had already ventured onto Green Lawn so they were nowhere to be seen, although we did see 2 Common Sandpipers this time. He left shortly after me, but we met up again in the evening to walk to the hide and back from the Lodge. When we got out of the cars, an angling friend who lives in the village, Clive, came over to us and swore he'd seen an Ibis on Rainbow Point earlier in the day. He said there was no doubt about it, he'd seen plenty in Africa and Australia. We didn't know what to make of it, and we certainly hadn't seen it during our visits. This evening 13 Little Egrets went to roost, and we saw the Greylag Anser anser, and a Hobby Falco subbuteo.

Friday 3rd July [Changeable]

A mid-morning visit for an hour, eventually solved the mystery of a brown raptor that I'd seen briefly on both 30th June and 1st July, and was unable to get any positive ID features on. I had suspected that it could only really be a ♀ Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus but a friend messaged a couple of days ago saying he'd briefly seen a dark raptor at Chew that he suspected might have been something a little more exotic - so I kept my council until I was happy with what I'd been seeing. Other than the harrier, it was business as usual, with 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and 2 Great Whites Ardea alba.

In the evening I saw an adult Redshank Tringa totanus at the Lodge and a Hobby Falco subbuteo at Top End, but I didn't stay until dusk because it was a bit too wet.

This year has seen an unprecedented growth of water weed, and the corresponding increase in hatching Damselflies has been astonishing. I was chatting with angler Jeff Hirst this morning, and he was telling me the fishing has been magic but the weed growth has restricted the available bank space for fishermen. We've both seen shoals of small fry, and I said I had seen small Perch at the boat quay in good numbers for the first time in years - they've got plenty of cover, but the egrets will be on their case I've no doubt!

Thursday 2nd July [Changeable & windy]

At lunchtime I had a few moments to have a quick look around, and saw 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta in Rugmoor Bay and a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Indian Country. I took a more more leisurely walk in the evening and saw the pair of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata still apparently on territory, counted 79 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula and saw 2 Great White Egrets. The new one had a bi-coloured bill; the basal third was yellow and the distal two-thirds was black. At dusk 6 Little Egrets flew in to the new roost, with another at Wookey Point, and were joined by the resident Great White, and on my walk home I saw 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo hunting off Flower Corner/Bell's Bush.

Wednesday 1st July [Early rain, late sun, & blustery.]

There were 2 juvenile Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus on the dam this evening, the Greylag Anser anser at Wood Bay, a Brown Hare Lepus europaeus that lolloped along the road in front of me at Hellfire Corner, 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo at Top End and another later at the dam end. I heard a juvenile Tawny Owl Strix aluco food begging at Pipe Bay Copse and saw an adult fly across Park Lane to it. The egret roost had 7 Little Egretta garzetta and one Great White Ardea alba this evening, plus another Great White that flew off towards Chew. Ross, who joined me at the hide as darkness set in, watched a Badger Meles meles to within a few feet, that had probably been attracted by fallen Cherries. He also told me that the Spotted Flyctatcher nest in his porch was found on the ground today with the eggs smashed - he thought it was probably caused by the wind. Such a shame.

I guesstimate the water level to be around 73%, with Rugmoor Point just being exposed. If pumping continues, it won't be long before Tiny's Shallow appears in front of the Lodge, and Wookey Point appears to the left of the Top End hide.

Tuesday 30th June [Overcast]

I had an interesting evening walk, during which I heard the Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing at Top End, and saw 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo at dusk. But, the real eye-opener was the egrets coming in to roost; 4 Great White Ardea alba and 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. Earlier in the walk, I'd spotted 2 ♀ Mallards Anas platyrhynchos with new broods of 1 and 4 juveniles, but both sitting Great Crested Grebes have gone from in front of the Lodge in the last few days. I couldn't see any with young so, perhaps, they were predated. A fisheries ranger told me he'd seen a family of American Mink Neovison vison nearby in the last few days!

Monday 29th June [Blustery with showers]

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus numbers have been building in the last week or two, and today, I saw the first juvenile among them on the dam wall. On the subject of juvenile birds, there were 2 sizeable juvenile Moorhens Gallinula chloropus in front of the Lodge that may have hatched here, although it's difficult to be sure. I counted 77 Mute Swans Cygnus olor, and 87 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula, and spotted a Hobby Falco subbuteo and Greylag Anser anser at Holt Bay. The non-breeding Great White Egret Ardea alba was in Long Bay, and I saw 4, possibly more, Little Egrets Egretta garzetta in the base of a Willow tree out of the wind.

Sunday 28th June [Showers]

I wanted to leave my evening free, so I had a look around quickly at lunchtime. I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba and 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

Saturday 27th June [Sunshine & showers]

There was an influx of Little Egrets Egretta garzetta with 5, or possibly 6 going to roost, as well as the usual non-breeding Great White Egret Ardea alba. Also noted, were the Greylag Anser anser, the pair of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata, and 4 Hobbies Falco subbuteo at dusk.

Friday 26th June [Sunny, so far!]

I visited the lake between 0415 and 0715 hrs this morning. I got two patch year ticks which made it worthwhile. Three ♂ Common Scoters Melanitta nigra at 0625 hrs between Rainbow and Rugmoor Points that were definitely not social distancing. Eventually they moved far enough apart to flap their quite brown looking flight feathers before splashing themselves a couple of times and heading off west at 0635 hrs. Earlier, I had put up a very vocal Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus as I crossed the bridge at Long Bay. It flew to Home Bay Point still protesting for a while, before towering up and heading off south over the Mendips. The Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti was singing at Top End when I got there, and on the way back home I heard, then saw, 2 Redshanks Tringa totanus on the dam wall.

In the evening I went back to the lake and saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, a flock of 25 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula at the dam end and a ♀ Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with 9 juveniles off the Spillway.

Tuesday 23rd June [Sunny & hot]

Once again there wre 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, albeit briefly, the Greylag Anser anser, and a pair of Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata - good to know they are still hanging on as a breeding species. At Top End a ♂ Pochard Aythya ferina was a surprise while watching 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo.

Monday 22nd June [Sunny & warm]

Sorry for late news, computer at menders not being mended! I have it back temporarily, so will update before it goes away again for the weekend.

I saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, and a single Hobby Falco subbuteo today. I also noted a ♂ Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum and Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum.

Sunday 21st June [Sunny spells & breezy]

Mark found what was presumably the same juvenile Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on the dam this afternoon, and saw an Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus there briefly before it flew. He later relocated it on Green Lawn but it flew again. Meantime, I missed it on both occasions! However, I caught up with it on Green Lawn later, thank goodness. There was a single Great White Egret Ardea alba feeding along the Indian Country bank in the evening, before we went to look at our two bat hibernation boxes, to see if any bats emerged at dusk, bearing in mind the previous check on 22nd May showed none were present. Given that Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus are usually among the first species to give birth, around the beginning of June, we weren't hopeful, but in the end were pleasantly surprised to find that 89 emerged from one box, and 58 from the other. In the past, they have usually established their group in one or other box, so we decided to fit data loggers in both to enable us to see what differences there might be in temperature and humidity during occupation. It looks like they have scuppered that plan by occupying both this summer!

Saturday 20th June [Showers]

I had a quick look at lunchtime, but it was already starting to get way too busy on the dam and along Park Lane to stick around, despite the drizzle. There were 3 adult Redshanks Tringa totanus and a juvenile Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius on the south end of the dam, and I counted circa 225 moulting Canada Geese Branta canadensis and 1 Greylag Anser anser, during which I also spotted a Hobby Falco subbuteo at Rugmoor Point.

Later in the evening, Mark and I counted 7 Hobbies at Top End.

Friday 19th June [Early rain]

Despite looking from the dam to the Top End gate I didn't see any birds worthy of note except the Greylag Anser anser. However, when I got back to the dam, before the climb back up the hill into the village, I spotted a Charadrius sp. plover on the dam. It was too far away to positively identify through my binoculars. Mark drove back to the dam to see if he could name it, but he couldn't find it. I drove back down with my scope too but, like Mark, I couldn't relocate it either. The most likely candidate would be a Little Ringed Plover at this time of year, but this was one that, unfortunatley, got away.

Mark, Ken and I carried out a bat emergence survey at Chew Valley Lake at dusk (following current Covid-19 guidelines), and counted 34 Lesser Horseshoes Rhinolophus hipposideros. This is a good count for the roost at this time of year, and equals a count I made on 26th June 2015, albeit with less sophisticated kit than Mark and Ken were using last night.

Thursday 18th June [The rain was persistent all day]

I elected to drive down to the lake today, it was way too wet for a prolonged walk. It was worth it, because I saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a 2nd calendar year ♀ Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, and 2 Sand Martins Riparia riparia among the host of hirundines and Swifts at Top End. Mark arrived in time to see the harrier through the murk too, and after I'd gone home, he also heard the ♂ Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing at Top End near the gate.

Wednesday 17th June [Thunderstorm in the afternoon]

It's that quiet time of year on the birding front. I saw the Greylag Anser anser again, this time in the company of one of the Canada Goose flocks, and a Hobby Falco subbuteo over Top End, but it wasn't until I was on my way back to the Lodge that I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba fly along the North Shore, presumably from Butcombe Bay.

There was a nice display of Betony Stachys officinalis in a few patches towards Top End, and even a patch of Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis starting to flower, a plant I usually regard as a late summer nectar source for insects.

Tuesday 16th June [Warm with some thunderstorm activity]

It was quiet at the lake, and I was sitting in the hide when I received a call from an excited friend, Mervyn Pearce, who had just seen and photographed a Rosy Starling in his garden in Whitchurch. There has been a bit of an influx of this good-looking bird in the last few weeks, so it wasn't a total surprise that one was found locally. Really happy for Merv though, because he has been confined to barracks during the pandemic, so has been making the most of his garden wildlife watching.

On 'my patch', I saw one each of Little Egretta garzetta and Great White Egret Ardea alba, and the Greylag Anser anser was on its own again feeding in Holt Bay, instead of on the dam where most of the 100+ Canada Geese Branta canadensis had gathered to feed during their moult. As I walked back towards the Lodge, I heard a ♂ Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing at Top End, and an adult Hobby Falco subbuteo flew past me at Burmah Road, but I didn't stay long enough to count those still present as dusk fell.

Monday 15th June [Sunny & warm]

Not much to report today. I saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba and Mark counted 5 Hobbies Falco subbuteo from the hide at dusk.

Sunday 14th June [A damp start turning into a warm, sunny, day.]

The Greylag Anser anser was feeding on its own in Holt Bay when I got there during my walk, but Mark had spent most of the afternoon and evening at the lake, and I met him mid-evening on Rainbow Point. We could see the usual Great White Ardea alba and Little Egret Egretta garzetta, but he said there had been two other Great Whites earlier, that had probably flown off before I arrived. We spent half an hour in the hide watching the sun go down, Mark heard a Water Rail Rallus aquaticus squeal, and we counted at least 8 Hobbies Falco subbuteo hunting insects before we went our respective ways. Nigel Crocker texted me to say he'd seen 3 Red Kites Milvus milvus over his Ubley garden during the afternoon, which upset Mark when I told him, because he'd been especially looking out for Red Kite, needing it for his patch year list! Oops!

