October 2015 News

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

Thursday 1st October Sunny and warm]

The water level has gone down noticeably again today - has someone pulled the plug out? There is a real waterfowl fest building at the Top End, but other areas of the lake mustn't be neglected. Indeed, there was a Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis between Wood Bay and Rugmoor Points. I wonder if it's the regular wintering bird? It was too far away to age. There was an adult Yellow-legged-Gull Larus michahellis and 2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus (albeit briefly) on Tiny's Shallow, along with ♂ adult Herring Gull Larus argentatus blue G:P that I reported on 13th September. Also-rans included a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 4 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 14 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, and a Greylag Goose Anser anser.

I was at Aldwick on a walk with friends late morning and saw 2 Skylarks Alauda arvensis fly over towards the lake. Hopefully, I'll get them on another morning during the autumn to add to my site list.

So, 'Aunty' finally showed the film 'Bats Without Borders' on The One Show last night. Blagdon fishing lodge was transformed into our "research cabin" where Daniel and Miranda processed and released a Nathusius' Pipistrelle for the camera. The piece can be viewed on BBC iPlayer and starts at about 18:50 into the programme and runs for just over 7 minutes. I've put a couple of pix I took on the night on the 'Blagdon Lake Bats' Facebook Page.

Friday 2nd October [Sunny and warm]

The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was still between Wood Bay and Rugmoor Points today and the elusive Garganey Anas querquedula put in another appearance in front of the Top End hide this evening. Also at Top End were 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 9 Northern Pintails Anas acuta and 11 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. I had a look through the gulls at dusk, but didn't spot anything out of the ordinary, and the Greylag Goose Anser anser and Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis were still with the Canada Goose Branta canadensis flock.

For those of you not going away to one of the migration hotspots in the next couple of weeks, it would be well worth keeping an eye on Blagdon, especially Top End where the duck numbers are really building. I'm going to be away from tonight for a fortnight on the Shetland Isles with Keith Vinicombe and Andy Leggatt, so unless I receive reports from birders visiting the lake, and have internet connection, there will be no Blagdon updates. I hope Steve, Mark, George, Sean et al will give the place the once-over at least now and again. It is possible we might get a return visit from the ♂ Green-winged Teal that stayed all too briefly last autumn, there are certainly lots of Teal to look through! I will write a daily diary from Shetland, but I don't think I will be able to upload every day - we'll see.

Saturday 3rd October

Thanks to Steve Hale for the following news: "1 Greylag Goose, 270 Canada Goose, 9 Pintail, 7 Little Egret, 40 Grey Heron (most Top End), 2 Lapwing, 2 Green Sandpiper (Pipe Bay then mobile), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5+ Jay, 1 Raven, 2 Nuthatch,  2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Grey Wagtail, 70 Meadow Pipit (Lodge). No sign of the Barnacles." There was obviously a significant movement of Meadow Pipits.

Shetland Diary

We visited the Ythan Estuary when we got to Aberdeen, following the overnight drive. There were a few waders and good numbers of Common Eiders and seals. Then we went to Blackdog along the coast and saw lots more Eiders and Common Scoters. We had 2 hours of daylight on the boat out of Aberdeen during which time we saw a Bonxie, a Pomarine Skua, 3 Arctic Skuas and 5 or 6 Sooty Shearwaters, before watching Englands woeful performance in the Rugby World Cup, and crashing into bed.

Sunday 4th October

And, thanks to Mark Hynam for this news "Had a 3 hour look round the lake but could not find the Black-necked Grebe, Garganey or any sandpipers but did see 5 Barnacle Geese¬†off the green lawn, a few Meadow Pipits, 6 Little Egrets at the top end, along with 10 Pintails (9♀, 1♂) and a pair of foxes led sunning themselves along the Indian country shore. Sue Caola sent me this belated news "had a House Martin, 7 Little Egrets, a ♂ Pintail and 5 Barnacle Geese of note.  Also heard, but didn't see, a Treecreeper at the lodge.  Missed the Black-necked Grebe as only using bins.  There were masses of ducks at Top End and it looked like there had been a big influx of Shoveler."

