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Blagdon Lake Birds

October 2021 News

Saturday 30th October [Sunshine & showers]

This morning I met with a lovely group from Bristol Ornithology Club to see what was at the lake after a night of torrential rain and local flooding. Luckily for us, the showers dried up until we were walking back to the Lodge. There was a fair selection of waterfowl in front of the Lodge that we looked through at some length before moving off. I noted the 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca and a singing Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti. We walked slowly, checking the lakeside trees for groups of passerines and caught up with most of the residents as we went along. At Bell's Bush, we looked through the birds at Top End and I counted 46 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, 16 Pintail Anas acuta, while Nick counted 90 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. On the way back we saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Redwings Turdus iliacus, and a flock of about 35 Linnets Linaria cannabina, plus the first of two groups of Siskins Spinus spinus (five birds), which was added to when we found another group at the Lodge car park (making a total of about 15). Before we went our separate ways, we looked through the gulls again, and I spotted a Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. I reckon we saw, or heard, 58 species in total in the four hours or so.

Nick, on the way to the meeting, saw a Red Kite Milvus milvus over Butcombe Holiday Cottages that he said flew towards the lake. Unfortunately, although waiting in front of the Lodge for people to arrive, I didn't see it.


Friday 29th October [Sunshine & showers]

I didn't have time to visit the lake today, so tomorrow's visit with Bristol Ornithology Club should be another full of hope and expectation for us all.

Starting a week ago last Wednesday, I deployed 2 bat detectors at the lake for 6 nights as part of the North Somerset Bat Survey being coordinated by the University of the West of England (UWE). The recordings were uploaded to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Acoustic Pipeline facility which came back with the following, frankly, astounding results:

  • 30,092 sound recordings were identified, of which,
  • 25,986 were bat records of 13 species,
  • 3,994 were bush-cricket records of 2 species (it's late in the season for them),
  • 9 were small terrestrial mammal records of 2 species,
  • and 103 were bird records, not classified to species level.

The bat records were pretty much as expected, with the exception of 2 records of Barbastelle Barbastella barbastellus, a species we have yet to catch at the lake. The records were both given a 99% confidence rating, so it could be that we might yet add Barbastelle to the existing list of species at the lake. However, I have recorded Barbastelle a number of times at the lake on detectors, and when I scrutinized the recordings more carefully, I thought they were invariably Nathusius' Pipistrelle calls. The autoclassifier technology to which the records have been subjected so far, may have come up with the same id as found by me over the last 10 years or so. However, the process being applied in the project will probably go back and look at interesting records, like these, in a second sweep as part of the verification process, so let's wait and see. The one species of bat we know we have at the lake, that wasn't detected last week, is Greater Horseshoe.  The two bush-crickets identified were Dark and Speckled Bush-crickets, both of which I have recorded many times, and the two terrestrial mammal species were Common and Pygmy Shrews, again both of which I have previously recorded.

What is especially impressive about this survey is the volume of records generated. New technology is rapidly enabling us to learn more about the wildlife in our locale, and the big deal is that anyone can take part. The field recording finishes at the end of this month because the bats will start looking for hibernation sites as the weather gets cooler, but I understand the project will be running again next year. The aim of the survey is to deploy detectors in every 1km square in North Somerset in order to be able to map our bat species, in both the urban and rural habitats. The added benefit of this process is that small terrestrial mammals and some other groups will be recorded as well. As far as bird records are concerned, we are already starting to publish records in the local bird report, other than sightings, made by birders who deploy detectors at night in their gardens, to record nocturnal migrants calling as they fly over, and this emerging science is bringing us some extraordinary records e.g. the massive passage of Common Scoters over Britain (including the Bristol region) in early April 2020 during the first lock down (see the Avon Bird Report 2020 pps. 43-44, and the internet for more on this event).


Thursday 28th October [Another dull but mild day, until the rain set in late afternoon.]

