8th March 2022 – Chew Valley Lake, North Somerset

It is well known that time spent in nature is connected to cognitive and mental health benefits, as well as improvements in mood and emotional well-being. Well how I needed a day like today, bird watching in the Chew Valley just south of Bristol!

To some extent the frustration at not being able to get out and about because of my Achilles’ tendon rupture has got to me; but more than anything seeing the atrocities in Ukraine, and the suffering of the poor people there who have done nothing to have such horror inflicted upon them, has affected me considerably.

I wasn’t able to completely forget their plight but I did have a pleasant day without any news broadcasts and without even looking at my phone.

I spent most of the day on my own but I did spend a little while talking to Keith Vinicombe, the author of a local natural history book of this area which I bought before Christmas and which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Keith was in the company of John Rosetti (who compiled and edited the book) and I was very pleased to meet them and congratulate them on their splendid work. I particularly enjoyed the book because I was brought up in this area and, as well as a fantastic reference of the birds of Chew Valley, it relates the history of the lake which was constructed when I was a boy growing up here.

As for the birds I didn’t see as many as I have in recent visits but for much of the day there was good light and I enjoyed my time taking photographs.

I started my day at the Stratford hide

The great crested grebes are looking magnificent

The view from Herriots Bridge

Great crested grebe from Herriots Bridge

A good lunch here

Great white egret on Herriots Pool

Great white egret

Grey wagtail on Herriots Pool

Pied wagtail at the dam

Pied wagtail

A good selection of gulls on Herriots Pool

There were plenty of opportunities to see mute swans in flight from Herriots Bridge

Mute swan

John Rosetti pointed out a kingfisher to me – I had great difficulty in seeing it. Can you see why? If you look very carefully you can just see its back.

Canada goose at Herriots Pool

Why do people not like gulls?

Tufted duck at Herons Green

Tufted ducks everywhere
on the water

.. and in the air

Childhood memories came back with daffodils and primroses along the verges

.. and snowdrops

.. and my first celandine of the year

Slideshow of my photos from today:

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