Dinosaur of the week: Common Pochard

pochardDucks are brilliant, and this Aythya ferina which I saw on the Danube in Austria last spring is no exception. The species is classified as vulnerable.

Numbers are declining because of loss of breeding habitat (marshes) and bad water quality (too much fertilizer in the water because of bad agricultural management).

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22680358/0

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Dinosaur of the week: Sedge Warbler

sedge warbler

Earlier this year, I was extremely happy to ID this Acrocephalus schoenobaenus by ear. I also love the insect on the bird’s back, which I only discovered when after a day out at Otmoor I looked through my photos.

Dinosaur of the week: Common Reed Bunting

Emberiza schoeniclus is a bird I really like – the males are easy to identify and their song is simple but recognizable even for someone who has difficulties telling songs apart (like me). They need reedbeds to breed, so where there is a bit of proper wetland, there are the buntings. This one sang in the RSPB reserve in Otmoor earlier this year.

At the London Wetland Centre

London has so much to offer that some not so well-known places are more or less off the radar of tourists and even locals. The London Wetland Centre seems to be, and totally undeservedly, such a place.

We went there mid-May, and had a wonderful day out. The one and only drawback is that it is located under a Heathrow flightpath. Makes for good photo-ops though.

flight path

Of course, we went there for the wildlife, and there is plenty to be seen. You can find very common birds, and also some rarer ones. As always with wildlife, a bit of luck is involved.

The WWT is also involved in conservation work. They care for some local species, like sand martins.

sand martins

The trust also supports conservation efforts from further afield. If you go on one of their tours (for free, and highly recommended), you’ll hear a lot about all the species and the WWT’s work with them.

It’s easy to get there: you can either walk along the Thames Path, or follow the instructions on their website.

It’s a very family friendly place, but if you prefer quiet and peace with the birds and the reeds, that can be found easily too.