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Blagdon Lake Birds



September 2021 News

I am currently adding back sightings for September having inadvertently deleted them/ to be continued...

 

Tuesday 21st September

I popped into the lake a couple of times either side of a 7.5 mile circular walk with friends around Chew Stoke, Chew Magna, Winford, Regil and back. I counted 46 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 6 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta in the morning, and during the evening I saw a female Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus with prey, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia and at 1855 hrs Mark and I saw 3 Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia, previously at Chew Valley Lake, fly west over the lake. 

 

Monday 20th September

It was an egret day today, with 3 (2 adults & a juvenile) Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis at Long Bay, 8 Great White Egrets Ardea alba, and 11 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta. I also saw a juvenile Green Woodpecker Picus viridis at Long Bay, a Hare Lepus europaeus and a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Green Lawn, with another on Rainbow Point, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago and 22 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa.

 

Sunday 19th September

The Great White Egrets Ardea alba were up and about before me, with four on The Island, and two elsewhere, when I arrived early doors.  I also noted 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 2 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 37 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 17 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, and a juvenile Hobby Falco subbuteo.

During the morning news came in that a juvenile Dotterel was at Dawlish Warren on the high tide, so we decided to go for a half away-day to go and see if it came back on the late high tide. I like birding on the Exe estuary so we set off  for the Warren in good time to get there and sit and watch the incoming tide and the gathering waders at The Bight. It was a long 3 hours watching the tide inching up the sane towards us, but we had a really nice afternoon watching the shorebirds coming closer as they fed hard before having to roost at the top of the tide. We saw a good selection with Curlew, Ringed Plover, Dunlin,  a couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, Little Egrets, and finally, the Dotterel. Yay, a tick for Mark!  Unfortunately, it decided to roost in a position that is the preserve of local birders only, so no photos, but we'd enjoyed good scope views of it feeding close by. While walking back across the reserve to the car park, we saw a couple of Stonechats and a Whinchat.

 

Saturday 18th September

On arrival I saw 2 Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos on the dam. The wigeon hybrid was in front of the Lodge again and the adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis on Tiny's Shallow. At Top End, there was a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, and 29 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, and Mark told me I'd missed a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Rugmoor Point. At dusk, there were 4 Great White Egrets Ardea alba and 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and I had a great close encounter with a Barn Owl Tyto alba.

Earlier, Ken, Mark and I had spent most of the day checking the safety of the bat boxes and cleaning those that we could (without bats in).

 

Friday 17th September

When I got to the Lodge, I spotted an adult Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis on Tiny's Shallow, and just off the bank there was a drake Pochard Aythya ferina with a blue nasal saddle that had the letters LA on the sides (I didn't notice a letter on the front for some reason). I sent the news to Alain Caizergues in France who wrote back and suggested it was probably DLA. Alain sent me the details of blue DLA which says it was ringed on 8th October 2014 in Migne, France, with age code 1A.

A flock of twenty plus Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa flew west down the lake, and I saw two still at Top End when I got there. Today's egret count was 5 Great White Ardea alba and 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and I saw a single Greenshank Tringa nebularia and heard Hobbies Falco subbuteo calling at Top End and, on the way back to the Lodge, a Barn Owl Tyto alba gave me a close fly-by at Holt Bay.

 

Thursday 16th September [Sunny spells & warm]

The birding was better at the lake today, starting with a Peregrine Falco peregrinus at Long Bay, 2 Great White Ardea alba and 9 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 29 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 15 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 3 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus. While I was scanning Top End from Bell's Bush I heard a Hobby Falco subbuteo calling.

 

Wednesday 15th September [Warm with sunny spells]

There were very few birds in the Top End apart from Coots Fulica atra and 31 (of 34 counted) Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis. There was nothing at all on Wookey Point, which was very strange - was it disturbance? I saw 3 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, plus 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia.

 

Tuesday 14th September [Overcast & muggy, with some drizzle.]

The Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the south end of the dam, and the 3 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis noted yesterday during the WeBS count, were at Holt Bay, showing nicely.

 

Cattle Egret, Holt Bay. 14th September 2021.Cattle Egret, Holt Bay. 14th September 2021.

 

 

Cattle Egrets, Holt Bay. 14th September 2021.Cattle Egrets, Holt Bay. 14th September 2021.

 

As well as the Cattle Egrets, there were 4 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 27 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 1 Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 3 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 1 Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, 2 Garganey Spatula querquedula, and a male Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus (at Holt Copse).

