Saturday 20 August – Chew Valley Lake Leader: Andy Davis

Seventeen Club members met Andy on Herriotts Bridge. Autumn wader passage was underway, producing three Wood Sandpipers amongst 24 Green Sandpipers, and a Little Ringed Plover as well as 24 Snipe – a good count so early in the autumn. We spent time studying first the waders and then the gulls, picking out a Common and a Yellow-legged Gull amongst the more numerous Lesser Black-blacked Gulls and Black-headed Gulls. Great White and Little Egrets posed at close range for comparison. Black-tailed Godwits have moved from the pool to the lake, perhaps seeking deeper water, and a few were scattered along the shoreline. Lots of Sand Martins zoomed around our heads, a Cetti’s Warbler sang, a Raven ‘cronked’ and the sharp-eyed caught the blue flash of a Kingfisher or two out over the lake. We moved to Herons Green to find a quite unusual bird for Chew: an Oystercatcher. Also, there were Little Grebes, two Common Sandpipers, another Yellow-legged Gull and at least 30 Pied Wagtails with one Yellow Wagtail. We almost overlooked the Common Tern crouching low on the back of the old road that now pokes out of the shallow water. The group then split so as not to overwhelm the hides, half going to Villice Bay which turned up Lapwing and seven Mistle Thrushes, then on to Nunnery to see 20 Ringed Plovers, three Dunlin, Common and Green Sandpipers. The other half chose Stratford where up to three Garganey were hiding behind waving reeds which parted now and then to allow the odd glimpse of an eclipse male. We also had a few Shovelers, a Peregrine that shot down the lake disturbing all the ducks and a Hobby hunting over woods on the far shore. The shore held another unexpected wader- a juvenile Turnstone (two were reported). Many thanks to Andy Davis for his patience in imparting some of the knowledge he has picked up during all his years of birding at Chew. Jane Cumming