Nov 182014


047The idea of wildlife thriving in a big city seems unlikely, but this is what the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), founded by Sir Peter Scott, has achieved at Barnes in west London. On Sat 15th 50 keen folk set out from Gravesend to visit WWT’s London 009Wetland Centre and experience for ourselves this amazing place. Luckily the rain held off and the weather was kind with a few sunny spells. Soon after arriving we spotted a dozing water rail, half hidden in the reeds. But our observation of this was interrupted by a short-eared owl flying overhead, mobbed by gulls as it circled high in the sky above us. Short – eared owls flying this high anywhere is unusual but in the centre of London is quite extraordinary. Once the owl had passed over we turned our binoculars and scopes back on the water rail – it was still dozing, apparently oblivious to all the excitement and noise we created watching the owl! 014Later on the short – eared owl was spotted amongst long grass, surrounded by about 8 crows and 4 magpies. None of them dared go too close but they kept a watchful eye on it! (Sally’s picture shows the crows and magpies but not the owl!).
None of us could find the reported jack snipe but lots of wildfowl and lapwing were on show from the tower hide, which is where many of us had lunch (me – cheese sandwich). We then hurried off to watch the captive otters have theirs – fresh trout!
The afternoon brought more birds – well done to Sally for spotting two tiny distant specks on the hospital roof amid the London skyline. The specks proved to be two peregrines! A very few found the bittern and there was just one sighting of a kingfisher. One bird species that everyone must have seen and heard were the red necked parakeets – they were everywhere!

What's this bird?

What’s this bird?

My favourite photograph of the day (thanks Chris) was this bird. Let me know what you think it is?


 Posted by on 18 November 2014 at 10:21 pm

  5 Responses to “Coach trip to London Wetland Centre”

Comments (5)
  1. I think its a juvenile gull and I’m guessing a herring gull, but gulls aren’t my strong suit!

    BTW, I think Sally’s photo DOES show the short-eared owl… going from left to right there’s a magpie, then slightly elevated is the owl, then the first of the crows.


  2. Brilliant day out and many thanks to Sally for organising it all. Thanks too for Malcolm for his insight and knowledge and of course, helping us newbies.

  3. Glad you had an enjoyable trip! For me the mystery bird is a juvenile lesser black-backed gull. Herring gull should have a more extensive black bar across the tail.

  4. Malcolm, after due consideration this bird having a short tail with a dark bar on the end and long pointed wings along with its brown coloured feathering, I am also drawn towards it being a juvenile gull. Probably a herring or black-backed.

  5. This may seem odd but when I asked “What’s that bird” I did not really think I ought to know the answer! I did not see the actual bird and did not take the photograph. So I think Chris should answer the question. Left to myself I would have said it was a juvenile herring gull. But I am not going to argue with Roger! Supporting evidence is that there was a small group of adult lesser black backed gulls loafing in front of one of the hides – and there were juvenile gulls with them. So lesser black backed gull unless Chris speaks up. Next time I see some juvenile herring/lesser black backs I will pay more attention to the details of the plumage! I really should not ask stupid questions – but I did like the photograph.