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Blagdon Lake Birds



August 2018 News

Wednesday 1st August [Warm & sunny]

I was away from Blagdon at Wytham Woods in Oxfordshire today. I was checking bat boxes with Ken Anstey and two of our bat handling trainees to help Dr. Dani Linton . We found 7 Natterer's and 29 Daubenton's including a number of young of the year that Dani and Ken ringed. It's all part of a long-term study of 1200 boxes that Dani has been carrying out since 2006.

 

Thursday 2nd August [Warm & sunny]

I picked up a grounded Leisler's Bat from John Harris today, a juvenile ♀, that he found in his garden in Pill. Sadly, it died before I got it to Kiri and Stew at Bristol Bat Care. However, it's an interesting record all the same.

At the lake there were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on Rugmoor Point, and later 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta flew in to Flower Corner while I was at Top End hide with Mark Hynam. Although I'd looked on the way through, I missed a juvenile Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius in front of the Lodge according to Mark.

 

Friday 3rd August [Warm & sunny]

As I arrived early this evening, 2 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa flew west over the dam. The water level continues to drop rapidly as the drought continues, and I saw 40+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Holt Farm on a newly turned field. I'm not sure if the ploughing, or the drought, was responsible for my seeing 2 Brown Hares Lepus europaeus lakeside, a most unusual occurrence. Perhaps, they were looking for green grass, in the parched landscape? At Top End, there were 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus on the exposed mud, and the ♂ Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata was feeding out in the extensive weed beds with all the other waterfowl.

 

Saturday 4th August [Hot & sunny]

I made an afternoon visit today because we're bat trapping on the Somerset Levels this evening. I picked out 6 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus at Top End, 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia on Wookey Point, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta on Rugmoor Point, another Black-tailed Godwit in Pipe Bay, and a Redshank Tringa totanus on Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge. The Lesser Black-backed Gull, Red K+H, was also on Tiny's Shallow among the loafing birds in the terrific heat.

Thanks to Ali Blaney and the RSPB staff for the opportunity to trap at Ham Wall RSPB reserve, we had a long night and I didn't get to bed until 0600 hrs! As expected, we had a good variety of species and caught 3 adult ♂ Nathusius' Pipistrelles Pipistrellus nathusii, but no ♀♀ or young of the year (see Bat News for catch details). We had 3 sightings of Marsh Harrier and saw 2 Great White Egrets while setting up.

 

Sunday 5th August [Hot & sunny]

I didn't visit the lake today, but did go bat trapping at Shapwick NNR in the evening (with permission from Natural England). While there I saw a Marsh Harrier over Canada Farm. The bat trapping was only a short session, from dusk until midnight (see Bat News for details).

 

Monday 6th August [Warm & sunny]

An interesting visit late afternoon saw 4♂ Small Red-eyed Damselflies Erythromma viridulum at the boat quay, a Badger Meles meles foraging along the shoreline (they must be desperate for food with this hard ground) on North Shore at 1615 hrs, single Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at Orchard & Wood Bays, about 26 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus scattered about, with 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba and the ♂ Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata at Top End. There has been an influx of Teal Anas crecca, Gadwall Mareca strepera and Shovelers Spatula clypeata over the last week or so too, no doubt attracted by the low water conditions.

 

Tuesday 7th August [Sunny spells & breezy]

This morning I saw an adult Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres on Rugmoor Point with, I think, a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina. Also there and around Top End were 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3+ Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, and the ♂ Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata. I'd noted mobile Little Egrets Egretta garzetta before leaving and saw 2 together in Long Bay. Mervyn Pearce was at the Lodge, so we had a look at the Small Red-eyed Damselflies Erythromma viridulum from the boat quay, and counted 10♂♂ and a teneral ♀.

 

Wednesday 8th August [Showers & sunny spells]

I was checking bat boxes on the North Somerset Levels most of the day, and didn't get to the lake until late evening, in the gentle rain. So, my visit was quite short but I saw 62+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Holt Farm, 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and the eclipse ♂ Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata at Top End.

Nigel Crocker emailed to tell me he'd seen a Red Kite Milvus milvus over Velvet Bottom on Monday morning. It's good to know there are one or two about after the migration period - it can't be long before they start breeding locally surely, and they'd be a very welcome addition to our local avifauna in my opinion.

 

Thursday 9th August [Showers & breezy. Cooler than of late.]

I managed to have a look around at lunchtime and saw a Peregrine Falco peregrinus, 17 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus at Top End, as well as 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at various points scattered around the lake. Mark Hynam texted me at 2008 hrs to say he was watching 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula in front of the Lodge, a species I've yet to catch up with for my site list this year. We will be doing the WeBS count tomorrow morning, so who knows, they may still be there if I'm a lucky boy!