Saturday 13th June [Changeable with rain]

I went to the lake for a look around early this evening, and saw a non-breeding Great White Egret Ardea alba, a breeding plumaged Little Egret Egretta garzetta, and the lone Greylag Anser anser with the moulting Canada Goose Branta canadensis flock. I bumped into Mark at Rainbow Point and he stayed on after I'd left to go out for a jog, and added 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo.

Friday 12th June [Changeable with some heavy showers]

Sorry for the lack of news, I've been busy, and a cup of tea toppling off a book all over my laptop keyboard has made life difficult for the last few days! Anyway, Carol and Steve had a look for the Caspian Tern, that had been seen at Chew earlier, without luck around lunchtime. They reported 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, Pyramidal Orchids Anacamptis pyramidalis flowering and saw their first Marbled Whites Melanargia galathea of the year. I did my usual (at the moment) evening visit, and saw 6 Hobbies over the water, it's by far the best time of day to look for them, saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a single Little Egret Egretta garzetta, a Greylag Anser anser, and counted 64 Mute Swans Cygnus olor. As I walked back into the village up Station Road a Barn Owl Tyto alba flew across the road in front of me, before a Hobby did the same about 200 metres further up the hill.

The two Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus were both returned to the surgery last night, after their short period of rehabilitation. Both were were well-fed and watered, and flying strongly.

Tuesday 9th June

I was very late on site this evening, because I was busy feeding the Soprano Pipistrelles rescued yesterday, but I was in time to see 4 Hobbies Falco subbuteo at Top End as dusk fell.

Both Soprano Pipistrelles are doing fine and are eating and drinking very well. I'm hoping to release them back into a roost in the building they came from tomorrow, if the weather holds. If it doesn't, then they can continue to feed-up on meal worms and rehydrate, plus get an extra days rest; it won't do them any harm.

Monday 8th June

Rob Hargreaves and I carried out the WeBS count this morning, albeit with low numbers of waterfowl present. Top count was 484 Coots Fulica atra. There were good numbers of Mute Swan Cygnus olor with 69 adults, 1 1st-summer and the brood of 8 juveniles, 5 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, and only 10 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula. Rob and I missed the Great White Egret Ardea alba, seen by another observer, but I saw it in the evening when birding with Mark, along with 9 Hobbies.

During the afternoon I picked up two grounded ♀ Soprano Pipistrelles from a local surgery, where they'd become trapped in the services room. Both were looking in a very sorry state, where they'd been crawling around on the dusty floor, but readily took water. I hope they pull through overnight, and I will get them some mealworms tomorrow.

Saturday 6th June [Cool & windy]

Mark and I arranged to meet at the lake to take another look at the Hobbies, hopefully in better light. Sadly, and probably due to the blustery conditions, viewing was somewhat curtailed because we both got pretty cold as dusk fell! At least two of the birds seen last night were 1st-summer birds that hunted together, and we wanted to be sure that they weren't the similar-looking Red-footed Falcon. I did see one perch briefly this evening, albeit a long way off, and was happy enough that it had yellow legs (before you flame me, I couldn't see the whole bird, just its wings, tail and legs). We saw 7 in the air on one occasion, but there may have been more present.

Friday 5th June [Cool]

A walk to Top End and back produced the ♂ Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca singing at Long Bay, the ♂ Cuckoo Cuculus canorus singing in the Butcombe Bay area, and an amazing and, possibly record-breaking, 10 Hobbies Falco subbuteo hunting insects over the water together at Top End. I saw 7 in the air from the Top End hide in 2016, but this evening was exceptional.

Thursday 4th June [Overcast & breezy]

There was, apparently, a single Greylag Anser anser on Holt Farm in long grass this evening, but there may have been another hidden bird. A pair of Gadwall Mareca strepera were in Holt Bay but aren't showing any sign of nesting, unfortunately. A ♂ Cuckoo Cuculus canorus was singing from somewhere around Butcombe Bay, and a Great White Egret Ardea alba was on Rugmoor Point. At Top End we saw a single Hobby Falco subbuteo before going to look at a Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus roost in the village in the light rain that set in at dusk.

Wednesday 3rd June [Damp, mainly spits & spots.]

This evening, as I walked the last few yards down Station Road to the dam, we had the first real rain of the day! After sheltering under some trees for a while, I decided to go ahead and bird my way to Top End and back. The fayre was much the same as yesterday, with a Great White Egret Ardea alba stalking the North Shore, and 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo and a squealing Water Rail Rallus aquaticus at Top End. However, I also saw 2 Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus on the dam, one of which was certainly a 1st-summer, but I couldn't age the other with the poor view that I had of it. In addition, there were 2 Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus broods (each with a single juvenile) in Wood Bay.

I would say the water level is around 82% at present.

Tuesday 2nd June [Hot & sunny]

Another hot day and mad antics of the general public, so I chose to take my walk in the evening. There wasn't a great deal to report I'm afraid. Flowering Rush Butomus umbellatus is starting to flower, which is nice feature of the flora of the lake, and Mark and I saw 4 Hobbies Falco subbuteo. We also heard Water Rail Rallus aquaticus squealing from the same area for the second consecutive evening, although I've not heard any song this year.

Tomorrow, we are promised the weather will turn and that we might get some rain - the ground does really need it. No doubt many mammals will be struggling to find food with the ground so hard, and some rain will be really welcomed by them, especially with young to feed.

Monday 1st June [Hot & sunny]

Some of the behaviour by the public visiting the lake continues to outrageous and frankly, I don't want to be there at the moment. So, apologies for the intermittent news but I want to keep myself and family safe. Anyway, on to today's sightings. The Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curucca continues to sing in the hedge at Long Bay, and a ♂ Cuckoo Cuculus canorus was singing around Holt Copse area. A Great White Egret Ardea alba (non-breeding bill colour and plumage) was stalking along the bank at Paradise, Peg's Point and Rugmoor Bay and there were 5 Hobbies Falco subbuteo still present. I also saw my first Six-spot Burnet Moth Zygaena filipendulae and Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina of the year during the afternoon. Ah, and nearly forgot, there were no fewer than 12 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus on the lake today as well.

Saturday 30th May [Hot & sunny]

I met Mark at the Fishing Lodge this evening, now that wardens and season ticket birders are allowed back to the lakeside. We walked to Top End and back. I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and we both saw the 2 Greylags Anser anser back on Holt Farm. We were both disappointed to see that the brood of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus spotted earlier in the week, has now been reduced to just a single bird. Gulls? There were no fewer than 5 Hobbies Falco subbuteo hawking insects at Top End, and I have to say the number of midges and hatching sedge-flies was just etraordinary! In nearly 60 years of visiting the lake, I don't think I've seen the like before. It was difficult to identify some of the ducks over at the Indian Country bank, opposite the hide, the insects were so thick in the air and distorting the view.

Wednesday 27th May [Hot & sunny]

I've had little time for birding this week, but I did go for a wander down the hill to the far side of the dam and back, late this evening. As I started the walk back up Station Lane, having seen nothing worthy of note, I was watching the Noctule and Serotine bats flying over my head as I walked between the trees. I became aware of a frequent and insistent gull-like call above and slightly behind me. I would say emanating from somewhere between Pipe Bay and the dam but despite turning around to look for it, I didn't see anything due to the trees. I turned to watching the bats as I continued up the road, when I thought that the call was getting closer and was probably somewhere over the Inspection House. By this time I was standing opposite the entrance to Station House where I could see more of the sky above. The clear 'ke-er' call was still being made, but I couldn't see the bird. By this time a couple of minutes had probably elapsed since I'd become aware of it. I was peering upwards into the clear, but darkening, sky for a while before I spotted what was making the calls, seemingly high above and sightly south-east of me. I immediately raised my binoculars and saw a small heron. OMG I thought, what is it? I couldn't make out any plumage details as it was around 2200 hrs by now, so I thought well, I must concentrate on the silhouette and try and get as much in my head as I could. The bird was still calling and was circling above me. It was reminiscent of a Night/Squacco Heron or Cattle Egret, rather than Grey Heron or Little/Great White Egret. There was little extension of the legs beyond the tail, and the wings were much shorter and relatively broader than the larger species. The neck and head extension was also short and the bill not as obviously long as the larger members of the family either. I watched the bird flying in circles still calling, as it drifted over the road and off to the west before lowering my binoculars. Well, I knew it was something special, but the call was unfamiliar, so I legged it up the road home, having decided to interptret the call with the word 'care'. I got onto the laptop straight away, and started to go through the calls of Cattle Egret and Night Heron but there was nothing similar that I could find. Way to 'croaky'. So I thought okay, this is clearly something special let's listen to Squacco Heron. There was nothing that hit the nail on the head, but some parts of calls were not dissimilar. I decided to put a message out on our local WhatsApp group straight away in the vain hope that someone else might hear it later, as so many birders were sitting in their gardens listening to nocturnal migrants since lockdown began. I suggested it seemed to have been a Squacco Heron as that's the nearest I could get with the calls I'd listened to. I then got back onto the laptop to listen to more outlandish possibilities like Green and Chinese Pond Herons, just in case! No good with any of them. I was still slightly puzzled and beginning to worry that I shouldn't have suggested Squacco Heron publicly, but what else could it have been? Well, I pondered the whole episode over, and over, in bed before falling asleep. In the morning I looked at the BOU list and of course, I spotted LITTLE BITTERN Ixobrychus minutus, the only other possibility. I called up xeno-canto recordings, and read and listened to the Sound Approach sound illustrated article and realised that, without any doubt, I had been listening to a Little Bittern giving its 'night-time flight call', which was described as a 'ker'. It sounded exactly the same as my bird. I put a note on our WhatsApp group again, apologising for not thinking of Little Bittern at the time, and said I felt a bit foolish - after all, they're regularly reported less than 15 miles away on the other side of the Mendip Hills from me. The fact that the bird I saw in the air was so small was lost on me at the time because I just watched it through my binoculars, I'd completely misjudged the height it was flying at. It was a small bird flying low, and that was why the call was so clear and insistent. The silhouette fits very nicely with Little Bittern too.

I had been at the lake the previous evening with Mark, as I'd written in the blog, but not heard anything suggesting the presence of a Little Bittern during our walk at dusk. Could it have arrived overnight? I don't know, because I didn't visit the lake during the day, nor would any other birders have been there, as we'd all been excluded during lockdown. Perhaps it had spent the day in Home or Pipe Bay reeds just the other side of the Inspection House, and I got onto it as it flew up, calling and flying away from the lake? Unless I can find an angler who may have seen it, I'll never know if it was there by day, or just passing over. Rich Andrews asked me about the rate of wing flap on the Whats App group, but I have to admit that I have absolutely no recollection of the wing-flaps looking unusual for a bird of the size I was looking at, despite looking so carefully at the birds silhouette. What was really annoying in retrospect, was that I didn't hold my phone up to record the calls - but as I only had less than a minute with the bird in view, I concentrated on watching it. I am, however, 100% sure of it's correct identity now, even given the limited view, the flight call was diagnostic. There is one previous record of Little Bittern at Ubley in 1916, which has a hint of suspicion about it, given that it is a summer migrant and was observed repeatedly in November, but with the increasing number of records on the Somerset Levels, I suppose seeing one locally in the modern era was not to be entirely unexpected.

