Saturday 04 September – Chew Valley Lake Leader: Robert Hargreaves

Fifteen people met at Herriott’s Bridge on a pleasant sunny morning.  We welcomed two new members to their first field meeting and a guest from the United States.  With water levels fairly low and with the help of ‘scopes, careful searching revealed some waders: two Snipe, two Ruff, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and seven Green Sandpipers.  Among the usual ducks were found a few early Pintail and Wigeon.  A Cetti’s Warbler was heard and one of us caught sight of a Marsh Harrier over the main lake.  A short walk took us to the Chew Valley Ringing Station where our host Mike Bailey gave us a most interesting talk about the work of the Station. Aurora demonstrated ringing on a feisty Blue Tit, a quiet Chiffchaff and two Reed Warblers.  After thanking Mike for an excellent visit, back to Herriott’s to receive news of Black Terns over the main lake.  A few of us saw a Kingfisher at its usual post in the channel.  Moving on to Heron’s Green gave us more waders (four distant Greenshank, one Common Sandpiper) and three Cattle Egret around a Grey Heron and a Great White Egret.  There were quite a few Little Egrets gathered at the other side.  A lucky few had sight of a Whinchat at the back of the pool while a white-headed Buzzard (raising hopes of an Osprey) looked on from the dead tree.  Those who wanted to make a day of it proceeded to Woodford Lodge for a brief lunch break.  On the way out we saw numbers of Black Terns, some swooping in quite close, fabulous!  We next explored Villice Hide, highlights being numbers of Little Grebe and close encounters with a beautiful Hobby.   We ended the day with a visit to Stratford Hide.  Here we had much closer views of Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper, with a Sparrowhawk zipping through.  We were able to count nine Great White Egrets and spot a Marsh Harrier showing well on the far side.  It had been a wonderful day, ending “officially” at 16:30.       Thanks to our leader Robert.                                        Anne Crowe