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Blagdon Lake Birds



August 2019 News

Saturday 3rd August [Warm & overcast]

Today there were 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Great White Egret Ardea alba, and a pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca. What appears to be the regular adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis has returned to the lake for the late summer period. I managed to spot a few Small Red-eyed Damselflies Erythromma viridulum from the boat quay while I was there, so it appears they did breed successfully for the first time last year. I also spotted a pair ovipositing.

 

Sunday 4th August [Warm & overcast]

This evening I met Mark Hynam at the lake and we saw the pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, up to 5 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos scattered about, 4 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus on Rugmoor Point and 2 distant ducks that may have been juvenile Scaup, but we couldn't really be sure in the failing light. While we were trying to work out the ducks identity, a Peregrine Falco peregrinus flew up the lake. Tomorrow the usual team will be carrying out the WeBS count in the morning, so I'll keep an eye out for the 'mystery' ducks.

 

Monday 5th August [Pleasantly warm] WeBS Count

Phil Delve, Terry Doman and I carried out the WeBS count this morning. Coot Fulica atra, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula and Mute Swan Cygnus olor numbers continue to build with 994, 630, and 102 respectively; the latter count being very close to the site record of 103. Teal Anas crecca and Shoveler Spatula clypeata are back at the lake, and a few Herring Larus argentatus and Lesser Black-backed Gulls L. fuscus are starting to pass through again. Full count details are on the WeBS Page.

 

Tuesday 6th August [Sunshine & showers]

A brief morning visit turned up the Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus seen previously, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and no fewer than 10 (9 adults and a juvenile) Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus.

 

Wednesday 7th August [Sunny spells]

I went to Chew Valley Lake with Mark Hynam this evening to finish checking the last 10 bat boxes, that Ken and I didn't manage to complete last week. We found some Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, and Mark got up close and personal with some Hornets Vespa crabro but thankfully lived to tell the tale!

We popped over to Blagdon in the failing light and saw a Little Egret Egretta garzetta on Rugmoor Point, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleuco on Green Lawn, and heard others calling in the near-darkness. The pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were on the dam wall.

 

Thursday 8th August [Sunny]

A lovely calm morning at the lake and a good selection of Odonata were showing around the Lodge area including Small Red-eyed Damselfly Erythromma viridulum, Common Blue Damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum, Blue-tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans, Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum, Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum, Emperor Anax imperator, Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta, and Black-tailed Skimmers Orthetrum cancellatum. There were 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta plus all the usual waterfowl, but no sign of any new waders. Hopefully, with the weather set to come in tonight a few migrants will drop in over the next two days.

 

Friday 9th August [Windy with some heavy showers]

This morning I found a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa in front of the Fishing Lodge (first of the year), a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Top End and 4 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta on Rugmoor Point.

If the wind really gets up overnight as the forecasters suggest it might, we could be in for a few surprises tomorrow. Here's hoping!

 

Saturday 10th August [Very windy with heavy showers]

My late morning visit wasn't as interesting as I'd hoped, although I saw Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at Home and Rugmoor Bays, and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on Home Bay Point. There were lots of hirundines including a fair number of Sand Martins Riparia riparia, and a few more Teal Anas crecca and Shovelers Spatula clypeata have arrived. Late this evening I met Mark who'd been at the lake since 1600 hrs and we saw a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata at Bell's Bush barrier.

Mark had seen 3 Little Egrets, a Great White Egret Ardea alba, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, 5 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and the dark Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus again - I'll book my eye test on Monday!

 

Sunday 11th August [Annoyingly wet]

I spent most of the day at the lake, checking early on for bird arrivals, then spending the rest of it until tea time checking bat boxes. There was an adult Dunlin Calidris alpina on Rugmoor Point with 4 or 5 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, and 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta around Home Bay/Point, and I spotted a fly-by Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at the Lodge. The pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were on the dam wall early on. There were Swifts Apus apus over the lake too, and although spread widely, the biggest single count was of 5.

The bat box checks turned up circa 150 Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus, with another box full of them that we will video the emergence from tomorrow. This group has moved from the box on the next tree that contained over 170 Soprano's a week or two ago. We also found a new, unringed, adult ♂ Nathusius' Pipistrelle Pipistrellus nathusii in one of the boxes.

 

Monday 12th August [Sunny spells after overnight rain]

The pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were on the dam again late this morning, and I saw 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Great White Egret Ardea alba, and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus.

This evening Mark Hynam and I went to video and count the emergence of bats from one of the boxes. We got to 99 when heavy rain forced us to stop, and the bats that were already out came winging their way back to shelter.

 

Tuesday 13th August [Mainly sunny]

I didn't have much time to spend at the lake today, but I did see the pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on the dam, with 4 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos and a juvenile Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus among a host of Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus. I couldn't spot anything new at Top End as darkness fell.

A report of 2 Spotted Flycatchers Muscicapa striata at Long Bay on Avon Birds today.

