Birding, and in fact ANY natural history and recording, is challenging at the best of times, but when you throw a place like the Cotswold Water Park (CWP) into the mix, then the challenges seem overwhelming. A combination of size (40 square miles), a huge number of lakes (over 150) but restricted access in certain areas, can render even the most dedicated birder rather daunted and confused.
Recognising that the CWP is a challenging place to visit,this website was set up to try and make things a little easier.
The CWP Birding blog
In 2006, this website was launched by Bob Philpott, supported by what is now the Cotswold Water Park CWP Trust.
It was started in recognition that neither of the excellent county-based websites (The Gloster Birder and the Wiltshire Ornithological Society website) publicised sightings for the “other” county, focussing only upon their county of interest. This produced a considerable gap in the market, which is still highlighted when you see the abundance of sightings published on the CWP Bird Blog, that are not published on the county websites.
The Blog is updated daily thanks to a number of local birders and naturalists who keep the information flowing in. All data sent to the blog is also collated and digitised by the CWP Trust and then shared with the county recorders and biological records centres. This means that data sent to the blog is extremely valuable and a lot of value is derived from it.
We often ask for additional information; for example, asking about broods of ducks and other proofs of breeding, so that we can assign the BTO Breeding Bird Codes wherever possible. Such records are infinitely more useful to the county recorders.
Far more people view the blog than send in records to it. We encourage all local birders and visitors to send in records and the increase we have seen in recent years has been very positive.
The blog is a useful resource for people wishing to plan a visit to the CWP, whether they are local or come from further afield. We still frequently meet people, however, who aren’t aware of the existence of the blog. In some cases, they are guided walk leaders who may be blindly leading people to areas of the CWP that they have visited for the past 20 years, but which are now less attractive to birds. We encourage all guided walk leaders to consult the blog before coming here to ensure that they aren’t missing out on some great birds.
So, please visit the blog before you visit the CWP…………..and send us some observations and reports afterwards! Contact details are on the website.
What sightings would we like from you:
Whenever you visit the Cotswold Water Park we welcome all your sightings (and photographs) of whatever species. It would be very easy to be selective about what you send in and only give us ‘interesting’ sightings. We would prefer that you send us everything. When several sightings are received from one location the figures will reflect the maximum number seen.
Why do we publish sightings of some common species:
The Cotswold Water Park attracts both new and experienced birdwatchers. It is important that everyone can use the information from this site whatever their ability.
We’re always happy to receive feedback so if you have any comments, thoughts, grumbles or ideas, please get in touch.
Gareth Harris / Bob Philpott
Whilst we would encourage you to spend your time exploring the Water Park, if you do venture further afield then there are several other excellent sites about birding in this general area.