Naturelog: 2nd December


Keith and I are back at the London Wetland Centre in search of the wintering Bitterns which have finally arrived from their breeding grounds on the continent. It is thought there are currently 2-3 of these secretive birds on the reserve and there have been daily sightings in the past few weeks. On arrival we can see that the cold weather has caused some of the smaller ponds to freeze and the waterbirds tread uneasily as it appears they are walking on water.

Eurasian Coot
Eurasian Coot

We make our way down the western arm as this is where the Bitterns have been most commonly seen. Whilst searching we find a Yellow-legged gull amongst a group of Herring and Lesser-Black-backed gulls. This southern European species is a winter visitor which is spreading north in its range. But alas no Bitterns.

Yellow-legged Gull. Photo by Francesco Veroesi. (
Yellow-legged Gull. Photo by Francesco Veroesi. (

Having drawn a blank we proceed to the eastern arm and in the first hide find another of our rarer wintering gulls, a juvenile Caspian Gull. This species breeds around the Caspian and Black seas and in Eastern Europe but is increasingly being seen in the UK. But still no Bittern!

Juvenile Caspian Gull. Photo by Keith
Juvenile Caspian Gull. Photo by Keith

Our day ends in the Tower hide, in the hope of a Bittern flying to roost, but alas we are not to be lucky today. They had been seen but never at the place /time that we were there – still there is always another day. A good day for gulls though with 7 species seen.

There is a Bittern in this reed-bed...... somewhere!
There is a Bittern in this reed-bed…… somewhere!


Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker


Egyptian Goose
Egyptian Goose


Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler


Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
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)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
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)
Caspian Gull (Larus cachinnans)
Yellow-legged Gull [sp] (Larus michahellis)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
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)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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