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Blagdon Lake Birds

September 2020 News

Wednesday 30th September [Rain]

I thought the rain might bring some migrants down, but the month has fizzled out with nothing new appearing at the lake. Today, I saw 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca at Rainbow Point, and at Top End 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Great White Egret Ardea alba, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Pintail Anas acuta and a 1st-winter male Stonechat Saxicola rubicola.  Let's hope for a better month in October.


Tuesday 29th September [Sunny]

Cut and paste: A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca at Polish Water, 1 Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta at Top End with a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 Pintail Anas acuta and 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula, plus 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa along Burmah Road/Hellfire Corner.

There were a number of ringed adult Herring Gulls Larus argentatus at the Lodge this afternoon, but I didn't manage to read them all (they flew off, were at the wrong angle, stood on one leg etc etc.). I did get white B+A, and yellow A+P which I'll forward to Pete Rock.


Monday 28th September [Cold & grey]

This morning I stopped-off very briefly to check out Top End and saw 1 Great White Ardea alba and 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, plus 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, but only having binoculars with me at the time, everything else was too far away.

Okay, so the mid to late morning visit didn't turn up too much else, but there were 4 Black-tailed Godwits present still, as was the Greenshank Tringa nebularia, but I couldn't find the two small, mystery, waders we spent ages watching yesterday. The only additions were 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 7 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis and a Stonechat Saxicola rubicola at Holt Bay, plus an increased count of 100 Wigeon Mareca penelope at Top End.

I had a bit of a surprise when I went out for the first time this morning because I found a Field Grasshopper on the wall of the house by the back door. I can only assume it must have come back home with me from the lake on the car yesterday, so I potted it up and took it back, where I know there is a good population in the meadows.

Mark went down to the lake after he'd finished work, and although he didn't add any new birds, he did tell me some low-life has fly-tipped a load of kitchen units at the bottom of Dark Lane... 


Sunday 27th September [Sunny with a cold wind]

I spent most of the day at the lake with Mark, trying to enjoy my birding, but I'm sorry to say that Bristol Water have lost control of people coming onto areas of the site that are permit access only. Even at dusk we had to drive around to the north side of the lake to head off a woman walking along the water's edge taking selfies before she blundered into the area of soft mud at Rugmoor. There were runners, groups of picnickers under the Top End owl box and beside the hide, and walkers who refused to leave when asked to, it seems that the 'Great British Public' have lost all respect and do just what they want to.

Needless to say, there was a lot of disturbance, but we totted up 54 species despite not seeing a finch of any sort. There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, 1 Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, a Garganey Spatula querquedula, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis, a juvenile Peregrine Falco peregrinus, and two small, pale waders that we could not identify due to their distance from any close viewpoint at Top End. We suspect they were probably Dunlin, but they seemed a bit small when compared to 5 Snipe Gallinago gallinago nearby, so we had better leave them as not identified despite our best efforts. I even got the Questar out of its box for an outing!

I received an email from Mervyn Greening about the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, blue F:223, noted on 22nd September.

  • It was ringed on Flat Holm on 4th July 2015, seen at Vil de Matos, Coimbra, Portugal on 6th November 2015, Blagdon Lake on 6th October 2017 by me, and at Colmenar Viejo, Madrid, Spain on 29th December 2019, before coming back to Blagdon.


Saturday 26th September [Sunny with a cool breeze]

'twas a bit chilly around the gills this morning, so I kept moving as much as possible during my visit, and to be honest there wasn't a great deal to stand around for anyway! The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam, I saw 1 Great White Ardea alba and 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 Pintail Anas acuta and counted 89 Wigeon Mareca penelope.  I didn't spend too much time looking for Garganey among the Teal Anas crecca, and with one couple walking along the shoreline on the North Shore and another couple, baby (& buggy) and two dogs running around off the lead at Rainbow Point the disturbance was a problem anyway.

Mark spent the afternoon at the lake, but also had to contend with more walkers. He added to the Great White Egret count with 3, and when we met this evening, we saw 5 Little Egrets, 4 of which appeared to have gathered to roost together.


Friday 25th September [Sunny, very breezy, & cool.]

