Welcome to the Buteo Wildlife blog, a record of some of the wildlife that we have been seeing and occasional identification articles that will hopefully be useful for those trying to learn about wildlife.

If you enjoy reading this blog, join us on one of our tours - days and weekends looking for wildlife. Visit our website for details: www.buteowildlife.co.uk
Note that tours with clients may not always feature prominently on this blog because we are unlikely to have time for photography when out with clients - and walls of text don't tend to make the most interesting posts. If there is time for a few snatched photos they may not always be of the highest quality - but we'll use them anyway!

To try and keep posts in chronological order they may sometimes be given earlier dates/times than when they are actually posted. Apologies, for this - it's not meant to mislead anyone (and we will try to avoid this happening too often).

9 May 2012

London Wild Birdwatch, London Wetland Centre (20th – 22nd April 2012).

I had volunteered to help out with this weekend event, acting as one of the ‘Guides in the Hides’ to help show visitors the birds, help with identification, and provide some information.
This Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve, which has been developed with wildlife in mind on the site of the Barn Elms Reservoirs, is another one of the ‘gems’ found within the urban sprawl of Greater London. The various shallow pools provide ideal habitat for a variety of waders and waterbirds, and the extensive vegetation around them is good habitat for a number of different warbler species as well as other wildlife.

The above view was taken from the Tower Hide which gives good views over much of the reserve including an artificial nesting bank designed for, and used by, Sand Martins. The building to the right in the photo is Charing Cross Hospital which is used by one of Londons breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons. A web camera was set up to view the nest this year (check the WWT's London Wetland Centre website for details).

Over the course of the weekend I saw a wide variety of different wildlife, including Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Yellow-legged Gulls, Cetti’s Warbler, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Little Ringed Plovers,  a late Jack Snipe, Ring-necked Parakeets, Wheatears (including one bright male showing characteristics of the Greenland race), Water Voles, Common Lizards, Orange Tip and other butterflies, and various flowers. A selection is shown below:
A male Sparrowhawk which spent a while sat on a fence near the Tower Hide.
What was presumed to be the same bird was later seen
taking a Sand Martin near the nesting bank.

Ring-necked Parakeets - among Londons noisiest new residents!
The pink and black neck ring is seen on adult males only.

Two very different plants with bright yellow flowers were in bloom, Marsh Marigolds (top),
at the edge of wet areas, and Cowslips in grassy areas by the paths around the reserve.

Common Lizards could be found basking in undisturbed sunny spots
from which they could quickly disappear into cover if any danger threatened 
(log piles were ideal). 

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