Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Blagdon Lake Birds

June 2021 News

Wednesday 30th June [Dry, warm & muggy.]

There were 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos at Cheddar Water this evening, and I counted 163 moulting Canada Geese Branta canadensis scattered around the lake as best I could. A single Little Egret Egretta garzetta was at Rugmoor Point before it flew off towards Top End, presumably to Chew, and 11 Starlings Sturnus vulgaris flew over as I approached Top End gate.


Tuesday 29th June [Dry & settled]

There was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, along with a female Mallard Anas platyrhynchos and 2 new ducklings, at Cheddar Water this evening, and at Top End I saw a pair of Mute Swans Cygnus olor with 4 cygnets that I haven't previously noted. I think this was the usual Top End pair who nested early on but abandoned their nest and site, presumably due to predation, before trying again at a new site.

It was calm and still as the sun went down and the air was heavy with the scent of Linden (aka Lime) Tilia sp. blossom, and each tree that I walked under was absolutely buzzing with insects, mainly bumblebees.


Sunday 27th June

I enjoyed a very pleasant walk with Mike O'Connor, who came along the road as I was checking along the waterline at Green Lawn, although we didn't see a great deal. The Great White Egret Ardea alba was back on site, and I noted 2 adult summer-plumage Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus at Green Lawn. We also spotted a pristine Marbled White Melanargia galathea at Top End. 


Saturday 26th June

We had one of our occasional visits by a Great White Egret Ardea alba (non-breeding plumage) again today, that I saw at Rugmoor Point alongside a Little Egret Egretta garzetta. Mark spent the afternoon and evening at the lake and saw a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus sunning itself at Flower Corner on the cormorant tree, before doing some bat photography with Daniel Hargreaves at dusk. Melanie Patch texted to say she'd heard a couple of young Tawny Owls Strix aluco in the evening.


Friday 25th June

It remains quiet at the lake, although there was a new brood of 6 Mallards Anas platyrhynchos with mum in Holt Bay, where I saw a Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis for the first time in ages too. There was a Little Egret Egretta garzetta on Rugmoor Point, and I saw a Gadwall Mareca strepera fly past Wood Bay towards Top End. As I walked towards Top End a Sparrowhawk flew across the meadow at Burmah Road and just beyond the hide, I noted Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis in flower.


Wednesday 23rd June [Sunny]

Another evening walk, during which I came across a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on Green Lawn, and a Great White Egret Ardea alba, in non-breeding plumage, at Holt Bay.


Tuesday 22nd June [Warm & sunny]

I went walking with friends today, doing an 8 mile circuit from Bradford-on-Avon to Freshford, Iford, Farleigh Hungerford, Westwood and back. I was amazed to see lots of Wild Asparagus Ornithogalum pyrenaicum, aka Bath Asparagus, Prussian Asparagus, Spiked Star of Bethlehem, and Pyrenees Star of Bethlehem, flowering in the hedgerows. I've only seen this rare British plant once before, near Keynsham. The walk was marred by friend Trevor falling and breaking his elbow in two places while we were out in the wilds. Luckily, a very kind lady and her daughter came to the rescue and took him to Bradford Surgery, where they turned him away! Eventually, I got back to the car and drove him to Bath RUH where they kept him in overnight for surgery.


Monday 21st June

I had a walk in the evening and decided to record some of the abnormal Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita song that I've been hearing throughout the Spring in one area of the lakeside. More than one, and possibly up to three birds, have been involved. There's no suggestion that Iberian Chiffchaffs are present, it's just been curious to hear such varied song and birds seemingly imitating each other. I counted Mute Swans Cygnus olor because I thought there might be a few extra birds since the WeBS count and arrived at a total of 45 adult/immature and 8 juveniles. So, I was right! There were only 8 Canada Geese Branta canadensis on the farm, with the rest out on the water starting their moult.


Sunday 20th June [Overcast & wet]

There was a Mallard Anas platyrhynchos female with a bundle of new juveniles asleep on the dam wall. It was difficult to count the young ones, but I think there were 6 heads! The birding highlights were a Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto that flew overhead at Burmah Road, and on the way back to the Lodge 12 Starlings Sturnus vulgaris that flew south-west over Bell's Bush.  So, out of desperation, I counted over 50 Pyramidal Orchid spikes Anacamptis pyramidalis on Green Lawn!


Saturday 19th June [Cooler than of late]

I had an evening walk and met Mark, who was also having a late look around. I spotted a couple of Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, but both of us left before dusk so didn't see if there were any Hobbies hunting at last light.


Friday 18th June [Overcast much of the day]

Following a meeting with Bristol Water, about some trees that need to come down and their potential to affect bats, I spent a couple of hours birding but only noted juvenile Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis at Long Bay, and Pyramidal Orchids Anacamptis pyramidalis in flower at Green Lawn. As you may have gathered, the birding is quite slow at the moment.


Thursday 17th June [Overcast and humid]

I had a walk this evening and saw a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata at Holt Copse, and on the way back to the Lodge saw 4 Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus fly through to the west. Reverse migration is underway!


Tuesday 15th June [Hot & sunny]

I had a morning call to go and collect a bat, which I took into care. It took liquid and food readily enough, and after roosting it during the day I fed it again in the evening and released it back where it came from. For the rest of the day, I was working on my section of the Avon Bird Report, which I've nearly finished, thank goodness. Then, after tea, it was down to the lake where I saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, and Mark, who arrived later, saw a Hobby Falco subbuteo. However, the best sighting was 4 adult Shelducks Tadorna tadorna on Rainbow Point, our first record of the species at the lake this year. It was a busy sort of day. 


