Wiltshire Birding At It’s Best

With a longish walk at the Water Park planned for today I was a little disappointed to see that it was foggy when I got up. However by the time I set off it had started to clear. My first stop was at North Meadow outside Cricklade. on the flooded fields here were a few Lapwing and gulls and little else. From here I made a quick check of the scrape from Twitchers, just in case the Great White Egret was around. It wasn’t. I then went to look for the Smew and I found two Redheads on 28 along with a pair of Goosander. Then it was off to Waterhay for my walk along the Thames Path to the Reed Hide. A Common Gull was standing on its own in one of the fields and a flock of Redwings were in the trees of the car park. On 68a/b were eight Goldeneye. I cut through the hedge by lake 59 where four male and two female Bullfinches were seen. Small birds were in short supply with few seen overall. As I neared the Thames I could hear Curlew and found a flock of seventeen on the flooded fields across the river. Also here were two Blackwits, two Redshank and a Green Sandpiper. Green and Great-spotted Woodpecker were heard but not seen around here. Reaching the hides a scan along 74 found large numbers of Shoveler and Wigeon along with a few Tufties and Teal and a couple of Goldeneye. Not much was seen from the Reed Hide but Cetti’s and Water Rail were heard. Heading back alongside  68a/b a raft of around two hundred and twenty Pochard was a nice find. A flock of Lapwing flew up from the scrape as did three male Pintail. After returning to the car I decided to look in at Eysey on the way home. I stopped along Friday Hams Lane to check out another flock of Lapwing and got a flyby Kingfisher as a bonus. The water at Eysey was almost empty but a scan of the trees found a Buzzard. As I watched it flew and all of a sudden a Peregrine appeared and started to mob it. Eventually the Buzzard flew off and the Peregrine then disappeared over the trees. Nearing home I headed in towards Swindon to try for the Dipper that has been seen around the Eldene / Park South area. Parking in Shaftesbury Avenue I walked across to the small rubbish strewn stream. To be honest i didn’t think there was much chance of seeing it but as I approached the culvert where the Dorcan Way passes over the stream I saw it bobbing away on the edge of the water. As I watched it walked in and submerged. When it surfaced it stayed for a few seconds before flying along the culvert and out of sight. Certainly an interesting place for it to be and thanks and congratulations to the finder. All in all a good day out with three year and seven county ticks.

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