I spent most of the morning uploading the data I'd collected to the BTO acoustic pipeline, after an early visit to verify some information, I'd noted yesterday. I went down to the lake a couple of times during the day but wasn't birding, so was pleased to get a call and text from Paul Williams who saw 45 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 2 Great White Ardea alba and 1 Little Egret Egretta garzetta, plus Lapwings Vanellus vanellus (no count). Thanks for the news, Paul, it's good to hear from you and know there's another pair of eyes out there looking at 'the patch'. It's after 2300 hrs as I'm writing this, and it has been raining heavily since late afternoon, so I'm sure the lake will be up again by the morning. Bad news...


Wednesday 27th October [Windy & overcast. Mild.]

First thing this morning I picked up a couple of bat detectors that I deployed as part of the North Somerset Bat Survey run by the University of the West of England, then I walked eight and a half miles of the 'Nailsea Round' with friends Trev and Colin which took me into early afternoon. After a cuppa when I got home, I drove down to the lake for a peek. There was another ringed Herring Gull Larus argentatus, blue G=M, in front of the Lodge, and I counted 129 Canada Geese Branta canadensis as I made my way to Top End. The water level is getting to the point where we are unlikely to get any new waders in I think, but there were 47 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa scattered about, and 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus together at Hellfire Corner.


Tuesday 26th October [Grey & dreary, with mizzle.]

It was late afternoon before I got to the lake today, and I spent quite a while looking through the gulls in front of the Lodge before walking to Bell's Bush and back. I found an adult Herring Gull Larus argentatus, blue JBB, which was present in October last year as well, plus an adult Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, yellow 2A73, also noted previously, in September last year when I received the following details about it: "Ringed at Fisher's Green in Essex on 23 May 2018, with other reports from Rye Meads, Herts. 11 May 2019, Camel estuary, Cornwall 6 July 2019, 18 Aug 2019 and 21 July 2020 before this sighting." I'll see if there have been any other sightings between last year's record at BL and today.

Also in front of the Lodge were the 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, a few Pied Wagtails Motacilla alba yarrellii, and one of two flocks of Linnets Linaria cannabina that I came across, totaling at least 50 birds between them. I counted 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba as I made my way towards Top End and spotted a Little Egret Egretta garzetta feeding in a field on Ubley Farm. At Bell's Bush I counted 45 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and a single Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus.


Monday 25th October [A warm sunny day]

This afternoon I enjoyed a pleasant birding walk along the south side of the lake, starting and finishing from the Fishing Lodge. I'd seen 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca on the south end of the dam, but there was nothing in front of the Lodge. I saw 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba around the lake, and at Top End there were 45 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 100 (counted) Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, at least 1, probably 2, Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and a Snipe Gallinago gallinago.


Sunday 24th October [A fine sunny day after early rain]

Today was another away day, and this time it was back to Cornwall for a Philps Pasty juvenile Brown Shrike at Pendeen. As Mark drove us down the A30 through Devon, it was lashing down, and over Bodmin Moor we ran into thick fog. The prospects weren't looking good, and my glass was decidedly half empty! It was just starting to dry out when we got to Hayle at 0950 hrs, so we bought the requisite pasties and headed for Pendeen. Although there had been no news put out, there were a handful of guys watching the shrike when we got there. We stayed for about 3 hrs, getting several brief views and I grabbed a few pictures, although only the one was much good. I put a second in, to show structure and colour of the back, wings and tail:


Juvenile/1st-winter Brown Shrike, Pendeen, Cornwall. 24th October 2021.Juvenile/1st-winter Brown Shrike, Pendeen, Cornwall. 24th October 2021.

Juvenile/1st-winter Brown Shrike, Pendeen, Cornwall. 24th October 2021.Juvenile/1st-winter Brown Shrike, Pendeen, Cornwall. 24th October 2021.  


We took a stroll down to Pendeen lighthouse and arrived just in time to see some Bluefin Tuna breaching close by in the sunshine. Amazing! Before going home, we went for a look at the head of the Hayle estuary, even though the tide was out. We enjoyed some good views of Dunlin, Lapwings, Black- and Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, gulls, geese and ducks before setting off for home. Another tick for Mark.


Saturday 23rd October [A soft, grey & windless day.]

