Monday 9 November 2015

Cowley, Cotswolds - 30th October to 1st November

We had a weekend at our cottage in Cowley near to Cheltenham in the Cotswolds planned so I aimed to get out birding on one morning and begin to explore the local sites. I now have a moth trap stationed there so on our arrival on Friday evening I was quick to flick the switch and get it running. There are no street lights in the village and we are set in the middle of open countryside dotted with chalk grassland and beech woodland and while I don't expect a huge list I am hoping for a good range of common species. The night was foggy and cold (8c) and the trap was a little disappointing with only six species.

December Moth


Feathered Thorn

Yellow-line Quaker

On Saturday morning I was up early to head out and explore a couple of local birding spots. First up was Painswick Beacon a location only a few minutes drive away and with regular reports of impressive viz-mig counts. The weather was far from ideal with a dispersing fog and a southerly wind. Still, I walked a circuit around the golf-course and then spent 30 minutes at the beacon to see if there was any passage. In the surrounding sycamore woodland and on the golf course were around 30 Goldcrest and 20 Meadow Pipit and overhead were my first Brambling of the year and four Crossbill which flew low to the west, four Redpoll and 15 Siskin. At the Beacon a small passage of birds moving south included 30 Goldfinch, 15 Sky Lark, 30 Redwing, 15 Fieldfare and 35 Chaffinch.

Map of Painswick Beacon. I parked on the yellow road bisecting the golf-course and walked north-east to Pope's Wood and then back south-west to the Beacon (at 283m).

View to north-west from just below Painswick Beacon

I headed back to the cottage to collect Sarah and Tobias, dropped them at a friends for a social and I headed to Coombe Hill Meadows, a small reserve owned and managed by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. I parked at the end of the track known as 'The Wharf' at GL19 4BA beside 'The Swan' pub and walked west along the north side of the canal before crossing to the Grundon Hide which overlooks an area of flooded meadows. It has to be said that the site was pretty birdless on my visit!! I saw 12 Redwing, 10 Fieldfare, a couple of Goldcrest and heard a small group of Golden Plover overhead. The only bird visible from the hide on the flooded meadows was a single Mute Swan although there were still around 15 Common Darter on the wing.

Map of Coombe Hill Meadows - Park at the end of the yellow lane (The Wharf) besides the Swan Pub (GL19 4BA) in Coombe Hill and walk west on the footpath either to the south of north of the canal (there is a bridge across the canal just before the reserve. The Grundon Hide overlooks the meadows and is accessible from the south and a second hide overlooks the Long Pool and is accessible from the north

Coombe Hill Meadows information board

View over Coombe Hill Meadows from the Grundon Hide