Yesterday, somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 people completed the London Marathon. I took part in a slightly gentler and more solitary challenge. I determined to photograph as many species of wild bird as I could in a two hour period.
I chose the London Wetland Centre (and surrounds) to give myself the best chance. I obviously only photographed free, wild birds on the reserve (not the clipped collection, as that would be cheating).
Some of the photos are blurry or fuzzy (it isn’t easy taking pictures of small shy things that can fly!), so this isn’t a gallery of great photography, but it is a snapshot of 30 species of bird seen in London in a couple of hours of walking in April…
3 Blue Tit
4 Canada Goose
5 Carrion Crow
7 Common Tern (I was pleased with this shot, so you get a bigger view)
8 Coot (remember this guy?)
9 Cormorant (that isn’t a big pile of poo behind the Cormorant, it is a sleeping female Tufted Duck)
10 Feral Pigeon (It may be a mongrel and slightly pale imitation of its true-blood cousin, the Rock Dove, but it counts as a wild bird for this list)
11 Gadwall (the first ‘duck’ in my alphabetised list)
12 Great Tit
13 Greenfinch (I know it looks like it’s a captive bird in a cage, but this is just a squirrel-proof fence on the reserve that the small birds fly in and out of)
14 Grey Heron
15 Lapwing (I was at maximum zoom with this couple hence the blurry shot)
16 Little Grebe (probably the best technical shot I got all day, hence the big view)
17 Little Ringed Plover (This is probably the bird I was most pleased to see from a birdwatching perspective)
21 Mute Swan
23 Redshank (another full view for this beautiful wader – v. pleased with this one)
24 Ring-necked Parakeet
26 Sand Martin (just approaching its nest)
28 Tufted Duck
29 Wood Pigeon
So, in the time it took for a good runner to complete the marathon, I managed to capture (in pixels) 30 species of bird. There were, however, a few “that got away”:
- Song Thrush
- Long-tailed Tit
- Reed Warbler (heard)
- Cetti’s Warbler (heard) – If I had got a photo of this noisy, shy and rare-ish bird, I would have been ecstatic!
- Reed Bunting
And then…. errr…. there were the gulls! Gulls can be difficult to differentiate at the best of times, but I have a major problem with juvenile gulls. If I could only say whether this gull was a juvenile Herring Gull or Great Black-backed Gull, I would have had 31 (answers on a postcard please):
And then, here are one or two other interesting things I saw but which would be a bit cheeky to pretend are birds:
And finally… (well done if you have made it this far!)… some unidentified fungi
Overall, I was pretty pleased.