Tuesday 21 February 2017

CWP is the place to be!

We are getting more and more people enjoying the Cotswold Water Park, where despte the levels of development going on and the very limited number of lakes being saved for wildlife, the nature still hangs on. 

We started in Neigh Bridge car park where we managed fleeting glimpses of siskin in the alder trees, in the area also were blue tit , great tit, robin, wren and blackbird.

male blackbird

We worked our way along the edge of the main road, where we watched goldfinch also feeding on alders and a very showy male dunnock proclaiming his ownership of a stretch of hedgerow.

On the first lake we saw some red-crested pochard resplendent with their ginger afro haircuts. Also present were two female goosander, great crested grebe several tufted duck, cormorant, coot and mute swan.

As we headed on down the lane we picked up a male chaffinch feeding on the path in front of us,  long-tailed tit and goldcrest.

We crossed the river Thames on the footbridge and worked our way along to the viewing point of the next lake. Here we saw the male scaup, also present and new for us were mallard, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, common gull and black-headed gull

We quickly moved onto the next lake where we saw a great selection of duck and were a little more sheltered from the windy conditions. We added pochard, gadwall, wigeon, little egret and grey heron to the species list as well as seeing close views of great crested grebe, tufted duck and coot. We watched the gadwall and wigeon pinching weed from the coot each time they bobbed back to the surface!

We then headed through the woodland along the river Thames where we heard a few things, but didn’t see much! We heard the male bullfinch doing his ‘meep meep’ Roadrunner song, the raucous call of a pair of jay, a very loud and elusive great spotted woodpecker, a flyover kingfisher and we did just about see the song thrush singing beautifully in the late morning.

We headed out of the woods and the kingfisher put in another all to brief cameo as it shot into the distance.

As we crossed the open ground towards our next lake we had great views of male and female reed bunting and several meadow pipit.

meadow pipit

We headed over to a large lake with islands where we had great views of tufted duck, pochard, wigeon, great crested grebe and the cormorant starting to spring clean their nest sites in the trees.
Similar species at the nest lake, but on the way back along the track we had some brilliant views of a female sparrowhawk as she headed purposefully through a woodland and across a lake. A mistle thrush headed past us at this point.

As we turned the next corner we picked up a male treecreeper singing and moving around the trees, closely followed by point blank views of a pair of goldcrest displaying, the male with his orangey-yellow crest raised!

A few redwing were moving around the trees where we saw the crayfish remains and otter spraints.

We then worked our way along the edge of our last lake where we saw a male shoveler hiding in cover at the edge of the lake, finally heading back to the car park - a great day!

A more showy male shoveler


Sunday 5 February 2017

Looking for new tour venues

Otmoor RSPB Reserve in Oxfordshire

Both myself and Nick are always on the lookout for some new and exciting venues for our tours.

So a visit to the Oxfordshire sight proved to be very interesting.

This reserve would work as a summer or winter tour venue as the potential to see various birds at different times of the year would be appealing.

On our trip several different raptors were observed with two Peregrines giving some wonderful fly pasts. With several other species on offer including Hen and Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk, Merlin, Short eared Owl and Red kite along with some very close up views of wildfowl this would make for an interesting tour.

Also here now are Bitterns which are seen very often along with several different wader species.

In winter the reedbeds are home to a large Starling roost which always ends the day on a good note.

So a summer visit to see how the things look then and this could well be our next new tour location.

Other areas we are also looking at are the wonderful RSPB Reserve at Arne and also Studland bay both in Dorset.