 

Wednesday 14th August [A miserable wet day, with low cloud over the surrounding hills]

It was a busy day today, so I didn't get home in time to check the lake over. However, as I drove home towards Blagdon through Rickford, I spotted a Little Egret Egretta garzetta standing in a tree over the pond.

 

Thursday 15th August [Breezy. Changeable with sunny spells.]

The best bird that I spotted during a lunchtime visit today was a juvenile Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus at Burmah Road with a prey item (possibly a dead fish). I also saw 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and a Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. Frustratingly, the recent rains have meant the water level is holding rather than dropping, so Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge remains covered with water, and the margins are not sufficient to attract any groups of waders in yet. There were good numbers of larger gulls present with quite a high ratio of juveniles to adults, so I guess these particular birds had a good breeding season. I didn't see any evidence of rings on those on the dam wall, so they're probably not local.

 

Saturday 17th August [Mainly dry]

After yesterdays incessant rain, the level of the lake has risen, and the early promise of margins for migrant waders to drop on has all but disappeared again. I fancy this is going to be a year with far fewer species recorded than when the water level drops significantly. At present I only know of 114 species that have been seen at the lake this year, so it'll be a stretch to reach the 140+ that we might expect during one of the better years.

Nick Wilcox-Brown texted me to say he saw 2 juvenile Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus in front of the Top End hide this morning, as well as a Brown Hare Lepus europaeus near Home Bay. I'm presuming these are the same 2 juvenile Marsh Harriers that have been seen regularly at Chew Valley Lake as well.

Later in the day, I saw the juvenile Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus again at the Lodge, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta in Long Bay, and a Brown Hare.

 

Sunday 18th August [Blustery. Sunny spells.]

I only have the pair of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on the dam to report today. Avon Birds reported the sightings of a Great White Egret Ardea alba, 6 Swifts Apus apus, a Peregrine Falco peregrinus, and 2 Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea.

In the evening, Ken, Mark and I ran a short bat trapping session at Chew Valley Lake in a last ditch attempt to catch another ♀ or juvenile Nathusius' Pipistrelle to radio tag, in order to trace it back to its roost. Sad to report, we failed!

 

Monday 19th August [Blustery & changeable]

I made two visits to the lake today, but the only birds of note were the juvenile Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephaluson the dam, and a ♀ Goldeneye Bucephalus clangula in heavy wing moult among the flock of Aythya ducks at Top End. Since Friday, there have been good numbers of hirundines over the lake, mainly House Martins Delichon urbicum.

 

Tuesday 20th August [Sunny with a steady breeze]

Late morning the workmen were repointing the dam wall, a guy on a mower was cutting the grass on the top and as a result all the birds had moved off. Disappointingly, I couldn't find anything worthy of reporting during my visit other than seeing a ♀ Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus with 2 young.

 

Thursday 22nd August [Sunny spells. Dry & warm.]

This evening I spotted a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall, and watched a Little Egret Egretta garzetta fly in over the dam and straight into some lakeside trees to roost.

 

Saturday 24th August [Hot & sunny]

Excitement at Chew Valley Lake due to a big fall of Black Terns Chlidonias niger meant I had to change plans hastily and find time for a quick visit to the lake, and I was duly rewarded with finding a flock of some 62, or so, Black Terns at Top End. I also spotted a Great White Egret Ardea alba on Rugmoor Point and a Little Egret Egretta garzetta on Home Bay Point. The terns were still present at 1800 hrs when I went back later.

2 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were also noted during the day according to Avon Birds.

 

Sunday 25th August [Hot & sunny]

Not much to report this evening other than a Redshank Tringa totanus and Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall.

 

Monday 26th August [Hot & sunny]

I managed a visit to the lake around lunchtime, before going to visit my mum in hospital, and saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and spotted a few Small Red-eyed Damselflies Erythromma viridulum still on the wing from the boat quay.

In the evening, Ken, Mark and I carried out a short 2.75 hr trapping session on Rugmoor Point. We caught 3 new ♂ Nathusius' Pipistrelles Pipistrellus nathusii as well as a few Soprano Pipistrelles Pipistrellus pygmaeus and a Daubenton's Bat Myotis daubentonii.

 

Wednesday 28th August [Cooler & changeable]

Late this morning I watched 2 Black Terns Chlidonias niger flying up the lake towards me while I was sitting in the Top End hide, but my eye was drawn to the sudden flight of Coots Fulica atra from the Indian Country bank. The kerfuffle was caused by a juvenile Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus hunting along the water's edge. After that, I didn't see the terns again. There were 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta present, one on Wookey Point (still flooded) and one in Home Bay.

 

Thursday 29th August [The sun eventually broke through in the afternoon]

I only have 2 Redshanks Tringa totanus to report today.

 

Saturday 31st August [Changeable]

News from Mark Hynam this evening to say he'd seen 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, a juvenile Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus and a juvenile Common Gull Larus canus.

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