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Blagdon Lake Birds



September 2022 News

Monday 26th September [Mainly cloudy & breezy]

Birds are drifting away from the Top End again by the looks of it. I counted 25 Great White Ardea alba and 13 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 30 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 9 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, lots of Pied/White Wagtails Motacilla alba (there were both present but difficult to count because they were so mobile), hundreds of hirundines, especially House Martins Delichon urbicum, and the welcome sight of a Kestrel Falco tinnunculus at Green Lawn on the way home.

 

Sunday 25th September [Mainly cloudy & breezy]

I went to watch the egret roost this evening and arrived at the same time as Mark. I counted 34 Great White Ardea alba and 17 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta into their respective roosts. It was difficult to count the Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa among all the dabbling duck, but I made it 30, together with 6 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus.

 

Saturday 24th September [A nice day]

I had a look at the lake briefly this afternoon and found 36 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 20 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, all counted from Rainbow Point. At Bell's Bush I added 26 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 8 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 2 Ruff Calidris pugnax and 11 Pintail Anas acuta.

 

Friday 23 September [Quite a pleasant day with warm sunny spells] Autumn Equinox

It was a toss-up whether to twitch the Roller in Devon, or a Red-backed Shrike in Weymouth, and because Mark likes shrikes, we headed off to Dorset for the afternoon. We rocked up at Lodmoor, and headed for the old tip and found the bird, a 1st-winter, with a little help from birders heading back to the car park. It didn't take long to locate it and we spent an hour or more, I suppose, watching it. It was a bit of a star and performed very well in front of a handful of happy onlookers. Before heading back up the road, we went over the road to the RSPB reserve and saw a handful of waders (Ruff, Little Stint, Dunlin, Black-wit, Common Sand etc.) a small flock of Yellow and alba Wagtails (one or two stunners among them), and the gathering gulls (lots of Meds.).

 

1st-winter Red-backed Shrike, Weymouth. 23rd Sept. 2022.1st-winter Red-backed Shrike, Weymouth. 23rd Sept. 2022.

 

We headed back to Blagdon Lake in time to watch the gathering egret roost, and I counted 35 Great White Ardea alba and 21 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, plus 2 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 36 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus before heading home.

 

Thursday 22nd September [Quite cloudy & warm]

I didn't go birding at the lake today, Mark and I met just before sunset because we were going to run a couple of bat traps to support Jim and Sean who were running a bat training course for ecologists. Unfortunately, the session was cut short quite early by the onset of rain. We caught 2 Soprano Pipistrelles (m&f) and a male Nathusius' Pipistrelle before packing up, and the trainees caught several Soprano Pipistrelles and a male Nathusius' Pipistrelle themselves. I was, unexpectedly, home by midnight!

 

Wednesday 21st September [Sunny]

Late this afternoon, I found a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, as usual, then I walked from Green Lawn to Bell's Bush. I saw 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago at Holt Bay, and at Top End there was a new site record of 32 Great White Egrets Ardea alba plus 22 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. It looked like there were many of the same waders I saw yesterday. I counted 38 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, 1 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 9 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus. Mark arrived as I went home for tea and said he was going to take some video footage of the egrets going to roost. I arrived back in time to see the egrets go to roost, but the Great Whites made several aborted attempts to gather in the pines, and it was too dark to video the spectacle when they eventually settled down. At dusk I saw 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo and a Barn Owl Tyto alba.

 

Tuesday 20th September [Mainly sunny]

Today there was a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in front of the Lodge, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos (one each on the dam and North Shore), and at Top End I counted 39 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa (which subsequently flew east), a Ruff Calidris pugnax, 4 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 2 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, 3 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 15 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 7 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 28 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 19 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and 10 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea. I didn't stay to watch the roost gathering of egrets and didn't notice if I'd passed one on the way to Bell's Bush, before counting those visible from there - so it's quite possible there were still 29, as there were yesterday. The 2, presumed naturalised, Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis were also still present.

 

Monday 19th September [Sunny spells]

Today was an absolute egret fest! I counted 29 Great White Ardea alba and 18 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. I watched them gather together in their respective groups before flying to their roosts at Wood Bay Point and Indian Country pines - quite a sight. This was a site record count for Great Whites. Also at Top End, I counted 32 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo.

 

Sunday 18th September [Sunny spells]

I spent an hour and a half at the lake at teatime, and it was the best visit I've had to the lake for a long time! I saw 11 species of wader... 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall, 8 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 Redshank Tringa totanus, 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 1 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula. I counted 4 Pintail Anas acuta as well. Also, with the small group of Canada Geese Branta canadensis, I spotted 2 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis (the first since 2019).

