With Dan unavailable and Tim and Gill deciding to meet us at our destination myself,Wayne and Phil Hardwick set off early on Sun 29.April 2007 for Cotswold Water Park.
Leaving Junc 34 on the M4 at o6.50 with Phil at the wheel of his nice 4x4 we made good time and duly arrived at Swillbrook Lakes (Pits46/48) our first stop at o8.20 in search of the easier heard than seen Nightingales.
We soon heard one singing closely followed by a couple more before one gave it'self up for some resonable views,before the morning was up we were into double figures of N'gales heard and had views of 3 different birds with some really superb close encounters.
Unfortunately they dive back into the scrub as quickly as they emerge and I wasn't able to get any photos.
Whilst walking up the path leading to Pit 57 Wayne spotted a Grass Snake sunning it'self on a pile of wood chips and it duly obliged for a snap before slithering away.
Also along the same path we came across a very striking moth the name of which I'm unsure (Wayne will confirm it) which gave me the chance to test the macro facility on my camera with reasonable results.
Elsewhere along the path we had good views of singing Reed,Sedge and Garden Warblers as well as Blackcap and Chiff Chaff.
We duly arrived at Pit 57 (the scene of some more awful development for the weekenders from London) and were soon viewing good numbers of Common Tern,Phil spotted a couple of dark looking terns which were quickly confirmed as Black Terns although they did not hang about for long.
We were soon on to some Hobbys and eagle eyed Phil spotted one perched in a tree on the far side of the pool which although distant gave a reasonable photo opportunity.
Tim had been keeping in touch by mobile and although arriving later than ourselves had already caught up with Nightingale and we arranged to meet up around the other side of Pit 57 hoping for closer views of the Black Terns.
By the time we had met up with Tim and Gill the Black Terns had flown off but we were lucky to see more Hobbys and a pair of Red Crested Pochards which saved us the time of looking on other pits for the species.
Also in the willow scub were a Garden Warbler and some Reed Buntings with the males in summer plummage looking very dapper.
A local birder gave us news of a recent Gargeney on Pit 95 and the 5 of us set off in hot pursuit,we said farewell to Tim and Gill who were off to visit Tim's aunt in Avebury and walked half way around the pit, the Gargeney was nowhere to be seen although we did pick up Gadwall,Sedge Warbler and Lapwing.
Next stop was Waterhay (Pit 82 ) for breeding Little Ringed Plover,another birder gave us directions and stated that the birds were "quite easy to see",what an understatement as it took us ages to find a just one LRP and that was only a brief view althogh some consulation was a view of a Redshank which with Lapwing also breed at the site.
A picnic lunch was then enjoyed by all and having "mopped up " at CWP we set off as planned for Frampton-Upon-Severn in search of the influx of Glossy Ibis,Birdguides were reporting 12 on the flood at Saul Warth and shortly after arriving and bumping into Gareth Jenkins we were soon looking at 14 feeding on the flood.
I'd only seen one previously in the U.K,the long staying juvenile at Bowling Green Marsh/Topsham some 4-5 years ago and was hoping to get a couple of good pics of a bird which is not difficult to photograph.
Unfortunately the sun was in our faces and reflecting off the flood so much that the water almost looked like snow.
We all enjoyed good views of the Ibiss and walking back along the canal towpath to the car one of several Lesser Whitethroats we had heard singing flitted on to a willow from dense bramble cover and gave the three of us some splendid binocular views.
A pair of Mallards with their young family in tow were swimming up the canal on the way back and I simply couldn't resist one last photo for the day.
We deliberated over looking for the Marbled Duck (bit dodgy I fear!!) which had been reported earlier but after some arsehole had let his 2 large dogs gallop through the flood causing absolute mayhem we decided that a pint on a hot afternoon at the pub on the picturesque village green was a much better idea and a pint of Thatchers really did "hit the spot".
We'd all enjoyed a great day's birdin' in good company and fantastic weather with some lifers for some and Wayne totally relieved and safe in the knowledge that he now couldn't get "gripped off" by the young Twitchmeister.