 

Friday 10th August [Rain in the morning, drying out later.]

The heavy morning rain and the need for me to take Celia for an emergency dental appointment combined to put off the WeBS count this morning. We did have time for a brief look around and we spotted 5 (4 adults and a juv.) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, and a juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius in front of the Lodge, while there were 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 18 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago and the Mandarin Aix galericulata from Top End hide. Oh, I almost forgot, there were at least 10 Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus at the lake too.

Sarah Lynett emailed to say she'd seen a Peregrine Falco peregrinus this afternoon at Awkward Hill, Nempnett Thrubwell, overlooking the lake. Thanks Sarah.

Mark Hynam texted me in the evening, while I was out, to say that there was a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Top End, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and an extra Black-tailed Godwit to add to those seen by the WeBS team in the morning.

 

Saturday 11th August [Quite a bit of rain & windy]

I met Mark Hynam at the lake this evening, and between us we recorded the Mandarin Aix galericulata, 45 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 5 (4 adults and a juv.) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 59 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 1 or 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo and a hunting Barn Owl Tyto alba. It was quite a rewarding last couple of hours of daylight.

 

Sunday 12th August [Quite a lot of rain]

I guessed the rain might drop some new birds in today, but I wasn't able to have a look for them until this evening. Nevertheless, I saw a juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius and 4 (2 adults & 2 juvs.) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula at the Lodge, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta in the trees at Holt Copse, while at Top End I spotted 5 more Ringed Plovers, 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, and a flock of 17 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis sitting together in a weed bed.

News on the BOC website from Nick (thanks), who said Andy Mears had visited earlier in the day, and reported: 3 Water Rails, 7 Ringed Plovers, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 64 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 3 Green Sandpipers, and a Common Tern Sterna hirundo. The Common Tern was new for the year, and about time too! I understand Rob Laughton saw a Garganey Spatula querquedula as well, according to Nick.

 

Monday 13th August [Sunny so far]

A mid-morning whizz around, before going off to Weston General again, gave me the following counts:

A single Great White Egret Ardea alba, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 87 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 6 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina.

Okay, I got back late in the afternoon and met Mark Hynam. We had lots of birds and I can update the earlier counts as follows:

105+ Black-tailed Godwits (Mark's count, I 'only' managed 94), 4 Ruff, 8 Ringed Plovers, 5 Green Sandpipers, 5 (Mark again, I only saw 3) Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 1+ (probably 2) Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 52 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, an adult Yellow Legged-Gull Larus michahellis, the Mandarin Aix galericulata, a Hobby Falco subbuteo and a sleeping Barn Owl Tyto alba. Afternoons like that make up for all the days with little to report!

 

Tuesday 14th August [Breezy & mainly sunny]

I did the WeBS count this afternoon from 1245-1545 hrs, as we had to postpone it last Friday. There was still a good selection of waders present, and I made it 1 Great White Egret Ardea alba, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 87 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 8 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 6 Dunlin Calidris alpina, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 Redshanks Tringa totanus, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 48 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 1289 Coots Fulica atra, 142 Moorhens Gallinula chloropus, 86 Mute Swans Cygnus olor, 602 Mallards Anas platyrhynchos and 234 Gadwall Mareca strepera to mention but a few! Full details of the count are on the WeBS Page.

More news later of 4 Redshanks, 6 Little Egrets, 2 Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis (I presume the regular adult and a juv.), 2 Snipe and 5 Green Sandpipers. Just so readers understand, it is not always possible to see all the birds present at Top End from the hide at present, and this will partly account for the varying numbers reported, aside from angling disturbance and birds coming and going, of course. Thanks for the updates.

 

Wednesday 15th August [Breezy with some drizzle]

I spent all day from 0930 to 1730 at Chew Valley Lake checking bat boxes yesterday and missed two bird year ticks at Blagdon, which is disappointing to say the least. I received a report on Thursday morning, for which I'm grateful (thanks to the birder concerned who wishes to remain anonymous), of the following sightings:

A Great White Egret Ardea alba, 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula (adult & juv. ♀♀ found by Andy Mears), the ♂ Mandarin Aix galericulata, an Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, 61 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 8 (7 adults & a juv.) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 5 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 (adult & 2 juvs.) Dunlin Calidris alpina, 2 (adult & juv.) Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 91 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 (adult & 4 juvs.) Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 4 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava flavissima, 2 ♂ Kestrels Falco tinnunculus, an adult Hobby Falco subbuteo and a juvenile Peregrine Falco peregrinus.