It felt decidedly autumnal this morning by the lake. The birding was unexpectedly good for a change, thanks to Mark who turned up late on and found some choice birds. Starting at the dam, I saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, noted at least two singing Chiffchaffs Phylloscopus collybita, counted 3 Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, saw good numbers of House Martins Delichon urbicum and the odd Swallow Hirundo rustica or two, and when I reached Rainbow Point I watched 2 Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus briefly over Rugmoor Point (the adult female showed well later). I walked on to Bell's Bush and spent some time there scanning the Top End. There were 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, the Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 4 Garganey Spatula querquedula, a Pintail Anas acuta, and 3 distant small waders. Mark turned up at that point, and spotted a Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, and a pair of Stonechats Saxicola rubicola, having already seen the other pair I found at Green Lawn yesterday, then managed to turn the 3 waders into Curlew Sandpipers Calidris ferruginea when we got to the hide! The adult female Marsh Harrier caused quite a lot of disruption among the waterfowl, and I made three aborted attempts to count the Wigeon Mareca penelope, but did tot up 40 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis, and circa 20 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus when they flew up. In addition, Mark had seen a Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa on the road as he made his way to Top End (the fifth site record) - it's that time of year when game birds are released by the million into our countryside!


Thursday 24th September [Showers]

First, news of the Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, yellow 2A73, that I reported on 20th September at the Lake. It was ringed at Fishers Green, Essex on 23rd May 2018, with other reports from Rye Meads, Herts. 11th May 2019, Camel estuary, Cornwall on 6th July 2019, 18th August 2019, and 21st July 2020, before visiting Blagdon (Southern Colour Ringing Group).

I visited the lake twice today, albeit briefly this morning on the way to meet Ken to look at Woodland Trust site, and again this evening to see if I could confirm the identities of the waders seen through binoculars this morning. There were 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, and a Greenshank Tringa nebularia. Also noted were 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a pair of Stonechats Saxicola rubicola, a Pintail Anas acuta, and 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca.


Wednesday 23rd September [Rain, sun & rain.]

I didn't get to the lake until early this evening, but soon after I arrived a cold front came over, it got dark, and the rain started again. I saw 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca at Polish Water, 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago before the gloom and heavier rain combined to force an early retreat.


Tuesday 22nd September [A sunny morning, then clouding over & turning cooler] Autumn Equinox

I walked with friends at Ashton Court Estate this morning, then had a look at the lake late this afternoon. I think there has been a drop in numbers of birds present after the balloon fly-by yesterday evening, but I did see the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa , a Garganey Spatula querquedula, 6 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta (the same as I counted yesterday), and 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca. There was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, blue F:223, at Polish Water, and a lone adult Common Gull Larus canus on Wookey Point, plus 32 Canada Geese Branta canadensis and 7 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea. There has been a redistribution of Teal Anas crecca further down the lake from Top End, leaving very little in front of the hide where you will really need a telescope to aid identification from now on, as the water level continues to drop. I reckon the level is currently a little over 50%.

I've finally got round to looking at the images taken on our latest bat photo shoot, and thought I'd share this rather stunning image of a Natterer's Bat Myotis nattereri with you:


Natterer's Bat, Wiltshire, 19th Sept. 2020.Natterer's Bat, Wiltshire, 19th Sept. 2020.


Monday 21st September [Misty early, then warm & sunny]

Phil, Rob and I did the WeBS count this morning, spilling into the early afternoon, and the best birds were 7 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 14 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus. There were some good counts, with 1487 Coots Fulica atra, 930 Teal Anas crecca, 499 Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, 323 Shoveler Spatula clypeata, 298 Gadwall Mareca strepera, and 97 Moorhens Gallinula chloropus. 

News of 6 Ruddy Shelducks heading north over the Mendips from Cheddar Reservoir prompted me to go back after tea, but the Tribute air balloon flew over the lake as I arrived, putting all the waterfowl into the air. The burners cause absolute panic - and it makes me wish there was a flight exclusion zone around the lakes. Anyway, there was no sign of any shelducks, which would have been a site first.


Sunday 20th September [Warm & breezy]

There was news earlier in the day from Andy Mears of a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in front of the Lodge, and 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, presumably still at Top End. I had a look around in the evening with Mark, and saw the juvenile Wheatear, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, a juvenile Common Gull Larus canus, a Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, yellow 2A73, 7 Great White Egrets Ardea alba (six of which we saw go to roost), 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and I heard a Water Rail Rallus aquaticus squealing in the tiny patch of reedmace at Burmah Road/Holt Copse. Phil, Rob and I will be doing the WeBS Count tomorrow morning.

