On 1st September we caught some lesser horseshoe bats for genetics studies from Woodchester Mansion.
On 7 September a confiding juvenile WHITE-WINGED BLACK TERN appeared at Weston Sewage Works. A juvenile black tern was also present, allowing an excellent comparison between the two species.
The black tern is shown in the 2 photos below: note the breast patches and the grey rump.
The images below show the white-winged black tern. There are no breast patches, and the white rump contrasts with a dark 'saddle'.
There were some exciting local birds around during mid-September. I saw a WRYNECK at Sand Point on 11th, together with a whinchat and 2 Dartford warblers. Birds at Chew Valley Lake on the same day included 2 black-necked grebes, kingfisher, water rail, 2 garganey, goldeneye, ruff, 3 greenshank, green sandpiper, 7 redshank, and 2 common terns. There were 4 garganey, a greenshank, ruff and the female red-crested pochard (or hybrid) at Blagdon. On September 13th I saw the elusive female ferruginous duck at Chew, together with 2 peregrines.
I went to see the first-winter little crake at Slimbridge on 15th. For 2 hours nothing appeared apart from a water rail which passed in front of the hide on many occasions.
The LITTLE CRAKE then appeared, eventually feeding directly in front of me in the Zeiss Hide. The light bluish stripe down its back was its most obvious feature.
The run of good birds continued mid-month: on Saturday 17th there was a juvenile Sabine's gull at Chew. This was the second one I've seen, after a distant one offshore at St Ives about 10 years ago. It span on the water like a phalarope, pecking at insects. The brown back, dark breast smudge, and small size were apparent (smaller than a black-headed gull). In flight the tricoloured wing and forked tail could be seen. The bird was fairly distant (always > 400m), but good views were obtained through a telescope. There were also a good number of waders present, including 15 dunlin, 26 ringed plover, 2 curlew sandpipers, 2 little stints, 2 redshank and a spotted redshank. I also saw a garganey, and a kingfisher.
On 18th I went to see the great white egret at Orchardleigh Lake, near Frome. The bird showed very well, and fed out in the open, catching lots of fish.
I photographed this female speckled bush cricket in the garden on 24th.
End of month highlights included a redstart at Barrow tanks on 24th, a wood sandpiper that was first believed to be a lesser yellowlegs on the Yeo estuary (25th), and 2 red kites and a hobby from the train near Didcot on 26th. A nice selection of birds at Chew on the evening of 27th included a bird looking remarkably like a greater scaup in eclipse plumage (hybrid not ruled out, but black nail on bill was very small), 25 dunlin, 19 ringed plover, 3 curlew sandpipers, 4 little stints, 5 ruff, 3 little egrets, 2 wheatears and some excellent views of the female ferruginous duck at the water's edge from Stratford hide (digiscoped photo below).