Trip reports

Midweek Outing to London Wetland Centre 17th November 2015

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

We had pre-booked as a group, and unlike some previous reports of visits here, we were greeted at reception and the person there agreed to tell late arrivals of our whereabouts. There were several staff/volunteers on site who were generally helpful. We started in the Observatory from where we saw lots of black headed gulls and lapwings, mallards, pochard, shovelers, gadwall, tufted ducks, coots, moorhen and little grebe but no sign of the bittern (apparently on site) or snipe, and then went round to the Wildside Hide via the Headley discovery hide in pleasant weather. The highlight of the morning was unexpected, a mallard emerging from under a bridge with 15 ducklings. We spent quite a while watching her shepherd her brood around, we hope that they survived the current cold spell.
From the Wildside Hide there was not much to be seen - mainly wigeon. We retraced our steps looking at some of the captive birds - black swans still thinking they were in the Southern hemisphere and busy building a nest and a very handsome red crested pochard (I was told I couldn't include it on the list!). We got back to the observatory just as the rain started and were able to have our lunch in the dry.
Some of our party then called it a day but the rest of us made our way to the Peacock Tower and Wader Scrape followed by a Green Woodpecker flying from post to post to tree, and we saw small flocks of long-tailed tits, with goldcrest in the trees. We spent a while trying to locate the snipe and/or Jack snipe which had been spotted earlier but to no avail. We watched Shovelers circling round each other, and then the peace was disturbed by the arrival of a sparrowhawk which scattered the gulls and lapwings. Apparently we were told it sits on nearby Hammersmith Hospital and comes down when feeling hungry! On the way back we visited the feeders - not many birds but three rats at the base of them. We retired to the café for tea at the end of a pleasant day. (42 species).