Saturday 31 August – Chew Valley Lake Leader: Robert Hargreaves

Fourteen people met at a cool and breezy Herriott’s Bridge. In the pool there were three Pintails among the more common ducks, two Great White Egrets and three Green Sandpipers. We saw the flash of a Kingfisher and a Chiffchaff called. Soon it was time to walk to the Ringing Station to be greeted by Mike Bailey and his team. Mike gave an extremely interesting talk illustrated by the ringing of the Reed Warbler, Goldfinch and Blue Tit – fascinating. There was then a tour of the nets and parts of the lake not usually accessible, affording a view across to the top of the Stratford hide. Then it was time for tea and luxury biscuits, as Mike thanked us for BOC’s generous grant for thermal imaging equipment, which enables night-time ringing. There was some further discussion about bird migration, punctuated by the excitement of a Collared Dove, caught in the garden net, being ringed. This was only the second Collared Dove ringed, making it rarer than the three times ringed Aquatic Warbler! At 12.30 it was time to leave. We thanked Mike and his team for the warm welcome and for giving us their time and expertise and emerged into a sudden downpour! At this point the group fragmented, some to leave, others to find lunch. When the weather improved, survivors carried on birding at Heron’s Green, the highlights were four Whinchats at the back of the pool, big numbers of Little Grebes in the pool and two Wigeon in the lake. A few of the group spotted a strange hybrid Wigeon with the tame Mallard and two Egyptian Geese near “Salt & Malt”. The long-stayers spent some time in the Stratford hide. We were too late for the Bittern flypast but were pleased with the Sparrowhawk that tried to fly right into the hide and the Hobby. We spotted the currently resident It was good to see Shoveler and Pochard among the ducks and a Great White Egret and Little Grebe close to the hide. It had been a walk with no formal ending, but with plenty to see and do. We had thoroughly enjoyed our visit to CVRS. Thanks to Mike Bailey and the ringing team and to our leader Robert. Anne Crowe
Black Swan.