Black-headed Gull yellow 2A73 was ringed by North Thames Gull Group, and I have sent them details of the sighting.


Saturday 19th September [Warm but breezy]

There were 7 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and the same adult Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis noted yesterday, plus 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa ochropus, 3 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, a Garganey, a Pintail Anas acuta and 50 Wigeon Mareca penelope noted during my brief visit, before I drove to Wiltshire for more bat photography with Daniel, Mark and the winner of a Mammal Society photographic competition, Roger. It was plum and cinnamon oat slices during the photography this evening. Thanks for the cakes, Celia, and thanks for the photo session, Daniel, a top night all round!


Friday 18th September [Sunny with an easterly breeze]

Another two-visit day, one late morning and another with Mark early afternoon. I found another Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis in Long Bay that both Mark and I saw again later in the day at Top End, and continuing the egret theme, I saw 5 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, with all 3 species standing next to each other at Top End at one point. A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam, 2 juvenile Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe and 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca  in front of the Lodge, and 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 1 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 3 juvenile Little Ringed Plovers Charadrius dubius, a juvenile Dunlin Calidris alpina, a juvenile Little Stint Calidris minuta, and at least one Garganey Spatula querquedula at Top End.

Later we met Daniel Hargreaves to do some more bat photography, although I didn't get any worthwhile images during the 6 hours sitting out in the cold. I even managed to drop the tin of apple buns Celia baked especially for our outing, spilling them into the roadside dirt - not my finest session in the field to be honest!


Thursday 17th September [Warm & sunny, with a cooling easterly breeze]

My late morning visit saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 15 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 2 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula, 3 Pintail Anas acuta, and 34 Wigeon Mareca penelope. Mark arrived early evening and found a juvenile Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe in front of the Lodge just before I arrived, and 5 Common Sandpipers on the dam. He also picked out a ringed Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus at Polish Water, but we both found it difficult to read the yellow ring. 


Wednesday 16 September [Warm & sunny]

A very late evening visit saw 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina at Polish Water, and 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge. I also saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and heard 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia calling. Mark, who'd arrived before me, saw 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and an Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus.


Tuesday 15th September [Hot & sunny]

I paid two visits to the lake today, hoping to see the Cattle Egrets, but there was no sign of them either this morning or evening. The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were at Polish Water, I totted up 7 Great White Egrets Ardea alba (5 of which appeared to stay and roost this evening), 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, singles of Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, and Snipe Gallinago gallinago, plus 2 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. This evening at dusk, I saw a Hobby Falco subbuteo catching insects, and counted 36 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis from the hide.


Monday 14th September [Hot & sunny]

Aside from the 'yoofs' etc., it was quite an entertaining afternoon at the lakeside today. There were 8 Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and while checking the Teal Anas crecca for the single Garganey Spatula querquedula that I spotted, I 'found' 5 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis resting among a large group of Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus on Wookey Point. While trying to get some distant record shots, I realised there were actually 6 of them. Shortly afterwards, a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus came flying along the south shore with a full crop and landed in front of the hide, albeit partially hidden by vegetation. It put all the birds on Wookey Point up, and I lost sight of the Cattle Egrets. So, I spent some time photographing the harrier when it deigned to show itself, before it settled completely out of view. I drove back towards the Lodge and blow me, there were 11 Cattle Egrets on the bank in Holt Bay, with a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea and a Great White! I got some shots of them from the car, before they flew off towards the grazing herd on Yeo Valley Farm.


Marsh Harrier, Top End, 14th Sept. 2020.Marsh Harrier, Top End, 14th Sept. 2020. 

 Cattle Egret flock, Holt Bay, 14th Sept. 2020.Cattle Egret flock, Holt Bay, 14th Sept. 2020.


Cattle Egrets, Holt Bay, 14th Sept. 2020.Cattle Egrets, Holt Bay, 14th Sept. 2020.


Aside from the egret fest, things were pretty much the same as the last few days. I saw Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam and later at Polish water (not sure if the same), 24 Wigeon Mareca penelope, 3 Pintail Anas acuta, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, and a Greenshank Tringa nebularia of note.