Tuesday 26th May [Hot & sunny]

It was a beautiful evening for a walk, and the first Mute Swan Cygnus olor brood was out and about with mum and dad; Mark and I eventually counted 8 juveniles. Of note, we saw a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata, a ♂ Shoveler Spatula clypeata in flight, and 1 or 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, as well as heard a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis.

Monday 25th May [Hot & sunny]

News from Bristol Water for birders and anglers:

"21/05/20 - We are now taking steps towards restricted reopening of the bird hides.  With picnic area and car park preparations dominating this week, our aim is to reopen the bird hides on Friday 29th May, to annual/half year season ticket holders only.

Conditions of reopening:

Please note, the Bittern Trail remains closed while safety works are carried out and therefore the Bernard King hide is not to be used."

"22/05/20 - After weeks of work we are pleased to announce that today we have been successful in gaining approval for a limited boat fishing activity at Blagdon Lake. As of Wednesday 27th May 2020 boat fishing will be permitted at Blagdon Lake.... Available boats will be limited to just 12 per day."

Sunday 24th May [Warm & windy, but calm in the evening.]

The Coot Fulica atra, Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus and Canada Goose Branta canadensis broods previously noted all seem to be doing okay. A Kestrel Falco tinnunculus over Rugmoor Gate was a first of the year for Mark (and only my fourth sighting of this increasingly rare resident this year), and 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo over Top End were a welcome sight too.

Saturday 23rd May (Very windy)

Lots of Swifts Apus apus over the lake in the extremely blustery conditions, and 80 Canada Geese Branta canadensis on Holt Farm.

Friday 22nd May

We procured permission from BW to video the emergence of bats from two hibernation boxes this evening - they are used by large aggregations of Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus during the breeding season most years. Ken did one, and Mark the other, while I stomped around the lake for some exercise. Although they recorded Nathusius' Pipistrelle P. nathusii, Soprano Pipistrelle, Common Pipistrelle P. pipistrellus, Noctule Noctiluca noctula and Lesser Horseshoe Rhinolophus hipposideros on their detectors, there was no sign of any bats using the boxes at present.

I saw a Tawny Owl Strix aluco fly across the lane (with no name) by Rugmoor Farm into Indian Country pines during my walk.

Thursday 21st May

More gunshots on Holt Farm again this evening. No sign of the Greylags, but I did hear the Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti and Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca still singing, and saw the pair of Gadwall Mareca strepera.

Celia found a Broad-bodied Chaser Libellula depressa sunning itself in the garden today.

Wednesday 20th May

Most of the usual suspects again today, but a Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus with 3 juveniles on her back was the absolute highlight. Others noted were the singing Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti and Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca, plus a pair of Gadwall Mareca strepera, 2 Greylags Anser anser, and 2 Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria.

Monday 18th May

There was a Little Egret Egretta garzetta at Top End, a ♂ Garganey (and a probable mate) at Burmah Road noted in flight twice, 2 Greylags Anser anser and 27 Canada Geese Branta canadensis on Holt Farm, the Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing near the Lodge, a pair of Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea with 2 juveniles at Cheddar Water, and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. Curiously, there was a Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major drumming at Bell's Bush too.

Sunday 17th May

Today I saw a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata, heard a Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti and Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca singing, and noted the 2 Greylags Anser anser again.

Saturday 16th May [Sunny spells]

This evening there was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 2 Greylags Anser anser on Holt Farm that flew onto the lake, and 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo at Top End.

Friday 15th May [Sunny, but the breeze remained cool.]

Not a great deal of bird news to report today, other than Mark Hynam spotted a Hobby Falco subbuteo over Holt Copse and 2 Greylag Geese Anser anser still on Holt Farm grazing with the Canada's and non-breeding Mute Swans. Bank angling is back under way, although there weren't large numbers today, perhaps the weekend will bring more? The dam, on the other hand, was like a car park, with people flocking to walk, picnic, sunbathe and exercise themselves and dogs along Butcombe Bank as 'lockdown' is eased. If you want to remain socially distanced and not have your health compromised, on today's evidence, this is not the place to come!

Thursday 14th May [Sunny with a cool wind]

Birding access (with permits, of course) will be permitted at the lakes as of Monday 18th May. Bristol Water have just been in touch, at 1900 hrs on Thursday, to say that there has been a change of heart regarding the timing of birders being given access to the lakeside. It is now anticipated that this will happen sometime around the middle to end of next week, but an announcement will be made nearer the time. Procedures will have to be posted for the use of hides and queueing to get in them (if required), in order for social distancing to be maintained.

Wednesday 13th May [Cool, but a rather beautiful sunrise this morning.]

I met fellow warden Mark at the dam at 0600 hrs this morning, to conduct a survey around the lake for Bristol Water to check that there were no breeding birds that were nesting in places where they might get compromised by anglers as bank fishing gets underway again, announced as 0800 hrs on Friday 15th at Blagdon, Chew and Barrow Tanks. We also conducted the monthly WeBS (Wetland Bird Survey) count while we were permitted on site. May is always the month with the lowest count, partly because there are fewer birds, and partly because many of them are well-hidden in marginal vegetation as breeding takes place. We saw our first brood of 5 juvenile Canada Geese Branta canadensis, 2 broods of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos (5 and 3 juvs.), and our first brood(s) of Coot Fulica atra (7 juvs.). Other species with fledged young included Green Woodpecker Picus viridis, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Rook Corvus frugilegus, Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus, and Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea. With the slight ground frost still evident in the meadows up to an hour after we'd started the survey, I think the bird song was a little muted, but we counted 18 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, 11+ Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus, 11 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, 10 Reed Buntings, 9 Garden Warblers S. borin, 3 Lesser Whitethroats S. curruca, 1 Whitethroat S. communis, and 1 Sedge Warbler A. schoenobaenus during the 5 hour survey. The amazing thing was, although we were keeping a close eye out for raptors, especially after Chris Craig saw 6 Red Kites at Compton Martin yesterday, we didn't see even a single Buzzard the whole time we were surveying (finished at 1100 hrs). The WeBS counts are on the WeBS Page and included the 2 Greylags Anser anser, at least 3 pairs of Shoveler Spatula clypeata and a pair of Gadwall Mareca strepera, although we undoubtedly missed others with the lakeside edges so overgrown at this time of year. Top count was 189 Coots, and the swan numbers have grown during lockdown to an impressive 35 - which will doubtless cause problems with the breeding pairs as the season wears on.

For the anglers, the Damselflies are starting to hatch, we saw a few teneral hatchlings and a blue adult. While for the botanists, the white form of Bugle Ajuga reptans is flowering on Park Lane verge between the Lodge entrance and the dam, alongside the normal blue-flowered form, and appears to have been increasing as we saw a few spikes of different plants. I've been recording the white form there since at least 2005, and when looking this up, discovered I'd seen a pink-flowered form at Chancellor's Farm on the Mendips many years ago too. The first time I saw the white-flowered form was at Black Rock, also on the Mendips, longer ago than I care to remember!

Bristol Water have posted important guidelines for anglers to follow as fishing gets back underway, and of course, many of the guidelines apply to birdwatchers with permits as well. I have cherry-picked from those guidelines so that if you are coming birding (date to be announced yet), you have a chance to be prepared before setting out:

"DO NOT visit our fisheries if you are showing covid-19 symptoms or are shielding.

Access arrangements

Bristol Water continues to have a duty to protect our special sites, for which many are designated SSSI’s. Access needs to be managed. With the recent announcement that unessential travel restrictions have been lifted, more so than ever before we need to ensure we do our bit to stop unauthorised access and prevent social gathering. It is really important that our anglers and birdwatchers alike, understand that having combination padlocks on access gates is essential for us to be able to permit these activities during the current epidemic. Please do your part by closing gates and locking padlocks behind after accessing our sites.

Bank closures

North Shore at Chew Valley lake and the Butcombe shoreline at Blagdon are currently off limits for visiting anglers. With high levels of footfall expected on near footpaths we actively want to discourage gatherings on nearby banks. We have decided that anglers are not permitted to fish from the North Shore at Chew Valley lake and the Butcombe shoreline at Blagdon lake until further notice. Anglers should note this before purchasing a ticket. Check out the lake pages found HERE for further information on locations of these banks.

PPE

We advise all anglers to wear PPE and/or use hand sanitiser when visiting our sites. Consider bringing nitrile gloves with you to open access gates or similar.

Social distancing

Always remember to social distance. Government guidelines are that you should try and stay at least 2m’s away from another person. Bristol Water ask that anglers follow the Angling Trusts guidance by retaining a 15m gap between yourself and other anglers when bank fishing. Current Angling Trust guidance can be found HERE. (Birders please note that numbers will need to be limited in hides. Blagdon Top End has a note asking for a maximum of two inside at a time, so please be responsible and give way to others as appropriate to ensure everyone enjoys their visit when the time comes - Nige).

Parking

Park sensibly and only park in designated parking areas. Do not park on grass verges or in meadows. Anglers should try to park leaving a space between vehicles where possible. If unable to do so, park next to an unattended vehicle to ensure social distancing at all times.

Volunteer wardens

It’s been great to see the angling community reach out to Bristol Water by offering to help enforce the current government guidelines. As well as lakeside staff carrying out patrols, volunteer wardens will be helping Bristol Water monitor our waters. Regular anglers have helped by stepping forward to re-iterate the importance of abiding by the current government guidance. Volunteer wardens will help us review the current arrangements periodically to ensure both Bristol Water and its customers are following current guidelines.

Any anglers dismissing the government guidelines and requests of the fishery may face exclusion from our waters. Do your bit..." (this applies to birders as well, so let's all keep each other safe - Nige).

Tuesday 12th May [Still cool, but at least it was dry.]

There had been some wader movement overnight, and this evening I found a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula and 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam.

Monday 11th May [Cooler in the north wind]

Another brisk 6 mile walk around the lake, as dusk fell, was the best I could do. Again, the 2 Greylags Anser anser were on Holt Farm with the Canada's and Mute Swans. I also had only my third Kestrel Falco tinnunculus sighting at the lake this year - this one hovering over the hedge at Long Bay.

Sunday 10th May

Not a great deal of time available for birding today, so I just had a brisk walk around the lake in the evening using the lanes and footpaths. I saw 2 Greylag Geese Anser anser on Holt Farm with the Canada's and Mute Swans.