 

Saturday 17th September [Cool breeze, but warm in sheltered sunshine. Cold & clear at night.] 

I had a look at the lake in the morning, then went back late afternoon to meet Mark so that we could decide where to do some more National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project trapping in the evening.

While birding, I saw 22 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 6 Ringed Plover Charadrius hiatcula, 4 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 5 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 1 Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea5 Greenshank Tringa nebularia and a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus. A Garganey Anas querquedula was also reported.

It turned quite cold while we were out trapping from 1900-0130 hrs., and a dew came down making the grass and traps quite wet in exposed spots. Nevertheless, six hardy batters (thanks Melanie, Lewis, Sam, Mark, & Daniel) caught 23 bats in five traps, despite the less than favourable conditions:

    • Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii, 4 males & 1 female, ring details A4031 (2013) & recaptured 2017, plus new J13590-13593 inc.
    • Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, 10 males & 4 females,
    • Lesser Horseshoe Rhinolophus hipposideros, 1 male,
    • Daubenton's Bat Myotis daubentonii, 1 male,
    • Natterer's Bat Myotis nattereri, 1 female,
    • Brown Long-eared Bat Plecotus auritus, 1 female.

 

Friday 16th September [A cool wind a blowin']

This evening Mark reported 12 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Redshank Tringa totanus, 7 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and 3 Brown Hares Lepus europaeus.

 

Thursday 15th September [A bit cooler than of late]

I met up with Mark late afternoon and more or less went straight to Bells Bush to look over Top End before we started preparing for an evening's bat trapping with Jim, Sean and some of their trainees. I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, Mark found a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Green Lawn, and I counted 14 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and picked out a Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava and 6 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis at Burmah Road.

Later Rob Hargreaves texted me to say he'd seen 18 Black-tailed Godwits, a Dunlin Calidris alpina and 2 Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata. Mark and I heard what I considered to be a Peregrine calling at Flower Corner and I wonder if its presence had flushed some of the waders, which might account for our differing Black-wit counts. We have been getting quite a lot of disturbance caused by a large, juvenile, female Peregrine in the last few weeks.

Bat trapping produced:

    • Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii, 2 unringed males, ring details to follow,
    • Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus, several,
    • Whiskered Bat Myotis mystacinus, a male,
    • Natterer's Bat Myotis nattereri, a male,
    • Daubenton's Bat Myotis daubentonii, 2 males.

 

Wednesday 14th September [Dry & warm]

I enjoyed a walk this morning in the warm sunshine with birding friends. We heard a Cetti'e Warbler Cettia cetti sing at Home Bay (he seems to be moving between there and Pipe Bay), and I saw my first Stonechat Saxicola torquata of the year at Bell's Bush, before going through the waders at Top End. There were 12 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Garganey Spatula querquedula, 3 Ruff Calidris pugnax and 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, plus the usual egrets, in this case 25 Great White Ardea alba and 8 Little Egretta garzetta. At Cheddar Water we briefly saw a Clouded Yellow Colias croceus which flew off up Station Road.

 

Tuesday 13th September [Light rain all day]

It rained all day, but I decided to bite the bullet and go for a walk after tea. I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, and at Top End I saw a single Ruff Calidris pugnax, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 12 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and 24 Great White Egrets Ardea alba. On the way home I came across 3 foraging Badgers Meles meles, the first I've seen for a long, long time. They must have been really struggling to find enough to eat over the past few very dry months, with rock hard earth. I watched them from just a few feet for several minutes before heading up the hill to dry off.

 

Monday 12th September [Mainly dry. Warm.]

Phil, Rob and I did the WeBS count between 0930-1330 hrs on foot, and left the lake around 1530 hrs. Highlights, were a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina on the dam wall, a Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing at Home Bay, 3 Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata and a Whinchat Saxicola rubetra at Long Bay,  a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Holt Bay, a Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus and Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis at Wood Bay, plus several Clouded Yellow Colias croceus and Comma Polygonia c-album butterflies. WeBS counts: Coot 839, Teal 642, Mallard 421, Shoveler 280, Gadwall 262, Great Crested Grebe 92, Tufted Duck 80, Wigeon 77, Moorhen 66, Mute Swan 51, Cormorant 42, Little Grebe 27, Great White Egret 22, Grey Heron 21, Canada Goose 12, Greenshank 10, Pintail 10, Pochard 10, Little Egret 8, Black-tailed Godwit 5, Common Sandpiper 4, Ruff 3, Garganey 2, Buzzard 2, Spotted Redshank 1, and Dunlin 1.