As for the bat box checks at Chew, we were really excited to find 2 Nathusius' Pipistrelles Pipistrellus nathusii, both ringed, plus 48+ Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus. I will post news about the ringed bats later on the Bat News Page. While there, I also saw a late Swift Apus apus over Moreton Point and 3 Green Sandpipers in Heron's Green Bay.

 

Thursday 16th August [Breezy & mainly sunny]

Much the same fayre as yesterday this morning, although some birds appeared to have moved on. The 8 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula were split between Tiny's Shallow (The Lodge) and Wookey Point (Top End), while the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius was still at the Lodge. I counted 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta along North Shore and at Rugmoor, with a single Great White Egret Ardea alba and a Swift Apus apus also at/over Rugmoor Point. There were 86 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa on my one count from the hide, with 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, and an adult Hobby Falco subbuteo also present. I met Richard Mielcarek and Andy Davis at Top End, but none of us could spot any Garganey, which was disappointing. I reckon the water level to be at about 60% now, as it continues to drop.

I'm off to the Channel Islands Bat Conference at the crack of dawn tomorrow, so I won't be visiting the lake over the weekend. Any news from visiting birders will be gratefully received and shared here as usual. I will have internet connectivity while there.

 

Friday 17th August

Just arrived on sunny Guernsey and I've already heard from Richard Mielcarek that there's a Garganey Spatula querquedula at Top End (thanks Rich), but I'm not grumpy at all! Mervyn Pearce has also been in touch (cheers Merv) to say he counted 62 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Wednesday, when the report I received was of 61 - and so it begins...

 

Saturday 18th August

I received the following news of sightings at Blagdon today (thanks to those who contacted me):

2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 10 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta (was this a double count?), an adult ♀ Garganey Spatula querquedula, 9 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 86 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa on my one count from the hide, with 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, and an adult Hobby Falco subbuteo, 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, a White Wagtail Motacilla alba alba, a ♀ Kestrel Falco tinnunculus.

 

Sunday 19th August

I didn't get home from Guernsey until quite late, having stopped for a decent Indian meal in Dorchester with Daniel and Mark on our way home. I received the following information about the birds at Blagdon today:

2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 14 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 3 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 91 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a Hobby Falco subbuteo, and a juv. Peregrine Falco peregrinus. Thanks for the news guys.

 


Monday 20th August [Cloud & a little drizzle]

I was up late this morning after a tiring weekend batting in Guernsey, and Richard Mielcarek rang me to tell me there were 2 Turnstones Arenaria interpres in front of the Lodge. It was early afternoon before I finally got to the lake and, sure enough, the Turnstones were still there along with 14 (12 adult & 2 juv.) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, and the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius. There were 17 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa also there, but I counted another 113 at Top End! So, I started a second count, but was distracted by an adult ♀ a juvenile Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus right in front of me. Needless to say, it flushed everything at Top End before I lost sight of it overhead thanks to the frustratingly narrow hide viewing slats. I noted the time as 1520 hrs and rang Richard while I carried out a recount of the Godwits. He made it 109 this morning, including the birds at the Lodge, and I made it 109 on the recount. So, on the way home I checked to see that the Lodge birds were back at Top End, which they were, so we'll settle for 109 today. Additional birds that I noted were a Great White Egret Ardea alba, 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax. No Garganey though!

Mike Moxon sent me the following news: There were 2 Great White Egrets with at least 6 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea & 1 Greenshank Tringa nebularia amongst the Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, all at Rugmoor Point. I note that George Stacey had a Whinchat Saxicola rubetra at Blagdon as well today, according to Avon Birds (another patch year tick escapes me).

I'm off batting in Wiltshire all night tonight - no rest for the wicked. Hopefully, I'll have some time to write up the events of the weekend tomorrow.

 

Tuesday 21st August [Mainly dry after early drizzle]

Having arrived home at 0700 hrs this morning I slept until lunchtime after a pretty hectic night of batting. However, late in the afternoon I recorded 13 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, 7 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 2 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus, 111 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4, or possibly 5, Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 56 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, and 12+ Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus.

I received other sightings from various people including Andy Davis (thanks to everyone for taking the trouble), that included maxima of 117 Black-tailed Godwits, 18 Ringed Plovers, 4 juv. Spotted Redshanks (until dusk), 2 juv. Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Hobby Falco subbuteo, a juv. Peregrine Falco peregrinus, and a juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus (one of those previously noted at Chew). The latter bird is undoubtedly the same one that I saw so briefly yesterday and, therefore, aged incorrectly. Should have checked the id guide before writing the blog. Doh!

 

Wednesday 22nd August [Dry but cloudy. Warm.]