Saturday 9th May [Sunny & warm]

I had to drive over the dam to go and get some eggs during the afternoon, and of course, there were two groups of people in the lake! In the evening though, I had the great pleasure of meeting with Ellie (socially distanced of course) to release a bat that had been in the care of Max, part of the team at Bristol Bat Rescue, a voluntary charity (donations always welcome). He is a Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii and we set him free along Butcombe Bank. Thanks to the work of the team, he flew off strongly along the the woodland edge path where he will, no doubt, have quickly had his fill of midges and had the opportunity to socialise with some of the locals before selecting a roost. He came to the UK in a shipment of wood from Belgium, delivered to somewhere in the Bristol area. He was probably hibernating in the wood pile, a favourite site for the species. He had to go into quarantine, but thanks to the team he was fed and regularly flown, so was ready for release today. The bat was given the name 'Waffle', while in care. Nathusius' Pipistrelles are migratory, and are regularly encountered at Blagdon, now that we are actively looking for them. He may just take off and head back across the North Sea and make has way around the Baltic to wherever he came from (a fair old undertaking for a 6 gram bat), or he may just hang out locally for a while. He was ringed, J13588, so it'd be nice to hear where he's got to. Who knows, one of the National project team may trap him again. We hope there will be some video footage of the release, and news of 'Waffle's' visit to Bristol in the media in due course. A good news story, to warm the cockles of your heart, in these difficult times! While at the lake, waiting for the bats to start flying, Ellie and I saw a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis fly in, over the dam too.

Friday 8th May [Sunny & warm]

Being a Bank Holiday I nearly decided not to go anywhere near the lake, but the need for exercise got the better of me towards dusk, so I yomped around the lake again, anticlockwise, following footpaths and lanes. To be honest, due to the late hour and my need to get on with it, the only things I noted were the two Brown Hares Lepus europaeus I watched for a while frolicking around in one of the farm fields on the way.

Thursday 7th May [Sunny & warm]

Another 6 mile walk around the lake this evening, as fitness improves. It was anticlockwise this time, and I saw a ♂ Shoveler Spatula clypeata from Rugmoor Gate, heard a Whitethroat Sylvia communis sing from a hedge nearby on Rugmoor Farm, and a Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca by the first kissing gate as I dropped down from Bellevue Farm (West Town) towards the head of Butcome Bay along the footpath, which was worth reporting albeit it was away from the lakeside.

Wednesday 6th May [Sunny & warm with ne're a cloud in the sky]

This evening I did my 6 mile walk around the lake following footpaths and lanes. There was a Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with 4 juveniles at the dam, along with the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, and I watched a Little Egret Egretta garzetta stalking the water's edge at Green Lawn, from Butcombe Bank. I timed the ramble to allow me to reach Top End by dusk, and going through Nempnett Thrubwell enjoyed watching the 'super moon' rise in all its glory. At Top End I leaned on the gate near the hide awhile, and sure enough spotted my first Hobby Falco subbuteo of the year hawking insects over the trees. Then, as I walked back through Blagdon a Barn Owl Tyto alba flew along The Mead roadside hedge before turning over the road and off behind the houses towards the top of Street End Lane.

Tuesday 5th May [Sunny & warm]

Again, my visit was towards dusk today, and I did see the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and a pair of GadwallMareca strepera feeding on the Spillway with Mallards Anas platyrhynchos. Of more interest, was the guy, his wife, and daughter that turned up and proceeded to start fishing along Butcombe Bank! His wife was chain-smoking and drinking lager, then tossing her cans into the undergrowth behind her, and the fella caught a trout, banged it on the head and hid it in a bag in the undergrowth too. They were reported, of course, but a local lady out walking spoke to them and they left shortly afterwards taking their ill-gotten gains with them.

Monday 4th May [Breezy]

I wasn't able to take my exercise walk until dusk due to care duties and report writing (Avon Bird Report), but when I did reach the dam I was in for a very pleasant surprise as there was a Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus flying back and forth a little way off the dam wall. It was getting pretty gloomy, so I wasn't able to age the bird reliably, but darkening underwings and no tail band suggest it wasn't a 1st-winter. Whatever it's age, I was very pleased to see it! I heard the usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos calls as I walked along the dam, before I stood for a while with the Pipistrelle Pipistrellus spp. bats at the Spillway, watching them feeding as close to the treeline as they could, out of the strong breeze, and as I walked back up the hill there were no fewer than 20 Noctules Nyctalus noctula flying over the road between the Inspection House and the top of Dark Lane.

Sunday 3rd May [Overcast and wet]

Another long walk was planned this morning, nice and early, so I headed down and over the dam, along Butcombe Bay footpath and out to the lanes around Nempnett Thrubwell before reaching Top End and the footpath back along the south side and up into the village - almost exactly six miles from the house. In Butcombe Bay I saw a Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with 2 new young, the deserted Great Crested Grebes nest (unfortunately predictable), heard my first Whitethroat Sylvia communis of the year at Rugmoor, saw a Weasel Mustela nivalis scoot across the lane towards the lake near Selways, and heard my first Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus of the year at Top End. There were quite a few hirundines over Top End, mainly House Martins Delichon urbicum, but also some Swallows Hirundo rustica and a handful of Sand Martins Riparia riparia. As I got back into the village and looked down to the lake while recovering from the climb up the steep hill, it was disappointing to see two joggers heading along the south side road as the drizzle eased off...

Saturday 2nd May

Most of the day was, quite rightly, spent at home. We had a pair of Blackbirds Turdus merula with at least 2 juveniles on the patio and I spotted a number of Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus butterflies still on the wing. The butterflies seem to be having a particularly good year here at home, but it is likely to be the precursor to a population crash as the parasitic ichneumon wasp that kills their caterpillars build up in numbers too. Their population goes through cycles of boom and bust, as do so many other wild creatures.

I didn't get out for a quick walk to the dam and back until dusk, consequently I only heard what I thought was just a single Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos calling in the gloom. But, I had a really uplifting few moments standing on the footpath by the spillway under the trees as dozens of bats flew all around me, coming so close that I could feel the wind from their wings on my face as they hunted for their breakfast. A magical experience that I can thoroughly recommend to anyone who is interested.

Friday 1st May

Isn't the year seemingly flying by while we're in lockdown? May Day already! I decided to take one of my longer walks late this afternoon and saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and an adult Dunlin Calidris alpina on the dam. There was also a Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus sitting just off Butcombe Bank, that I felt was probably the wrong place to nest, given the footfall along there and number of dogs off leads.

Thursday 30th April

Not much to report today, with just a single Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at the dam.

We had a visit by a pair of Robins Erithacus rubecula and their 2 recently fledged young to the patio feeding station today.

Wednesday 29th April

My trip down the hill to the lake and back, taking my daily exercise, produced 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam and circa 30 House Martins Delichon urbicum over the Inspection House / Cheddar Water together with a handful of Swallows Hirundo rustica. Neighbours and friends are reporting singing Cuckoos Cuculus canorus up on the hill behind us, which is good to hear.

Tuesday 28th April [Steady rain & cold all day]

Late this afternoon I checked the dam and saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. There were small numbers of hirundines feeding in front of the Lodge, but no sign of any of the terns that I was hoping to see, given the conditions.

Monday 27th April [A bit murky early doors, then sunny intervals.]

I walked around the lake along lanes and public footpaths again early this morning and added two new species to the year list. There was a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula on the dam, and I heard a Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca singing at Rugmoor, just before a runner ran past me and jumped over the gate (signs saying 'strictly no entry' which he ignored) and proceeded along North Shore. It's frustrating having the authority to be lakeside as a warden, except during lockdown, while others walk, cycle and jog there with impunity, ignoring all signs and requests to stay out. I noted singing Garden Warblers Sylvia borin at Butcombe Bay, Spinney Copse, Rugmoor Farm, 'Selways' smallholding, Top End, Hellfire Corner and Holt Copse too.

Later in the day Nigel Crocker sent me this lovely image taken during a walk around the fields near the east end of lake, together with his news. Thanks for permission to share it Nigel.

Southern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa © Nigel Crocker, 2020

Sunday 26th April [Bright & sunny. Still in the evening.]

It looks like the spell of sunny weather is about to break, which might see a few more birds moving. I only walked down to the dam and back this evening, but the only birds of note, that I could see, were the 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos at Cheddar Water.

Saturday 25th April [Still bright & sunny]

I saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, and a juvenile Mallard Anas platyrhynchos with its parents near the dam (2nd brood), and another 3+ juveniles (third brood) with the leucistic ♀ Mallard, but she was too far off along North Shore to be really sure how many young she had in tow. I looked in vain for my first Hobby Falco subbuteo of the year, but later in the evening Melanie Patch sent me the following email: I biked down to the Ubley  Hatchery end tonight and... along the lane to the gate by the north shore... there was a Hobby hunting insects. I had wonderful views of it in the field at times by the lane 2030ish. Big bats in Regil High Street too on my return! Thanks for the news Melanie, that's a first for the lake this year.

Friday 24th April [Bright & sunny]

I saw my first Swift over the house today, so I guess it's probably one of the local breeders. I did a longer walk this evening and saw a ♂ Orange-tip butterfly in St. Andrew's Churchyard. The only birds I have to report from the lake was hearing 1+ Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos calling as I walked over the dam.

Thursday 23rd April

I didn't visit the lake today, but Nigel Crocker sent me news of a Cuckoo Cuculus canorus by the Top End gate and a Garden Warbler Sylvia borin singing over at Rugmoor, during his walk along the lane from Ubley.

Wednesday 22nd April [Bright blue sky, light breeze]

I walked around the lake at 0615 hrs this morning using public footpaths and lanes. I managed to add 3 new species to the lake year list. As I got to Rugmoor Gate having walked down the hill from Nempnett Thrubwell I heard my first ♂ Cuckoo Cuculus canorus on Rugmoor Farm, and then a Red Kite Milvus milvus came drifting along the north side of the lake not 100 metres away. Brilliant! As I approached the road bridge at Top End a Weasel Mustela nivalis came tearing out of the gate, up onto the bridge wall and disappeared. While I stood on the bridge a few seconds later, I spotted it again as it chased a Moorhen Gallinula chloropus about 100 metres away along the lakeside road - man, they move like greased lightning! On the Hatchery side of the lane, a Garden Warbler Sylvia borin broke out into song and a minute or two later, it showed beautifully in the pollarded Willows in front of me. I also heard a Reed Warbler sub-song on the Hatchery side of the lane in the hedge too. Other sightings included 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and a first brood of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos (7 juvs.) along Butcombe Bank, 2 Swifts Apus apus over the lake with unidentified martins, 2 Sand Martins Riparia riparia later, and I heard a Garden Warbler singing from the Spinney Copse area, 2 Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus, 3 Nuthatches Sitta europeaea, a Tawny Owl Strix aluca, 19 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla and 5 Chiffchaffs P. collybita from the lakeside (I didn't count those along the lanes). All that, and I got back in time to sit down and have breakfast with Ce and mum.

I am happy to report that the rookeries at Hellfire Corner and Home Bay Point were both still being used after the curious events of Monday evening. Hopefully, at some point I'll get the chance to count how many nests are being used, as I had already counted them before lockdown.

Tuesday 21st April [Bright, blue sky and breezy.]

With the wind blowing directly onto the dam I wasn't surprised there were no waders to be seen by the time I arrived late afternoon. There were very few birds to be seen from the dam at all in truth, although 3 Swallows Hirundo rustica flew past me there, and a House Martin Delichon urbicum flew overhead as I got back to the High Street.

It appears the recently published NPCC guidelines has lead to more people coming out to the lake again, after a relatively quiet period since Easter. There were 6 cars parked on the dam during my visit, two with their occupants just sitting eating with the windows wound down, requiring me to cross to the other side of the road where there is no pavement, in order to maintain the correct social distance.

