Trip Report: England, October 10-18, 1998
Ted Floyd, Philadelphia, USA;
I visited England during October of 1998. It was my first visit
ever to the Palearctic. I arrived on 10 Oct., and I departed on
18 Oct. The trip was not primarily for birding, but I managed to
spend a few hours birding on most days. I spent most of the time
in London, and I visited several London parks that are accessible
by public transportation. I also spent one day in the Lake District
(and two days travelling to and from this location).
I spent most of my time in upland terrestrial habitats. The only
aquatic habitats that I encountered were several ponds in London's
parks and a small lake in the Lake District. I did not visit any
coastal or estuarine habitats.
HAMPSTEAD HEATH (HH), in n. London. It is approximately 500
acres of open parkland, about 10 small ponds, and a few small
groves of deciduous trees. It is extremely heavily peopled,
at all times of the week. I visited on these dates: 10 Oct.,
11 Oct., 12 Oct., 15 Oct.
HYDE PARK (HP), in cent. London. I visited on 11 Oct. There
were at least 5000 people in this 200+ acre park. The most
significant spot was a centrally located pond at least 10
acres in size.
LAKE DISTRICT (LD), in nw. England, near the border with
Scotland. I arrived late in the day on 13 Oct., I birded
intermittently during 14 Oct., and I departed on the morning
of 15 Oct. All of my birding was confined to within 2 miles
of a small body of water called Rydal Lake. Significant
habitat offerings included: mixed coniferous/deciduous
woodlots; bracken-covered mountain foothills; lake edge
and open lake.
RICHMOND PARK (RP), in sw. London. A large (c3000 acres)
urban park, with several small ponds, dense bracken
tangles, oak woodlots, and much open parkland. People
and deer were numerous. I visited for several hours on
WORMWOOD SCRUB (WS), in w. London. Extensive playing
fields ringed with a narrow strip of weeds and woods.
A weedy patch in the western corner was good. I visited
for several hours on 17 Oct., and it was very windy
during my visit.
- Podiceps cristatus (GREAT CRESTED GREBE). 2, HP; 1, LD.
- Phalacrocorax carbo (GREAT CORMORANT). 1, HH; 1, HP;
11, LD; plus several seen in flight over cent. London.
- Ardea alba (GREAT GRAY HERON). 1, HH; 5, LD.
- Cygnus olor (MUTE SWAN). 2, HH; 2, HP; 4, LD; 2, RP.
- Anser anser (GREYLAG GOOSE). 8, HP. These birds
may have been part of a non-migratory feral flock.
However, it was interesting to note that the birds
were capable of sustained flight, and that they
exhibited no evidence of hybridization. According
to an RSPB official at LD, my visit to England
coincided with the season's first significant
influx of of migrant Anser and Branta flocks.
- Branta canadensis (CANADA GOOSE). Numerous at HH,
HP, LD, and RP; also, throughout London, and from
the train to LD. This species seems as common in
England as in the USA.
- Anas penelope (EURASIAN WIGEON). 15+, RP.
- Anas platyrhynchos (MALLARD). Widespread in small
numbers, as in the USA.
- Anas strepera (GADWALL). c5, RP.
- Anas acuta (NORTHERN PINTAIL). 4, RP.
- Anas clypeata (NORTHERN SHOVELER). 3, RP.
- Oxyura jamaicensis (RUDDY DUCK). 1, RP. This bird was
constantly harrassed by a Black-headed Gull.
- Aythya ferina (COMMON POCHARD). 1 male, HH; 1 pair, RP.
- Aythya fuligula (TUFTED DUCK). Numerous at HH, HP, LD,
- Aythya marila (GREATER SCAUP). Distribution and abundance
as Tufted Duck.
- Mergus merganser (COMMON MERGANSER). 3, LD.
- Accipiter nisus (SPARROWHAWK). 1, HH; 1, LD; 1, RP.
- Buteo buteo (COMMON BUZZARD). 5, LD.
- Falco tinnunculus (EURASIAN KESTREL). Widespread and
common; I saw many from the train to LD, and I even
saw one hunting over busy Picadilly Circus in central
- Phasianus colchicus (RING-NECKED PHEASANT). 2, LD.
- Gallinula chloropus (COMMON MOORHEN). Readily encountered
on even the smallest bodies of water. I found the species
to be very trusting and confiding, just the opposite of
the aloof and retiring moorhens in America.
- Fulica atra (EURASIAN COOT). Widespread, although not so
ubiquitous as the moorhen.
- Larus ridibundus (BLACK-HEADED GULL). The most widespread
and abundant bird of the trip. Large numbers on ponds and
fields everywhere, and enormous numbers on the train ride
between London and LD.
- Larus canus (COMMON GULL). 1, WS; hanging out with a large
flock of Black-headed Gulls.
- Larus argentatus (HERRING GULL). Widespread in small
- Larus marinus (GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL). A few along the
Thames River in cent. London.
