Sunday 17 May 2015


I recently lead a tour to the Cotswold Water Park, one of our warblers and nightingales tours.

Right from the start we were listening to two male blackcap singing against each other.

At the first lake we reached we saw a nice selection of waterbirds, including several fine male tufted duck as well as having a reed warbler singing to our left and a sedge warbler singing to our right, perfect for comparison.

As we carried on along the Thames we were lucky enough to see a splendid male bullfinch picking at the willow buds!

Everything went a bit mad after this - we had a garden warbler singing from both the left hand side and right hand side of the river, we tried to see the one to the right and looked straight at a lovely male reed bunting, so we tried the one to the left, he was just behind a dead tree I was using as a visual guide, more distraction as a treecreeper sneaked up the dead tree! Needless to say the garden warbler slinked away.

We were just heading away when we nearly jumped out of our skin as a cetti's warbler fired an opening salvo from about a metre away in a bush.

Chiffchaff were regularly singing on our route and we saw a male soon afterwards.

We next had the perfect chance to compare a blackcap and a garden warbler as they were singing from adjacent bushes, the differences were noted by everyone. The first of three cuckoo started to call from the back of the lake we were stood by. Great to hear one again.

Another cuckoo seen by me in Wiltshire

At the next lake we saw a pair of red-crested pochard, as well good numbers of common tern and black-headed gull.

We finished our walk at an area of scrub where we could hear every warbler we had already heard plus willow warbler, whitethroat and lesser whitethroat. We were also lucky enough to hear at least three nightingale singing against each other and we were stood in the middle! A fitting end to a brilliant walk. (NA)

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