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Blagdon Lake Birds



September 2018 News

Saturday 1st September [A lovely warm day]

Welcome to the blog from Blagdon Puddle on the first day of meteorological autumn! It was a good day to be birding with a juvenile Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus and an adult Knot Calidris canutus doing my Patchwork Challenge score no harm whatsoever.

Mark Hynam had been at the lake since early morning when I finally got to the lake and met up with him. We spent a couple of hours in the Top End hide going through all the birds, finding the Knot, and comparing notes when, while counting 169 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, I stumbled across the Glossy Ibis on Wookey Point at around 1215hrs. Neither of us saw it fly in, so where it came from we have no idea. There were 6 each of Great White Egrets Ardea alba and Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, with the Littles flying off west at dusk and the GWEs flying off east to Chew Valley Lake to roost. We had 5 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Dunlin Calidris alpina, up to 4 reported Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, a juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 7 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, a Pintail Anas acuta new in, and a couple of Hobbies Falco subbuteo (adult and juv.). There was a note left on the white board in the hide later in the day of a Peregrine Falco peregrinus too.

I was alone in the hide as darkness fell, and saw the Glossy Ibis until I could see no more. The Godwits were extremely vocal and I wondered if they were preparing to clear out tonight - time will tell. A Barn Owl Tyto alba was sitting on the exit gate in my headlights as I left, a perfect end to a lovely day.

 

Sunday 2nd September [Another lovely warm day]

Damn, no patch ticks today - so far! A visit to the lake this afternoon brought 10 each of Great White Egrets Ardea alba and Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 122 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, and 3 Pintail Anas acuta. There has been a slow increase in the number of Wigeon Mareca penelope since last Tuesday, a sure sign of autumn, even though the weather is still gorgeous. Also noted were 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo and a juv. Peregrine Falco peregrinus. I've heard, second-hand, that the Glossy Ibis was seen first thing this morning, but there was no sign of it during my visit.

 

Monday 3rd September [Warm again]

I met Andy Davis and Rich Mielcarek in the Top End hide when I got there, and they'd already found another Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, our fifth of the year at the lake, as well as 3 Garganey Spatula querquedula. Andy had said that he thought that there might be three present when we were chatting the other day, one that sleeps on Wookey Point and two that are usually to be found together out in Top End, but they can be hard to pick out in the throng. Richard had counted 95 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa but suspected he may have undercounted, and so it proved when I totted up 113 that included some at Rugmoor. There were an additional 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 5 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Redshank Tringa totanus, and 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo. Rich and Andy had seen 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula at Top End that disappeared during the regular raptor disturbance, but when I got back to the Lodge I found 6 there. I saw a very smart juvenile Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe on the dam when I arrived at the lake, and have to apologise to the birder I met there who was hoping to see a Spotshank, only to be put off by me when I told him the previous four had moved on several days ago, not knowing another had arrived.

The weather is closing in a little as the afternoon draws on so I might go back later, if rain sets in, to see if any terns or other migrants drop in.

 

Grey Heron sunning itself, Home Bay Point. 3rd Sept 2018.Grey Heron sunning itself, Home Bay Point. 3rd Sept 2018.

 

Juvenile Hobby, Top End. 3rd Sept 2018.Juvenile Hobby, Top End. 3rd Sept 2018.

 

Grey Wagtail, Top End. 3rd Sept 2018.Grey Wagtail, Top End. 3rd Sept 2018.

 

 

Tuesday 4th September [Overcast & damp]

I spent an hour or so at the lake this morning before going to see the Tour of Britain at the top of Cheddar Gorge. During that time I saw the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 3 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, and 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago. Later I had some additional news from Mark Hynam who saw 2 Common Actitis hypoleucos and one Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus on the North Shore, plus another Common Sandpiper on the dam, and 10 Great White Egrets and 5 Greenshanks overall.

 

Wednesday 5th September

It was a very interesting day's birding with a juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus causing a bit of a ruckus among the assembled throng at Top End throughout the afternoon. A few new birds included 2 Knot Calidris canutus, along with the usual Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, as well as 7 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, a Redshank Tringa totanus, 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 114 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, and 11 Pintails Anas acuta.

Some very distant, and tightly-cropped, record shots of the Marsh Harrier. Frustratingly, when it was much closer, I couldn't follow it with the big lens through the stupidly narrow viewing slats of Top End hide.

 

Thursday 6th September

It was a very long day by the lake today, starting at 0900 hrs to look at the birds quickly before spending the rest of the day checking bat boxes, which took until 1815 hrs. After a bite to eat we went back down to the lake to do a spot of bat trapping in the evening.

