Sunday 28 February –Chew Valley Lake

Despite the bitter weather 12 of us met up at Herriott’s end. Still, two Cetti’s Warblers were singing and a Greylag and Barnacle Goose appeared to be courting. Over the back were Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Pochard and Tufted Duck. The lake was very full, bad for dabbling duck, so no Gadwall. We walked up to the ringing station where we were kindly invited in to see three birds being ringed: a Wren, a Chiffchaff and a Great Tit. A fallen feather from the Chiffchaff was sent to the BTO for DNA testing to see which race it belonged to –Siberian Chiffchaffs and other oddities can turn up in winter. We then toured the lake from Wick Green to Heron’s Green in 3 cars. At Wick Green a few Goldeneye, male and female, were seen, and Cormorant, Goldfinch and Redwing. Back round to Stratford hide for more Goldeneye and a Common Gull. A Peregrine flew fast over the hide, quickly to be followed by a Sparrowhawk challenging the wind to cross the lake. On leaving, a Grey Wagtail flew over the cars. The gate at Moreton had Long-tailed Tits but our visit to the hide was very short owing to the high water there. The reported Green Sandpiper was hiding from the cold. At Heron’s Green a few more Common Gull. By this time the north wind was chilling our bones and we called it a day. We had 43 species despite the weather. Our thanks to Chris Stone for leading the meeting at short notice, and to Jane Cumming for arranging access to the ringing station. Robert Hargreaves