Thursday, 3 April 2014

Chew Valley Lake Trip Report

Saturday 29th March 2014
Chew Valley Lake (Leaders: Phillip & Lucy Delve).

From the picnic areas, where eight of us met at the north end of the lake, we walked to and from the footbridge at Hollow Brook. Here there are stands of pine trees, open parkland and lakeside reed beds. On this pleasant, early spring day many woodland birds were in song. We stopped to listen to Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Wren, Robin, Chaffinches and Goldfinches. A Kestrel appeared briefly over the pines.

Towards Hollow Brook there were a few Reed Buntings. Here Alan Rayner pointed out Smooth Bristle-moss, Orthotrichum striatum, growing on a willow trunk. Under magnification you could see spore-capsules shaped like miniature bell heather flowers.
On the return leg, we came across a patch of Moschatel Adoxa moschatellina, in flower at the base of a pine tree. This plant is also known as Townhall Clock from its interesting flower structure. By a hedge, along the footpath across the parkland, we found a couple of Bloody-nosed Beetles.

Driving anti clockwise around the lake we visited in turn, Woodford Lodge then the causeways at Heron’s Green and Herriot’s Bridge.

By the time we reached Woodford Lodge there was quite a strong breeze. To avoid this we entered the memorial wood here, where calling Chiffchaffs were confiding and Bullfinches deeper in cover.

At Herons Green we took turns to view Teal, Little Egret and Common Sandpiper through the telescope. Briefly a Green sandpiper called and alighted on the pool before flying away.  Almost as fleeting a few long awaited Sand Martins flew over us, our first for this spring! A Sparrowhawk was spotted flying some way off before we moved on.

Finally at Herriot’s Bridge we looked at the wildfowl.

There was a single Black Swan among many Mute Swans. There were Shelducks, Barnacle Geese and diving ducks Tufted, Pochard and a few Goldeneye. A single “redhead” Merganser was a more unusual find for the lake. We saw several pairs of Great Crested Grebes although not the hoped for full mating displays.  A migrating Osprey over the lake was also very possible at this time. In fact one was seen here just a couple of days later. So ended a this very enjoyable meeting.

Thanks to Phillip & Lucy Delve

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