We spent a few days in London in mid-April. There had been an early
spring and the weather in April was perfect, trees and lawns green, gardens
in full fragrant bloom, plenty of birds. We had time to visit three sites
over two days, not comprehensive but a nice introduction.
St.James Park is opposite Buckingham Palace, has an elongated Lake
with an island at each end, a long history of having introduced waterbirds
and other exotics; "Birdcage Walk" runs along one side. As a jet-lagged
novice here, it took three hours to check this great spot out. It has
several bird-identification boards, mainly for waterbirds, and there were
quite a few pictured that I did not see.
Hyde Park close by is much larger, bisected by the Serpentine lake,
has large open areas, trees, shrubberies and waterside vegetation, needed a
bit more than the half day we spent. While there, an RSPB bird auditor came
up when he saw my binoculars and told me of Tawny Owl breeding in one of the
Horse-chestnuts, and of a rare vagrant Yellow-legged Gull on the Serpentine.
I saw the Gull among a group of Herring Gulls, not the Owl, but a bird
information sign at St James' said that they breed there as well.
Hampstead Heath is further out, extensive, with various habitats,
eg partly oak forested with streams, and really needs at least a day to
explore for birds properly. .
Birdlist. 17-18th April 2007
Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron Mute Swan,
Greylag Goose, Mallard, Shoveller, Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, Tufted
Duck, Kestrel , Moorhen, Coot, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Wood
Pigeon, Rock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker, White/Pied Wagtail, Wren,
Robin, Songthrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackcap, Blackbird, Dunnock*, Willow
Warbler, Chiff-chaff , Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch*,
Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch.
*Seen at Hampstead Heath only.
Introduced; ("pets", some pinioned) escapees, ferals.
Black Swan, Snow Goose, Canada Goose, Red-breasted Goose, Egyptian Goose,
Bar-headed Goose, Mandarin Duck, Eider, Ruddy Duck, Rose-ringed Parakeet*,
*Seen breeding in a hole in a large Plane tree at the Chelsea Flower Show a
few weeks later.
Not a single House Sparrow anywhere.
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