Monday 20th April [Bright, blue sky.]

News from Nigel Crocker at the Ubley End of the lake, he reported seeing Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, Peacock Inachis io, Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni and Small White Pieris rapae butterflies at Top End (over the gate).

My exercise walk to the dam was curtailed last night due to shooting activities beside the lake. It appeared to be a concerted attempt to disturb the Rooks in at least one of the lakeside rookeries, although this was denied when I spoke to one of those involved, who was sitting in a lakeside boundary hedge facing the biggest rookery loosing off his gun. He agreed to move away when I said I thought his actions were out of order. I also find it hard to reconcile the incident, and the justification for their actions, with the terms of the government lockdown.

Sunday 19th April [Early cloud cleared to a bright blue sky]

It seems Swifts Apus apus arrived on a broad front locally today, with many reports from 'garden' birders. I didn't see one from my garden, but 3 were flying over Cheddar Water / Park Lane with a mixed group of 17 martins (Sand and House) when I took my daily walk. There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam too.

I was told by a local friend of another dog owner related wildlife incident that occurred at the bottom of Station Road/Park Lane yesterday. Basically, a lurcher (off the lead) tore across farmland in the pursuit of a Roe Deer that it brought down and fatally injured, despite the best efforts of my friend and Secret World (I believe). The really sad part about it was that it was a pregnant doe with last years fawn in tow. I hope the village dog owner is thoroughly ashamed. Anyone know if this qualifies as a wildlife crime? I must ask one of the PCSOs when I see them next - I wouldn't hesitate to pass on details. This keeps happening around the lake, thanks to irresponsible dog owners, and it has to stop.

Saturday 18th April

This morning there were 5 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and I saw 6 Gadwall Mareca strepera, including some on the spillway that seem to be feeding on weed that's been growing while water was running down it. I had a peek through the Pumping Station gates to see if I could spot any flower spikes of Green-winged Orchids showing their heads. There were a few to be seen, and I also saw some Bugle Ajuga reptans in flower along Station Road verges.

Friday 17th April

A bit of a change in the weather today, but instead of seeing new migrants it was just the usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 5 Gadwall Mareca strepera and 3+ Swallows Hirundo rustica.

Thursday 16th April

I took my exercise early this morning and attempted to count wildfowl during my walk. It was likely to have been much less accurate than our usual team WeBS counts but I wanted to get some idea of how the reduced disturbance is impacting numbers. Coot Fulica atra, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula and Canada Goose Branta canadensis numbers were about normal, while Mute Swan Cygnus olor numbers seem to be down. I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and counted 14 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, 12 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, 5 Willow Warblers P. trochilus, 2 Greenfinches Chloris chloris and a Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus singing.

Wednesday 15th April

Another bright and sunny day, and I saw 4 House Martins Delichon urbicum briefly over the lake at Cheddar Water and spotted the Greylag Anser anser on Holt Farm again.

Celia found a ♀ Bee Moth Aphomia sociella inside the front door today, that I guess flew in when the ♂ did last night. It is quite early for this species to be on the wing, with UK Moths website giving the flight time as June to August.

Tuesday 14th April

It was still during my visit, and the water had stopped going down the spillway. Another year tick was hawking insects, a Common Tern Sterna hirundo, and I noted the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 4 pairs of Teal Anas crecca, and the Greylag Anser anser. Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna had broken out in bloom at Cheddar Water (Park Lane) and the bottom of Station Road, another sign of the advancing Spring.

Philip Smith sent me: "I suspect you may have already seen some, but walking down Park Lane yesterday afternoon we were greeted by a pair of Swallows. They flew along the hedge and road a couple of times, quite close to us, before moving off into the field. Makes me feel that there is light at the end of this tunnel."

At Philips suggestion, I stood outside our front door this evening, with the light on, looking at the night sky for signs of the ATLAS comet through my binoculars (without luck), and when I got indoors I saw a moth that had flown in. It was a beautiful ♂ Bee Moth Aphomia sociella that can only recently have emerged.

Monday 13th April

Woo-hoo! House Martins Delichon urbicum, seventeen of them, and 2 Swallows Hirundo rustica were over Cheddar Water this evening. Another year tick in the bag.

Sunday 12th April

There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam again today, and I was able to make out the Greylag Anser anser on Holt Farm with Canada Geese Branta canadensis and 17 Mute Swans Cygnus olor.

Saturday 11th April

I didn't have anything to report from the lake today, but saw Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus and Peacock Aglais io butterflies in the garden.

Friday 10th April

It was another beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky, and it occurred to me that there weren't any transatlantic flight vapour trails either. The last time that happened was during 2010 when Icelands Eyjafjallajökull erupted and sent millions of tonnes of volcanic ash into the atmosphere. I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 2 pairs of Teal Anas crecca off The Island, and 5 (3♂♂) Gadwall Mareca strepera on the lake.

Thursday 9th April

Just the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos to report today.

Nigel Crocker from Ubley sent me the following news from the other end: "I have continued to take occasional walks along the road on the north side of the lake as far as the north (Rugmoor) gate.  Little activity visible on the lake with a few Tufted Ducks, Coot, Moorhen, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Mute Swan and Mallard being the main players.  However, there have been growing numbers of Chiffchaff and Blackcap singing to be joined today, in Ubley, by the first House Martins visiting nesting boxes on a neighbours house and seen hawking for insects over our garden in the late afternoon.  I agree with Plantlife that the wild flowers are really benefiting from the lack of disturbance this year, so it will be interesting to see what blooms as the year progresses." Later he added: "I had Willow Warbler at Top End gate and Garden Warbler in the Second Poor Field behind Top End hide."

Wednesday 8th April

I was a little surprised to see an adult Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus on the lake off Butcombe Bank, most of them headed to their breeding grounds a while ago. There were also 5 Shovelers Stapula clypeata showing from the dam, no doubt gorging on the hatching Chironomid midges, the adults of which which were in their millions over the dam. They swipe their huge bills from side to side to filter the hatching midges from the water's surface.

Tuesday 7th April

There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos today, so the migrants from further south are starting to arrive. While in the garden, I noticed my first Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus of the year. We do quite well for them here, with neighbours and ourselves having Holly and Ivy in our gardens, the larval foodplant of alternate generations of this delightful little butterfly.

Monday 6th April

The water was barely dribbling down the overspill today, and will stop flowing in the next couple of days unless we get rain. The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam, and a pair of Gadwall Mareca strepera were still present. I have proved breeding by Gadwall in the past (2002 & 2003), and with their numbers increasing they will surely do so again in the near future.

Sunday 5th April

I had time for an early morning walk around the lake using footpaths and lanes, which although it meant I wasn't lakeside for most of the time, I was at least able to get many viewpoints and hear birds on the site. I heard 23 Chifchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, 14 Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla and 2 Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus singing, saw the regular Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos (dam), 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Teal Anas crecca and a ♀ Goldeneye Bucephala clangula (Flower Corner), and an adult Greylag Anser anser (Holt Farm) which all went in my notebook.

Saturday 4th April

Just as I was about to set off back up the hill, having reached the north end of the dam, I spotted my first Swallow Hirundo rustica of the year over the lake. It seemed to fly directly over to the north, albeit quite low as if feeding. I had seen others over the village on a couple of occasions prior to this, however.

Friday 3rd April

The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam.

No Scoter movement was heard anywhere locally this evening. The clear skies seemed to have curtailed much of the nocternal migration, as few birds were reported at all.

Thursday 2nd April

The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam again. It can't be too long before it heads off to breed. There were 2 pairs of Teal Anas crecca off The Island, no doubt emboldened by the lack of anglers at present.

After dark the local birders network went into overdrive as we went into our gardens all over the Bristol area and, almost to a (wo)man, heard Common Scoters Melanitta nigra migrating overhead and calling. I went outside and heard at least two groups inside 2 minutes at 2130 hrs. It must have been an extraordinary movement of this declining sea duck to be heard on such a broad front.

Monday 30th March

I saw at least 1, probably 2, Great White Egrets Ardea alba today, and spotted my first Bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scripta in flower along Blagdon Lane.

Thursday 26th March

I had a phone message from Laurence of the BW fisheries team to say he and Martin had both seen an Osprey Pandion haliaetus over the lake during the morning. I spent quite a time with my bins scanning the airspace over the lake from my house/garden but didn't manage to connect with it. I did, however, see both Raven Corvus corax and Peregrine Falco peregrinus over the garden during the day.

Wednesday 25th March

This evening there was a ♀ Goosander Mergus merganser and a pair of Gadwall Mareca strepera off the dam, plus a very visible Great White Egret Ardea alba standing in a pine tree at the other end of the lake.

While working in my garden I saw a Red Kite Milvus milvus drift over Street End and away towards Burrington Ham, had a visit by a ♀ Brambling Fringilla montifringilla to the sunflower hearts we put out onto the patio for the finches (feeding on the ground reduces the risk of them passing on disease), and uncovered 2 Hawthorn Shieldbugs Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale in log piles.

Tuesday 24th March

The wintering Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam wall, where I also saw 2 Peacock Aglais io butterflies sunning themselves.


The first period of Covid-19 'lockdown' is now over, so I have decided to post sightings made on my 2 mile daily exercise walks during the 3 weeks in question. I have followed government advice to stay at home, making only one daily foray to the far end of the dam and back, aside from two longer walks made for my mental well-being! The news is fairly scant as a result, but it has been possible to see the arrival of some of our summer visitors.


Monday 23rd March [Bright & sunny]

The reservoirs are now closed in line with government advice. See this news item on the Bristol Water website issued today:

"We’ve made the decision to close the car parks at our reservoirs and lakes from Monday 23 March. Given the current Government advice around social distancing we feel this is the best thing to do to help stop the spread of coronavirus. It’s with a heavy heart that we do this, as we know being able to go for a walk in nature is very important at this time for wellbeing. And although lots of people have been responsible around the lakes over the weekend, we’ve seen large numbers of people not keeping the appropriate distance. All of the businesses around the lakes will close for the time being. This includes Salt and Malt and the Woodford at Chew Valley Lake. We’re doing everything we can to encourage people to stay at home in line with the Government advice to help stop the spread of coronavirus."

The following was also posted today by Bristol Water Fisheries team:

"Bank and Boat fishing suspended at all Bristol Water Fisheries. Due to the ever increasing concerns surrounding the spread of the covid-19 virus we have sadly made the decision to cease all fishing activities at our waters in effect from 7:30pm today. Bank and boat fishing will cease until further notice."

Sunday 22nd March [Mainly sunny but still with that chill wind]

I am absolutely dumfounded by what I've witnessed this weekend. People, dogs, more people than I've ever seen at the lakeside, many of whom can't read signs in plain English, or who choose to ignore them. I suppose if they're going to ignore the government advice of social distancing in these difficult times, then why should I be surprised that they ignore Bristol Water signs? Fellow warden Mark and I spent about half an hour at the lake this afternoon, and I guess we saw and spoke to at least 30 people who were trespassing. There were 5 dogs on private land, 2 of which weren't even on leads despite signs saying 'strictly no dogs.' I can't enjoy my birdwatching in those circumstances so, as of tomorrow, I will be self-isolating with my wife and mother, and as I can't be sure of visiting the lake and being able to stay healthy, I will not be reporting for the foreseeable future - I hope those of you who follow my blog will understand why. To my friends - keep yourselves safe.