Monday 14th June [Hot & sunny with a steady breeze]

Phil, Rob and I did the WeBS count today. Numbers were still very low, and viewing conditions were difficult due to the marginal vegetation. The Count was as follows: Canada Goose 190 (including 9 juvs.), Coot 161 (inc. 3 juvs.), Mallard 120 (inc. 20 juvs.), Mute Swan 40 (inc. 8 juvs.), Great Crested Grebe 15, Cormorant 9, GBB Gull 5, Tufted Duck 4, Buzzard 4, Grey Heron 3, LBB Gull 3, Moorhen 2, and Sparrowhawk 1. No doubt this is a low reflection of actual numbers, but you can only count what you can see! Angler Jeff told me during a brief chat that he's been seeing a Kingfisher fairly regularly in the vicinity of Wood Bay in the last few days, and ranger Martin felt sure he'd seen an Osprey two weeks ago while he was out fishing. The water level has started dropping again, albeit slowly, and I reckon the level to be about 80%, compared with about 82% at the beginning of the month.

Other news included a number of Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta and Painted Lady V. cardui butterflies migrating strongly north over the lake, a Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, several Emperor Dragonflies Anax imperator patrolling the margins, a dead Pygmy Shrew Sorex minutus on the road, and a male Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus singing at Lodge Copse still.


Saturday 12th June [Continuing hot & sunny]

I saw a Mallard Anas platyrhynchos female with a new brood of 4 juveniles on Home Bay Point, 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo, and counted 135 Canada Geese Branta canadensis. 


Friday 11th June

Again, no visit to the lake because I was tied up with bat rescue and release work.


Thursday 10th June

No visit to the lake today, because I had to do more bat rescue work.


Wednesday 9th June [Sunny & warm, although cloud came over at teatime.]

I managed a slow and painful walk along most of the south shore road today. There was no sign of yesterday's Great White Egret, so I resorted to counting Canada Geese Branta canadensis totting up 61 which included two broods: the first of six, and a new brood of 5 juveniles. I also saw a Coot Fulica atra with 2 juveniles in Long Bay.


Tuesday 8th June [Sunny & warm]

A Great White Egret Ardea alba dropped in today, the first for a while, but that was the extent of the news. What time I had available was spent rescuing and trying to get some bats fit and healthy again.


Monday 7th June [Sunny & warm]

I still had a painful back today but managed a short visit to the lake in the evening, albeit a slow drive through. I heard the Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus singing at Home Bay and stopped at the Lodge to sit quietly and watch for a while. What a stroke of good fortune that was, there was a Common Tern Sterna hirundo feeding backwards and forwards in front of me. So, I went back to the car to get my camera and settled down to try and get some shots of it - never an easy proposition.


Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.


 Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.


Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.


Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.


Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.Common Tern, Lodge. 7th June 2021.


Song Thrush, Lodge. 7th June 2021.Song Thrush, Lodge. 7th June 2021.



Sunday 6th June [Warm with sunshine & overcast periods]

I was in bed with a bad back yesterday and most of today, but Mark kindly came and picked me up and took me to the lake in the evening for a short walk. He'd seen 3 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis with the dairy cattle on Holt Farm from Long Bay earlier, and when we got there, I managed to see one. They were hidden in a difficult area to view from the lakeside, in long grass, unfortunately. I saw the presumed same Painted Lady Vanessa cardui on Green Lawn, in the same place I last saw it on Wednesday, and a Hobby Falco subbuteo over Holt Farm, plus heard a singing Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus at Home Bay. We met Ross while we were there, and he told us he'd had the Muntjac in his garden for the previous two days! 


Friday 4th June [Hot & sunny]

I did walk around the lake yesterday with some friends, along the local footpaths, but didn't see anything to report, although Richard Mielcarek texted to say he'd heard the male Cuckoo Cuculus canorus singing on the North Shore during the morning. I didn't even get down to the lake today until dusk, when I took the Soprano Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pygmaeus Mark and I found in Bickfield Lane a week ago last Wednesday, down for release at Top End. It flew around strongly before we lost sight of it, so presume the release was successful, which was quite satisfying. Earlier in the evening Mark came over, and we went down to see the River Warbler at RSPB Ham Wall, a species I last saw in the UK at Wigan Flashes in 1995!


Wednesday 2nd June [Overcast, warm & muggy, with a shower or two.]

Wow! Well, I didn't expect that! As I arrived back at the Lodge this evening what should I see but a female Muntjac Deer Muntiacus reevesi walking along the road in front of me. A new site mammal tick, although not entirely unexpected given their spread. What a charming little thing it was skipping and running round on the entrance drive grass.

I also saw my first Painted Lady Vanessa cardui butterfly of the year at Green Lawn, 3 Hobbies Falco subbuteo over Holt Farm, heard the male Cuckoo Cuculus canorus on the north side of the lake, and saw a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis at Top End.


Tuesday 1st June [Hot & sunny with a breeze]

I had a quiet evening walk with the only notable things worth mentioning being 2 Hobbies Falco subbuteo hunting over Holt Bay and farm, and my first 2 Hornets Vespa crabro of the year.

Nigel Milbourne © 2009-24. All Rights Reserved.