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Smew, Cotswold Water Park

Sunset, Cotswold Water Park

Another species not seen for years – nearly five this time since a bird at Linlithgow, west of Edinburgh. Yesterday BirdGuides was reporting a drake and a redhead on pits 29 and 30, in the CWP Wiltshire section.

At least I think they’re in the Wiltshire section. I have an old map of the area and the county boundaries don’t agree with what comes up on the OS Get-a-Map. I assume the latter is correct in having Gloucestershire swoop down to the west of these pits and grab a huge great chunk of the Water Park, including the locations where I have previously seen smew. The topography is nearly as bad as Middleton, which Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire fight over.

Back to Wiltshire, which didn’t disclose any smew, so I tried to remember where I had seen them before. It was good to have the official map downloaded on my iPod. This showed pit 44, which rang a bell, and I decamped there, just over in Gloucestershire.

Sunset, Cotswold Water Park

I hit paydirt – good paydirt too. All the pits had been mainly frozen, and frozen a way away from the paths but the ice-free patch on 44 was right by the road and it was the work of moments to locate two redheads and five minutes later a third.

Year list now 204, the same as 2004. It looks from Bubo as though my biggest blockers are the divers. I can feel a trip to the Hinkley area coming on. I think that’s my best bet around here. Failing that, I’ll have the Hampshire coast on my way through to Brighton for Christmas.

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