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After a week taken up primarily with the marking of students assignments (a task which I find far harder and more difficult than preparing and giving the lectures) it was a great relief to get out for a days birdwatching with Keith at the London Wetland centre.

We were greeted on arrival by a group of Ring-necked Parakeets in the trees by the centre,

Ring-necked Parakeets

Ring-necked Parakeets

On the main lagoon there were a good selection of gulls, but only the common ducks.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

 

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler

We visited the feeder station and searched the sheltered trees, but as seems to have been true all winter so far small birds were not present in numbers and the rarer species have not been drawn into feeders. No doubt this is because of the mild weather and the availability of natural food. We did pick up a Great Spotted Woodpecker perched in a tree and a Goldcrest, whilst 4 Fielfare flew over and we flushed a Green Wodpecker hidden in the grass. We continued our was to the Tower hide. The grazing marsh was flooded and looked like an extension to the lagoon.

Flooded grazing Marsh

Flooded grazing Marsh

We did find two Common Snipe on one of the islands and a pair of Eurasian Stonechat on the grass banks.

Common Snipe (photo by Keith)

Common Snipe (photo by Keith)

Suddenly there was a call that a Eurasian Bittern was in flight over the Northern Lagoon and we were able to see it come into land at the edge of the reed-bed. It was at a distance of approx 800m but it remained perched long enough for everyone present to get a sighting and some very long-distance attempts at photographs before it disappeared into the reeds.

Distant view of perched Eurasian Bittern (photo by Keith)

Distant view of perched Eurasian Bittern (photo by Keith)

As time was getting on we decided to make our way over to the hide nearest where the Bittern had landed in the hope of getting a better view if it re-appeared. On the way we found a small party of Mandarin duck.

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Arriving in the Wildside hide we were informed that we had missed seeing the Bittern by 5 minutes but at least it was still active and there was a chance it would reappear. Eventually I saw a large brown bird fly from the reeds and land behind vegetation – surely the Bittern and sure enough Keith looking from a different angle was able to confirm. It never quite came out from beyond the vegetation but at least we could get some photographs. After 5 minutes it disappeared back into vegetation and we decided to call it a day content with our days birdwatching.

Eurasian Bittern

Eurasian Bittern

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

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