- Larus fuscus (LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL). Widespread in
small numbers; moderate numbers at HP and along the
Thames River in central London.
- Columba palumbus (WOODPIGEON). Widespread and abundant;
nearly as conspicuous as Black-headed Gull.
- Columba livia (ROCK DOVE). Abundant in London away from
parks; lesser numbers elsewhere. I saw one bird that I
believe was a Rock Dove X Woodpigeon hybrid.
- Psittacula krameri (RING-NECKED PARAKEET). 30+, RP. From
what I understand, this species is well established in
and around RP. Seeing and hearing the large flock in
flight was memorable.
- Alcedo atthis (EURASIAN KINGFISHER). 1, HH.
- Picus viridis (GREEN WOODPECKER). 8, HH; 5, RP. I think
this is one of the most beautiful birds I saw in England.
- Dendrocopos major (GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER). 1, HH;
1, LD; 1, RP. A very handsome bird.
- Alauda arvensis (SKYLARK). 1, RP; 1, WS.
- Hirundo rustica (BARN SWALLOW). 2 each on 2 separate dates
at HH. Of course, all individuals were of the Eurasian
subspecies, which I had never before encountered.
- Anthus pratensis (MEADOW PIPIT). 15+, RP; 5, WS.
- Anthus trivialis (TREE PIPIT). 1, WS. I believe this may
have been a fairly late record for this species, and I
therefore studied the bird very carefully. Based on its
vocalizations, behavior, and plumage, I believe it
could not have been a Meadow Pipit or any other species
of pipit. WS is said to be a good spot for pipits,
including lingering Tree Pipits. The bird was in the
general company of -- but not actively consorting with --
a Skylark and a small flock of Meadow Pipits.
- Motacilla alba (PIED WAGTAIL). 1, WS.
- Motacilla cinerea (GRAY WAGTAIL). 1, HH.
- Troglodytes troglodytes (WINTER WREN). Very common, very
- Prunella modularis (DUNNOCK). 5, HH; 2 LD.
- Erithacus rubecula (EURASIAN ROBIN). Widespread and
abundant. Many birds were in full song, despite the
- Saxicola torquata (STONECHAT). A minimum of 4, all
together, in the bracken at RP. I believe there were
2 males and 2 females.
- Turdus merula (EURASIAN BLACKBIRD). Widespread and
- Turdus iliacus (REDWING). 4, LD. A single flock.
- Turdus philomelos (SONG THRUSH). 3, HH; 100+, LD.
- Turdus viscivorus (MISTLE THRUSH). 5+, HH.
- Phylloscopus trochilus (WILLOW WARBLER). 3, HH. I saw
about 15 Phylloscopus warblers during my several visits
to HH. Possibly all the unidentified Phylloscopus warblers
were Chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus collybita), but I was not
confident enough to say so.
- Regulus regulus (GOLDCREST). 5+, HH; 2, LD; 5+, RP.
- Parus caeruleus (BLUE TIT). Conspicuous and numerous
everywhere I went. Typically, I saw 2-3 at a time.
- Parus major (GREAT TIT). Perhaps even more frequently
encountered than Blue Tit, but less likely to be found
- Parus ater (COAL TIT). 1, HH; 5, LD; 4, RP. Usually in
or near conifers.
- Aegithalos caudatus (LONG-TAILED TIT). 25+, HH; 10+, LD;
10+, RP. All my encounters were with modest-sized (5-10
indiv.) foraging ensembles. There was something about
the corporate jizz of a Long-tailed Tit flock that really
reminded me of the Bushtit of the w. USA.
- Sitta europaea (EUROPEAN NUTHATCH). 1, LD; 2, RP.
- Certhia familiaris (TREECREEPER). 1, HH; 1, LD. Also,
I believe I heard, but did not see, this species on about
5 other occasions.
- Sturnus vulgaris (EUROPEAN STARLING). Common in residential
and business districts.
- Garrulus glandarius (EURASIAN JAY). Numerous at RP; small
- Pica pica (BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE). Widespread, common, and
- Corvus monedula (JACKDAW). 100+, LD; 50+, RP. The RP birds
had the interesting habit of perching on the large ungulates
(some kind of deer) that inhabit RP.
- Corvus corax (COMMON RAVEN). 3, LD.
- Corvus corone (CARRION CROW). I saw thousands of medium-sized
crows (either Carrion Crows or Rooks) in England. I positively
unidentified a few as Carrion Crows, and I also positively
identified a few as Rooks. However, I left most of them
- Corvus frugilegus (ROOK). See notes on Carrion Crow, above.
- Passer domesticus (HOUSE SPARROW). Widespread in small numbers,
in places of human habitation.
- Fringilla coelebs (CHAFFINCH). 5, LD.
- Carduelis chloris (GREENFINCH). 5+, LD.
- Carduelis carduelis (EURASIAN GOLDFINCH). Flocks of 1, 2, 5,
and 20+, only at WS.
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October 26, 1998