Below is a summary of good birding areas within the Central Section of the Cotswold Water Park, including an appropriate starting / parking area.
The central section of the Water Park has yet to be fully excavated and those areas being extracted at present are often distant from public rights of way. This section comprises the land to the east of the A419.
The gravel banks here provide views of migrating waders and yellow wagtails and the lake holds a good number of waterbirds. Rarities have included greater and lesser scaup.
The central section does have the benefit of the Thames National Trail running through it, alongside the River Thames for much of the way. This area has been explored relatively little by local birders, but when it is, this area often produces something of interest. The pasture and arable areas often support flocks of Mute Swan and Greylag Geese, which often attracts other migrant swans such as Bewick’s and Whooper Swans, or geese such as Pink-footed Geese.
The River Thames and its tributaries normally flood extensively during the winter months, so some care is needed at such times. If visited with care however, this area may divulge large flocks of waterbirds (such as Wigeon, Teal and Mallard) and gulls on the floodwater. In recent years Kumlien’s Gulls have been found here, with Peregrine Falcon hunting overhead. During the summer months this area supports breeding Tree Sparrow, Yellow wagtail, and if you’re lucky, Redshank and Lapwing, whilst Reed Bunting and warblers are abundant along the river. Kingfisher are frequently seen.
Park in Cricklade Town Centre and gain access to the Thames path walking downstream under the A419 towards Eysey Manor. Enjoy one of the local pubs in Cricklade.
From Castle Eaton walk the Thames Path upstream towards Cricklade. This does overlook a new area of gravel workings at Roundhouse Farm Quarry. From across the River Thames. The fields here, when flooded in winter 2010/2011 attracted the flock of Bewick’s Swans and often attracted hundreds of duck such as Wigeon and Mallard.