London WWT 23rd July 2013

Today I went to London WWT as an addition to Arundel WWT. London WWT is in London (obviously) so it was an hour train journey. I wasn’t even past the visitor centre before I observed my first wild creature of the day. Unfortunately I didn’t see one but the song of the grasshopper makes up for it.

The people at the visitor centre told us that there was an otter feed at 11am or 2pm and I decided that I would do the 11am one because it was already 10:30. Unfortunately the otters were not Eurasian otters but Asian short-clawed otters. As it wasn’t long before the first otter feed started I thought I would just go for a quick walk not to far away from the otters. As I passed the lake for some international species of geese I saw a really good model heron posing on the rocks. As I got closer to get a good photo of it, I got a big shock as it suddenly flew away! It obviously wasn’t a model after all! As I walked towards the otters I thought what a great opportunity I just missed because the Grey heron was only 30 metres away! When I got to the otters the feeding hadn’t started yet but there was a school trip already there and it contained young kids who were always yelling. I still enjoyed watching the otters but it would of been better without the kids.

On the website a visitor to London WWT (probably a regular) said on the latest wildlife sighting page that there were Black Necked Grebes there which would be wonderful to see but incredibly rare. I were very inquisitive about that observation so I asked one of the park wardens about that. Every person I talked to didn’t know anything about there being a sighting of Black Necked Grebes for the past thirteen years. That made me even more curious so I posted a comment on the page that he wrote. I haven’t had a reply since.

It seemed that nearly everywhere I went I was either following the school trip or they were following me. As I was walking along a board walk in a reedy marsh I heard thunder above me. A few minutes later it started to rain really heavily so I sprinted as quickly as I could to the nearest hide. As I entered the hide guess who were already there? The school trip! They were yelling louder than usual and the windows were open. There was not a bird in sight. I don’t blame them!

As we got to the last hide the rain had already cleared up. The last hide was not a real hide as it was three storeys high and was called peacock tower. From the top floor it gave you a magnificent view of the whole London WWT plus the shard the London eye and Fulham football club!

From the peacock tower you could see:

  • at least 5 herons
  • cormorants
  • lapwings
  • woodpigeons
  • mallards
  • tufted duck
  • coots
  • moorhens
  • swifts
  • common terns
  • common gulls
  • black headed gulls

At lunch I was watching the lake just outside and I saw a beautiful ring necked parakeet fly into a tree! That was my third sighting of those birds!

 

 

Arundel WWT 20th July 2013

I went to Arundel on the weekend. Arundel WWT is only a 50 minute drive. I was delighted as soon as I got there because there were loads of nuthatches hopping about on each tree. As I settled myself down in the visitor centre while my parents paid the entrance fee I saw a large flock of Black Headed gulls in their handsome summer plumage on a pebbly Island in the middle of the reservoir. There were also numerous moorhens sprinting around on the edge of the lake pointlessly and Mallards paddling calmly, somehow oblivious to the dramatic scene that were the moorhens.

As we set off the first thing we came across was the duck feeding area. There you can feed international species of duck but other native species join them like Mallards, Black headed gulls, Common gulls and feral pigeon. To add to the visitors feeding them, the park wardens also feed them bucket loads of seed, some of which are completely unaware how incredibly fat they would get if they permanently lived there! (joke!)

The first hide we got to was the wood hide. The wood hide overlooks some feeders and a small stream (big enough for a swan to paddle through) in a very dense wood. Nothing very exciting but we saw Mallards and coots swim up (or down) the stream and chaffinches, blue tits and sparrows ( the sparrows were very quick so I didn’t have a chance to identify them properly).

I then went on a boat trip through a very reedy river they called a ‘meadow’. On the way  flocks of Canada geese continuously crossed the path in front of us, I called it: The March Of the Geese! When we reached the entrance to the boat safari, the trip wouldn’t start yet so we sat down on a bench just outside the entrance. Only then did I realise that all the Canada geese that crossed the path in front of us had formed a giant flock and had been following us expectantly thinking we had some food for them! Soon they let us in and the trip started. Everyone was looking desperately along the side of the river absolutely desperate to see a water vole. But unfortunately we were out of luck on that occasion. We did see Mallards and Tufted duck though.

As soon as I got off I ran to what I loved to do: pond dipping. When we arrived, there were already a large group of kids there but that didn’t put me off. When I had finished I took them to a magnifying glass and looked at them really closely. I found lesser water boatmen, Whirligig beetles, Daphnia (water fleas), pond skaters and……..WATER VOLE POO!! Unfortunately we did not catch an actual water vole but we soon saw the next best thing: As I walked out I took the time to look at a female pheasant and her very cute chick only meters away and have another look in the wood hide when the lady that owned the pond dipping called me back in. Then I saw something moving in the reeds and saw the creature the other people on the boat were so desperate to see: A WATER VOLE!!

Nothing much interesting happened during the rest of the day but these were the highlights:

  • Peregrine Falcon ( too far away to get a good picture)
  • Sedge warbler (on the boat trip)
  • Buzzard (soaring Above)
  • Treecreeper (Treecreeping!)

I strongly recommend Arundel WWT it is a lovely reserve and hopefully you will be even more luck than me: purple sandpiper, Bittern, Snipe, Jack Snipe, Woodcock, Hobby, Mandarin, Common Sandpiper, Green sandpiper, Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatcher and many other beautiful birds you could see that I didn’t!