Monday 26 January 2015

A Weekend of Reccies

Over the weekend we managed to visit a couple of sites which we use for our tours.

First stop the The Cotswold Water Park. Now that winter is finally with us a look around the Lakes produce some of the rarer birds that we find at this time of year. Plenty of Wigeon and Teal around in good numbers - always nice to see and hear them, but target birds are Smew and Goosander. After a little searching we managed to find a group of three Goosander in the centre of one of the larger lakes. After moving on to a well known area for Smew we are soon rewarded with five Smew, three of them being the wonderful looking males (one of my favourite birds as they always make the day seem much brighter when you see them). Another duck to look out for is the Pintail, (again the male is a splendid looking bird), in total about 20 birds were seen around the lakes.

Lots of Fieldfare and Redwings around now feeding up on the berry bushes with a couple of pairs of Bullfinch. Other birds seen included both the Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker - always easier to see at this time of year when there are no leaves on the trees - also several Chiffchaffs busily feeding on the many tiny insects that are flying in the sunshine.

Next stop The Marlborough Downs. This is a very large area so I planned to only be out for a couple of hours. Beginning at around 14.00 I soon came across a small group of birds gliding on the wind above one of the hills. These turned out to be Red Kite, in total around 15 birds counted. With many Kestrels flying around hunting, this was turning out to be an afternoon watching birds of prey as the next bird seen was a Sparrowhawk gliding slowly over the trees to my right! On my way back I knew that I had a chance of seeing Short-Eared Owls as they often hunt on the Downs in the Winter months. In total 4-6 owls were seen making for a great end to the day, with Buzzard, Yellowhammer, Corn bunting and Skylark also spotted giving a wonderful couple of hours in the late afternoon sun. DT

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