29th. One of the foulest April days I can remember. The strong north-easterly continued to blow with persistent heavy rain. The morning temperature didn't get above 6C. I thought I'd drive through the flooded lane to Stratford Hide at Chew hoping to find some terns or even seabirds, but all was quiet except for large numbers of hirundines desperately trying to feed over the flooded pasture. Birds perched on barbed wire fences with their nictitating membranes closed. Many of the birds looked in trouble, and large numbers of swallows were resting on the ground around the lake. Welcome to England. There were 2 white wagtails and 2 common sandpipers at the dam.
28th. Chew in the afternoon in a cold north-easterly. Hundreds of swallows fed over the lake, with smaller numbers of house martins and swifts, and a few sand martins. A smart male yellow wagtail was on Herriot's Pool in the area that the spotted sandpiper used to favour.
22nd. A quiet morning at Chew - no sign of the spotted sandpiper, Richardson's goose or green-winged teal that were seen last week. Only birds of note were ca. 30 house martins and 2 common sandpipers. A smart white-headed great cormorant in breeding kit landed in front of Bernard King Hide, though with a gular pouch angle around 70 degrees, it's not clear if it's of the sinensis subspecies (if such a thing exists).
15th A pair of garganey and the spotted sandpiper remained at Chew Valley Lake. I heard two singing reed warblers.
10th. A short-eared owl flew in bright sunlight at Aust at high tide.
When I arrived home I had a text message from Gary Thoburn telling me about a male black-winged stilt at Stratford Hide, Chew Valley Lake. The light wasn't great for photography, but if the bird hangs around there could be some good opportunities for some nice shots. First at the lake since two birds in May 1965.
7th. I caught up with the Aust short-eared owls (3 of them) at last.
A still but cloudy day at Chew Valley Lake. At the dam were the Egyptian goose and a white wagtail. I caught sight of the female long-tailed duck drifting towards the picnic area, and drove there to get great close-up views.
I saw three garganey (2 drakes) from Stratford Hide, and my first swallows of the year when driving towards Herriot's Pool, where the spotted sandpiper still resides. I took some photos of a tame great crested grebe fishing for sticklebacks.
1st.A beautiful still and sunny day. Meare Heath in the late afternoon - great white egret, 2 long-billed dowitchers, 3 ruff, marsh harrier, bittern (plus 2 others booming), and a flock of 50+ sand martins.