I dropped my car off at Ubley Motors shortly after 0800 hrs and walked back via the lake, birding as I went. A Peregrine Falco peregrinus flew south overhead as I walked down The Street, and no sooner had I walked into Top End when 26 Redwings Turdus iliacus also flew over heading south. I spent some time at Top End going through the birds on and around the water, counting 36 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and a small flock of c. 20 Linnets Linaria cannabina flying over. As I approached the Lodge, I had seen 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and enjoyed views of 9 Siskins Spinus spinus in the car park trees. While checking through the gulls in front of the Lodge I saw the 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca and heard a Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti singing in Pipe Bay.


Friday 22nd October [A cold wind]

It felt like autumn had arrived this morning when Mark picked me up at 0700 hrs. We went to WWT Steart Marshes to see the American Golden Plover which we finally saw about an hour after getting there. There were many Golden Plover, a few Dunlin and Grey Plover, a Marsh Harrier and lots of dabbling ducks on Otterhampton Marsh. We came back to Blagdon, and after a cuppa, went to the lake where we saw 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta, and I counted 38 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and 72+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus. A Peregrine Falco peregrinus made a brief appearance too. Highlight of the morning at the lake though, was an adult Dunlin Calidris alpina on Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge (yes, wader passage has been that bad), with a 1st-winter Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus also present briefly.


Thursday 21st October [Bright & sunny, albeit cooler than of late]

It was an interesting day around the lake today. Mark, Ken and I were checking bat box safety, and clearing any blocking vegetation in front of them. We saw a few pipistrelles, which was nice considering we haven't been able to do any bat work for a couple of years since the start of the covid pandemic - no close contact with bats for fear of passing the virus to them. We started at 1000 hrs and called it a day at 1600 hrs, when Ken left for home. Mark and I got our birding gear out and had a look at Top End and the Lodge. I counted 46 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca plus a lone adult drake Pintail Anas acuta.


Wednesday 20th October [Overnight storms & heavy showers today]

There was lots of water going into the lake today, but we'd hung onto the Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa for another day. I counted 43 at dusk, but that was about all I had time to do before it got too dark. As I went back to the Lodge, I saw 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 7 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. Tomorrow, Ken, Mark and I are going to check the remaining bat boxes are still hanging safely and clear for the bats to use after two years of no bat work due to Covid. I expect it'll take us most of the day so, hopefully, I'll have more news to report tomorrow evening. I'm still dismayed by how few of the regular autumn migrants have turned up this year.


Tuesday 19th October [Overcast & threatening. Rain set in at dusk.]

Having met Mark at the dam, I walked to Top End hide from the Lodge in the afternoon, under a threatening sky. Once again, I spotted 8 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta around the cattle on Holt and Lag Farms, where they've been feeding and doing their best Cattle Egret impressions for the last few days. By the time I got to Bell's Bush I'd noted 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, then the pair of us counted 43 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 124+ Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 5 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, and saw a few Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, Linnets Linaria cannabina and Pied Wagtails Motacilla alba yarrellii. 


Monday 18th October [A miserable wet day, albeit warm.]

I didn't venture down to the lake until it stopped raining at teatime. I walked from the Lodge to Top End hide and back and saw 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 8 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 3 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and 40 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, by which time the light was getting too gloomy to count anything else. 


Sunday 17th October [Warm & sunny]

I had a brief look at the lake at lunchtime, then had a walk and more thorough look around in the evening. A Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the dam wall, the 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were at Polish Water, as was a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, and I saw a male Kestrel Falco tinnunculus briefly at Home Bay with Mike and Christine. At Bell's Bush, I counted 44 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, plus another I saw flying into Rugmoor Bay while on the way there, made 45+ in total. There were 5 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus nearby, plus 4 Great White Ardea alba and 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. 


Saturday 16th October [A misty dawn, but warm & sunny by day.]

