Places to Visit

Here are a few of my favourite places to watch wildlife in London/Greater London:

Barnes Common – 50ha of scrub, woodland, neutral grassland, heathland and acid grassland mosaic. 

Bedfont Lakes Country Park lakes, ponds, reed beds, woodland and meadows; a brilliant spot for great crested grebes all year round and warblers in spring/summer. Great for wainscot moths whose caterpillars feed on Common Reed and home to one of only 2 known colonies of Goat Moth in London. There is also a nature reserve with members only access (it is also open to the public between 2-4pm on Sundays), this is also where I do my weekly bird ringing. 

Box Hill and Headley Heath part of the Surrey Hills, brilliant for butterflies.

Box Hill

Box Hill

Chequered Skipper at Box Hill

Silver-spotted Skipper at Box Hill

Bushy park My local patch. 445ha including 130ha of Lowland Acid Grassland; an important habitat for conservation and one of the few remaining areas in London. Great for kestrels, woodpeckers (all 3 UK species) and kingfishers all year round and breeding skylark in spring/summer. Also home to about 320 Red and Fallow Deer; brilliant to watch/hear the Autumn rut – from a distance!

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Fallow Deer stags in Bushy Park

White stag in Bushy Park

White stag in Bushy Park

Red Deer stag roar

Red Deer stag roaring in Bushy Park

Camley Street Natural Park – A small wildlife haven right in the middle of Kings Cross!

Crane Park – great for kingfishers and water vole that live along the River Crane running through the park. 

Epping Forest – great for fungi!

Ham common and Wood small area of well drained acid soil with mixed Oak and Birch woodland with Holly, Rowan and bramble. 

Ham Lands – an area of grassland, scrub and woodland lying adjacent to the River Thames extending from Kingston down to Richmond. Great for warblers and thrushes. 

Hounslow Heath

Kempton Nature Reserve a small wetland; great for ducks, waders and even a bearded tit or two. A little haven in urban surroundings! Membership is £20 for 3 years – definitely worth it!

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View from the west hide

Kempton Nature Reserve

View from the east hide

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Kingfisher at Kempton

London Wetland Centre – one of nine wetland reserves in the UK as part of the Wildfowl & Wetlands trust. Brilliant for bittern in winter as well as large numbers of shoveler and lapwing all year round and sand martins in spring/summer. Check out their latest wildlife sightings.

Stonechat at London WWT

Stonechat at London WWT

Norbury Park

Wimbledon Common and Putney Heath 450 ha of woodland, scrub, heathland, and mown recreation areas and there are also nine ponds. Good for a range of birds, dragonflies and damselflies. I particularity like the Plain; an area of managed acid grassland next to the Wimbledon windmill – beautiful in summer. They are currently managing this area to encourage nesting Skylarks to return.

Bee Orchid on Putney Heath

Bee Orchid on Putney Heath

Richmond Park

Staines Reservoir

Staines and Stanwell Moor an area of neutral grassland located on the floodplain of the River Colne, grazed by cattle and horses since at least 1065! Fantastic for birds; passage birds such as Yellow Wagtail that feed among the grazing cattle, Stonechat, Whinchat; great for Hobby and warblers in spring/summer – including this year a couple of Grasshopper warblers! Also Little owl and Barn owl all year round and Short-eared owl over winter. And lots lots more…… A real gem! 

Ponies at Staines Moor

Ponies at Staines Moor

Wanstead Flats 

(All photos taken by me)

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