Saturday 21st March [Mainly sunny but with a chill wind]

By 'eck there were lots of people about today! Fellow warden Mark and I walked the south side of the lake to Top End, and back to the Lodge. I heard the Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla singing again at Lodge Copse, and we both saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba (yellow bill) at Top End and a Snipe Gallinago gallinago at Holt Bay. But, as usual, all the birds we'd have liked to have seen were everywhere else except Blagdon. It's depressing birding Blagdon - anyone wanna buy some new(ish) bins?

The ♀ Brambling Fringilla montifringilla spent quite a bit of time on our patio this morning with the Chaffinches and Goldfinches that come for their daily dose of sunflower hearts.

Friday 20th March [Spring Equinox - pretty windy & chilly]

I wasn't able to spend much time at the lake today, but I did manage a quick look at dusk. It wasn't terribly exciting, I saw 12 Mute Swans Cygnus olor. Phil Smith emailed me some pictures of a pair of Stonechats Saxicola torquata at Park Batch, saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis fly across Butcombe Bay.

Wednesday 18th March [Mainly overcast]

I 'wandered lonely as a cloud' this morning from 0730-1000 hrs from the Lodge to Top End and back and heard 11 singing Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita and saw another 4 that weren't. I'm pretty sure I heard a couple of bursts from a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla (wintering?), was serenaded by 2 Song Thrushes Turdus philomelos, a Nuthatch Sitta europaea, and even managed to hear a Treecreeper Certhia familiaris. I counted 54 Canada Geese Branta canadensis, saw 4 grey geese flyover and head SW that I presume were Greylags Anser anser, 10 Mute Swans Cygnus olor, 5 Sand Martins Riparia riparia, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming, 3 Wigeon Mareca penelope, and a Great White Egret Ardea alba (black bill). Breeding activity included 40+ Rook nests being built, and a single Coot Fulica atra platform. The Primroses Primula vulgaris have been putting on a show and, as I commented the other day, the Cowslips Primula veris are starting to flower, so it was little surprise to me that I spotted a couple of the hybrids, known as False Oxlips, flowering as well today.

I checked the gull roost this evening, such as it was, there were just 40-50 large gulls, mainly Lesser Black-backed Larus fuscus, but sadly no american visitors. I also counted 24 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula and 22 Sand Martins Riparia riparia from the dam in the drizzle and gloom.

Monday 16th March [A lovely sunny day]

I only had time for an hour at the lake before dark. I saw a single Great White Egret Ardea alba with a black bill at Top End, 2 sleeping Goosanders Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay, and a Brown Hare Lepus europaeus on a couple of occasions. The Rooks Corvus frugilegus are getting busy building their nests now, and we appear to have 2 rookeries in the making this year.

I was keeping an eye on the birds visiting the patio for the sunflower hearts at lunchtime, and spotted a ♀ Brambling Fringilla montifringilla. It was my first sighting of one this winter.

Sunday 15th March [More pouring rain!]

I spent 2.5 hours in the pouring rain looking for the Slavonian Grebe, and Mark was looking for a bit longer than me, but all to no avail. It seems to have moved on, which is bad news for my Patchwork Challenge list this year. The only birds of note were 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba. Mark and I saw a Mink Mustela sp. run across the Lodge car park which is bad news for the breeding waterfowl.

Saturday 14th March [Drizzle early & brightening later]

Mark had a look at the lake early this morning, and saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba in the wet, gloomy, conditions before stopping by to pick me up. We headed down to the Plym Estuary where we rolled up and saw the Ross's Gull, that had been present for a while, straight away. I'd seen one in the UK before and that was from the same spot 18 yrs earlier! As we'd been so lucky, we decided to head on into Cornwall. We stopped at Philps in Hayle for a pasty (or two), and then headed on to Newlyn Harbour where we saw the wintering Iceland Gull and a couple of Eider Ducks, but dipped on the Black Guillemot. The afternoon was wearing on and the tide had turned, so we were hoping to connect with the Ring-billed and Caspian Gulls as it swept back into the Hayle estuary, but despite searching from Lelant Station, Copperhouse Creek and a few other vantage points we didn't spot either before we had to leave for home. Never mind, we'd seen some nice birds, visited a few familiar old haunts, and enjoyed the sight of Three-cornered Leeks lining the Cornish lanes as they herald the arrival of Spring. An amazing effort on Mark's part to drive the whole way and I'm glad he got his ticks.

Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritis © Paul Williams, 2020

Paul Williams rang me after he'd found the Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritis that had gone missing from Chew. His hunch that it might have come over to Blagdon was rewarded when he spotted it off Peg's while scanning from Rainbow Point. He went over to the north shore for a closer look and sent me this nice picture he got there (thanks for the head's-up mate). It's the first reported since 2013. I hope it sticks tonight! He also saw a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus at Top End as he was leaving. Another update from Mike O'Connor as well; he saw 2 Redshanks Tringa totanus on the dam wall at 1700 hrs yesterday. I think I'll give up this birding lark - I'm always in the wrong place lol.

Friday 13th March [Mainly dry & fairly mild.]

I spent the day at the lake with Ken today, checking and cleaning the bat boxes. We found 13 Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, a Noctule Nyctalus noctula and 5 Lesser Horseshoes Rhinolophus hipposideros. While we were there we saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and on the way home I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. Among the flowers were the first Cowslips Primula veris of the year, some deep blue-flowered Sweet Violets Viola odorata, and we also saw a yellow Jelly Fungus Tremella sp. probably T. mesenterica, which has several common names e.g. Yellow Brain, Golden Jelly Fungus, Yellow Trembler, and Witches' Butter. After a swift cuppa when I got home, I got a call to go over to Chew to finally catch up with the Laughing Gull. Thanks to Alan Bone for the call, and while I was there, it was nice to have a chin-wag with a few local birders I haven't seen in a while.

Thursday 12th March [Windy. Mainly dry.]

I visited the lake twice this afternoon, spending quite a bit of time checking the couple of hundred gulls that came in later on. They were mainly Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus and Common Gulls Larus canus with a few larger gulls thrown into the mix. I also joined the throng at Heron's Green, Chew Valley Lake for a while, but I didn't catch up with the Laughing Gull. Needless to say it was found at Woodford Lodge as I sat down for my tea, so I dipped again! There were 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at the lake during the afternoon, but I didn't spot anything else of note. The first day of boat angling was cancelled today due to the wind, but I think we can expect them to be out tomorrow. I'm also due to be doing the long-delayed cleaning and inspection round of the bat boxes with Ken Anstey tomorrow.

Wednesday 11th March [Sunny spells]

News of a 1st-winter Laughing Gull photographed at Chew Valley Lake yesterday afternoon, urged me to go to the lake early'ish this morning to see if there was any sign of it there. Two hours of scanning gulls and raptors didn't turn it up unfortunately, but I did see 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Sand Martins Riparia riparia flying west, and up to 13 Buzzards Buteo buteo in the air at any one time from my chosen vantage point on Green Lawn. I'll go back again later, when the gulls come in to bathe during the afternoon.

No sign of the gull at Blagdon this afternoon, but it did reappear briefly at Heron's Green, Chew Valley Lake, before disappearing into the ether again. I spent time this afternoon looking through the gulls as they came in to bathe, but at around 1600-1615 hrs I was rather taken aback by a pack of foxhounds coming through the woods on the north side of the spillway (BW land) before spilling into the road in front of my car and making off towards Aldwick and Butcombe at a rate of knots closely followed by a quadbike and several 4x4. It's high time, in this day and age, this illegal activity was stopped. I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam while all the mayhem was going on.

The Laughing Gull was subsequently relocated from Woodford Bank, Chew Valley Lake, at around tea time.

Tuesday 10th March [Rain until mid-morning. Windy.]

It was the 5th consecutive day that I got a lake year-tick after none in February! Today, I saw a Peregrine Falco peregrinus at Top End that was the size of a typical ♀ but quite brown on the back. I didn't manage to get any other ageing plumage details in my brief view, but assume it was probably a 2nd-calendar year bird. And, talking of 2nd-calendar years, I also saw what I presume to be the same Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus noted on the 6th March, this time at Rugmoor Bay, and think it too was probably this age and not an adult ♀ after all. The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam and there were 2, mobile, non-breeding Great White Egrets Ardea alba moving around the top end of the lake.

Monday 9th March [Dry, then rain after lunch.]

Phil, Terry, Rob and I carried out the WeBS Count this morning, luckily finishing just before the rain set in. While we were sitting in the Top End hide, Rob spotted 4 Sand Martins Riparia riparia flying through to the west, that I managed to get on to as well. These were undoubtedly the highlight of the count! Yesterday's Scaup had moved on, leaving just 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos as the other birds of note that we logged. Along Butcombe Bank footpath, I saw Sweet Violet Viola odorata (white form), and Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa in flower. Full count details are on the WeBS Page.

Sunday 8th March [Sunny early morning]

Andy Mears reported a ♂ Scaup Aythya marila off Green Lawn this morning, and it was still there until 1400 hrs at least. There was only a single Great White Egret Ardea alba on Rugmoor Point, and Mute Swans Cygnus olor were up to 10 adults. Mark and I saw a few Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita and spent time watching two, one of which had jet black legs and the other had paler, almost brownish legs. There were lots of Buzzards Buteo buteo displaying and soaring in the patchy sunshine, and I'm sure I saw at least 15 while I was on site. We will be doing the WeBS count tomorrow, ahead of the fishermen coming back to site on Tuesday (the season ticket holders) and the general opening day on Thursday when the boats go out for the first time.

Saturday 7th March [Dry]

A busy day started with meeting Mark to have a look for migrants at the lake, and whilst we didn't see anything to set the pulse racing, I saw a pair of Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, that stayed all too briefly, and Mark saw the first Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus of the year at Burmah Road before we saw a pair at Holt Bay later. It appears that things are finally on the move with Spring just around the corner. We saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos as well, before meeting up with Ken Anstey to do some bat work.

We have two large hibernation boxes at the lake, which sometimes get used by a Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus for over-wintering, but we wanted to install temperature and humidity loggers in both as one or other is likely to be used by very large maternity or post-maternity groups of Soprano's in the summer. We also wanted to drill holes to enable us to inspect them more easily with an endoscope before opening the door. The first box which Mark opened had a Noctule Nyctalus noctula in it, which we were able to work around to install the logger, but we elected to leave the drilling of a hole in that box for another day. Luckily, the other box was empty, so we carried out the work on that one ready for the new season. Let's hope they get used this coming year in order to allow comparison of the conditions inside the boxes during occupation. We also took the opportunity to clean some of the Dormouse boxes out that we put up a few years ago. Aside from birds, they don't appear to have been used by Dormice despite the coppiced habitat looking ideal, although on this occasion we did see signs of use by a Wood Mouse Apodemus sylvaticus at least.

