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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Cotswold Water Park - 29th December 2015

Luckily we booked great weather for this trip, we did a circular walk at the Western end of the Cotswold Water Park. We soon picked up some movement in the tops of the alder trees by the car park, this turned out to be about ten siskin busily feeding on the tiny alder cones. A great start!
We headed towards the lakes and we were soon watching about 90 red-crested pochard feeding and displaying on the first lake. Just as we were heading off we spotted a pale bird diving at the back of the lake that turned out to be a male goosander whom we watched diving for several minutes. We were also lucky enough to see tufted duck, coot, mute swan and cormorant here.
As we wandered on along the river Thames we saw a few redwing, fieldfare and long-tailed tit busily feeding in and on the hedgerow bushes as well as a very showy female great spotted woodpecker. The next bird was a real stunner – at least four bullfinch sitting at the top of a bush in the sun feeding on buds, one of the best views I’ve had of this relatively secretive bird.

Female bullfinch

We concentrated on a couple of lakes next, checking the duck and saw good numbers of wigeon, gadwall and goosander as well as a fair few goldeneye displaying.

We worked our way through the woodland and soon reached some more lakes where we had our first common pochard, great crested grebe and mallard. We also picked up a surprisingly well hidden grey heron hidden in a tree. The next birds found were a couple of little grebe feeding along a lake edge.

Grey heron - not being very stealthy...

As we worked our way back towards the car park we saw more redwing feeding as well as a pair of Mistle thrush hunting for invertebrates on the grassland. The next sighting was of bits of a signal crayfish left on the bank by a mammal, most likely an otter.

All in all a very productive trip! (NA)

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