Trip reports

Field Trip Report - Cotswold Water Park - 7 July - Lucy Starling

Reed warbler singing in reedbed
RSPB Images

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Nine members joined Kim Milsom, the Cotswold Lakes Conservation Trust Warden for a fascinating
and highly enjoyable 5 hours or so meander around Cleveland Lake Conservation Area. We traversed
permissive and private paths, starting at a site for breeding Little Ringed Plover (LRP) and a Sand
Martin colony where we entered through locked gates. Along with the 7 plovers, we found Lapwing,
and breeding Common Tern with chicks and Black-headed Gulls.

Wildfowl is now commencing moulting with many duck species in eclipse plumage, including Red-
crested Pochard and Tufted Duck; not looking colourful and as smart as they do in the winter and spring. Kim pointed out a second year Yellow-legged Gull among the Herring and Stock Dove flew past before we moved off to park our cars to get ready for a walk of about 2.5 miles including a short detour to a hide.
The paths were edged with numerous wildflowers including Common Centuary and Melilot, the
latter much favoured by Clouded Yellow butterflies in late summer. We saw several Common Spotted,
Pyramidal and Bee Orchids and possibly a Southern Marsh Orchid.
Birds seen and heard included Blackcap, Common Whitethroat,
Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler and some of us had good views of a Garden Warbler feasting on insects in
a willow tree. In the intermittent warm sunshine, butterflies flitted around our feet; Red Admiral,
Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, a Green-veined White, and a Marbled White in a more
open area adjacent to a reed bed. Not unsurprisingly, our growing list soon included Great White and
Little Egret and it was good to see a small party of Black-tailed Godwit in flight. We were fortunate
that the predicted heavy downpour coincided with our planned lunch stop in the hide where we
remained longer than anticipated due to the ferocity of the slow-moving cloud burst. Good views of
Reed Warbler, Azure Damselflies and a few Four-Spotted Chasers were had. In this area as we walked
along the path, Kim pointed out a Black Poplar tree, a rare species in UK, and CWP has a good
number of female trees for repopulating other suitable locations in the country where this type of
tree thrives.

We eventually returned towards our starting point and could see our cars at the far end of the large
flat area. Kim opened locked fencing erected to protect the breeding LRPs, and carefully guided us to
see the old nest in the middle of the expanse of hard surface; a small circle of stones and in its
centre, the birds had placed tiny bits of gravel upon which the eggs were laid. We again saw adult
birds and young close to the vegetation, the adult making alarm calls, so we proceeded directly at
some safe distance to the cars. Kim concluded by telling us stories about Disney filming Death on the
Nile last October, CWP doubling up for the River Nile and the extraordinary sight of an Egyptian
Felucca boat and camels!! I wonder if an Egyptian Goose flew into shot during the filming?!
A total of 58 species seen and/or heard for the trip.
Lucy Starling