 

Sunday 11th September [Dry & sunny]

I met Mark at 1000 hrs, and we spent 6.5 hrs checking the bat boxes. We found at least 115 Soprano Pipistrelles and 9+ Natterer's Bats. When we finished, we stopped for a cup of tea, and sat on the seat at Peg's Point. While we checked through the birds there was quite a lot of disturbance, but we didn't know what was causing it until an Osprey Pandion haliaetus showed up at around 1700 hrs. We watched it circling the lake and make three dives up near the dam. One failed, the next dive it caught a fish so big it couldn't lift itself out of the water so let go, then just before 1800 hrs it caught another fish and spent some time circling over the lake with it before flying off east. I assume it was the bird that's been at Chew for the last few days.

After tea, I popped down to the Top End of the lake again to see what I could find there. As it turned out, I was a little later than I should have been, I just can't get used to how quickly the nights are drawing in! Anyway, I saw 19 Great White Ardea alba and 15 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 11 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, and while batting earlier, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos in the Pumping station grounds.

 

Saturday 10th September [Sunny spells - stunning moon rise!]

I met Mark at the Lodge around 1700 hrs and we walked together to Bell's Bush and back. I also checked up to the Top End gate. Between us we saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, circa 8 Siskins Spinus spinus at Lodge Copse (I thought I heard some there yesterday too), a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata at Long Bay pines, 9 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus at Long Bay, 3 Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe at Wood Bay, 7 Black Terns Chlidonias niger west down the lake past Rainbow Point, a Hobby Falco subbuteo at Bell's Bush, 11 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 1 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 3 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 23 Great White Ardea alba and at least 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

On the walk towards Top End, we found a flock of passerines at the bridge over Long Bay feeder stream, that must have included at least 20-30 Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, which ranged in hue from yellow-green to cold grey. The variation was startling to be honest. We heard a couple of calling Willow Warblers Phylloscopus trochilus at Top End, and on the walk back watched the most amazing moon rise over Top End from Green Lawn. Neither of us could get our phone cameras to do the spectacle justice - it needed a proper camera in this instance.

Tomorrow we'll be checking the bat boxes, and on Monday we'll be doing the WeBS count. Busy, busy!

 

Friday 9th September [Showers]

At the Lodge I could hear a persistent Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing from Pipe Bay reeds but didn't really see anything noteworthy until I got to Top End. There, I found 11 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 11 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 1 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 1 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, plus 19 Great White Ardea alba and 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. It got dark a little prematurely due to a storm passing just north of the lake, so I couldn't really look through the wildfowl.

 

Thursday 8th September [Showers on & off all day - some heavy]

I tried to dodge the showers by using my car at the lake today. I gave it an hour and a half mid-late afternoon and saw a Scaup Aythya marila (possibly a juvenile drake), a smug looking juvenile Peregrine Falco peregrinus, only 12 Ruff Calidris pugnax (oh no, was the Peregrine responsible?), 10 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, lots of hirundines including Sand Martins Riparia riparia, and a singing Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus. I didn't count egrets, but there were still quite a few scattered about the shoreline.

 

Wednesday 7th September [Showers & sunny spells]

I had an onsite meeting this afternoon, and afterwards I had a look at the birds. I counted Teal Anas crecca at Rugmoor and Top End, and 'clicked' 663, so with others scattered around the lake there are probably in excess of 700 on site. There were 10 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and 13 Ruff Calidris pugnax at Top End, plus 24 Great White Ardea alba and 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta scattered around the shoreline. The usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam and 2 juvenile Black Terns Chlidonias niger stopped over awhile on Tiny's, in front of the Lodge.

The Black Terns were still present at dusk, as was a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa on Tiny's. Paul reported seeing the 3 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus while he was there.

 

Tuesday 6th September [Overnight thunderstorms & sunny spells by day]

The level has risen a little after last night's storm and this prompted me to have a look at the lake at lunchtime. There was a juvenile Black Tern Chlidonias niger, a first for the year, and a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, that were probably new in, otherwise it was more of the same: 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 3 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 8 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 6 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 10 Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula, and at least 25 Pintail Anas acuta at Top End. I counted 25 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, but not the Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

I was back again at dusk, but I missed the Little Egrets going to roost. However, the Great Whites hadn't, but it looked a bit puzzling as some birds appeared to fly east, while others seemed to go into the usual pines roost. I think there were 25 present at one point. I added a 9th Greenshank, and 3 more Ruff, giving a total of 13.

