Thursday, 18 December 2014

Blagdon Lake Trip Report

Sunday 14th Decmber 2014
Blagdon Lake; (Lead by Nigel Milbourne )

On this cool morning, fourteen of us met by the Dam at Blagdon Lake. Sheltered from a stiff southerly wind by the Mendip Hills, the lake was relatively calm, glinting under a grey sky.  Many water birds were visible, predominantly Coot and Tufted Ducks with the occasional Great Crested Grebe. Almost immediately we were finding less common birds on the lake. While scanning through a distant flock of Common and Black-headed Gulls, two Mediterranean Gulls were spotted briefly and seen by a lucky few. Despite a determined search and deploying several telescopes we were unable to relocate either gull. Then we spotted an immature Peregrine Falcon flying down the lake, putting up the gulls until these in turn began to mob the Peregrine!

Before moving our cars into the Bristol Water lodge car park, Nigel Milbourne our leader for the day, showed us inside the old “venturi house” to explain recent adaptations to promote bat conservation. Blagdon Lake has been found to provide significant habitat for several bat species, including the little studied Nathusius’ pipistrelle, which have been recorded advertising from the “venturi house”. Other bats using the building include Brown long-eared and Soprano pipistrelles. One significant feature of the “venturi house” is a deep pit below, providing cave like conditions for bat hibernation.

From the lodge we walked the metalled track along the south shore of the lake following various inlets.
A Black-necked Grebe with striking ruby red eyes has been wintering on the lake for some weeks. Locating the bird from approximately half way down the lake, we took some time for everyone to see the bird through a telescope before moving on.

In the fields flanking the lake, we saw Starlings and Redwings feeding on adjacent farmland, and with these just a few Fieldfares. A flock of Lapwings flew up the lake. In wooded sections there were the typical passerines including Goldcrest, Tree creepers and tit species, although many  were recognised by call rather than sight. At the eastern end of the lake we found wintering a Chiff-chaff.  This is the shallow end of the lake which is favoured by dabbling ducks, and we saw Gadwall, Shoveler  and Teal.  Here we also watched several Snipe fly up from the reed-bed.  Finally we visited the old fish hatchery, with inlet stream Mistletoe clad Poplar trees and bird feeders, before heading back to our cars along the lake.

List of birds recorded at the meeting:
Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mute Swans, Grey Heron, Cormorants, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Water Rail, Lapwing, Snipe, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon, Pheasant, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gulls, Common Gulls, Mediterranean Gull, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Pied Wagtails, Grey Wagtail, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tits, Coal Tits, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwings, Song Thrush, Starlings, Magpie, Jay, Crow, Ravens, Jackdaws, Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Chiffchaff, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker.

61 species recorded and of these 12 only heard.


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