Sunday, 12 February 2012

South of the River

As someone who has been raised and now lives and works in North London, I usually have no reason to venture south of the Thames. Today, though, I was visiting relatives in Richmond which, it turns out, is a lovely part of the world. Richmond Park in particular is an area with much birdwatching potential – indeed, as vast open spaces in London go, it’s up there with the Heath. Naturally, I took the binoculars with me. After all, you never know what’s going to turn up.

After lunch, we went for a walk along the Thames and through part of the park. I’d like to mention at this point that the view from the top of Richmond Hill, looking out to the west over Glover’s Island and Twickenham, is glorious.

Weather-wise, it was a lot milder than it has been in London for much of the past two weeks (‘mild’ is a relative term at the moment – it was three or four degrees Celsius). Blue and Great Tits were there to be seen and heard in abundance, while along the River itself I saw Black-headed Gulls, Mallards and the odd Coot. In the trees by Petersham Nurseries, I spotted a couple of Redwings in the trees.

There are a lot of Robins to be seen and heard at the moment. They must be marking out their territories ahead of the breeding season. I must be getting better at identifying birds by their song as I just think ‘Robin’ as soon as I hear that ‘tic-tic’ sound.

Most abundant of all, though, were the Ring-necked Parakeets. Walking though Richmond Park shortly before dusk, the air was filled with the very distinctive sound of these birds as they sorted out their roosting arrangements.

All in all, a lovely day’s walk and some good sightings. Nothing out of the ordinary, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

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