 

Monday 5th September [Sunshine & showers]

Late this afternoon there was a sense of déjà vu at Top End, with many of the same waders as yesterday. I counted 3 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 12 Ruff Calidris pugnax (possibly 13), 10 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 5 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula, and a juvenile Peregrine Falco peregrinus. At the Lodge I saw just a single Snipe and an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis of note. I didn't count the egrets.

 

Sunday 4th September [Fresh, breezy, with occasional drizzle.]

It was an interesting day, with a visit to the lake late morning. It didn't look like too much had changed overnight, that is until I spotted a group of 8 Ruff Calidris pugnax. I went home, and when Mark came over we went to have a look at a woodland with a view to putting up some bat boxes for the owner. It was a lovely afternoon looking around. At tea time we got back to the village and went down to the lake, because I'd been tipped off some small shorebirds had headed out from Chew in our direction. Sadly, we didn't see any at Blagdon, but spent the rest of the evening totting up notable species and watched the egrets going into roost with Ross. Counts were as follows: 1 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 2 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 10 Ruff, 9 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 1 Garganey Spatula querquedula (2 reported by Jack), 15 Pintail Anas acuta, a Peregrine Falco peregrinus, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis,  23 Great White Ardea alba and 19 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

 

Saturday 3rd September [Pleasant enough]

I had a couple of visits to the lake today, one late morning and the other at dusk. I saw 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 7 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, a Ruff Calidris pugnax, 12 Pintail Anas acuta, 32 Wigeon Mareca penelope (Mark counted 36), 23 Great White Ardea alba and 25 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta of note. Before I went back in the evening Mark rang to tell me he'd found a juvenile Cuckoo Cuculus canorus feeding on the foreshore at Flower Corner. We watched it for quite a while, and it seemed to be finding plenty to eat.

I had a very interesting email last night from Jose Sanchez Cordero of the Luscinia Ringing Group in Spain. He was replying to my report of an 'interesting' ringed gull that I saw on the 18th August from the Lodge at Blagdon, White N:CXA. It turns out this this bird was a female Larus fuscus intermedius that was ringed by the group on 6th October 2020 at Puerto de la Caleta de Velez, Velez-Malaga, Spain. "The nominate form L. f. fuscus occurs in the northernmost part of the breeding range of the species and breeds around the White Sea, the Baltic Sea and in northern Norway. The breeding grounds of intermedius, its close relative, are more southerly and westerly and comprise southern and western Norway, western Sweden, Denmark and Germany. The form graellsii is the westernmost taxon and breeds in Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, Ireland and Britain, as well as to the south, along the coasts of mainland Europe from the Netherlands south to Iberia." Theo Muusse, Mars Muuse, Bert-Jan Luijendijk and Ruud Altenburg, Birding World, 18:338-348 (2005). It was darker than the graellsii gulls around it, which is what attracted my attention, and the ring is proof positive of this subspecies of Lesser Black-backed Gull occurring at the lake. 

 

Friday 2nd September [Quite warm & remaining dry]

I stopped at Bell's Bush this morning for another look at the waders, hoping to see the 'probable' Redshanks Tringa totanus again. They were still present and I do think that's what they were, but despite watching them for a while at high magnification through the heat haze, they didn't give me a wing flap, or other positive clue, before falling asleep. There were also 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 2 Pintail Anas acuta, 14 Wigeon Mareca penelope, but I couldn't find the Black-necked Grebe. I went back in the evening, and heard a Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti sing from Pipe Bay reeds, but I was hoping to count the egrets into their roosts, however, early cloud cover meant I missed them going in. I could make out 21 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, but the Little Egrets Egretta garzetta were already well hidden in their chosen willow.

A late message from Mark to tell Daniel, Ken and I that he's been granted his first bat class licence by Natural England. Well done mate, you've worked really hard at it over the last few years - it's thoroughly deserved. We're all looking forward to the curry!

 

Thursday 1st September [Warm & dry. Breezy at times.]

I drove to the Lodge and went for a walk to the Top End hide and back this evening. I noted the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall on the way. The gulls were so distant from the Lodge, I had no chance of reading any rings if, of course, there were any. I spotted the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis from Rainbow Point, and walked on to Bell's Bush. From there I could see a number of waders; 3 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and 2, probable, Redshank Tringa totanus. The latter were on the other side, and in the gloom it was hard to decide if they were Reds or Spot-reds. The egret roost was similar to last night, with 19 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and either 23, or 24, Great Whites Ardea alba. As I walked back to the Lodge, I pondered whether there are any other Great White Egret roosts in Scot's Pine trees in the world?

