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it's a good day when sparrowhawk makes you miss the bus

2007-03-12 - 3:39 p.m.

all photos © 2007 by elaine radford

one of the many hides for observing the wild birds who use the wetland reserve

All day at the London Wetland Centre. It's actually in Zone 2 and easily accessible by going to the end of the Hammersmith and City Line, a "tube" line I'd never taken before. I don't know what I expected. Industrial hell, like wetland areas in Louisiana, I suppose. But Barnes, the neighborhood in question, appears to be yet another of the snooty and beautiful London neighborhoods full of pubs and fancy brick houses.

Some highlights:

  • A Great-Crested Grebe catching a huge red-tailed fish that we were sure wouldn't go down -- and the other GCGR thought the same, hence swam over to get a piece, only to see his mate swallow the fish whole and then laughingly toss water all over his face
  • A female Rose-Ringed Parakeet who was just determined to break through the parakeet fencing on the tit tubes and eat all the seeds herself -- hilarious to try to watch her shoulder open the wire to get at the goodies
  • A bad-tempered Mute Swan who tried to chase a couple of Canada Geese off the territory but only succeeded in chasing them onto the land
  • A male Sparrowhawk gliding in through the trees to investigate the feeder and its heavy load of Tits, Greenfinches, and Reed Buntings, who wisely vacated the area when the Sparrowhawk intruded itself

Let us not forget the two ugly voles, one of whom nearly ran over my feet.

The list, roughly in the order seen:

  1. Rock Dove
  2. Mallard
  3. Eurasian Coot
  4. Common Moorhen
  5. Grey Heron
  6. Long-Tailed Tit
  7. Chaffinch
  8. Wood Pigeon
  9. Great Cormorant
  10. European Robin
  11. Tufted Duck
  12. Canada Goose
  13. Black-Headed Gull
  14. Magpie
  15. Northern Lapwing
  16. Great Crested Grebe
  17. Little Grebe
  18. Reed Bunting
  19. Chiffchaff
  20. Blue Tit
  21. Green Woodpecker, a pair
  22. Winter Wren
  23. Greenfinch
  24. Greylag Goose
  25. Northern Shoveler
  26. Eurasian Wigeon
  27. Common Pochard
  28. Mute Swan
  29. Rose-Ringed Parakeet
  30. Teal
  31. Blackbird
  32. Pied Wagtail
  33. Great Tit
  34. Ruddy Duck
  35. European Starling
  36. Common Redshank
  37. Gadwall
  38. Herring Gull
  39. Goldfinch
  40. Sparrowhawk

At some point in the day I tried a Strongbow cider beer. That's a supposedly fun thing I don't need to do again.

Dinner at the Ganges Indian restuarant in the Paddington area.

a waterfall in the new zealand exhibit area

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