It was time for another away day to see some birds, and Mark and I decided to go to Cornwall hoping to see the Semipalmated Sandpiper at Carnsew Basin on the Hayle Estuary, plus whatever migrants might be about. I left at 0600 hrs, picked Mark up, and we arrived on the Hayle at 1000 hrs. We bagged the semi-p within a few minutes!  We watched it for a while feeding with Dunlin, then made our way to Philps pasty shop to get lunch! We got some news of a couple of Snow Buntings at Sennen, so made our way there, eventually (when we found somewhere to park), and walked down to the coast and spotted a couple of birders watching them. I got a few pictures before they upped and flew off behind us calling. We decided to go back to the Hayle Estuary hoping to see the sandpiper in photographic range as the tide came in and found it by the Old Quay House Inn. I went to the car to get the camera and with that the flock went up in panic, for some reason, and settled down on the Lelant side of the pub! Too far away to photograph again... We managed to re-find the sandpiper and put some other birders on to it, but had to settle for a few Mediterranean Gull shots, instead of the peep. A Sparrowhawk kindly flushed the roosting waders, gulls and ducks again, but try as we might, we couldn't find the Dunlin flock afterwards. We looked at Ryan's Field, the top of the estuary, and even popped around to Copperhouse Creek without luck. It was time to head for home, but we did divert to Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor (near the Jamaica Inn), to see 2 drake Ring-necked Ducks on the way - well, you have to, don't you?


 Snow Bunting, Sennen, Cornwall. 16th October 2021.Snow Bunting, Sennen, Cornwall. 16th October 2021.


Friday 15th October [Mild but overcast]

I had a look around the North Shore and Top End this afternoon with fellow warden Mark. No sooner had we gone into the Top End hide when a boat came right through the weed to Wookey Point, and after establishing they couldn't even cover an oar blade when assessing the depth, they went across the Top End and flushed every bird in front of us! Then, spent ages trying to drive back out through the weed. Crazy! I had just counted 41 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa before they were flushed off the lake, and I also saw a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus. As there were no birds left to look at, we drove around to the North Shore hoping to see the Tufted Duck with the nasal saddle, or the Scaup that I'd found on Wednesday. In the event we found neither, but we saw 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago and another 3 Black-wits in Rugmoor Bay, bringing the total to 44. Shortly after we set off along the track, we saw a flock of c. 35 Linnets Linaria cannabina. There were 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 8 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta around the patch, and the 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were at the Lodge.


Thursday 14th October [Sunny, breezy & warm.]

A couple of hours at lunchtime produced little that was new, just the usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca, 6 Great White Ardea alba and 8 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 44 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus of note. There has been a very noticeable buildup of Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus numbers, and yesterday there were a few Common Gulls Larus canus too.


Wednesday 13th October [Warm & sunny autumn day]

I didn't visit the lake yesterday, but I managed to add another bird to the site year list today, a drake Scaup Aythya marila, spotted off Ash Tree from Rainbow Point. After a drop in the number of Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa on the WeBS count, there were 41 today along with a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and 8 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, the latter feeding in a field on Holt Farm alongside the cattle herd. At Top End, I saw 12 thrushes fly off and a few move through the trees ahead of me. Redwings are moving through the country now, with some big migration counts being made, so it seems likely that's what they were.


Monday 11th October [Another warm sunny day]

This morning I met back up with Rob, and we were joined by Phil to carry out the monthly WeBS count at the lake. The lake was about 60% full, so we still have good margins for waders and dabbling ducks, but the wader numbers just weren't there. We still had 3 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus and a single Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, but that was it. Teal Anas crecca and Wigeon Mareca penelope numbers were up again this month, but the Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula count remained static. Here are the full details: Mute Swan 60, Canada Goose 92, Egyptian Goose 3, Wigeon 137, Mallard 384, Teal 1058, Shoveler 307, Gadwall 203, Tufted Duck 359, Pochard 11, Pintail 4, Coot 1436, Moorhen 108, Cormorant 38, Great White Egret 5, Little Egret 6, Grey Heron 5, Great Crested Grebe 31, Little Egret 31, Lapwing 62, Common Sandpiper 1, Green Sandpiper 2, Black-tailed Godwit 3, Snipe 3, Sparrowhawk 1, Buzzard 4, and a White Wagtail on the dam. I also noted a Tufted Duck with a nasal saddle on the north side of the lake, but when I went over there later hoping to read the details I couldn't find it. The duck was probably asleep, hiding its bill.


