I had planned a morning of birding at the Water Park so wasn’t impressed with the forecast of fog. The alarm went off at just before seven and looking out the window sure enough it was foggy. However I decided to carry on as planned and so at just before eight I was getting out of the car to go Smew hunting. Fortunately Lake 28a which is the one that the Smew favour is quite small and despite the fog I was able to see the whole lake. It only took a few seconds to find the group of 2 male and three redheads over by the far bank. As I moved around the lake so did they, always staying as far away as possible. I did manage a couple of pictures, white birds on grey water in the fog.
Also seen here was a male Merlin which shot out of the trees ahead of me and disappeared across the open ground towards Lake 30. A real bonus bird. I had planned on walking around all the lakes here but there wasn’t a lot of point. I wanted to go to the Cotswold shop so decided to have a walk along the old canal from the visitor centre. This would pass the time until Cotswold opened. A couple of Robins were by the car park and then a Wren was seen in the reeds on the canal. As I was watching it what I first thought was another Wren popped up just in front of me. As I looked at it properly I realised that it was a Cetti’s Warbler, six feet in front of me and not bothered. I watched it for about ten minutes as it moved along picking food from the reeds. Even though it didn’t really come into the open these were the best views that I have had of one of these normally skulking birds.
Also seen along here were a Chiffchaff, Bullfinch and several Dunnocks, Robins and Wrens. Walking back by Lake 6 I added Redwing, Fieldfare, another Cetti’s and some Red Crested Pochard just visible through the murk.
After Cotswold I headed for Waterhay where I made a leisurely circuit around to 68 and back via 82. Highlights here were a Goldeneye on 72, Goldcrest, a group of seven or eight Bullfinches (at least five males), two Jays and two flyover Ravens. Along by 82 were a few Snipe. Some of the paths here are now covered in water from the river overflowing so good boots or wellies are the order of the day. Despite the conditions a worthwhile visit with forty-two species noted. This was probably the first time birding at the Water Park that I have left the telescope in the car and just used binoculars.