Shetland Diary

We've settled at our accommodation in the lighthouse cottages on Bressay, and saw our first Twite and a Bonxie fly past before Keith, Andy and I dipped on an Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Mossbank (Mainland), though I did see the first of 4 Yellow-browed Warbers for the day. It was very quiet to be honest, so we made a dash to Quendale Mill where we saw a Bluethroat just before it went to roost.

Bressay Lighthouse © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Monday 5th October [Miserable, with rain all of the afternoon.]

Mervyn Pearce sent me a text today to tell me that the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was still present this afternoon in the rain, as were 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 300+ House Martins Delichon urbicum and a few Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica. Paul Williams also noted 6 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa at the Lodge and 14 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis. Steve Hale also sent me this "13 Pintail, 140 Shoveler, 7 Little Egret, 20 Grey Heron, 1 Common Sandpiper, 11 GBB Gull. Top End is jam-packed with ducks." Thanks to all of you, and really pleased to see you're out and about Merv.

Shetland Diary

It looks like the weather is on the turn, as the wind was getting up steadily all day. We birded around Bressay where Andy found a Barred Warbler and a Common Redstart in a garden, where there were no fewer than 3 Yellow-browed Warblers too. I heard 2 others at other locations during the day. We saw a flock of 75 Barnacle Geese with 7 Greylags, a Northern Wheatear, a Red-throated and 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 adult Long-tailed Ducks and a number of Bonxies over the island.

Great Skua Stercorarius skua & Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria & Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Tuesday 6th October

Chris Stone visited the lake today and sent me news of 2 Garganey Anas querquedula at Top End, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis and at least 6 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, while the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was seen by Richard Mieldcarek. Thanks for the update Chris. Mark Hynam sent me a text in the evening to say he'd seen much the same as the others, but gave additional news of 11 Northern Pintails Anas acuta, 6 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and reported the Black-necked Grebe to be in Wood Bay. Again, thanks Mark.

Shetland Diary [Gales and rain]

It's been a wild, wild day, on the islands today, although the ferryman told a complaining Andy "it's a nice day for Shetland!" We ventured out to Lerwick to do some shopping and had a look around the Sumburgh area where we saw this very confiding Lapland Bunting photographed from the car - I couldn't hold the camera still enough outside!

Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Also noted from the car were 3 Twite, 2 Northern Wheatears, a Bonxie, a light-phase Arctic Skua, 3 Pink-footed Geese, 20 Greylags, Redwings, and a couple of Fieldfares.

Wednesday 7th October

News from Mervyn Pearce to say the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis was still present at Top End with 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 5 Northern Ravens Corvus corax and a ♀ Peregrine Falco peregrinus, while Paul Willams saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. Steve Hale (Avon Birds) also sent me the following additional news "255 Canada Goose, 14 Barnacle Goose, 1 Pintail, 122 Shoveler (Top End, easy to spot drakes), 14 Grey Heron, 1 Kestrel, 5 Lapwing, 1 Common Gull, 11 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Jay, 2 Grey Wagtail." Cheers guys.

Shetland Diary [Gales and rain]

It was a horrible day and we didn't venture out until after lunch. Keith was not too interested in going out during the morning, and when he did wake up he was wandering around the house whistling 'Sloop John B' (I Wanna Go Home)! We did eventually get out in our waterproofs but our hearts weren't really in it...

Keith Vinicombe in the field © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

We birded a few gardens within a mile of the house before giving up and going to the island store for some provisions - it was closed for a half-day! We saw a Yellow-browed Warbler, a number of Goldcrests scratching around on garden lawns, and a pair of Blackcaps. Mark Ponsford, Jack Willmott and Pete Massey, who are here with us, spent even less time in the field. We hope for better tomorrow, when the rain stops.

Pete (Sid) brought his new scope, pictured here at the Ythan Estuary on the way up - he couldn't see anything, so we pointed out he still had the lens cap on! To be fair he hasn't seen anything since then either.

