In May I was in London again and visited Kensington Gardens, Barnes Elms and Rainham Marshes RSPB Reserve. Barnes Elms is greening up nicely and gave good views of little ringed plover. The Kensington little owl appeared again but too far away for a good picture. Red-crested pochard and mandarin were good spots, but easy to find this time.
|This feeder at Barnes has (from the back) collared dove, stock dove and wood pigeon all at the same time.|
|Red-crested pochard pair at the Serpentine|
|Mandarin and two ducklings|
|There is a little owl in this tree,|
Rainham Marshes is built on an old army firing range and is an excellent reserve to visit if you are in London. It is 30 minutes by train from Fenchurch Street station, then a 15 minute walk along the Thames path. A three hour visit produced good views of nesting kingfishers, stock doves at the feeders, two flyover Mediterranean gulls, little egret and excellent views of singing warblers – chiffchaff, blackcap, reed warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat and cetti’s warbler which was heard but not seen. Again the bearded tits eluded me. I have had four attempts over five years and have yet to see them; apparently I need a calm sunny day!! There is also quite a bit of military history associated with the site which was the main gunpowder store since Napoleonic times until it was de-commissioned and turned into a bird reserve
|The Purfleet Pools for ducks and waders|
|The flyover behind the reserve carries the Eurostar to France!|
|Looking towards the centre.|
The centre sits up above the reserve and if the weather is bad you can see the whole reserve from there. There is a circular walk which takes about an hour with four hides en route. Like Barnes it never fails to produce something different.