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WWT London Wetland Centre (15th Sept)

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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 14:07   #1
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WWT London Wetland Centre (15th Sept)

(I would’ve had this up ages ago had my sister’s laptop not needed to go in for repair! Still thought I’d put it up though even if it is a bit late.)

Back on a rather warm and sunny Saturday 15th September me and four others (including pduxon another member here on BF) headed off for a ramble around WWT London Wetland Centre at Barnes. I’d never been to the centre before, so I was really keen on having a good look around and really absorbing the atmosphere of the place.

One of the first things that struck me upon arrival was the amount of Dragonflies around, literally dozens of them, and though I haven’t yet quite got to the point were I can tell you what they all were, I can say that there were quite a few different species about.
Coot and Moorhen where about the whole place in plentiful numbers, several Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe were around, along with the odd [b]Canada Goose and Mute Swan.
A good few Grey Heron were seen throughout the day, and in nearly every hide we went to there were a few visible, most of them sunning themselves and intent on remaining as still as they possibly could. I caught sight of at least one Gadwall and at least couple of Mallards. Quite a few Shovelers were seen, along with numerous other ducks who’s identities were questionable (at least questionable to me anyway - as I must admit I’m still getting to grips with identifying ducks in their eclipse plumage!).

We passed by some feeders - where we come across quite a few Blue Tits, Great Tits and Chaffinches enjoying a hearty breakfast (I believe someone in the group saw Greenfinch too, but I didn’t manage catch a glimpse of any). Just after this, someone in our group pointed out what was, believe it or not, my first ever Ring-necked Parakeet!
Not long after that me and one or two others just about managed to clap eyes on a far away Green Woodpecker as it swooped off into a distant tree, and I couldn’t help but smile as I always do whenever I hear that yaffle.
As we approached one of the hides, we come across a small group of birders gathered around, and found out they were trying to locate a Blackcap that could be heard calling nearby. After about a minute most of our group headed off into the hide, all but me and one other who decided to wait for another few minutes or so for the Blackcap to come into view. In the end, what could well have been our Blackcap darted off and away into the distance – too quick for us to get a good look, so no tick for the list.
Upon joining the others in the hide we got good views of two Snipe foraging about and those with cameras took the opportunity for some pictures.

Whilst up in another one of the hides, we watched a rather handsome fox as he wondered across our field of vision, long enough for everyone to get a good look and take some pics. Our attention then turned to a single Magpie who could be seen sitting comfortably on the horn of one of the resident cows - I didn’t have my camera with me, but wish I did as it would’ve made a lovely photo.
Someone in the hide managed to spot a distant Kingfisher - a lifer for me, and I was only able to see it thanks to one of the folks in our group who was kind enough to offer me a look through her scope.
Then, right between two of the cows, someone spotted a Stonechat perched in the grass. Instantly I started scanning the area with my bins but couldn't seem to find it. Trying not to look too disappointed I carried on scanning, and after a few more seconds I did manage to find it – a gorgeous male Stonechat, small but clearly visible through my bins. Another lifer for me.

Towards the end of the walk we heard Chiffchaff calling, but didn’t manage to catch sight of any.

My total list for the day (not including birds others in the group saw that I missed or didn't manage to ID):

Wood Pigeon
Carrion Crow
Green Woodpecker
Ring-necked Parakeet
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Grey Heron
Ruddy Duck
Mute Swan
Canada Goose
Great Crested Grebe
Little Grebe
Blackcap (heard only)
Chiffchaff (heard only)

All in all a very enjoyable day, the weather very was kind to us and I was lucky enough to be with a lovely group of people who were more than happy to share their knowledge with me.

I’ll definitely be going to the London Wetland Centre again, and again ...
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 14:10   #2
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Glad to see you had a good time.
Just remember to take the camera along next time.
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 14:39   #3
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Hi Janay

Sounds like a great day and I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it in good company. Stonechat too.

I only discovered a fascination with Dragonflies last year. There does appear to have been lots about this year ot perhaps I'm just taking more notice. They are beautiful.

Now I have never seen a Ringed Necked Parakeet you know Think it sounds as though I need to pay the LW Centre a visit.

I enjoyed reading the report. Hope there will be many more to come.

Take care
Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.”-- Henry Van Dyke
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 17:39   #4
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Very interesting, Janay, as that is somewhere I quite fancy going.

"Sail away from safe harbor. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain
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Old Tuesday 2nd October 2007, 19:09   #5
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Hi Janay,

A place that I never got chance to visit as the project only got under way after I'd 'retired' (stopped travelling). I've read about it and seen bits on TV but it's interesting to read a first-hand account.

A couple of lifers can't be bad and 27 for the trip is quite good for a limited habitat (yes you CAN count the 'heard only' as long as you've seen them earlier in the year).

Next time, CAMERA (and of course nothing interesting will happen!)

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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2007, 17:14   #6
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Hi Janay,
Sounds like a good day out. Is'nt it great when someone lets you view with a scope. Well done with the Stonechat, I agree, he's a handsome Bird.
Thanks for sharing your brill day.
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Old Wednesday 3rd October 2007, 17:31   #7
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Originally Posted by bill moss View Post
Next time, CAMERA (and of course nothing interesting will happen!)


Sadly, that is THE LAW

Anyone know when the best time to visit ? and is there ample parking etc?

Similarly, Bill, I've yet to visit Slimbridge and as a long-standing WWT member, that is shameful. Again it is not too far from you - what can you tell me?
The older I get, the better I was!
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