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Primrose Hill

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For anybody not familiar with these two sites, they are often lumped together because they are adjacent to each other and are separated only by a road. Primrose Hill lies to the north and as the name suggests, is a hill. Its main claim to ornitholgical interest is the fact that it makes an excellent spot to watch visible migration. Nearest tube station is Chalk Farm, which is 5 minutes walk away.

Immediately to the south of this and stretching towards central London almost to Marylebone Road and Baker Street, is Regents Park. This is a very large area, mostly of grassland, including football pitches, small groups/belts of trees and one reasonably sized lake towards the southern portion of the park. Regents Park benefits from having two Royal Parks employees who are also pretty good birders (Tony or Dave if you could add to this page, you would do a better job than I!).

Also for those with an interest in wildfowl identification, the lake holds a fairly extensive collection of birds to practice with. These include Ross's Geese, Black Brant, Pink-footed Geese, Smew, Red-crested Pochard and Ring-necked Duck. The park really comes into its own during periods of migration. Maybe it is because the Park is one of the few sizable areas of green in inner London, or maybe it is because the site gets so much regular coverage, it does turn up some pretty good birds for London every year. Wheatears are one of the obvious birds that are fairly easy to see however a more detailed look can turn more interesting spp. such as Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. A couple of years ago London's second Lesser Scaup was found on the lake (after it had gone missing from Brent Reservoir to the north. See the Brent Reservoir page for details of this site).

Being an open space in London, the Park does get a lot of joggers/dogwalkers/office workers having lunch. To maximise your chances of seeing decent birds, it is advisable to visit as early as possible before anything unusual has been spooked by the dogwalkers etc. There is a noticeboard near the toilet block at the north-west corner of the lake which will give you details of what birds have been seen recently and exactly where. This will give you an idea of the best areas in which to concentrate your observations. Remember though that birds can and often do turn up anywhere, so I find it a good exercise to keep my eyes and ears open as soon as I enter the Park. In the winter especially, it is not uncommon for records to be of birds flying over, so a basic ability to identify birds on call can be indispensable at this time.

Finally in the breeding season, for the last couple of years, a pair of Peregrines have nested at the top of a tower block to the south. Not only does this make it possible to see this species over the Park, but the RSPB may set up a viewing site so that you know exactly where to look (this year there was even a 'webcam' so you could keep up with events from the safety of your armchair!). If all else fails and after a few hours you still haven't seen anything interesting, fill your time by carefully going through the Gulls. They don't roost here, but probably in one of the Lea Valley Reservoirs, so every day there is the potential for something out of the ordinary to be amongst them. The park is closed at night, but in order to visit, the nearest tubes are: Baker Street to the south-west, Great Portland Street to the south-east, Camden Town and Chalk Farm are both towards the north-east and require a short walk. If I've missed anything important, can someone please add to this page?! Paul White



Park Sightings on www.regentsparkbirds.co.uk


Patchlist Challenge Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Grey Lag Goose, Canada Goose, Eygptian Goose, Common Shelduck, Mandarin, European Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Goosander, Ruddy Duck, Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Red Kite, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Hobby, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Woodcock, Whimbrel, Common Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Arctic Tern, Common Tern, Feral Rock Dove, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Ring necked Parakeet, Tawny Owl, Swift, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin,House Martin, Swallow, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Hedge Sparrow, Robin, Wheatear, Common Redstart, Blackbird, Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Song Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Greater Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Brambling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Redpoll, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

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