Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Warblers & Trains

There are weekends, believe or not, when I don’t go birding. Today Lisa and I were doing some touristy things in central London (away from any parks where I might be tempted to check out that LBJ) but, of course, there are even birds here. Peregrine, Cormorant, Mallard, Starling and even that rare central inner city species the House Sparrow were seen around the Tower of London. Many of the Wood Pigeons are edging in on the niche of the ubiquitous Feral Pigeon and some are just as scruffy. But it was a couple of relatively common species that made the day… if only for their extremely unusual choice of location. Firstly, a Sedge Warbler singing from a very small patch of scrub outside Tower Hill Underground station, and secondly, even more bizarre, a Blackcap singing from the busy Hungerford railway bridge spanning the River Thames to Charing Cross station. It continued to sing as the trains rolled in. Urban in the extreme – there is not even any weedy buddleia bushes on the bridge. It seems more than likely that both these warblers were transient passage migrants brought down by the overnight rain. Later in, the now relatively pigeon-less, Trafalgar Square (probably only the second time I’ve been there) a lonely male Mallard was happily swimming around the sterile fountains looking for scraps. This topped off a surreal day of non-birding in the capital.

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Edd said...

In quite a few of my bird guides the feral pigeon is described as "despised by many". No wonder some of the ones in the city look sorry for themselves!

Fraser Simpson said...

Oh, I don't mind them. It's the flying rats that I dislike. Do you ken them?