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Blagdon Lake Birds

February 2021 News

Sunday 28th February [A lovely sunny day]

With the weather looking set to be fine for the day, I went for a walk around the lake this morning, following footpaths and lanes. I saw the usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago in Rugmoor Bay, a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Rugmoor Point, and a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis fly over the road bridge at Top End, but no sign of any Sand Martins yet. I saw a few Goldeneye Bucephala clangula from the various gateway viewing points, and Buzzards Buteo buteo circling above their territories in the sunshine. The Mute Swan Cygnus olor herd is up to 16.

I also counted 16 people trespassing, but I bet there will be a lot more this afternoon!


Friday 26th February [Dry & sunny]

A late afternoon walk saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam and 16 (6 adult drakes) Goosanders Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay. Another correspondent said he'd seen a Great White Egret Ardea alba in Butcombe Bay earlier as well.


Thursday 25th February [Dry & sunny]

I walked down the hill and over the dam, along Butcombe Bank because there were few people about, and back up to Blagdon Lane and home. I saw the usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at the south end of the dam, a pair of Grey Wagtails Motacilla cinerea feeding in the Spillway, and 12 (4 adult drakes) Goosanders Mergus merganser in Butcombe Bay.

There was no sign of any Sand Martins from the dam, but Top End is often a good place for them early on, albeit out of bounds at present.


Tuesday 23rd February [Very windy & dry]

I took a walk to Butcombe village and back late this afternoon, and saw a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam wall, and an adult winter Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus in the roost, which was quite close to the dam in the southerly gale.

I didn't spend any time watching the bird table this morning, but spotted a Lesser Redpoll visiting again in passing.


Monday 22nd February [Wet early, sunny later.]

I didn't visit the lake today, but saw 3 Lesser Redpolls on our bird table shortly after I'd loaded it with sunflower hearts this morning. I'd had brief sightings of small brown finches on a couple of occasions in the last few days, but suspected they'd be Siskins. Redpolls were a very welcome surprise!


Sunday 21st February [Mild & still]

I spent the afternoon slipping and sliding my way for 6 miles along the public footpath from Blagdon to Top End, and from there back along the lanes and fields through Nempnett Thrubwell to Butcombe Bay, over the dam and home. I recorded 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, an adult winter Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus, 3 Goosanders Mergus merganser (same as yesterday), 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos, and 14 Mute Swans Cygnus olor.

I also recorded 16 people walking inside the permit only area of the lakeside, one family with a pushchair would you believe, and another couple with a dog off the lead on the North Shore. Yes, I did see 2 Bristol Water vehicles go through, one sounded like a mobile disco from half a mile away, and there were two people taking it easy on a seat half way along the south side shortly after they'd passed!


Saturday 20th February

I popped over to Ubley to get some fuel for the car and drove around the lake for a look over the gate at Rugmoor and a nosey from the dam on the way home. I saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba on Rugmoor Point, which may have moved across to Rainbow Point by the time I got to the dam, and noted 3 (an adult drake and two redheads) Goosanders Mergus merganser just off the dam wall at the south end.

A Sand Martin Riparia riparia was reported from the coast between Kingston Seymour and Clevedon today!! I believe it is the earliest ever (I hate to use that word) local record.


Thursday 18th February

I had cause to go over the dam today, so stopped for a quick look and saw the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos in its usual spot at the southern corner of the dam.


Wednesday 17th February

Sarah Lynett contacted me to report 2 Red Kites Milvus milvus circling over Ubley village this morning. Thanks Sarah.


Monday 15th February

Bristol Water agreed with our Area WeBS co-ordinator that one individual per site carry out a count for them, and I was asked to do Blagdon today. The Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula was still present, as was the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos. Also of note were 2 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and I heard Reed Buntings Emberiza schoeniclus singing for the first time this year. Counts were: Tufted Duck 610, Coot 574, Canada Goose 172, Mallard 85, Pochard 84, Cormorant 54, Wigeon 31, Great Crested Grebe 31, Moorhen 20, Goldeneye 15, Mute Swan 13, Teal 10, Shoveler 8, Grey Heron 8, Little Grebe 7, Gadwall 6, Black-headed Gull 32, Common Gull 18, Great Black-backed Gull 5, Herring Gull 4, Lesser Black-backed Gull 2, Peregrine 1, Buzzard 1, plus Green Woodpecker, Greenfinch and Stonechat.

I then had to go to Chew Magna for a dental appointment, and spotted 3 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis standing in a field at Woodbridge Farm on the way there.


Saturday 13th February

Mike O'Connor reported the Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula was still on the dam, and occasionally feeding along the road!


Friday 12th February

There was a Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula spotted my Mike O'Connor on the dam today. A nice find at this time of year.


Wednesday 10th February [Cold]

News today of 3 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the Spillway around midday from another local correspondent, but no sign of the Dunlin. Thanks again for all the updates.


Tuesday 9th February [Bitterly cold, but dry & mainly bright.]

I received news early this morning of a Dunlin Calidris alpina feeding on the spillway with a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, and when I went that way for a jog two hours later, the Dunlin was still present, although the Sandpiper had gone. My correspondent also saw a Kingfisher Alcedo atthis during his walk to the head of Butcombe Bay. I saw a Peregrine Falco peregrinus over the dam.


Monday 8th February [A bitter wind]

I brisk walk/jog to Butcombe and back enabled me to add Red Kite Milvus milvus to the lake year list as it flew west across Butcombe Bay and over Blagdon Lane towards Aldwick. Both wintering Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos were feeding under the overspill in the spillway.


Sunday 7th February [A bitter wind, but at least it was dry.]

I walked around the lake today following footpaths & lanes, as required, but don't have a great deal to report apart the from the awful state of the footpaths! I saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba at Rugmoor, a Peregrine Falco peregrinus over Top End, and 10 adult and 2 cygnet Mute Swans Cygnus olor. Ross Fairley contacted me this evening to say there was a Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus over Pipe Bay reeds at 1145 hrs this morning (the first reported this year). Thanks Ross.


Friday 5th February [Some pleasant sunshine]

Yesterday's walk was under a brolly, but today I got the timing just right and enjoyed a glorious sunny stroll to Butcombe and back. There was nothing to report on my first walk over the dam, but I heard several bird species in song, and the early Lesser Celandines, that were closed yesterday, had opened up to reflect the sunshine back out from the banks along the lane alongside the Primroses. Hazel catkins were hanging in those hedges that haven't been flayed within an inch of their lives, and a couple of Buzzards Buteo buteo were up in the sunshine calling and displaying. I had a pleasant chat with John, in passing, and as I came back over the dam I saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos. I think we're in for a cold snap over the next few days, perhaps with snow, but today was a welcome release from the humdrum of Covid-19 lockdown.


Thursday 4th February [Showers]

I walked across the valley to Butcombe and back this morning. It rained most of the way! Anyway, I did spot a Great White Egret Ardea alba on The Island from the dam, but there was no sign of the Common Sandpiper with the easterly breeze blowing waves up the dam wall.


Monday 1st February [Dull & dreary]

I walked across the dam late this afternoon, as part of my daily exercise, and spotted the usual Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos, and 6 (4 adult drakes) Goosanders Mergus merganser off The Island at the entrance to Butcombe Bay. There were lots of gulls in the roost, but it's pretty hopeless trying to go through them without a scope.