At lunchtime we decamped to Daniel Hargreaves' farm house on the Somerset Levels for a discussion about the National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project this year, and for a catch up about his bat research trip to Costa Rica that Mark and I were supposed to be joining him on, before other events prevented either of us going. It was an excellent afternoon watching his wild bees using the home created for them, and eating lunch while looking out of the window at Great White and Little Egrets with a Grey Heron on the wet meadows outside. Good company, good food, and a surprise birthday cake too! Nom, nom.

Friday 6th March [Sunny & dry]

Standing at the corner of the dam this afternoon, I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and 2 Pied Wagtails Motacilla alba yarrellii on the wall, plus a Great White Egret Ardea alba and Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (probably an adult ♀) on The Island. The harrier and wagtails were my first of the year at the lake, so that was a promising start, but although I added another 2 Great White Egrets, and saw 4 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, I wasn't able to add any spring migrants yet.

Ken Hall sent me the following news and must have been at the other end of the lake when I arrived: "Just to let you know that I saw a Red Kite Milvus milvus over the lake this afternoon, around 3pm. It appeared from the Breach Hill direction, came as far as Rainbow Point, and then headed off towards the Mendips, just circling and drifting along in a leisurely manner." He also saw a Chiffchaff at Top End, which if it wasn't at Bell's Bush barrier where I saw 4, and was another on the total.

Tuesday 3rd March [Gloomy, wet & miserable]

I was able to see and count the 'large white birds' in the horrible conditions; 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 6 adult Mute Swans Cygnus olor. I didn't see much else though. There was a stunning ♂ Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea feeding along the south side road at Holt Copse that I watched for a few minutes, and I noted my first Early Dog-violet Viola reichenbachiana in bloom. However, I saw more Moorhens Gallinula chloropus fly off the wet farmland pastures onto the lake as I drove along, than birds on the lake itself, testament to the dire state of the countryside at present. Ken and I haven't yet been able to do our usual February round of the bat boxes, to clean and spruce them up for the coming year because of the weather and ground conditions. I dread to think what condition the lakeside meadows will be in after the fishermen come back to site on 10th March, unless things dry out pretty quickly.

Monday 2nd March [Dry & sunny]

Just 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba to report in a 45 minute visit at tea time. Nigel Crocker also had a look during the day and noted a Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus near the Spillway.

Sunday 1st March [Sunshine & showers]

Mark found a pair of Stonechats Saxicola torquatus along the hedgeline at Long Bay today, and a second year tick, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, flew past the Top End hide while we were there later. The number of Great White Egrets Ardea alba grew to 5 while we watched them. Two pairs, one pair with non-breeding bare part colouration and the other pair assuming breeding bare part colouration, plus a lone non-breeding bird which flew in to Top End. As we left, we saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and a pair of Goosanders Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay. So, things are on the move - could we see our first Sand Martins this coming week?

Saturday 29th February [Storm Jorge. Wintery showers. Windy.]

There were 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba again today (the two new ones in breeding plumage bare part colouration), the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, the Lapwing Vanellus vanellus still on Green Lawn and just a single adult ♂ Goosander Mergus merganser off Burmah Road. It was too cold and wet to do the gull roost.

Friday 28th February [Wet again!]

I spent an hour lakeside mid-afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to find 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba - possibly a singleton and a pair. There was also a passing Lapwing Vanellus vanellus on Green Lawn. The Mute Swan Cygnus olor count was up to 6 today and there were 2 ♀ Goosanders Mergus merganser off the dam.

I was in Clevedon again this morning, and when I got back to my car in Sunnyside Road, I heard a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla singing from a garden bush close by - undoubtedly a wintering bird, but my first of the year. I wondered if we might get some early migrants this weekend with Storm Jorge due tomorrow, but possibly not if it hits Ireland first.

Thursday 27th February [A second dry, sunny, day albeit with a cold wind.]

Slim pickings I'm afraid. I saw the regular Great White Egret Ardea alba along the Indian Country bank and went through the 300+ gulls sitting on the water one by one without spotting anything exciting. Nowt else to report from me, though Mike O'Connor enjoyed a walk looking for birds this afternoon, and emailed to tell me he'd seen 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago at Holt Bay.

Monday 24th February [Miserable. Wet & windy.]

Once again, the birding is pretty poor. I saw 13 Goosanders Mergus merganser this evening before leaving, and went through the gull roost late afternoon without even finding a Mediterranean Gull. The only real difference I noted today, was that there were 5 adult Mute Swans Cygnus olor back at the lake, an increase of two...

Sunday 23rd February [Overnight gales dropped to calm by dusk]

Andy Mears reported 2 Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis and 2 Goosanders Mergus merganser this morning from the Lodge, and Mark Hynam saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba this afternoon at Top End. As dusk fell, there were 21 (4 adult ♂♂, a 1st-winter ♂ & 16 ♀♀) Goosanders visible from the dam, and lots of bats flying around. Mark got his Echometer Touch out and recorded Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, a Common Pipistrelle P. Pipistrellus and a Lesser Horseshoe Rhinolophus hipposideros in Park Lane.

Saturday 22nd February [Pleasant early, then rain & wind later.]

Mark Hynam spent the afternoon at the lake without seeing anything new, and when I joined him later to check the gulls, we were able to combine sightings as follows: The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 13 (4 adult ♂♂, a 1st-winter ♂ & 8 ♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser, 40 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula at the dam & Cheddar Water to roost together, and Mark saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba at Top End.

Thursday 20th February

I squeezed a quick visit in late this afternoon and saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, the presumed adult ♂ Pochard x Ferruginous Aythya hybrid in Wood Bay, 10+ Teal Anas crecca at Hellfire Corner, a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Top End, and on the way back 31 (4 ♂♂) Goldeneye Bucephala clangula and 9 (2 adult ♂♂, a 1st-winter ♂ & 6 ♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser.

Monday 17th February

The unpredictable nature of my caring duties meant I sadly missed the funeral of Roger Palmer. RIP Roge old friend.

Sunday 16th February [Aftermath of Storm Dennis]

Not much change today, I saw 25 Wigeon Mareca penelope at Cheddar Water when I arrived, the Great White Egret Ardea alba along Indian Country bank, and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam later, when waiting for the 19 Goosanders Mergus marganser and 30+ Goldeneye Bucephala clangula to fly in to roost at Cheddar Water, as dusk fell.

Saturday 15th February [Storm Dennis arrived]

I spent an hour by the lake this afternoon in the half light, wind and rain. The usual Great White Egret Ardea alba was at Top End, and at the sheltered south end of the dam 19 (4 adult ♂♂, 1 1st-winter ♂ & 14 ♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser and 26 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula had gathered by the time I left (there were plenty of other Goldeneye on the lake as well though).

Friday 14th February [Started bright then increasingly grey & wet by dusk]

Sorry for the lack of news this week. Caring for an elderly parent is all consuming at present. I managed half an hour or so by the lake before dark this afternoon and saw 8 (1 adult & 7 ♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser on the dam, 40+ Goldeneye Bucephala clangula gathering to roost, 18+ Shovelers Spatula clypeata and a Great White Egret Ardea alba.

Monday 10th February [Storm Ciara]

It wasn't quite so wild as yesterday, but we did have one amazing shower as we finished the WeBS count. Phil,Terry, Rob and I met to the sound of a singing Mistle Thrush Turdus philomelos and the sight of the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. The Greylag Anser anser and pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were on Holt Farm, and the top counts were 344 Coots Fulica atra and 327 Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula, but Phil only spotted 30 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula today (full count details on the WeBS Page). I saw a couple of Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita at Bell's Bush on the way home too.

Sunday 9th February [Storm Ciara]

I didn't spot anything unusual at the lake this morning, but there had been an influx of Pochards Aythya ferina and gulls. I counted 300 Canada Geese Branta canadensis and 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca in Holt Bay and on Green Lawn and I'm hoping to get back to the lake in order to have a look through the gull roost later this afternoon - a Kittiwake or Ring-billed Gull would be nice!

In the evening, I had a look through a very large gull roost but, even with the extra number present, I didn't spot a 'white-winger', but counted 48 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula, 4 adult Mute Swans Cygnus olor, an adult Greylag Anser anser and a ♀ Goosander Mergus merganser.

Friday 7th February [Mainly overcast]

My hospital visit today allowed me time for an hour at the lake as dusk fell. I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, the Greylag Anser anser with the Canada's on Holt Farm, and the Great White Egret Ardea alba at Indian Country. Duck numbers seem to be falling this week.

Thursday 6th February [A sunny day]

All day in hospital with my mum meant I didn't visit the lake today, but Mike O'Connor texted me news of a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus around the Wood Bay area mid-afternoon. Thanks again Mike.

Wednesday 5th February [A lovely day]

Warwick White did some bird trapping this morning in the area where the wintering Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita have been feeding on a regular basis. I went down and joined him and we had a good look at the 4 Chiffs he caught while I was there. They all appeared to be the nominate race P. c. collybita, as we'd suspected from our observations. However, one had been previously ringed so Warwick is going to share that information with the BTO to see if we can find out where it was rung. It was a British ring. Of the four birds I saw, Warwick aged them as two adults and 2 first-winters. He caught another after I had to leave, but he's just emailed to tell me that looked like a nominate race bird too. It's a shame, but we think the grey-looking bird may have moved on. Warwick also caught, 2 Treecreepers Certhia familiaris, 2 Goldcrests Regulus regulus, 3 Great Tits Parus major, 6 Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus, 2 Wrens Troglodytes troglodytes and a Robin Erithacus rubecula during the session. I had to leave in a hurry to meet friends for our weekly walk, but then had to go to hospital with my mum after I called an ambulance out to her during the afternoon, so I didn't get back to the lake before dark.

Tuesday 4th February [A cold wind]

A wild wind overnight gradually abated throughout the day, but it was still pretty cold. Mark spent much of the day by the lake and found the first Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarellii of the year at the dam, and a Greylag Anser anser with the large flock of Canada Geese Branta canadaensis, while Warwick White told us he'd seen up to 5 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita.

Monday 3rd February [Mild]

No visit for me today, but Dr. Mike O'Connor reported an adult summer-plumaged Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus on a buoy off the dam late this afternoon . Thanks Mike.

Sunday 2nd February [Mild & overcast]

The morning was spent underground counting bats and ringing a few Greater Horseshoes on the Mendips, then after a cuppa, Mark and I went down to the lake. We saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba, 3+ Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, 3 Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus, and were surprised to see 10 Snipe Gallinago gallinago in flight overhead while we were standing on the road bridge at Top End. We made our way back along the lakeside road and decided to have a last look from the southern corner of the dam and were amazed to see 16 (4 adult , 2 1st-winter , and 10 ♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser in front of us. I looked through the scope and began to realise there were also a good number of Goldeneye Bucephala clangula at Cheddar Water. I counted 38 from where I was standing at the dam and had just counted 7 off Bell's Bush, making a total of 45, without looking for any in between. This was probably the highest count since 55 on 7th February 2010. Not only were there all the Goldeneye, but I also counted 50 Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus gathering at Cheddar Water to roost. It was a fine end to the weekend.