Let's start with the bird news. I saw 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and when we met Richard Mielcarek later he told me he'd seen the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, a Dunlin Calidris alpina, 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, 170 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, and 10 Pintails Anas acuta.

We had 4 species of bats in the boxes, including a ringed ♂ Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii and our second record of Daubenton's Myotis daubentonii in a box. In the evening, we caught 3 more ♂ Nathusius' Pipistrelles, two of which we'd previously ringed as well (see Bat News for details).

 

Friday 7th September

I saw 6 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 2 Sand Martins Riparia riparia, 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, and Richard Mielcarek counted 179 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa.

 

Saturday 8th September

I didn't have time for a visit today. But Ken Hall sent me the following news:

Lots of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Knot Calidris canutus, 3 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, and 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, all at the Top End. There were 8 Great White Egrets Ardea alba here as well plus one on the north shore, and 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta in Long Bay. There were in addition c. 55 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus in the ploughed fields near Holt Farm. Quite impressive were the Hornets Vespa crabro going in and out of one of the bat boxes at Holt Copse. Thanks Ken.

 

Sunday 9th September

I got down to the lake as dusk started to fall, but managed to see the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 juv. Ruff Calidris pugnax, and lots of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa. Interestingly, it appeared that 10 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta may have roosted together.

 

Monday 10th September [Mainly warm & sunny]

My apologies for the lack of news, I've just been rather too busy to update the blog. I will start with today's WeBS count and work backwards to fill in the gaps where I can.

Phil, Terry, Rob and I did the monthly count this morning which took us from 0945-1345 hours, mainly due to the numbers of birds. Top counts were 1131 Coots Fulica atra, 1112 Teal Anas crecca, 733 Mallards Anas platyrhynchos, 446 Shovelers Spatula clypeata and 294 Gadwall Mareca strepera. Other notable birds/counts included a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Garganey Spatula querquedula (per Andy Davis), 9 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 3 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 105 Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus, a Red Kite Milvus milvus, 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, 6 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and 89 Mute Swans Cygnus olor (equals record count). Then we came to the Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa... Richard Mielcarek rang me while we were counting, and said he'd totted up 205 from the hide, while each of us counted them and had totals of 209, 209, 211 and 214 (the last one being done when some birds flew up). So, we're going to settle for 211 (which is a site record I believe, and included a recently expired one floating at the water's edge at Bell's Bush). Full count details are on the WeBS Page as usual. By my reckoning the water level must be down to about 42% and is still dropping.

 

Tuesday 11th September [Dismal, dreary & drizzly all day]

I was supposed to be going to Shapwick to photograph invertebrates with friends today, but the weather put pay to that idea, so mid-afternoon I went down to the lake and saw a juv. Dunlin Calidris alpina, an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 8 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 62 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 1 Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 5 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 3 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 220 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, the juv. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 11 Pintails Anas acuta, 90 Mute Swans Cygnus olor, a Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, and heard a Hobby Falco subbuteo. There were sightings left on the Top End hide board of a Peregrine Falco peregrinus and 3 Hobbies.

 

Wednesday 12th September [Cloudy early, sunny & warm later.]

I spent all day at Chew Valley Lake with Ken Anstey and two trainees checking bat boxes. We had a good day (see Bat News).

In the evening I went to the lake after tea, and noted that we have a developing Little Egret Egretta garzetta roost, with at least 10 birds flying in. I didn't have time to look around, but did note 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba before they flew off to roost at Chew as usual. However, Richard Mielcarek counted 228 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa this morning, as far as I'm aware, a site record. Also recorded were 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, Ruff Calidris pugnax, Redshank Tringa erythropus, and 9 Great White Egrets.

 

Thursday 13th September [Sunny spells]

I popped down to the lake mid-morning, and met Andy Davis and Richard Mielcarek going through the birds at Top End. Richard had counted 168 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and while we scanned and chatted, all the birds went up. A large, probable ♀, Peregrine Falco peregrinus was swooping down at the panicking masses, then the juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus I'd noted a few days before, added to the mayhem. No wonder the waders and dabbling ducks were so nervous. While I was there I counted 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, but had to leave shortly after for the Dorset coast, where Nick Tomlinson had obtained permission for us to do some bat trapping as part of the Nathusius' Project.

Other sightings taken from the Top End hide board included 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, Ruff Calidris pugnax, and Redshank Tringa erythropus.

