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.
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!
Camley Street Natural Park – A small wildlife haven right in the middle of Kings Cross!
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.
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.
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.
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!
(All photos taken by me)