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Blagdon Lake Birds

Summary of the Year 2013

The water level remained at 100% into the New Year and with the mild weather of the Autumn, Common Coots Fulica atra and wildfowl seemed to be finding plenty of aquatic plants to eat. However, a cold snap with snow in the second half of the month seemed to change things and as the melt water flooded into the lake, colouring it up, many of the Coots and Aythya ducks started to move away. The adult ♂ Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis, present since 7th December 2012, was joined by a ♂ Greater Scaup Aythya marila on the last day of the month and they both left overnight as we rolled into February. The elusive Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos stayed throughout the month but were not seen every day. A Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris showed in a bush at Burmah Road on 25th February, and the Black-necked Grebe and Common Sandpiper stayed throughout the month and were joined by a Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritis that turned up on the last day of the month.

The earliest Osprey Pandion haliaetus to be recorded in Spring at the lake arrived on the 23rd March and was joined next day by another and there were up to five the following day with three around to the end of the month including a bird raised at Glaslyn in Wales and which bred at Kielder Water in Northumberland last year. The Black-necked Grebe and Common Sandpiper stayed throughout the month, with the former attaining breeding plumage. Two Otters Lutra lutra swam along the South shore on 15th April and the first of two Wood Warblers Phylloscopus sibilatrix arrived towards the end of the month when I also found Violet Oil-beetle Meloe violaceus adults and triungulin larvae in several places along the south shore.

May was a wonderful month, not least because we caught a ♀ Nathusius's Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii after two and a half years of trying, we also caught the first recorded Brandt's Bat Myotis brandtii a few days later. There was, however, no ornithological rarity this year to follow the Squacco Heron that stopped-over last May.

Nigel Milbourne © 2009-24. All Rights Reserved.