Sunday 10th October [A lovely warm & sunny day]

I didn't visit the lake today. Instead, I drove up to Yorkshire (again) to twitch Britain's 3rd Long-toed Stint with Mark and Rob. We had excellent views of it and even saw a Red Kite fly over the site. Paz Fletcher came down from York to meet up, which was great, even though he'd seen it yesterday, but he said light conditions were much better today. Having spent some time watching the stint, I drove us along the M62 to Blacktoft Sands RSPB where we saw the White-tailed Plover again, and took some more photos. This was a second tick of the day for Rob.


White-tailed Plover, Blacktoft Sands RSPB, East Yorks. 10th October 2021.White-tailed Plover, Blacktoft Sands RSPB, East Yorks. 10th October 2021.


Saturday 9th October [A beautiful autumn day. Early mist.]

Bother! I have just discovered that I've lost all my news from this page back to the beginning of September! I'll update October and then recreate what I can of the September News in the archive. It's gonna be a long evening. 

I went to the lake this morning, after the mist cleared, and stayed until lunchtime. There was a (the?) Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at Cheddar Water, a singing Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti  at Pipe Bay, 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca at Polish Water in front of the Lodge, and at Top End 51 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, and a Snipe Gallinago gallinago. Scattered around the lake I counted 37 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 6 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. I also spotted a Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus on Tiny's Shallow with a white darvic on the left tarsus that appeared to be either LH45 or EH45, but the heat haze made it too difficult to pin down for sure, even though I spent at least half an hour staring at it. I also saw juvenile Herring Gull Larus argentatus, yellow L=W, again.


Friday 8th October [Dry & warm]

This morning an early visit to the lake saw most of the usual suspects still present: 45 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 2 juvenile Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis, 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca and the adult female Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. In addition I counted 106 Wigeon Mareca penelope.

Having checked around 'The Patch', Mark was quite keen to go and see the Western Sandpiper in Hampshire, so we decided to drive down together, and a couple of hours later we were at Normandy Marsh in Lymington. Amazingly, the bird was asleep with Dunlin, not far from the sea wall on the lagoon. Eventually it woke and preened a few times, then was spooked into flight. It settled a couple of times giving us more time to watch it awake before landing at the other side of the lagoon. We decided we'd seen it well enough, a tick for Mark, so we drove into town for fish and chips at Deep Blue to celebrate, as you do! If accepted, this will be the 11th or 12th British record - I ticked Western Sandpiper in 1997 at Aberlady Bay, with mates Jack and Sid. Now, that was a memorable day out, we got there in time to see it as a little dot way out in the bay. So, we repaired to a tea shop in Musselburgh to while away the hours and waited for it to come back in on the tide. Sid even drew a picture of a Western Sand in my notebook to help me with the identification. I prize it to this day...


Thursday 7th October [A pleasant dry & warm day]

I met Mark at the lake early this morning because we wanted to check out the birds before meeting up to take part in a working party at 1000 hrs. We parked at Rainbow Point and walked to Bell's Bush and back. We saw 20+ Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 7 Pintail Anas acuta, 4 Great White Ardea alba, 4 Little Egretta garzetta, and 1 Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis.

We then met up with some BW volunteers, anglers, and fellow bird warden Simon Isgar to clear withies off the bank at Green Lawn. It was a job well done, and pretty hard graft in the warm sunshine. As we finished, approaching midday, a Curlew Numenius arquata flew west down the lake calling. Simon started whistling back at it causing it to circle over us for several minutes before it headed off towards the coast. I had to spend the afternoon with mum in Clevedon, but met Mark again later to walk the North Shore. We saw a Barn Owl Tyto alba and 4 Rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus. The rabbits were notable, because over the last decade or more they've become rarer than Hares Lepus europaeus on the patch. Thirty years ago, they used to be all over the lawns around the Lodge and entrance drive.


