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Woolwich Common (TQ428773) is a 37ha site between the Oxleas Woods complex to it's SE and Repository Wood/Charlton Cemetery and Maryon Wilson Park to it's NW.

Located just to the South of Woolwich Town centre (London Borough of Greenwich and Kent sector) with the nearest train station being Woolwich Arsenal which is served by London Charing Cross.

On it's Western side are the remains of an old disused and overgrown military sports stadium (the whole site is owned by the MoD and birding here isn't an inviting prospect when army manouvares take place). It's Southern edge is bordered by Shooter's Hill Road, to the North it meets up with Ha-Ha Road and it's Eastern flank is defined by Academy Road.

Basically an area of rough neutral grassland interspersed with numerous bramble patches and with areas of woodland and 'copses' of thorn ~ a site which hasn't really lived up to it's full potential and one that would undoubtedly repay close scrutiny, particularly during passage periods.

Birdlife is fairly typical of a suburban 'brownfield site', resident and migrant breeders include Skylark (very occasional), Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush (occasional), Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, occasional Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher (sporadically), Long-tailed Tit, Linnet and Bullfinch.

Migrants and notables have included Quail, Ring-billed Gull, Hobby, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Barn and Tawny Owl, Wryneck, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, the three regular hirundines, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare, Redwing, Sedge, Reed and Wood Warbler, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.

Birding here has so far failed to produce a shrike species but it can only be a matter of time.

DMc.

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