I managed to get to the lake this morning and over lunchtime for a change. Although Andy Davis called me to go and see a couple of Garganey Spatula querquedula at Top End (found by Derek Angell - thanks guys), I saw the following birds in order from the dam to Top End:

A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 2 (adult & juv.) Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula at Polish Water in front of the Lodge, several ringed gulls (details below) on Tiny's Shallow, 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and from Rainbow Point towards Top End there were 4 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus, 78 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Redshanks Tringa totanus, and a Hobby Falco subbuteo.

  • Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, 2nd year, Red K+H, a ♂, ringed in Bristol on 30 June 2016. First noted on 31st July at BL and subsequently.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, adult, Grey A+U, a ♂, ringed in Bristol on 23 June 2009. Peter Rock sent me the following notes: Ferrol Aug09, Madrid Mar+Apr12, Breeding Bristol since 2012. Quarteira Oct+Nov13, Lower Compton Landfill Jul16+Aug17+Mar18.
  • Herring Gull Larus argentatus, adult, Yellow A+P, a ♂, ringed in Bristol on 21 June 2013. Peter sent me the following sighting details: Several Shortwood Apr15-Jun18. North Way (transfer station) Jun16+Mar17. Lower Compton Jan17.
  • Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus, adult, Green L42, from Normandy and a regular since turning up as a juvenile at BL. Limping on right, ringed, leg today.

 Additional to my sightings were 8 Little Egrets on Rugmoor Point mid-afternoon per Mike Moxon (thanks Mike).

In the evening I joined Dave Cottle to co-lead a bat walk for residents of East Harptree. Mark Hynam joined us with his EM Touch, an especially useful detector to have out in the field on public events [see Bat News].

 

Thursday 23rd August [Warm & sunny in the morning, cloudy, cooler, & breezy in the afternoon.]

Simon Isgar was kind enough to call me this morning when he found 6 Common Terns Sterna hirundo in front of the Lodge, and before I drove down the hill he saw 2 Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus come in, then fly off west. We also spotted 2 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula at Polish Water before I had to leave.

After going for a walk with friends, and doing the domestic chores this afternoon, I finally got out after tea for an hour before dark. I managed to compile quite a list despite the late hour, but no doubt its far from comprehensive. There were 19 Ringed Plovers and 6 Dunlin Calidris alpina in front of the Lodge, a Barn Owl Tyto alba at Holt Bay, and 69 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at Top End. While at the Lodge I noticed a sizeable raft of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus, so I counted them and those I saw from Top End hide to give a total of 68, which is an increase since the WeBS count on 14th.

According to Avon Birds, 2 Greenshanks were seen during the day and Andy Davis texted to say he'd seen a single Garganey Spatula querquedula at Top End.

 

Friday 24th August [Some heavy rain showers through]

I spent a lovely afternoon at the lake, mostly in the company of Colin Hunt at Top End hide. I saw a single juvenile Ringed PloverCharadrius hiaticula at Polish Water in front of the Lodge, then added 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus, singles of Redshank Tringa totanus and juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 82 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Hobby Falco subbuteo, and 2 Swifts Apus apus among the throng of House Martins Delichon urbicum from Top End hide with Colin. Before leaving, we drove over to Rugmoor Gate and found an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, and 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, having already seen one from the hide. So, whether there were 4 or 5 Greenshanks present I'm not sure, but I'm happy to settle for 4.

I have another report from early morning that said 14 Ringed Plovers were still present, along with an adult ♀ Garganey Spatula querquedula, 2 Hobbies, and a single Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus.

Later, Andy Davis texted me to say he and Rich Mielcarek saw 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula at Wookey Point this morning.

 

Saturday 25th August [Sunny]

I did have a quick trip to Top End hide to show a couple of mates the Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus before we drove to Bodmin to watch an FA Cup match. I saw 3 Redshanks Tringa totanus while I was there, as well as Black-tailed Godwits and Greenshank.

There was a more comprehensive report on Avon Birds as follows: 1 Great White Egret Ardea alba, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 14+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 49+ Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 1 Redshank Tringa totanus, 4 Spotted Redshanks Tringa erythropus, and 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia.

 

Sunday 26th August [Rain all day until the evening]

I didn't go down to the lake until this evening when the rain abated. However, it was well worth the trip because I found a juv. Little Stint Calidris minuta at Wookey Point with 4 Dunlin Calidris alpina (2 adults), a juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, and 8 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula. I counted 116 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, around the Top half of the lake, saw a single Great White Egret Ardea alba, and a mobile Greenshank Tringa nebularia, but there was no sign of the Spotshanks. In addition to those at Top End, I counted another 5 adult Ringed Plovers.

