Naturelog: 24th November


A week on from my photography course and I find myself back at the London Wetland Centre, this time accompanied by Keith in search of wintering Eurasian Bittern. A group of these birds arrive in London each year as the colder weather hits their breeding grounds, presumed to be either The Netherlands or surrounding areas. The number at the centre can reach as high as 5 or 6 birds, but this year so far only a single bird has arrived and given their skulking nature this means your chances of seeing one is much decreased.

Today, however, was to be our lucky day. As we arrived at the centre we had stopped to look at a group of small birds around the entrance lake which contained Blue and Great Tits and a Goldcrest, when another birder stopped to tell us that the Bittern was in view from the observatory. On arrival, we were quickly directed to the bird’s location, which was on the far side of the main lake and at a distance which was on the limit for our optics and too far away for my camera to give any decent pictures. We watched it for about 10 minutes before it finally retreated deep into the reeds.

Eurasian Bittern. It is in the bottom of the reeds about midway across the photo.
Photo by Keith (converted to monochrome for better clarity)


We took our usual route out through the sheltered trees to the Peacock Tower hide and near the wader scrape heard the call of a Lesser Redpoll but were unable to locate it. On the whole, it was very quiet (well if you ignore the calls of the parakeets!) and there were no winter thrushes in evidence. A Grey Wagtail flew past us as we approached the Tower. Arriving there we were told that the Bittern had been relocated on the other side of the reed-bed in which we had originally see it. Soon it was back in sight but a bit nearer and we could follow it making its way through the reeds. On the way back to the visitor centre we encountered another small bird flock. This included Blue and Great Tits, a number of Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest and a single Chiffchaff.

Eurasian Wigeon
Rose-ringed Parakeets
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Green Woodpecker

The other side of the reserve including the reservoir did not produce much in the way of birds. A pair of Common Reed Buntings were seen from Hedley Hide and although we searched the perching spots for the Peregrines from Wildside hide, the birds were not to be seen. Still it was a nice walk and we were greeted to a lovely sunset as we made our way back to the visitor centre and then home.

Mute Swan


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)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Eurasian Bittern [sp] (Botaurus stellaris)
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)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus) 4
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)

Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis flammea cabaret)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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