Pete Massey with his new scope © Mark Ponsford, 2015

Pete Massey's scope with the lens cap off © Mark Ponsford, 2015

Thursday 8th October

No news from the lake today.

Shetland Diary (Sunshine)

Another (rather poor) view of Bressay Lighthouse at dusk © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

It was supposed to be raining until lunchtime, but when we got up the sun was out and it looked very pleasant. So, our group spent the day checking gardens and a plantation on Bressay in the hope that there had been an influx of birds with the bad weather. Certainly there were more Redwings and Blackcaps than we'd seen hitherto, but we didn't find anything especially exciting. Of note, we saw 7 Yellow-browed Warblers, 4 Whooper Swans, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, the Common Redstart (again), a couple of Bramblings and a Lesser Whitethroat, but it was hard work. Pete had a bad shoulder (probably something to do with carrying his new scope around) and stayed at our digs, but cooked a marvellous pie for the tired boys when they got back (apparently the duck was wandering around the garden). He'll make someone a lovely wife...

Sids Duck Pie © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Friday 9th October

News from Mervyn Pearce of the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis at Top End, 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 13 Northern Pintails Anas acuta and a single Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, while Mark Hynam additionally saw 4 Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus at the Lodge, 6 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus, a ♀ Garganey Anas querquedula, a Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, and 16 Northern Pintails. Many thanks for the news guys. Time you had a few new waders drop in!

Shetland Diary

Having spent the day on Bressay yesterday, we decided to visit the Mainland again today. It seems there has been a bit of a clear-out! We made our way to Quendale Mill to catch up with the juvenile Lesser White-fronted Goose, then we got word of 2 Richard's Pipits at Sumburgh Farm, one of which eventally gave itself up. We headed on to Hoswick but I didn't see much there, although Jack saw a couple of Yellow-browed Warblers. At Aith we had good views of a Short-eared Owl that came off a bank beside the road, and that was about it. The Lesser Whitefront is colour-ringed and according to Nature in Shetland "was released in Swedish Lapland in 2015 to reinforce the wild population in Sweden, and is the offspring of wild caught birds from Russia. It has been in the wild since 8th July 2015 and this is the first report since it was released."

Juvenile Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Twite Carduelis flavirostris & Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Saturday 10th October

Mark Hynam saw the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, a Garganey Anas querquedula, 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 11 Northern Pintails Anas acuta (4 of which seemed to leave to the south west) and an Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus.

Shetland Diary

We left Bressay this morning to move to our new accommodation on the Mainland at Skelberry, Vidlin. We birded Swining in the afternoon where I found a Yellow-browed Warbler, but apart from a couple of Merlins spotted on our travels it was another slow day on Shetland.

Sunday 11th October

I have no reliable internet connection this week, so I will continue to update the diary as I get news and write my Shetland Diary, and post when a connection becomes available.

Shetland Diary

Today we decided to head north west and headed for Sullom Plantation where we saw a Yellow-browed Warbler, and a ♀ Otter with 2 cubs on the way there. Then we drove on up to Ollabury where we had all too brief views of a juvenile Red-backed Shrike which just vanished after a couple of minutes. On our way back we stopped at Busta House Hotel where Keith found a Brambling and a late Willow Warbler, then we moved on to the linear park beside Brae Leisure Centre where we saw a Chiffchaff, before going to Frankie's for a Fish Supper! There were signs of vis. mig. at Sullom with lots of Redwings and a flock of circa 35 Fieldfares coming in. Perhaps, our luck is starting to change?

Monday 12th October

No news from Blagdon.

Shetland Diary

High winds overnight and this morning saw us head to Lower Voe where we were afforded some shelter. We birded there for a couple of hours and eventually found a Yellow-browed Warbler, and Keith saw another at Voe before we left the area to head for a sandwich at Brae. Keith and Andy enjoyed birding around Busta House Hotel yesterday so we went back, but there was little change, just 2 Chiffchaffs, a Brambling, a Willow Warbler, a Merlin and another Yellow-browed Warbler of note. Next we went to Voxter and saw a Chiffchaff, the Burn of Valarye where there were lots of Blackcaps, as there had been everwhere else, and then back to Mossbank hoping to see the Eastern Subalpine Warbler. Once again we dipped, but we did find another 3 Yellow-browed Warblers there! The afternoon was drawing on by now, so we headed back towards Vidlin and had a quick look around the plantation where I saw 2 more Chiffchaffs, before we called it a day. It continues to be really hard work, but we just need one nice bird (a Sibe Rubythroat would do) to turn things around. I've driven a thousand miles already, and tomorrow we're heading further north, to Unst.