I've just seen a report of a visit made this morning with the following sightings in addition to mine: 2 Great White Egrets, 1 Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 2 Garganey (adult & juv.) Spatula querquedula, 9 Dunlin, 1 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 5 Greenshanks and 1 adult Redshank Tringa totanus (thanks to the contributor).

 

Monday 27th August [Dry, mainly cloudy, but with some sunny spells.]

An afternoon by the lake was quite productive, with the juv. Little Stint Calidris minuta still present on Wookey Point, as were a Garganey Spatula querquedula, 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, a juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, and a Dunlin Calidris alpina. I saw a mobile Great White Egret Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, plus 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, 2 more Ringed Plovers at the Lodge, and counted 107 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, and 57+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus.

I had a Swift Apus apus reported to me while I was there, and noted one ringed gull at the Lodge:

  • Herring Gull Larus argentatus, adult, orange/yellow K+K.

 Late news of 2 Great White Egrets at the lake this morning to add to my one, later in the day.

 

Redshanks, Polish Water, Lodge. 25th August © Nick Wilcox-Brown 2018Redshanks, Polish Water, Lodge. 25th August © Nick Wilcox-Brown 2018

 

Tuesday 28th August [Dry & warm, but overcast.]

I managed a couple of hours lakeside today, and saw the juv. Little Stint Calidris minuta in the usual place with 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 juv. Dunlin Calidris alpina and a Garganey Spatula querquedula. Also dotted around Top End were 108 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, and 4 Wigeon Mareca penelope, the latter being new in. Other counts included 89 Mute Swans Cygnus olor, 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 60, or so, Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Holt Farm, and 6 more Ringed Plovers (5 adults and a juv.) at Polish Water in front of the Lodge. A Peregrine Falco peregrinus was spotted by Keith Vinicombe over Top End while we were birding together too. The water level suggests the lake is now around 53% full.

 

Wednesday 29th August [Dry & warm]

I was unable to visit the lake today but received the following news of birds there: 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Garganey Spatula querquedula, 8 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, the juv. Little Stint Calidris minuta, 4 juv. Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus and just 53 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa (the rest having been flushed over to Chew Valley Lake, Herriott's Pool, by a helicopter). There was also a Hobby Falco subbuteo still present, and Sarah Lynnet reported seeing a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis. Thanks for the news.

 

Thursday 30th August [Dry & warm]

I made a couple of brief visits to the lake today and saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 5 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, and lots of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa. Andy Davis texted me that he'd counted 121 this morning and I'd made two counts of 122 and 134. They were densely packed and occasionally moving about so there was going to be an element of inaccuracy, and I'm happy to settle for a minimum of 121 birds. Another unusal sighting was a raft of 20 Moorhens Gallinula chloropus well out in the lake. Perhaps, with the water so far from marginal vegetation now, they feel safer from predators when feeding out in the weed beds being exposed as the water level drops.

I saw 2 ringed gulls this afternoon, both seen before and logged as:

  • Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, 2nd year, Red K+H, a ♂, ringed in Bristol on 30 June 2016. First noted on 31st July at BL and subsequently.
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, adult, black 9CHO, a ♂, ringed on Guernsey at Chouet Landfill as a 3rd-year on 22/05/2014 by Paul K Veron. I only noted the letters CHO on the ring today. Perhaps the 9 was on a separate ring that has subsequently been lost, or perhaps I just missed it today.

 Friday 31st August [A lovely day]

It was a beautiful day, but I was busy both this morning and afternoon with Avon Bird Report and bat business. I received a number of calls during the day with some intriguing sightings. Rich Mielcarek rang to alert me of some Avocets flying around at Chew Valley Lake that may have headed west towards Blagdon. He popped over for a look and found 10 Black Terns Chlidonias niger but no sign of the Avocets. Then, Paul Williams texted a few times during the afternoon to tell me there was a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at the Lodge, 13 Black Terns off Rainbow Point and 2 Little Stints Calidris minuta at Top End.

I eventually had time to have a quick look at the lake at around 1830 hrs on the way home and saw the Black Terns and juv. Wheatear. After tea I went back to the lake for the last half hour of light and saw a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula at the Lodge with the Wheatear nearby, counted 12 Black Terns off Rugmoor Point, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba (that flew off to Chew to roost as usual), 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, another 3 Ringed Plovers and a Dunlin Calidris alpina around Top End, but no stints. I didn't count the Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa in the failing light, but estimated there to be nearly 100 present as darkness fell. On the way back to the Lodge I saw 2 Barn Owls Tyto alba hunting.

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