Posts Tagged ‘London Wetland Centre’

 

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)

Some more photos taken on the wildlife photography course, but this time on more general subjects.

On a wildlife photography course at the London Wetland Centre. Good opportunity to get out on the reserve during the practical sessions.

Greylag Geese landing

Blackbird

Grey Squirrel

Mute Swan

Grey Heron

Black-headed Gull

Tufted Duck

Carrion Crow

Green Woodpecker

Ring-nexcked Parrakeet

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)
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)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
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)
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)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

This was the first visit that Keith and I had made to the London Wetland Centre this year and it didn’t disappoint. On arrival, we made our way to the sheltered Lagoon to see if there were any migrants resting up and were rewarded with the sound of singing Willow Warbler, an extremely early date for the first arrival along with Chifchaff. As we walked through the tree-lined path, I spotted a Green Woodpecker rooting amongst the grass.

Green Woodpecker

A Mandarin Duck was an unexpected find on the Lagoon but no Kingfishers were seen near the nest site.

Mandarin Duck

We stopped briefly by the Sand Martin colony, where a single bird marked the early returners from their winter in Africa. Carrying onto the main lake there were the usual residents including 3 species of Gull and Great Cormorants along wth the common duck species. From the Tower hide a Jack Snipe was located roosting on one of the islands.

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Some species had already got on with the process of raising a family and we were surprised to see a family of Moorhens in mid-March.

Moorhen with Young

On the grazing marsh, the last of the Wigeon were present, the majority of the wintering population having already left for their breeding grounds. Highlights here were a Northern Wheatear and a Water Pipit along with Redshank and a single Dunlin.

Common Redshank

Eurasian Wigeon

Northern Wheatear

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The afternoon was drawing on, but there was one last moment of excitement as a Peregrine Falcon swept in across the marsh. A good end to an excellent day.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
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)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
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)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Water Pipit [sp] (Anthus spinoletta)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

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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. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/francesco_veronesi/)

Yellow-legged Gull. Photo by Francesco Veroesi. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/francesco_veronesi/)

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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The White-naped Crane comes from Mongolia and SE Russia and is listed as a vulnerable species due to habitat destruction. It is estimated that there are around 5000 birds in the wild and it is the subject of a worldwide breeding programme with a view to strengthening the native population from birds bred in captivity.

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As the afternoon drew on during our recent trip to London Wetland Centre we were treated to some wonderful skies

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A mild but overcast morning saw Keith and I at the London Wetland Centre in search of migrant birds that may have paused here on the way to their wintering grounds and winter visitors that have recently arrived.

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The lake by the entrance was uncharacteristically busy with Gadwall, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Coot and Little Grebe present.

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Then it was onto the Grazing Marsh where there was a flock of European Wigeon along with a feeding Green Woodpecker.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon

 

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

The star birds beyond doubt were 2 Jack Snipe which were found roosting on the marsh. These regular winter visitors to the centre are hard to see and we have missed them on a number of previous visits. ‘Oh if you were only here ten minutes ago, a Jack Snipe was sitting in the open’ has been the closest we have come in previous years, but now we were treated to extend and excellent views, one sitting next to a Common Snipe so we could the difference in size, plumage and bill.

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

 

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

Jack Snipe (photo by Don Sutherland -https://www.flickr.com/photos/snapperg/)

After indulging ourselves on Jack Snipe we moved onto the North Lake. On the way we saw a fully winged Mandarin Duck, so not part of the collection.

Mandarin

Mandarin

Arriving at Wildside hide we searched for the Yellow Legged Gull that had been reported, but most of the gulls seem to have departed the reserve and so we were unsuccessful.

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

A good day with the Jack Snipe being the star birds. So rare to see even when you know they are present, so a special moment.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
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)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
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)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

London Wetland Centre

London Wetland Centre

A bright sunny morning saw Keith and I heading for The London wetland Centre. We had two aims – firstly to photograph some Butterflies and Dragonflies and secondly to see what migrating birds were present on the reserve.

Our first good sighting was a Small Copper Butterfly resting on the vegetation.

Small Copper (photo by Keith)

Small Copper (photo by Keith)

Unfortunately, despite this good start,the remainder of the butterflies that we saw were, with the exception of one Red Admiral and one Speckled Wood, whites.

It was a very similar story with the Dragonflies where, although there were many individuals, only Migrant Hawker and Common Darter were identified. One fly-by appeared to be a darker red and have a waisted body – a possible Ruddy Darter, but it didnot stay around long enough for a confirmed identification.

Migrant Hawker  (Photo by Keith)

Migrant Hawker (Photo by Keith)

Common Darter

Common Darter

We were luckier with the migrants – a Ruffe and a Wheatear giving good views, although we did not find the Whinchat that had been seen earlier in the morning.

Wheatear

Wheatear

Ruffe

Ruffe

A juvenile Green Woodpecker also gave good views as it hunted for food on the grass banks.

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

White tailed Bumblebee

White tailed Bumblebee

One unexpected fly-by were 4 chinook-type helicopters which flew over from the west circled over the reserve before heading off towards central London.

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As always this reserve does not disappoint.

 

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)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
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)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Small Copper [sp] (Lycaena phlaeas)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) -possible
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

The eye doesn’t always see. When Keith and I were watching the Kingfisher nest at the London Wetland Centre last week, neither of us noticed that at one point we had both Kingfishers present. It was only when Keith was going through his pictures that he realised.

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photo by Keith

It may be fanciful but to me it looks like a couple inspecting the exterior of their new house or perhaps they are discussing which hole to use this year?