Tuesday 13th October

Richard Mielcarek texted to say he'd seen a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Top End today (6th record found by George Stacey, 3rd this year). Cheers Rich. I also understand that the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and 2 Garganey Anas querquedula were still present.

Shetland Diary [Sunny & calm]

We've turned the corner and saw an American Golden Plover on Yell at Cullivoe, and a Rustic Bunting at Seafield, and on Unst we caught up with a Little Bunting, Barred Warbler and Tree Pipit at Norwick. Additionally, at Lambaness we saw 19 Snow Buntings and a Merlin, at Skaw we saw a Whinchat, at Halligarth a Willow Warbler, and at least 6 Yellow-browed Warblers at various places around the island.

Tree Pipit & Little Bunting, Norwick, Unst © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Yellow-browed Warbler, Skaw, Unst © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Wednesday 14th October

Mark Hynam texted me this evening to tell me he'd seen the Great White Egret Ardea alba, 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 11 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and a ♂ Northern Pintail Anas acuta at Top End. Thanks Mark. The Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis is also still present.

Shetland Diary

Having heard that there was a Pechora Pipit seen at Melby yesterday, we decided to go and take a look this morning. I've never been out to that area before, and we quickly nicknamed it 'Beyond the Back of Beyond.' Sadly, despite combing the area with a number of other hopeful birders we didn't find it. I spotted a juvenile Surf Scoter off the Holm of Melby, and we also saw about 18 Long-tailed Ducks and a winter adult Great Northern Diver in the bay and 4 Yellow-browed Warblers nearby. At lunchtime we moved on to get something to eat, and visit Kergord Plantation where we saw just 2 Brambling of note. As the afternoon wore on we tried Lower Voe and Swining where we found just a single Yellow-browed Warbler at each. Another tough day in the field in windy conditions, and as I sit writing this, the lights have gone out all over Vidlin, so we've resorted to candlelight! Today's picture isn't of a bird (we couldn't find any), so just to put things in perspective, here's a picture of Sullom Plantation one of the few areas of trees on the islands, aside from private gardens, surrounded by miles and miles of heather moorland. It's a very different birding experience to the Isles of Scilly!

Sullom Plantation © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Thursday 15th October

Mervyn Pearce reported a Eurasian Stonechat Saxicola torquata, a Green Woodpecker Picus viridis and 2 Hornets Vespa crabro.

Shetland Diary [Sunny and warm]

Andy, Keith and I went to Gulberwick first thing this morning and saw a Great Grey Shrike, Bluethroat and Yellow-browed Warbler before moving on to Quendale Mill where, with some persistence, I caught up with a Blyth's Reed Warbler (a tick, though I've seen loads in India), a Siberian Stonechat, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers, and dipped an Olive-backed Pipit. A peculiar, grey, Little Egret was found a week ago at Loch Spiggie which we went to see next, and also saw a juvenile 'ringtail' Hen Harrier, 33 Whooper Swans and 3 Slavonian Grebes. It was getting late in the afternoon by now, but we just had time to whip over to Scalloway where we saw a Red-breasted Flycatcher and I saw another Yellow-browed Warbler (Keith saw two). Our second nice day of the trip, and our second good day's birding.

Bluethroat, Gulberwick © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus, Quendale Mill © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus, Loch of Spiggie © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Friday 16th October

Mike Gillett sent me this news: Short visit to lake today, water level very low. 6 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago at Top End, a Great White Egret Ardea alba, 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, plus a few Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica. Mervyn Pearce saw the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and 11 Eurasian Jays Garrulus glandarius. Thanks guys.

