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Water Pipits, Chew

Stratford Bay, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset

Another species not seen for over six years, since Farmoor, and moreover only my third sighting so of course three birds fossicked round the icy margins in front of the Stratford Hide today. I’d thought I might have trouble distinguishing them from meadow pipits but their faces and backs are so much plainer that they immediately leap out as waters. And in any case the whole British Anthus complex is well named: rocks hang out on rocks; meadows in meadows; and waters by water. Simples.

That makes the year list 202, Somerset 151 and Chew itself 104. I’d thought the many goosanders round the lake might have been new for the site but I had one record from November 1998. There was no sign of the smew but a bloke told me he’d seen it from the Moreton Hide so after a fine coffee and cheese’n’onion roll for £3 at the Crown that was my last port of call. I only added pheasant and ruddy duck to the day list.

Oh my God. I’ve just done a quick sanity check and I don’t have redshank, starling, mistle thrush or greenfinch at Chew. Well, today did provide redshank; so that’s 105. I must concentrate on the other three. I’m sure I’ve just overlooked them because they are so common.

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