 

Monday 13th September [Fine & cloudy]

I did the WeBS count with Phil Delve and Rob Hargreaves today between 0940 - 1430 hrs. Highlights included 3 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis (2 adults & a 1st calendar year), a juvenile Knot Calidris canutus and 3 Ravens Corvus corax. Full count details: Coot 1593, Teal 474, Mallard 394, Shoveler 257, Gadwall 136, Tufted Duck 152, Moorhen 144, Mute Swan 77 ( 70 adults & 7 juvs.), Canada Goose 72, Great Crested Grebe 47, Little Grebe 34, Wigeon 28, Black-tailed Godwits 26, Cormorant 20, Great Black-backed Gull 11, Lapwing 11, Grey Heron 10, Little Egret 7, Snipe 6, Hobby 4 (adult & 3 juvs.), Great White Egret 3, Buzzard 3, Pochard 3, Ruff 3, Yellow-legged Gull 2, Green Sandpiper 2, Greenshank 1, Knot 1, Common Sandpiper 1 and a Wigeon hybrid. 

 

Sunday 12th September

Another Sunday, another away day. Mark and I took the long road back to Yorkshire again. This time it was to twitch a Green Warbler at Buckton, which was accessed from RSPB Bempton Cliffs. After the long drive, we bumped into Gary Thoburn as we made our way along the clifftop. He'd seen the bird and said it showed okay. On arrival at the ringing site, in a quarry, we saw a small crowd of birders including the Craig family from Compton Martin. They hadn't seen the bird, and we all waited for a couple of hours during which a few people got brief views, before Mark spotted it and we got it in the scopes. Yay! I'd seen Green Warbler in India, but it was a UK tick for me (#472) and, of course, a tick for Mark.

 

Saturday 11th September [A fine day]

I had an enjoyable time birding at the lake in the good weather, as I walked home from Ubley Motors where I dropped my car off for a service. At Top End I noted 27 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 14 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus, 4 Ruff  Calidris pugnax, 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Garganey Spatula querquedula, a Pintail Anas acuta, and a Hobby Falco subbuteo. In addition I counted 34 Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis.

 

Friday 10th September [Showers]

As ever, the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos was on the south end of the dam, and a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe had dropped in on the eastern corner of Green Lawn. I didn't do so well with the waders today, only seeing 11 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax and a Snipe Gallinago gallinago. I saw a Great White Egret Ardea alba and an adult Hobby Falco subbuteo in addition.

I reckon the water level to be about 61% currently.

 

Thursday 9th September [Wet, with thundery showers.]

A surprise find today was an adult winter Common Tern Sterna hirundo, plus a Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus with a yellow ring on the left leg that may have read 2AT3 or ZAT3. I also noted 19 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 2 Greenshank Tringa nebularia and 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, and photographed a 3rd-calendar year Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis. There were 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and one Great White Egret Ardea alba present, although Mark told me later he'd seen two of the latter. Heard, but not seen, was a calling Hobby Falco subbuteo.

 

Wednesday 8th September [Muggy & warm]

There was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the south end of the dam, and I saw 10 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa fly away to the west. At Top End I saw 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, a Greenshank Tringa nebularia, 5 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and 8 Snipe Gallinago gallinago.

 

Tuesday 7th September [Hot & breezy]

The egret count was the same as yesterday, one Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and at Top End waders included 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 5 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, and 7 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa. The adult Hobby Falco subbuteo and 2 juveniles were opposite Top End hide at Indian Country, and I spotted a drake Pintail Anas acuta out on the water. As I walked back to the Lodge, I came across an adult male Black-tailed Skimmer Orthetrum cancellatum on the road at Bell's Bush, and before I left I noted adult Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus, white TOWR, in front of the Lodge again. Later, I looked up my Black-tailed Skimmer records and have only seen one later in the year, and that was on the 13th Sept. 2008.

 

Monday 6th September [Hot & sunny]

The Wigeon hybrid was still at the Lodge today, and the Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe still at Green Lawn. There were egrets, as usual, but only one Great White Ardea alba and 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, plus 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 5 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Ruff Calidris pugnax and a Hobby Falco subbuteo. Mark told me later he'd heard a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos call in the dam/Cheddar Water area at dusk.

 

Sunday 5th September [Warm & sunny]

There was a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos on the dam, a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe on Green Lawn, 3 Great White Ardea alba and 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta dotted around the lake, and at Top End I counted 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 4 Lapwings Vanellus vanellus and 2 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus.

