Otters and Birds at Chew

Thursday 30th December 2009

I spent the day at Chew Valley Lake in Somerset, with Mark, and despite the very gloomy and damp conditions, had an excellent time. The highlight was seeing Otters, a first for both of us (photos above an below). This was at Stratford Hide where we watched them give a full performance from 13:50 to 14:30, including, eating a fish, trying to eat a paper bag, synchronised swimming, synchronised leaping out of the water (Dolphin-like) and - fighting. First we saw two, then as they swam from the left-hand side of the hide to in front of us we could see there were three: an adult and two pups; they continued round to the right-hand side of the hide and eventually up on to the bank.

The pups were having quite a squabble which they continued for some time:

A fourth Otter, was then seen to emerge from the same place on the left-hand side of the hide and swam round to where the rest had gone up into the bank:

Other highlights were:
Main Dam
A drake Red-breasted Merganser with nine Goosanders, and at least five Goldeneyes;

Bernard King Hide
A Long-tailed Duck, 5+ Goosanders, 6+ Goldeneyes, three Little Grebes, a Grey Heron, a drake Mandarin, a Cetti's Warbler singing, plus lots of Tufted Duck and Pochard with a few Teal, Shoveler, and Gadwall;

Stratford Hide
Two Water Rails, a Pied Wagtail and more Goosanders and Goldeneys;

Heron's Green Pool
A Cattle Egret (below) and a Little Egret in a field with cattle to the south of the pool, 25 Lapwing on the pool and a flock of c70 seen in the air nearby;

Herriott's Pool
A Pintail, c20 Shoveler, lots of Pochard, Teal and Tufted Duck, lots of gulls including a Great Black-backed Gull and three Pied Wagtails.

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