Patch Birding

'Patch Birding' is when you birdwatch regularly at a local area, your 'patch'.

 I often visit Ruislip Lido and Stocker's Lake, two huge bodies of water, filled with wildlife. Ruislip Lido, my main patch is surrounded by Ruislip Woods National Nature Reserve, which is famous for its Sparrowhawks, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers. In summer, The Lido is home to hundreds of migratory Swallows and House Martins, which catch insects across the lake: a beautiful evening spectacle. Common Terns will turn up in mid June, soaring over the lake to scan for fish and even trying to steal people's sandwiches! I haven't seen any rarities, but in august 2017, a Little Ringed Plover was spotted!

In winter, Shoveler dominate the lake, as well as the secretive Little Grebe (I have been trying to photograph them for nearly three years, but they just keep diving!). All year round, the Lido is great for Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Great Crested Grebes and  Cormorants. other species found there include Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Mallards, Tufted Duck, Moorhens and Coots. The bird identification signs there were wrong at one point, as they had put a picture of a White-faced Whistling Duck next to where it said 'Egyptian Goose'! (I complained to Hillingdon Council, who have since changed the signs).   

Juvenile Robin

 A lone Cormorant glides elegantly to the shore

Not as often as the Lido, I visit Stocker's Lake in Rickmansworth, the largest lake in Hertfordshire. In winter, the reserve is home to Goldeneye and Smew, while in the summer, people keep telling me about the 'magnificent Ospreys' that hunt for fish there ( At the time of writing this, I had never seen an Osprey before!). All year round, the Lake is great for Kingfishers (I have seen five of them), Red Kites, Herons, Little Egrets and Egyptian Geese. Rarities sometimes turn up there (a Red-crested Pochard was seen in July 2016), so always check the sightings board in the cafe! 

A Heron waits patiently for prey to arrive

A Great Crested Grebe in winter plumage   

A Mute Swan is surrounded by Wigeon and Coot

During school holidays, I occasionally visit my two other patches (now you're starting to think that only a weirdo like me has three patches!): WWT London Wetland Centre (LWC) 

LWC is good for birds all year round. Winter specialities include Pintails, Jack Snipe and Glaucous Gulls, while in summer, there are Bitterns, Lapwings and Cetti's Warblers. 

Bewick's Swan (of course in captivity)

Water Rail

Common Tern

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