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A fantastic National Trust house with extensive parkland in Osterley in the London Borough of Hounslow. 5 minutes walk from Osterley Station or 15 mins from Isleworth. The H28 bus goes almost to the gate, and the H91, H37, 267, 237 and 117 will all take you near.
The parkland is very varied with mature mixed and oak woodland, landscaped parkland, managed grassland, farmland and several ornamental lakes which support a decent variety of ducks and other waterfowl. The park is typically sees 90-100 species during the course of the year: even a casual walk through the park will notch up 20-30 species, while with luck over 50 may be seen in a day's birding. It is particularly well-known locally for its breeding ring-necked parakeets and mandarin ducks; less common species include lesser-spotted woodpecker, little owl and kingfisher.
Where to watch Edit
The Garden Lake is shallow and ornamental, and holds a mildly interesting range of waterbirds:
- Mallard, coot, moorhen, Canada goose, mute swan and black-headed gull are practically guaranteed (although how wild all these are is questionable)
- mandarin duck and Egyptian goose occur all year round and breed
- shoveler are easy to spot in winter
- grey heron can often be seen fishing at the far end of the lake
The Middle Lake is larger and wilder, with an inaccessible central island. (There is also an Upper Lake which is private). In addition to most of the birds listed above, great crested grebe, grey heron and cormorant are regular here, with kingfisher resident and gadwall, shoveler and occasional pochard in winter. Common sandpiper and snipe drop in on migration. Wigeon, goosander and water rail have been seen but none are regular.
The road (Osterley Lane) behind the Middle Lake leads through horse paddocks which are excellent for wagtails and winter thrushes. A path (Nine-Acre Path) which heads back through fields to the car park is reliable for little owl, with hobby in summer. The horse paddocks on the opposite (western) side of the park are good for migrant passerines including whinchat, wheatear, common warblers, reed bunting and linnet. More unusual sightings here include woodcock, yellowhammer, redstart, red kite and Dartford warbler; 3 long-eared owls roosted for several weeks in January 2009.
Elsewhere in the park green woodpecker and various thrushes are easy to see. Kestrel are resident and may be seen hunting all over the park, and sparrowhawks are regular overhead; buzzard are more unusual but still regular.
Past rarities include hoopoe and roller.