Wildlife challenge: photo blog

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…

1 Blackcap

2 Blackbird

3 Blue Tit

4 Canada Goose

5 Carrion Crow

6 Chaffinch

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)

18 Magpie

19 Mallard

20 Moorhen

21 Mute Swan

22 Pochard

23 Redshank (another full view for this beautiful wader – v. pleased with this one)

24 Ring-necked Parakeet

25 Robin

26 Sand Martin (just approaching its nest)

27 Starling

28 Tufted Duck

29 Wood Pigeon

30 Wren

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
  • Jackdaw
  • 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:



Common Frog

And finally… (well done if you have made it this far!)… some unidentified fungi

Overall, I was pretty pleased.


5 thoughts on “Wildlife challenge: photo blog

  1. Hindupur Avinash

    Wow.. you sure got many species in those 2 hours..I too agree that Common Tern looks the best of lot! But I was expecting even more species than 30 from the London Wetland centre! Hope you spot more the next time around! Surprising to see no Ergets, Bitterns, Teals there!

    1. iago80 Post author

      Thanks for your comment.
      Teals – have mostly migrated back to their colder climes now in Siberia etc (although there are still a few around)
      Egret – There never seem to be many at LWC compared with other sites. I think I saw one in the far distance but way out of camera shot.
      Bittern – I would have been over the moon to capture a Bittern. I have seen Bitterns at LWC a few times (including once in flight) but they remain quite rare and very, very difficult to spot as they stay hidden in reeds.


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