I walked back down to the lake after our evening meal, hoping to see if the egrets stayed and went to roost, and if so, where. I added 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca and a Hobby Falco subbuteo to the day list and saw the flock of 11 Cattle Egrets fly from Top End to Holt Copse, where there were 2 Great Whites standing in the top of one of the big trees. I obviously didn't wish to walk through and disturb any roosting birds, so I don't know if either species settled there for sure, although Great Whites and Littles were roosting in the Willows on Wood Bay Point earlier in the summer, when the trees were standing in water.


Natterer's Bat, Wiltshire, 13th Sept. 2020Natterer's Bat, Wiltshire, 13th Sept. 2020


Sunday 13th September [Hot & sunny]

I had a pretty busy day today but managed to squeeze a visit to the lake lake in around lunchtime. Best birds were the 5 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis at Green Lawn standing next to one of 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea. Sadly, I'd decided not to take my cameras because I'd already packed them for a photographic trip out with Daniel Hargreaves and Mark Hynam this evening. I also noted a single Little Egret Egretta garzetta, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos and 3 Pintail Anas acuta.

Here is one of a number of shots taken this evening, this one being of a Natterer's Bat Myotis nattereri:


Natterer's Bat, Wiltshire, 13th Sept. 2020.Natterer's Bat, Wiltshire, 13th Sept. 2020.


Friday 11th September [Overcast & cooler]

A late morning visit was rather disappointing. I noted a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on Tiny's Shallow, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and at Top End a single Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 25 Wigeon Mareca penelope and 3 Pintail Anas acuta.


Thursday 10th September [A lovely sunny day]

I had a family day today, but I did get down to the lake just before sundown. I saw the family of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on Tiny's Shallow, and 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, but it was too dark to identify anything at Top End save for a Hobby Falco subbuteo over Flower Corner.

Wednesday 9th September [Dull early but brightening up later]

Much of today was spent with Ken Anstey helping a Masters student from the University of the West of England take some air samples from bat boxes at Blagdon that we know have been used by pipistrelles during the summer, but which we knew were currently empty. She is working on a system to sample for the presence of bats with minimum disturbance and had developed her kit quite considerably from that she piloted with us last year. I look forward to hearing the results. We also took the opportunity to remove the Tiny Tag data loggers from the boxes, now that the birthing season is over. Both were still recording and had been doing so since March. Now we've got the job of trying to interpret the results of our experiment too.

I went home for a cuppa after the bat work, before heading back to the lake for a look around with my optics and camera. There was a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis on the dam, 10 Grey Herons Ardea cinerea, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, the family of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, and the 2 Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus noted on Monday. It was another frustrating afternoon with the camera trying to photograph the harriers from the hide though, and a phone call at just the wrong moment caused me to miss an egret flying by the hide that was in all probability a Cattle Egret, but I didn't get a definitive view of it unfortunately. I was joined by Chris(?) and we watched the juvenile harrier with fascination as it found and tried to predate a dead bird floating in the weed off Rugmoor Point. It landed on the corpse and proceeded to strip it of feathers while trying to stay out of the water. After a long while it tried to drag the corpse free of the weed, and tried to lift it out of the water, at which point we thought the corpse may have been a Great Crested Grebe. However, fearing for the safety of the young harrier, we were eventually relieved to see it give up the unequal struggle and land on the bank to dry itself off and straighten out its dishevelled look. After my evening meal, I walked back to the lake and saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos in flight, briefly, off Tiny's Shallow, and 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus in Long Bay. I walked home in the dark and came across Maggie Gamble and a friend with their bat detectors at the dam honing their identification skills. Nice to meet you again ladies, I hope you enjoyed your evening?


Tuesday 8th September [Murky on the hills & overcast]

My evening was split between looking for a bat that had been reported as possibly in trouble and trying to see what was at the lake. Mark came over to help look for the bat as well, but we couldn't find it. The news from the lake was much the same as it has been for a few days, save for a Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus  that had completed its post-juvenile moult into 1st-winter plumage (they do this on leaving their natal colony as early as July). The support cast consisted of 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, 5 Pintail Anas acuta, plus 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus seen by Mark.


