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02 Dec 2018

Return of Oystercatcher and Dunlin in breeding plumage

Bewick’s Swans and Tack Piece water levels

The 11 that had built up over recent weeks at Blagdon and Chew Valley Lakes (South of Bristol) arrived here today, this includes the two cygnets, we now have families of 1, 2 and 3 present. The total number of swans is over 60, most of them spent the day on the Tack Piece which we are still flooding. Later this week we hope to borrow one of the Environment Agency pumps to bring levels up further, this and forecast rain should hopefully restore levels after such a dry summer.

Rushy Hide

16 Snipe were to be found along the shore of the lower pond, a Redshank or two also present and at times hundreds of Lapwing on the causeway. Over 2000 birds were present at dawn including the Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck and Mallard flocks.

Tack Piece

Around 400 each of Teal and Wigeon and smaller numbers of Shoveler and Pintail on the scrape. 20 Redshank and a few Curlew fed among the grazing Wigeon. Golden Plover numbers built up through the morning to 800+, over 700 Lapwing settled on occasion but two male Peregrines were chasing about and keeping them busy. Flocks of Dunlin also dropped in.

Martin Smith Hide

A Common Snipe was on the eastern island and from mid morning small flocks of Teal roosted.

Willow Hide

At least three Water Rail were under the feeders.

Car Park hedges

Two Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Redpoll and Redwings were noted early morning.

Holden Tower

Unusual to see a party of 19 Raven heading S along the estuary shore. At least 6 Cranes were present early morning but is likely to have increased during the day.

South Lake

Pochard, Tufted Duck and Cormorants on the deep lake, Shoveler and Teal on the wader scrape with Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwing.


The single Bewick’s Swan ‘Indri’ remains on the Big Pen pond, our first returning Oystercatcher was back on territory today, does this class as our first spring migrant even though we haven’t had winter yet!

A party of six Lesser Redpolll were in birches near the Otters (Back from the Brink).

Zeiss Hide/Top New Piece

Singing Cetti’s Warbler below the hide. 5 Redshank, 24 Ruff and 20 Black-tailed Godwit opposite Van de Bovenkamp Hide, looking West) , 400+ Lapwing and 340+ Dunlin (included a bird in breeding plumage, very out of season). 200+ Teal and c850 Wigeon were also present but often scattered by Peregrines. Six Pochard were on the fleet. The ‘Crane nesting islands’ looking North toward Holden Tower held 55 Snipe.

Out of season Dunlin with the non-breeding plumaged flock.

Kingfisher Hide/Bottom New Piece

At least 56 E. White-fronted Geese and 240 Barnacle Geese were with the Canada and Greylag Goose flock. Four Gadwall and a Shoveler were in the channel.