Shetland Diary

Andy, Keith and I birded Busta House Hotel and Sullom Plantation and only found a Woodcock of note. So, we went back to base to pack up and get ready to head for the ferry home when news broke of a Red-flanked Bluetail at Kergord. We just had time to go and see it before having to rush to the ferry terminus for the boat home. Amazingly, Bristol City vs Notts Forest was on the television in the bar - and City won!

Saturday 17th October

Mark Hynam texted the following sightings today: Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 16 (11♀, 5♂) Northern Pintails Anas acuta, 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 7 Linnets Carduelis cannabina, 28 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, 14 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, 1 Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, and a Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus. Again, thanks Mark.

Shetland Diary

We had breakfast in Aberdeen after docking at 0700 hrs and drove over to Speyside, stopping on the way where we saw a Black Grouse, lots of Red Grouse and found a couple of Crested Tits at Grantown-on-Spey. Home tomorrow, or, the early hours of Monday morning.

Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Sunday 18th October

This news from Ken Hall: Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 13 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michaellis, 5 Northern Pintail Anas acuta, 5 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula plus (around midday) the mystery stint. It was always well down the shore, and hard get much detail on but had disappeared by the time Andy, Richard and Chris arrived after I called them as I thought it looked interesting. It could well have come up to the pool in front of the hide - ironic that it might have been so close!

Shetland Diary

Actually, this is not from Shetland, it's a note to report we went to the Isle of Lewis and dipped on Britain's 2nd Wilson's Warbler! Keith told me he's missed both birds by one day... It'll be good to be back home tomorrow. Here's a Hooded Crow, pictured at Stornoway Harbour.

Hooded Crow Corvus cornix, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis © Nigel Milbourne, 2015

Monday 19th October [Mainly overcast]

I finally got home from Ullapool at 0530 hrs this morning, only to receive a call late morning to say there was a mystery wader at Top End that Ken Hall had found yesterday but had not been able to put a name to, owing to the extreme viewing range. Sensibly he told a few of us, so we met up, and the identification was nailed late this afternoon as a juvenile Temminck's Stint Calidris teminckii (the 3rd site record) when it flew to the pool in front of the Top End hide. It went missing many times during the day in marginal vegetation and there is no easy way to see it for much of the time. Occasionally, it would fly to Wookey Point, or, feed along the water's edge at Top End where the dabbling ducks were feeding. Nice find Ken. John Martin sent me this digiscoped image of the stint, which is better than I was able to do with my conventional set up! Thanks John.

Temminck's Stint Calidris teminckii, Top End © John Martin, 2015

I also noted during the day, a juvenile Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba presumed to have flown in from Chew, and 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, the adult and a new 'juvenile-type' spotted by Brian Lancastle. Ken Hall counted 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and 13 Barnacle Geese Branta leucpsis with the Canadas.

Tuesday 20th October [Sunny and warm]

I spent the morning checking dormouse boxes on the Mendips with Ken Anstey (we saw two dormice), then we moved on to check the new boxes at Blagdon, but found no signs of use. I had a good look for the Temminck's Stint this afternoon but didn't see it, just the juvenile Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, 12 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 13 Barnacle Geese Branta leucpsis, 11 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago and an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. Late on while trying to get a closer look at the juvenile/1st-winter Black-necked Grebe, I found 2 (probable juvenile/1st-winter) Greater Scaup Aythya marila.

Mervyn Pearce and Mike Gillett saw 14 Little Egrets, 1 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 1 Northern Raven Corvus corax, 6 Common Buzzards Buteo buteo, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major, 9 Eurasian Jays Garrulus glandarius, 2 Hornets Vespa crabro, 4 Dragonflies (probably Migrant Hawkers - Nige), and a Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria.

Wednesday 21st October [Wet and breezy]

By my ready reckoner, the water level has now dropped to about 55% (BW website says 51%) and conditions are fantastic for attracting dabbling ducks.