 

Friday 14th September [Showers]

I didn't get home from Dorset much before 0500hrs this morning, and Richard Mielcarek, Andy Davis and Chris Craig got to the lake before me and saw a large flock of Knot Calidris canutus, that had increased in number to an improbable 56 by 1120 hrs. Richard rang me (thanks), but I'd only just got out of bed and didn't get down to the lake until after he'd gone - and so had most of the Knot! As I stopped at the dam, 7 flew west overhead, and when I got to Green Lawn and was chatting to a visiting birder I saw another 7 Knot fly around Rainbow Point. So, I drove directly to Top End hide where I found just 3 left. I noted a few Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa heading west up the lake between the showers while I was there, so I didn't count those still present, but Richard and Andy had estimated that there were over 200 Black-wits earlier. I think the cause of birds leaving was probably the juv. Peregrine Falco peregrinus that has been around for a couple of days now. I saw singles of Redshank Tringa totanus, Ruff Calidris pugnax, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 8 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and a few Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis during that first visit too.

After domestic duties, I went back to the lake and met Mark Hynam who'd just found a juvenile Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Green Lawn, and while he was trying to photograph it he spotted a Red-legged Partridge creeping across the meadow. As I drove around the corner it walked into the hedge and despite looking for nearly an hour we couldn't relocate it. At that point we were about to go and count the Little Egrets (7+) coming in to roost, when I spotted it again... a Blagdon tick, although no doubt released locally. This was only the second site record, the last being in 1993. And, on the subject of records, I've just searched my Blagdon database for Knot records, and can find none of double figures, so today's 56 was truly exceptional.

 

Saturday 15th September [Sunny spells]

I've just added news from Ken Hall for the 8th Sept. that included 2 more Knot Calidris canutus, to add to the quite remarkable series of sightings at the lake this autumn. Up until this autumn there had only been about 20 previous records that I know about.

Well, I didn't expect that... 56 Knot Calidris canutus at Top End! Where have they been in the meantime? Perhaps to the coast and back? Also present were a Red Kite Milvus milvus which put all the waders up when it landed on Wookey Point to steal a meal from some gulls, 8 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 199 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina and at least 1 Hobby Falco subbuteo. There was a note on the Top End hide board of a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula in addition.

I received a message from Keith Vinicombe on my way to Dorset, where I was batting again last night with Colin Morris, to say that he'd watched 4 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis fly west down the lake at 1615 hrs. This was the second record of Cattle Egret for the site. He only saw one juv. Knot while he was there, so they'd flown off for a second time.

 

Sunday 16th September [Sunny spells, warm & windy.]

Another overnight bat trapping session in Dorset last night meant I didn't exactly rush down to the lake today! An interesting visit after an early tea brought me excellent views of the juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus again. It was playing havoc with the birds at Top End, many of which had moved further up the lake. On Rugmoor Point there were 2 juv. Buzzards Buteo buteo on what looked like a Moorhen Gallinago chloropus corpse. Then the harrier flew over and stood close by, as did two Crows Corvus corone that stole in a couple of times to pinch pieces of carrion until chased off by the harrier. Eventually, the harrier gave up and targetted another Moorhen swimming close by. It hovered and dived on the moorhen several times before eventually catching it and sitting on the water trying to drown it. After a couple of minutes, the harrier lifted off the water but dropped its prize before getting to the shore. Amazingly, the Moorhen was still alive. After several more minutes the Moorhen probably stole away to safety, even though the harrier made several more attempts at taking it. Fortunately for the moorhen, the juv. ♀ Peregrine Falco peregrinus put in an appearance and made several passes at the harrier which distracted it. Whether the Moorhen will survive the mauling is a moot point.

Other birds noted included 8 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 140 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, and 23 Pintails Anas acuta. Then, there was a very strange looking duck in Holt Bay, I'm thinking its a domestic escape/release but will hopefully have a chance to have a closer look at it tomorrow.

 

Monday 17th September [Mainly cloudy & warm]

I actually spent a few hours beside the lake from late morning to early afternoon today, and amassed quite a good list of notable birds, although there weren't any new species. Pride of place goes to the juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, which was hassled by the juv. ♀ Peregrine Falco peregrinus several times, like last night. There was an increase to 11 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, plus 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 117 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 7 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 5 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 4 juv. Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 46 Knot Calidris canutus (although Richard Mielcarek had counted part of the flock earlier and got to 53 before they were flushed, and Andy Davis estimated 60+ while we watched them in flight), a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, 41+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus (I couldn't see all the flock), and 10 Pintails Anas acuta. Finally, back at the Lodge, I spotted a juvenile Herring Gull Larus argentatus with a ring, white A=J, that is one of Pete Rocks local birds:

Herring Gull Larus argentatus, Juvenile, White A=J, ring no. GV43821, a ♀, ringed in Bistol on 19th June 2018. First sighting.