Monday 7th September [Mainly overcast] 

I was at the lake from about 1030-1230 hrs and saw a Little Egret Egretta garzetta along Butcombe Bank, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at Pipe Bay, the family of 2 adult and 2 juvenile Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca in front of the Lodge, and a second Common Sandpiper at Long Bay, on my way to Top End. From the hide, I reckoned there to be 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Pintail Anas acuta, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Redshank Tringa totanus, and a juvenile Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, but today's Marsh Harrier was different to the one I saw on Friday, without any doubt. This one had the beginnings of shoulder patches and was quite scruffy when viewed standing on the bank, unlike the very neatly feathered juvenile seen by Paul and I. It settled in front of the hide in vegetation, but once again I wasn't able to use my camera and long lens to follow it in flight because the viewing slats are too narrow to manoeuvre the gear. Bristol Water have been promising to widen the slats for two years, and Mark and I have even offered to do the job ourselves, frustratingly to no avail. I shall have to ask again...


Common Sandpiper, Long Bay, 7th Sept. 2020.Common Sandpiper, Long Bay, 7th Sept. 2020.


Sunday 6th September [Quite nice with an occasional shower]

Mark Hynam reported seeing 3, possibly 4, Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 3 Garganey Spatula querquedula, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus (the same ones seen by Paul Williams and I on Friday), and a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. I met with him just before dusk looking/listening for bats, and I was able to add 4 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca to his sightings.

While walking home later, I heard a Barn Owl Tyto alba hiss at me in the dark as I walked up Station Road.


Saturday 5th September [Breezy with sunny spells]

Mark Hynam was at the lake at the crack of dawn and walked the south side looking for passerines in the hedges but didn't manage to find any migrants. I met him mid-morning at Top End hide and we scanned the lake. I counted 22 Wigeon Mareca penelope, 17 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula (initially one each at Top End and Rugmoor, but both at Top End later), and an adult Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula.  We saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos at Peg's Point, and Mark saw 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus at Long Bay (I only saw the one later), 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on Tiny's Shallow, and a Painted Lady Vanessa cardui along North Shore.

Yesterday evening, when out for a run, I saw a Barn Owl Tyto alba cross Bourne Lane, Blagdon, in front of me, and this evening another crossed in front of my car as I drove along Kennmoor Road, Yatton, by Pullins Bakery.

Friday 4th September [Overcast with some drizzle]

I met Paul Williams in Top End hide late morning, and enjoyed a good catch-up, he even managed to 'produce' 2 Marsh Harriers Circus aeruginosus! The first bird that we saw was a juvenile-type with clear pale tips to the greater coverts and a sullied golden cap and throat. The second was the bird that Paul had seen on the 31st August, which appears to be an adult female with some peculiar white feathering in the right primaries and elsewhere in the plumage, making it very distinctive and easy to identify as an individual.  We also saw a Redshank Tringa totanus, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a single Garganey Spatula querquedula, 3 Swifts Apus apus, 26 Wigeon Mareca penelope, 2 Pintails Anas acuta, and 17 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. In addition, I counted 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca.


Thursday 3rd September [Drizzle & poor visibility early, some sunny spells late in the day.]

The news is much the same as yesterday, with 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula, and 2 Pintail Anas acuta at Top End. The egret count was as difficult as usual, but I think there were 6 Great Whites Ardea alba, and 1 Little Egretta garzetta present. There are plenty of Teal Anas crecca to look through for more Garganey, I didn't have enough time! I only had time for a short walk this evening as the nights inexorably draw in. I checked the Lodge area when I arrived and saw 2 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on Tiny'S Shallow before moving on. I decided to leave the car at Rainbow Point and walked to Top End, where I happened upon Mark in the hide. There were barely any birds in front, thanks to the presence of a juvenile Peregrine Falco peregrinus on the shoreline, and the customary Buzzard Buteo buteo eating a dead fish, surrounded by Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus waiting their turn!


Wednesday 2nd September [Sunny to start then overcast]

Back on the patch at lunchtime, I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Cheddar Water, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Hobby Falco subbuteo, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, a Garganey Spatula querquedula and an adult Pintail Anas acuta at Top End. I counted 10 Wigeon Mareca penelope from the hide and noted a pair of Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus with a very young juvenile. Another trip down to the lake in the evening, on foot, turned up a juvenile Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus in front of the Lodge.


Tuesday 1st September 2020 [Sunny & warm]

I didn't visit the lake today; I went walking with friends at Sand Bay and over Middle Hope. I did note a Wheatear at Sand Bay during our perambulation, but not a lot else from a birding point of view.

Avon Birds was carrying news of circa 10 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 3 Redshank Tringa totanus, and 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia at the lake.

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