New in today were a party of 3 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, which in addition to the regular bird gave a total of 4, without me being able to spot the juvenile/1st-winter bird in the murky conditions. There were still 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, the juvenile Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, an adult winter Dunlin Calidris alpina, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, and 24 Northern Pintails Anas acuta at the lake this morning. Paul Williams reported a 1st-winter Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus at 1330 hrs, but despite getting the message half an hour later and rushing back to the lake, it remains one of my missed species this year! Dippedy-doo-dah! This afternoon I spotted the 2 juvenile/1st-winter Greater Scaup Aythya marila. One was close enough to look at properly, and has a pale sub-terminal band on the bill which is a bit worrying, but otherwise it looks fine.

I am monitoring the condition of the injured Mute Swan Cygnus olor and this afternoon I was contacted by a RSPCA officer who will come to take a look at it tomorrow.

Thursday 22nd October [Dry, sunny and breezy.]

I found 4 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis again today, so perhaps it was just two new birds in yesterday which the juvenile/1st-winter latched on to. The 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba were joined by 12 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at Top End, and the juvenile Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula was on Wookey Point. Northern Pintails Anas acuta must still be arriving because I counted 38 today. The 2 Greater Scaup Aythya marila were off Wood Bay Point and the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam.

Mervyn Pearce spotted a small wader late this afternoon and called me just after I'd gone home. We were able to watch it at Burmah Road and confirm it was the Temminck's Stint Calidris teminckii. Then, without warning it took off and flew towards Top End where we found it back on Wookey Point at 1700hrs. It was still there when we left at dusk. Apparently, David Hughes had seen it yesterday morning on Wookey Point according to Avon Birds.

The RSPCA were sent to Blagdon Hill near Taunton, rather than Blagdon, North Somerset, so that swan rescue attempt fell through! I called Secret World, who made an attempt to catch it last week, and they were unable to get it today either, so the bird remains at Rainbow Point, but doesn't appear to be in too much bother. I don't think it was bleeding today, but I will keep an eye on it.

Friday 23rd October [Mainly overcast and cool]

There was a report of the Temminck's Stint Calidris teminckii at 1050hrs from the Top End hide, and Ken Hall (the original finder) and Keith Vinicombe saw it again on Wookey Point late afternoon. I didn't see it between 1100-1630hrs but I did see 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, the juvenile Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula on Wookey Point, 2 Greater Scaup Aythya marila, 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, 11 Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and 37 Northern Pintails Anas acuta.

Given tomorrow's weather forecast, the WeBS count has been postponed until Monday.

Saturday 24th October [Mist and rain]

I eventually went out at midday in the rain, but viewing conditions at the lake were challenging to say the least! The Temminck's Stint Calidris teminckii was feeding on Wookey Point with the juvenile Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula until 1330 hrs at least, when I came home. Also noted through the murk were 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 15 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and one of the Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis. I couldn't find a dry viewing point to look for the juvenile Greater Scaups, but assume they are probably still both present. Yesterday they were feeding in different areas of the lake, one in Holt Bay and one between Wood Bay and Rugmoor Points in the throng. There was a fishing boat in Holt Bay while I was there today, and no diving ducks were present, so if you want to look for them, I'd advise you check from Wood Bay Point. An adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis was on Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge.

Mark Hynam texted this evening to say he found one of the Greater Scaup Aythya marila in Holt Bay late afternoon, 4 Black-necked Grebes, and the Temmincks Stint still on Wookey Point, while a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa had dropped in by the Lodge since I'd gone.

Sunday 25th October [Sunny and cool]

The Temminck's Stint Calidris teminckii was feeding on Wookey Point for much of the day and viewable distantly from the hide (you need a scope, preferably with a zoom eyepiece). There were also 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 23 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta (per Mark Hynam, easily a site record, and counted three times), 4 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, and at least one Greater Scaup Aythya marila (didn't have time to look for both). Note this is a permit only site. Tomorrow, we will be doing the WeBS count.

