Trip reports

London Wetland Centre - 10/02/2019

Monday, 25 March 2019

With bitterns having been reported from both the Main Lake and Sheltered Lagoon the previous day, it was a difficult choice where to start. Beginning at Headley Hide tufted ducks proved the most numerous, followed by mallard and then five pochard, three drakes and two females. Two herring gulls occupied a long thin island and an Egyptian goose was nearby. Other species present included lapwings, coot, starlings, and two pairs of wigeon. Periodic scanning of the reed beds though failed to reveal the bird we were hoping to find.

Shortly after leaving the hide, a long-tailed tit was seen in trees to the left of the path. Two pairs of gadwall were then spotted on the water from the bridge close to Wildside Hide. Once seated, a little grebe was quickly noticed whilst five cormorants occupied a small island on Reservoir Lagoon. A large area of the grazing marsh was under water and this had attracted several shovelers, a female pintail and a few teal. Two great black-backed gulls and a single lesser black- backed gull were present . A drake pintail flew in, and was immediately joined by the female, with both birds moving further away from the hide to dabble and upend in the water covering the grass.

At Dulverton Hide a water pipit was foraging on the shore of a small island. It was well camouflaged and when searching closer to some of the larger dark stones and then later on the incline of the grassy bank, proved a challenge to see well. Patience paid off though, with every one seeing it well by the time we vacated the hide. From the WWF Hide, three common gulls and two shelducks were added to our day lists. A common snipe was then seen at the edge of the reeds before a green woodpecker that had climbed a thin tree, flew off over the main lake.

From the Peacock Tower, hopes of finding a jack snipe on the Wader Scrape faded on seeing the water level. A couple of common snipe did oblige and two Egyptian geese were also seen from the hide. The water pipit made another appearance, first somewhat secretly amongst vegetation on the Wader Scrape but then a little later on the grass bund separating the scrape from the grazing marsh. Scans out across the later revealed a further three common snipe on a small area of cut reed.

Ending our visit back at the WWF Hide looking for the elusive bittern, we had to settle for five grey herons gathered on one of the islands. It just wasn't our day!