 

Wednesday 31st August [Warm & dry, although threatening rain at times. Breezy.]

I had the luxury of being able to spend the afternoon at the lake for a change, and it didn't disappoint. Although there had been a bit of a clear-out of waders, I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 9 Snipe Gallinago gallinago at the Lodge, plus at least two others elsewhere, and 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia at Top End. As I set out through Lodge Copse, I could hear both Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla and Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita song, and came across at least 2 Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata at Home Bay. There may have been up to two more, so possibly a recently fledged family? At Bell's Bush I spent some time going through the birds at Top End, and saw the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 10+ Wigeon Mareca penelope, and 2 Pintail Anas acuta. From the hide I did a count of visible egrets and made it 18 Great White Ardea alba and 10 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, although I knew there were others on the lakeside, out of view. 

At Peg's Point, I sat and scoped Rugmoor Point and Bay and was pleased to see a juvenile Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe on the old stone bridge in Rugmoor Bay, but couldn't make out any Garganey among the growing numbers of Teal Anas crecca (easily 200+). At All Saint's Wood I came across another group of Spotted Flycatchers, definitely four in this instance, and possibly five. A second brood? When I got back to the Lodge I bumped into Paul Williams and his wife, who said he'd seen a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, and reckoned that there may have been as many as 26 Great White Egrets present. After a chat, I went home and had some tea, before going back down to Top End to watch the egrets go into roost at dusk. Amazingly, there were 24 Great White's and 19 Little Egrets, plus 9 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea that continued to fish on as darkness fell.

I reckon the lake to be a little over 50% full now, and the level has been dropping fairly rapidly in the last few weeks.

 

Tuesday 30th August [Mainly overcast & cooler than of late]

Mark and I met up at 0700 hrs this morning and had planned to go for the Steppe Grey Shrike found at Chipping Sodbury Common yesterday evening - the traffic was too bad to make an effort for it at the time. Unfortunately it had gone AWOL, so it was down to the lake instead. We saw 7 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, a Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, 20 Great White Ardea alba and 14 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. Everything at Top End was very flighty though. In the evening I counted 17 Little Egrets.

 

Monday 29th August [Warm & sunny]

I was up relatively early, after last nights batting session, to go to Chew Magna mid-morning and join a friend, Jane, who was carrying out a Voluntary Bat Roost Visit. Then, late afternoon, and as a bat handler, I went to see if I could help with a bat issue air-side at Bristol Airport. A Brown Long-eared has been in the ventilation system of minibus for two days! Finally, this evening, I had a short walk during which I saw 17 Great White Ardea alba and 20 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and 5+ Greenshanks Tringa nebularia. Fellow WeBS counter, Rob, had been at the lake earlier and saw 9 Greenshanks and the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis.

 

Sunday 28th August [Warm & sunny]

I managed a short visit to the lake today and saw a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and 2 Pintail Anas acuta at Top End. A Garganey Spatula querquedula was also reported.

At tea time I met with Mark and Daniel, and we went off to a local site to see if there were any swarming bats there. We caught:

    • 5 Greater Horseshoe Bats Rhinolophus ferrumequinum, 4 adult males & a parous female, including ringed bats B8037 & X4130,
    • 2 Lesser Horseshoe Bats Rhinolophus hipposideros, 1 each juvenile & adult male,
    • 2 Brown Long-eared Bats Plecotus auritus, 1 adult male & a parous female,
    • 1 Whiskered Bat Mystacinus mystacinus, a juvenile male,
    • 2 Daubenton's Bats Myotis daubentonii, a juvenile male and an adult female,
    • 2 Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, both adult females,
    • 1 Common Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus, a juvenile male.

I got home at 0300 hrs.

 

Saturday 27th August [Warm and mainly sunny]

Mark was on site at 0630 hrs and scanning the waders when I rolled up at 0715 hrs! I saw 13 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa on my way to Top End, where there was another, and Mark had seen a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus that I didn't. Together, we saw 11 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, the Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis, 20 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and when I went back in the evening, I counted 17 Great White Egrets Ardea alba at roost.

 

Friday 26th August [Mainly overcast, but warm for all that.]

Two new birds for the patch year list today! A Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola and a Ruff (juv. Reeve) Calidris pugnax at Top End where there were also 9 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and, at roost, just 12 visible Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

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