Monday 26th October [Sunny and breezy]

We carried out the WeBS count this morning and accounted for in excess of 5000 waterbirds! Big counts were 1482 Eurasian Teal Anas crecca, 949 Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula, c. 850 Common Coots Fulica atra, 588 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, 460 Northern Shoveler Anas clypeatus, 384 Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope and 265 Gadwall Anas strepera. Other notable sightings included 50 Northern Pintail Anas acuta, 19 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a juvenile (probable ♂) Greater Scaup Aythya marila, but no confirmed sightings of the Temminck's Stint by early afternoon, to my knowledge. Lucy Delve reported circa 30 Redwings Turdus iliacus flying over, and I had a report of a Merlin Falco columbarius (picture by Melvin Hedges on Avon Birds), which might account for the lack of stint sightings! If you add the gull roost and goose numbers onto the total there were more than 6000 waterbirds this evening. Details on the WeBS Page. Interestingly, while I was doing my last check, I noticed several of the Little Egrets flying off west - presumably to roost. So, maybe they're not Chew Valley Lake birds enjoying a day out?

Tuesday 27th October [Gloomy with drizzle]

This afternoon there was an adult Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa in front of the Lodge at Polish Water that had a combination of colour rings on its tibiae. Yellow over white with black 8 on the left leg and yellow over lime on the right leg. I've sent details to the BTO ringing scheme. Thanks for the heads-up Paul Williams.

Other notable birds in my afternoon list of 50 spp. included 4 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a juvenile (probable ♂) Greater Scaup Aythya marila, and a Dunlin Calidris alpina. I also counted 142 Northern Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

Wednesday 28th October [Early mist burned off and we had sunny intervals thereafter]

There were 3 disoriented Dark-bellied Brent Geese Branta bernicla until just before 1600hrs when they were flushed off Holt Farm fields with the Canada Goose B. canadensis flock, and flew off high east towards Chew Valley Lake over Breach Hill. Also new in were a Ruff Philomachus pugnax at Burmah Road, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina at the Lodge, and 2 Northern Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe at Green Lawn (I only saw the one). Of the other notables, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa were still around, but I couldn't find either of the Greater Scaup.

Thursday 29th October [Early rain then a lovely soft, sunny, afternoon.]

Top End was host to 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 19 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 6 Dunlin Calidris alpina, and the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa. The Ruff Philomachus pugnax was still at Burmah Road, and there were 2 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis between Wood Bay and Rugmoor Points. I also heard a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus calling at Butcombe Bay during a good look around this afternoon when I connected with 55 spp. There were quite a few Eurasian Siskins Carduelis spinus scattered around the lake and one sizeable charm of European Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis at Wood Bay Point, but I couldn't find any Water Pipits even though a few had turned up at Chew today.

During the 1960s Robin Prytherch reported in excess of 10,000 corvids coming in to roost at the lake, and I know that big numbers still come in during the winter months but I've never attempted to count them. The recent Avon Bird Report gives some roost counts but none of them were particularly large so I thought I'd estimate this evenings roost. I saw over 1200 Jackdaws Corvus monedula and Rooks Corvus frugilegus fly in to All Saint's Wood, but I feel certain the roost will be bigger later in the winter.

Friday 30th October [Rain and murk during the morning]

A quick look around this morning turned up an adult Garganey Anas querquedula, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis, the Ruff Philomachus pugnax, the colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, and 4 Dunlin Calidris alpina (assuming these were four of the six present yesterday, I ask myself why two should have chosen to fly off on their own, rather than stick around with the group - just curious).

Ken Anstey and I also checked more bat boxes this afternoon, and we ran our last National Nathusius' Project trapping session of the year. So, it's been a pretty full-on day (and night, 0100hrs finish).

Saturday 31st October [Sunny and warm]

I didn't have long to look around today, but did spot 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 15 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, the juvenile Ruff Philomachus pugnax and colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, and an adult Common Redshank Tringa totanus. I met Steve Hale who had seen 4 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis and according to the board in the hide a Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria was seen at 1100 hrs (Andy Gibb, per Avon Birds). That's the first record since 2011, I reckon - hopefully there'll be more this autumn. Late news of a 2nd-winter Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus at the Lodge (per Mark Hynam).