 

The Knot flew west over the Lodge, circling a couple of times, at around 1430 hrs and I'm wondering if they are coming to Blagdon at high tide to roost, before flying back to the estuary to feed. High tide at Clevedon was shortly after midday today.

This evening I was able to add Hobby Falco subbuteo to the day list.

 

Tuesday 18th September [Windy, warm and mainly dry.]

Yesterday I should have added that I saw lots of Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita in bankside trees as they migrate through the area, and today I got to the lake at 0745 hrs and stayed until 0915 hrs before going onto the Mendips with Ken Anstey to carry out Dormouse box checks (we found our first two mice of the year). During that time, I saw 34 Knot Calidris canutus, the juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, 11 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 62 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 juv. Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, a Dunlin Calidris alpina, a Ruff Calidris pugnax,4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia and 20 Pintails Anas acuta. Later in the morning, Richard Mielcarek and Andy Davis added a fifth Ringed Plover, the Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, and a Garganey Spatula querquedula to my sightings, and in the evening I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 5 Ruff, a Hobby Falco subbuteo, 21 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis in Long Bay alone, and 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. Wader numbers were lower today than any time over the last few weeks. I wonder if we'll get another influx during the autumn?

 

Wednesday 19th September [Sunny & warm, before clouding over & becoming drizzly.]

I had a look around fairly briefly mid-morning and saw 5 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2+ Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Dunlin Calidris alpina, 106 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and a single Knot Calidris canutus. I went to Walton Common for a short visit early afternoon, then Keith Vinicombe rang me, just before I got home and went back to the lake, to tell me he'd found a Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos at Bell's Bush. A few of us saw it before it was flushed by the juv. ♀ Peregrine Falco peregrinus and flew off with the Ringed Plovers. Mark Hynam and I found it again at the Lodge, but it flew again just as more birders arrived. Richard Mielcarek went back to Top End and found it back there again. Here's a shot taken with my 600 mm Canon lens and 1.4x converter in the early evening rain, almost impossible conditions, at ISO 800. Hopefully, it'll stick and I'll have another chance to photograph it in better conditions, although the forecast for tomorrow isn't great. 

 

Pectoral Sandpiper, Bell's Bush. 19th Sept 2018.Pectoral Sandpiper, Bell's Bush. 19th Sept 2018.

 

 During the afternoon there were 14 Knot at Bell's Bush, with 8 Great White Egrets and a Hobby Falco subbuteo at Top End this evening before I left.

 

Thursday 20th September [Changeable with some drizzle]

The Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos stuck overnight and allowed me to get some more distant pictures this morning in slightly better light. It was present all day until at least 1830 hrs.

 

Pectoral Sandpiper, Bell's Bush. 20th Sept 2018.Pectoral Sandpiper, Bell's Bush. 20th Sept 2018.

Pectoral Sandpiper, Bell's Bush. 20th Sept 2018.Pectoral Sandpiper, Bell's Bush. 20th Sept 2018. 

 Friday 21st September [Wild & windy, especially mid-afternoon.]

Given the overnight conditions, I knew I was going to have to put in a full shift at the lake today. I was hoping for some seabirds to have been blown inland overnight, and so it proved... at Chew! 2 Grey Phalaropes and a Leach's Petrel there, and nowt at Blagdon except 2 (adult & juv.) Arctic Terns Sterna paradisaea early on, and 3 Common Terns Sterna hirundo and another Arctic later in the day. I scoured the shoreline, and went through the hirundines over the water with a fine toothcomb, but sadly came up short. The Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos remained off Bell's Bush for much of the day, mainly with a single Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, but late this afternoon there were 6 Ringed Plovers and a single Dunlin Calidris alpina with it again. I spotted 6 Ruff Calidris pugnax,4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 7 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and 5 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, but didn't count any wildfowl today.

 

Ruff, Wood Bay. 21st Sept 2018.Ruff, Wood Bay. 21st Sept 2018. 

 

Saturday 22nd September [Heavy overnight rain & more today]

There's been a BIG clear out overnight. There was no sign of a the Pectoral Sandpiper during my visit, but I did find an adult winter Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius on the water between Wood Bay and Rugmoor Points. There's a big armada of fishing boats out today, so they may move it around a bit. Other birds noted before I had to go for the 'old gits' flu jab this morning were 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 6 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 5 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Dunlins Calidris alpina, just a handful of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and an Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea.