Saturday 1st February [A cool wind]

I enjoyed a day out with Mark Hynam today. We went to Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, early in the morning to watch the birds coming in from the estuary at high tide. The Black-tailed Godwits were quite a spectacle in flight as they wheeled around and landed on the marsh to roost. There were a couple of Knot and few Greenshanks among a good number of Redshanks. we moved on from there to visit a Train and Toy Fair, where we took lunch then drove down to Mansands, Brixham to see the Blue-winged Teal that's been around for a few weeks. Offshore there were 5 Great Crested Grebes and a probable Black-throated Diver. Then on the way back to the car we watched the birds visiting the feeders by the hide - well worth a trip for you photographers, there were Bullfinches feeding within 2 metres of us. Then, I spotted a Firecrest which gave us good views. Further up the track back to the car park we saw yet another Firecrest!

Friday 31st January [Mild for the time of year]

I've been busy for the last couple of days and not managed to get down to the lake, but Mark Hynam spent an hour or two there late afternoon. He texted me with news of 9 (1 adult , 1 1st-w & 7♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser on the dam wall and the pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca.

Wednesday 29th January [A bit milder]

Not too much to tell today; there was a Lapwing Vanellus vanellus on Green Lawn and the Great White Egret Ardea alba at Rugmoor.

Tuesday 28th January [Wintery. Rain, hail & sleet]

It was a day for staying in and watching birds at the feeders in the garden today. I filled the feeders down at the lake and had an hour or two looking around, but the only noteworthy sightings were of the pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca in Long Bay, and the Great White Egret Ardea alba actively moving around Top End. There were at least 3 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita still feeding around the stream at Bell's Bush too.

Sunday 26th January [Morning rain clearing late afternoon]

I've got to be honest I didn't fancy it this morning, in the rain, but I went for a look when it stopped. I was in time to see the Common Gulls Larus canus bathing before they flew off to Chew to roost, but there was nothing among them. However, the Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus started to flock in to roost while I was watching and lo and behold, there was an adult winter-plumaged Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus among them. Yay! I pointed it out to Mark, who arrived shortly after me. While we were scanning the gulls, 6 (3 adult , 1 1st-w & 2♀♀) Goosanders Mergus merganser came out of the trees at The Island to start feeding. The usual Great White Egret Ardea alba was present again, although it flew off towards Chew at dusk, and Mark spotted a single Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos.

Saturday 25th January [Overcast & cool]

Mark Hynam called round this morning and drove us down to the lake where we saw the Great White Egret Ardea alba, before going up to WWT Slimbridge where he was hoping to upgrade his binoculars. Unfortunately for him, In-Focus didn't have much of a selection to look at in the price range range he was looking to buy at. We decided to spend some time working our way down to the new Estuary Hide before going along to the North American pen to photograph some of the species that turn up locally as vagrants. It was especially nice to see American Wigeon, having not seen any on our last visit. We also spent time photographing the various ♀ Lesser Scaup on show. It was enlightening to see the extent of plumage and bill pattern variation shown at this time of year. We also took some shots of the Richardson's Cackling Geese for the record, even though we were a little hampered by the poor light conditions throughout the day.

Andy Mears found an adult Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus in front of the Fishing Lodge later in the day; the first of the year.

Tuesday 21st January [Sunny & cool]

As I got into my car I heard a Raven Corvus corax flying overhead. A quick look showed it to be flying north-east towards the lake and I followed it down the hill to get my 'patch' year tick. I headed over the dam to check a couple of Kent bat boxes that we moved recently, but unsurprisingly there was no-one home. I took the opportunity to look into the spillway for the Common Sandpiper and any Coots that might have become trapped, but the only bird I saw was a Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea that flew up onto Butcombe Bank - another patch year tick. That makes 71 spp. so far. I filled the Lodge feeders, and walked the south side road to Top End hide and back but the only other bird I made a note of was the regular Great White Egret Ardea alba, standing in the top of a Scot's Pine at Indian Country. There was a thin veneer of ice in front of the hide that extended out into the marginal vegetation, but not the open water beyond.

Sunday 19th January [Sunny & cold]

The Great White Egret Ardea alba was present again today, and Mark Hynam texted me that he'd seen 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, and I caught up with them shortly after I got to the lake mid-afternoon. We went through the gull roost, considerably reduced from those in November, but it was almost entirely composed of Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus and Herring Gulls Larus argentatus. We saw 6 (1♂) Goosanders Mergus merganser off the dam, and although I've looked for the Lesser Redpolls the last few days, it appears that they've moved on.

Saturday 18th January [Sunny & cold]

I got to the lake mid-afternoon and met Mark who'd been down there for a while. He'd seen the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, which I hadn't, and we both saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba flying around during the remainder of the afternoon. Mark had also seen 6 or 7 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita and counted 306 Canada Geese Branta canadensis before I arrived. We stayed on until dusk, giving him the opportunity to try out my binoculars in low light conditions, as he's looking to upgrade.

I had a chat with one of the fishery rangers, Laurence Hellier, yesterday and he told me two of them had watched 2 Marsh Harriers at the lake during the week, on one occasion at Green Lawn - possibly attracted by the winter thrushes that feed there? I guess these must be the birds from Chew on one of their visits.

Friday 17th January [Colder. Sunny with showers.]

Early this afternoon the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the south end of the dam wall and, as I went through along the south side road, I saw a Green Woodpecker Picus viridis at Holt Bay, and a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Bell's Bush.

Warwick White contacted me today to tell me he'd received news from the BTO about a Barn Owl Tyto alba he'd ringed with me at the lake on 12th June 2017. Sadly, it was found freshly dead by a villlager in Blagdon, on 15th January.

One of the brood being ringed by Warwick White, perhaps the very bird described above © Nigel Milbourne, 2017

Thursday 16th January [Windy. Heavy rain late in the day.]

Richard Mielcarek reported 4 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita again at Bell's Bush barrier today.

I spent the day in Bradford-on-Avon cleaning the loft space in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building with Ken Anstey. We removed about 100 litres of Lesser Horseshoe Bat droppings from a maternity roost. The things we do...

Wednesday 15th January [Sunshine & showers]

A bit of sunshine and all the 'tourists' come out of the woodwork... news from Paul Williams of an adult Greylag Goose Anser anser (it flew in last night I think - I saw a smaller goose come in from the Chew direction with a small flock of Canada's but couldn't relocate them as it got dark), the Great White Egret Ardea alba, 3 Lesser Redpolls Acanthis cabaret, and a Raven Corvus corax. Richard Mielcarek reported 4 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita from Bell's Bush barrier area which I took some photos of today. It was too dark for me to get any shots on Sunday afternoon, although Mark probably got some before I arrived. One of the birds is pale and another has some bright shiney bling on its leg. I have only seen four together in the same field of view over the last week or two, but there are more there for sure.

Tuesday 14th January [Wet & windy]

This afternoon I saw the usual Great White Egret Ardea alba at Top End, but not a lot else worthy of note.

Monday 13th January [Wet, & later very windy.]

Phil, Terry, Rob and I did the WeBS count htis morning. The lake was full and flowing down the spillway where the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was wading around in the water. I had a quick look in Lodge Copse during the count and saw 3 Lesser Redpolls Acanthis cabaret, and found the remaining juv. Mute Swan Cygnus olor dead at Top End (probably from starvation). The count was unremarkable and details are on the WeBS Page as usual.

Saturday 11th January [Grey and very windy]

Viewing waterfowl against the North Shore was all but impossible in the conditions this afternoon. I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 2 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis at Burmah Road, a Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita near Bell's Bush barrier, 9 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus over Top End, and 2 pairs of adult Mute Swans Cygnus olor also at Top End.

Thursday 9th January

Chris Craig contacted me again today to say he'd gone to look for the Lesser Redpolls Acanthis cabaret again, and he'd seen 6 at Lodge Copse before they flew off towards Long Bay.

Wednesday 8th January [Started bright but went downhill later]

I was busy all day today, but Chris Craig texted to tell me he'd gone to look for the Lesser Redpolls this morning but didn't find them.

Tuesday 7th January [Grey & dreary with mizzle]

I had time for an afternoon walk which turned out to be quite productive. I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos walking along the cill of the overspill, saw a Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula at the Inspection House in Park Lane, watched a small flock of 7 Lesser Redpolls Acanthis cabaret in the Birch trees at Lodge Copse, and 3 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita at Bell's Bush barrier. The bird scarer at Holt Farm also put up a flock of Feral Pigeons Columba livia that had gathered around the farm buildings and, while sitting in Top End hide for a few minutes I saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba back on site, albeit being chased around by the Grey Herons Ardea cinerea.

Monday 6th January [More rain]

I managed an hour towards the end of the afternoon and added two resident species to the site year list, but there's still no sign of the Common Sandpiper which we last saw on the 30th December!

Sunday 5th January [The weather was till pretty miserable this weekend]

Both Mark Hynam, a fellow bird warden, and I spent time at the lake both days this weekend but we added no new species to the site list. While we were chatting at 1635hrs this evening though, we heard a bird call, looked at each other and I immediately said to him "play the call of Whimbrel." He did immediately, and we were both convinced this was what we'd just heard... It's a bit of a strange one for this time of year and at an inland site especially, so we won't be claiming it, but what other explanation can there be?

Friday 3rd January [Some sunshine]

I managed another walk at the lake today and with the promise of sunshine I was hoping to catch up with the low-profile local Buzzards Buteo buteo - I saw three. However, there was little else to report.

Thursday 2nd January [Grey & dreary]

I spent an hour at the lake late in the afternoon, and added two new species to the site list for 2020; 5 (2 adult ♂♂) Goosanders Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay, and I heard a number of Snipe Gallinago gallinago calling as they flew out of the marginal vegetation at Top End and Burmah Road. I still haven't seen the wintering Common Sandpiper or a Buzzard though. From the Lodge and Green Lawn I counted 10 Goldeneye Bucephala clangula then drove to Rainbow Point where I met two fisheries rangers. After a chat I scanned the east end of the lake and counted 19 Goldeneye. Could there really have been 29 on the lake today, or was it 9 more plus my original 10? If it turns out to be 29 when I check tomorrow, it will be the highest count count since Feb. 2016 (32).

Wednesday 1st January [Foggy, dreary and damp.] HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I was lakeside by 0659 hrs this morning. I had hoped to pick up Tawny Owl Strix aluco before it got light and I did, seven were calling within earshot at Park Lane. Mark and I more or less repeated our Monday walk plus trudging over the dam to Butcombe Bay in the steady drizzle/rain at first light. It was horrible. Needless to say, we logged fewer species than Monday so, given the conditions, our total of 54 wasn't too bad before going our separate ways at 1225 hrs. The Lesser Redpolls seemed to have gone, and we didn't even manage to find a Buzzard. The best birds for me were 7 (3♂♂) Pintails Anas acuta and 6+ Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita. Amazingly, although we saw just the one Water Rail Rallus aquaticus, we probably heard no fewer than ten squealing at various points along the south shore. This is our (half-)day list: Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Pintail, Teal, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Tawny Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Crow, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Wren, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.