 

Saturday 4th September

I had an away day to Portland Bill and Observatory with Mark today. We arrived shortly after first light and went to the Bill to look for passage seabirds and immediately saw a number of Balearic Shearwaters, perhaps 40+, and a surprise Little Egret which flew round the point. On the rocks, were several Yellow Wagtails, 50+ Wheatears and more than 100 Linnets. After spending time looking out to sea and photographing some of the migrant birds, we made our way to the Observatory just in time to see warden Martin Cade coming back after conducting a net round. He showed us a Redstart in the hand, a nice photo opportunity for Mark, and while we stood on the balcony over the garden we spotted an Arctic Skua flying past, a Swift overhead, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, and a female Kestrel. While we were marveling at some genuine migration going on around us, friends Dean and Karen arrived too. We spent a while watching the birds in the Obs. garden and catching up with the Wryneck in the Obs. Quarry, then made our way to get some breakfast in the Lobster Pot cafe together. Dean and Karen then went on to do some sea watching, while Mark and I got our cameras and went back to the Bill where we caught up with a second Wryneck feeding there despite the increasing numbers of sightseers.

 

Wryneck, Portland Bill, Dorset. 4th September 2021.Wryneck, Portland Bill, Dorset. 4th September 2021.

 

Willow Warbler, Portland Bill, Dorset. 4th September 2021.Willow Warbler, Portland Bill, Dorset. 4th September 2021.

 

After spending some time photographing the Wryneck, we moved on to Ferrybridge and got the cameras out again to photograph an obliging Dunlin and juvenile Ringed Plover by the visitor centre.

 

 Dunlin, Ferrybridge, Dorset. 4th September 2021.Dunlin, Ferrybridge, Dorset. 4th September 2021.

 

Juvenile Ringed Plover, Ferrybridge, Dorset. 4th September 2021.Juvenile Ringed Plover, Ferrybridge, Dorset. 4th September 2021.

 

From Ferrybridge we drove along the sea front to Lodmoor and enjoyed another hour or so photographing a Black-tailed Godwit, and some of the 100+ Mediterranean Gulls that were there, before heading back home. It was a really nice day, and we both got some pleasing shots.

 

Black-tailed Godwit, Lodmoor RSPB Reserve, Dorset. 4th September 2021.Black-tailed Godwit, Lodmoor RSPB Reserve, Dorset. 4th September 2021.

 

Friday 3rd September

The 2nd-calendar year Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus was present on Tiny's Shallow in front of the Lodge again today, and I spotted a Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe at Cheddar Water. A ringed Herring Gull Larus argentatus, blue S+P, was in front of the Lodge, as was a ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus with a blue darvic which may have been 90F, but I couldn't be sure. I logged 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, and at Top End, 4 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 4 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 8 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Dunlin Calidris alpina, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Whinchat Saxicola rubetra, and a Hobby Falco subbuteo.

 

Thursday 2nd September [Cool with a NE breeze]

The 2nd-calendar year Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus was present today again, and I saw a juvenile Green Woodpecker Picus viridis in Lodge Copse. Also noted were a Great White Egret Ardea alba, a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa, 3 Ruff Calidris pugnax, 3 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, a Snipe Gallinago gallinago, 4 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a Garganey Spatula querquedula, a juvenile Hobby Falco subbuteo, and I heard a calling Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus at Flower Corner. It was also pleasing to see that the female Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula still had two surviving juveniles in tow. 

 

Wednesday 1st September [Overcast & cool with a NE breeze]

Some of the meadows (Green Lawn, Holt & Wood Bays, Long Bay, All Saint's and Butcombe Bay) have been hay cut, which I'm pleased to see. There were 3 Little Egrets Egretta garzetta, a single Great White Egret Ardea alba, and the curious Wigeon hybrid at the dam end, and at the east end I counted 4 Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus, 4 Greenshanks Tringa nebularia, 4 Ruff (3 ruff and a reeve) Calidris pugnax, 4 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa, 2 Snipe Gallinago gallinago, plus a number of Lapwings Vanellus vanellus that I didn't count. I was pleased to note an adult and 2 juvenile Hobbies Falco subbuteo, a juvenile drake Garganey Spatula querquedula, a 2nd-calendar year Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus, and a single Sand Martin Riparia riparia.

I went back in the evening and added a Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos at the south end of the dam, a Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata at Paradise, and saw 2 Great White Egrets.