By 'eck it's grim out there! We couldn't spot the Phalarope this afternoon, but the optics were getting blinded by the driving drizzle/rain, so it hasn't necessarily moved on. Richard Mielcarek found a Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava with the Pied Wagtails Motacilla alba yarrellii at Top End late morning, and Mark Hynam found 3 Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe, while I can update counts to 4 Greenshanks, 3 Dunlin, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, circa 40 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, circa 40 Black-tailed Godwits and a Black Tern Chlidonius niger. Oh, I forgot, Dean Reeves told me he'd seen the juv. ♀ Peregrine Falco peregrinus during the afternoon too, and belated news of a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus seen by Robert Kelsh.

 

Sunday 23rd September [Rain early morning]

The place was locked up early this morning, and only Simon Isgar and I were out in the steady rain. Again, by recent standards there was little to report. I noted 7 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 6 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 6 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, just 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in front of the Lodge, 51 Pied Wagtails Motacilla alba yarrellii and a Black Tern Chlidonius niger at Top End. Like yesterday afternoon, there was no sign of the Phalarope. Mark Hynam saw 4 Dunlin and 2 Wheatears at the Lodge after my visit. Cheers Mark.

The lake is no longer being pumped as BW have switched to Chew Valley Lake for draw down. I think the level got down to about 45-47%, and the lake is likely to start slowly filling again now.

 

Monday 24th September [Warm in the sunshine]

There's definitely an autumn feel about the place now, although I saw 3 Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas butterflies on the wing in the sunshine. I looked for Ivy Bees during my walk too, but couldn't find any rather surprisingly. We have them in our village garden now.

The birding has settled down a bit after the excitement of the last few weeks. There were, however, 10 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 51 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 30 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, and a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus to be found with a diligent search.

 

Tuesday 25th September [Warm & sunny]

I had a quick look this morning before going walking with friends and helping my mum in the afternoon. Then, I had another look just before dusk, but the following sightings do not necessarily represent everything present of note. I saw 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 16 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 1 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and 30 Pintails Anas acuta.

 

Wednesday 26th September [Warm & sunny]

I was out with bat workers all day. We did boxes on the east side of Bristol, then trapped at Blagdon for just 2.5 hours this evening. I saw 11 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. While we were batting, I heard Greenshanks Tringa nebularia calling incessantly, so there was probably more than one of them around too.

 

Thursday 27th September [Warm & sunny]

I haven't had a very comfortable day, with quite severe back/kidney/diaphragm pain that came on while batting last night, but I did venture down to the lake for an hour this afternoon in the warm sunshine. I saw 13 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 6 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 6 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Dunlin Calidris alpina, and 14 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa. The juv. Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was back at Top End causing trouble again, although I didn't see it catch anything, and a couple of pale phase Buzzards Buteo buteo were scavaging fish carcases around the lakeside. Of the wildfowl, I counted 21 Pintails Anas acuta.

At the Lodge I spotted an adult Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus with a darvic ring, red 261A, and a couple of others with metal rings but no darvics.

  • Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, adult, Red 261A, ringed Blashford Lakes, Hants., as a chick on 18th June 2015. Previously noted at BL on 31st Aug. and 13th Nov. 2016, as well as in Devon on the Axe Estuary.

 

Friday 28th September [Cooler, but still sunny.]

Mark Hynam was at the lake around 0600 hrs this morning and recorded 9 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, and 9 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa. Then, while shopping in Clevedon, I received a call from Richard Mielcarek who followed a Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia over from Chew Valley Lake to Top End. He told me it was pretty mobile, so much so that as I drove back up Blagdon Coombe it flew off! Oh well, can't get 'em all.

Late news of 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia as well per Avon Birds.

 

Saturday 29th September [Sunny & warm'ish]

I was out batting all night in Wiltshire at a swarming site and didn't get home until just after 0400 hrs, so I didn't go down to the lake until mid-afternoon for an hour or so. Although there didn't appear to be many birds, and wildfowl numbers have certainly dropped, I found quite a good selection of nice birds, including, 13 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta (Mark Hynam saw 5 later), 60 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 38 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3+ Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus, a Ruff Calidris pugnax, 4 Knot Calidris canutus, 37 Pintails Anas acuta, 7 Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis, and a pair of Shelducks Tadorna tadorna.

 

Sunday 30th September [Cooler]

We were out batting again last night, a small team at Chew Valley Lake, and I didn't feel like going down to Blagdon until late this afternoon. There had been an influx of Aythya ducks overnight, mostly crammed into Top End due to the number of fishing boats out today. At the Lodge there were 8 Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula (probably the flock I saw distantly on Rugmoor Point yesterday), and elsewhere there were an amazing 14 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, just 22 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, and 41 Pintails Anas acuta.

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