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As Long As a Pregnancy

That’s the pace at which I churn out UK lifers. Yesterday’s bird had been brewing since last September’s Lapland bunting and the list now stands at 284. The new addition was another American waterbird to go with this year’s lesser yellowlegs and Bonaparte’s gull. It had been at Chew Valley Lake for five days before I got my ass into enough gear to see it.

Her actually. A female duck – just as hard to identify as a wader or gull.

This one was easy though, with her clear blue speculum and pale face marking her out from three male garganeys around her. Imagine that! Three garganeys upstaged.

Only a blue-winged teal could do it. Holding court just off Hollow Brook.

I would never have known where that was but for my new OS Explorer Map (for Bristol & Portishead but it covers a healthy chunk of North Somerset too and this little corner of BANES). It also shows a path running up the side of the River Chew. For a new experience I followed it but the stream is sluggish and devoid of interest – certainly not dipper territory.

The Lake, though, is swift territory this time of year, as I found last June. Thousands of them again yesterday, truly a marvellous sight. I spent a happy half hour scanning them for pallid swifts. None, of course, but what’s not to love about the motion and speed of these creatures?

I detoured back to Gibb Towers via Brockley Combe. I’m sure this has potential but could find no parking. Access must be from the A370. I’ll give it another whirl some time soon.

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