Wednesday 6th October

The family of Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca were at Cheddar Water when I arrived this afternoon. I saw a familiar gull, adult Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, white TOWR, in front of the Lodge before I started walking to Top End and back. As I was walking along the road at Green Lawn a dark rusty brown bird caught my eye as it flew low along the water's edge down the lake. I was a skua! It was clearly either an Arctic or Long-tailed Skua judging by it's size, and had little wing flash, a longish bill and head/neck, a slightly paler nape collar, was speckled with golden and flew in a determined manner straight towards Tiny's Shallow. I was more or less looking down on the bird, so didn't notice a pale under tail. My immediate impression was of a juvenile Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus. I watched as it left Green Lawn and headed across the mouth of Long Bay, and as one, all the gulls large and small on Tiny's Shallow went up in the air in panic. It was extraordinary. Anyway, the skua flew over the point but didn't appear to chase any gulls although it rose up into the air among them. I quickly got it in my scope and started to follow it, but it kept going towards the dam, before veering off over the Inspection House and seemingly left south towards Blagdon. The time was about 1555 hrs.

I walked on towards Top End and noticed there were birders in the hide when I got to Rainbow Point. So I hurried on, hoping to speak to them to find out if they'd seen the skua too. It was Tim Joy and Tony Warren and they told me they hadn't seen the skua unfortunately. However, they had seen an Osprey Pandion haliaetus at 1230 hrs over the dam end of the lake. This was presumably the same bird that had been reported flying off SE from Backwell Lake at around midday. They also saw a Hobby Falco subbuteo.

I went onto Bell's Bush meadow to look through the birds at Top End and was joined by photographer Barry who had followed me along the south side road. He asw all the gulls go up, but didn't see what had caused the kerfuffle. Anyway, I counted 34+ Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 7 Pintail Anas acuta, a Common Gull Larus canus, 4 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. When I got back to the Lodge I met Tim and Tony again and asked them how many Black-wits they'd seen because I knew I hadn't seen them all. I think they said they'd seen 42.

The Arctic Skua, if accepted, would be my second record at the lake (three birds).


Tuesday 5th October [Windy with heavy overnight rain]

It was a pretty wild day, but I enjoyed the birding. I noted 55 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 3 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava flavissima, 50 + Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, 4+ Sand Martins Riparia riparia, an adult female Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus and 3 Great White Egrets Ardea alba.


Monday 4th October

When I arrived at the Lodge, angler Martin Cottis came over and showed me video of an Osprey Pandion haliaetus he'd taken on his phone at 1212 hrs over Butcombe Bay and bank. Nice to get proof positive of a bird that is frequently a misidentified Buzzard. Cheers Martin. I then went through the gulls on Tiny's Shallow and saw juvenile Herring Gull Larus argentatus, yellow L=W, adult Herring Gull, white B+A, Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus, yellow B:EK, and an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. Moving on, I saw a Hobby Falco subbuteo at Green Lawn (Martin had also seen it earlier), 4 Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 1 or 2 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava flavissima, 1 or 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 52 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, and 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago. There were several hundred hirundines over the lakeside meadows and woods today, but I didn't look to see if the Sand Martins were still present.

Later in the day, Rob Hargreaves sent me the following news: 16 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, 3 Snipe, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, 2 Greenshanks, and 5 Sand Martins Riparia riparia.


Sunday 3rd October

There were 3 (2 adults & a juvenile) Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca at Cheddar Water, but little in front of the Lodge of note. At Top End I saw 4 Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava flavissima, a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe, 62 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, circa 20 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, and 2 Sand Martins Riparia riparia.


Saturday 2nd October [Rain all day]

As is often the case, in rainy conditions, there were hirundines over the lake, in this case 10 or so Swallows Hirundo rustica and 50 House Martins Delichon urbicum, 73 Wigeon Mareca penelope, 17 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 18 Meadow Pipits Anthus pratensis, 5 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, 2 Pintail Anas acuta, and  Greenshank Tringa nebularia.


Friday 1st October [Brightening through the day. Breezy.]

The hybrid Wigeon was back again today in front of the Lodge at Polish Water.  However, not too much else had changed. I recorded 50 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and 2 Pintail Anas acuta at Top End, a Swallow Hirundo rustica over Holt Bay, 3 Egyptian Geese Alopochen aegyptiaca at Long Bay, plus 4 Great White Ardea alba and 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta.

Nigel Milbourne © 2009-24. All Rights Reserved.