Wapping Urban Wildlife Ranger Patrol Report #723 (Birdie Edition)

Urban Wildlife Ranger Patrol team at full capacity

In response to the hot weather over the Bank Holiday the Love Wapping Wildlife Ranger Patrol team has been working at full capacity.

Adopting Response Plan Alpha all personnel spread out across Wapping and Shadwell searching for all signs of wildlife using the vast array of technology at their disposal. Apart from binoculars that they still can’t afford.

Wildlife Ranger Submarine sunk by pirates

But I regret to inform you that the Shadwell Basin Wildlife Ranger Submarine has not been heard of since Saturday so is believed sunk, probably by local pirates. Oops!

However I can report that there were lots of interesting bird sightings that are detailed below.

Scaup (Aythya marila)

Wapping may have a Scaup! Our Trainee Ranger (Ducks) is most excited about this sighting although it has not been 100% confirmed. It is easy to mistake these for tufted ducks with one glaring difference – no tuft!

If this sighting is confirmed this is very exciting indeed as the Scaup is the rarest breeding duck and is in the RSPB ‘red’ category of birds that are globally threatened. More news on this soon. Seen on the canal.

Colin the Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Cormorant flies past Spirit Quay in Wapping
Cormorant flies past Spirit Quay in Wapping

Colin was seen enjoying a good fishing expedition up and down the canal at Spirit Quay. Either he did not spot the mirror carp or for once decided it was not worth the hassle. Colin and his family Colin and Colin were also seen in Shadwell basin of course.

Coots (Fulica atra)

Lots of Coot action with chicks at the Hermitage end of Spirit Quay and Hermitage itself. Ahh!

Canada goose (Branta Canadensis)

As you know we have a pair of resident Canada geese but it was nice to see another lone Canadian goosey turn up over the weekend. The resident geese were not that impressed and much honking and water splashing ensued. Our Chief Ranger (Geese) reports that they do not seem to spend the night here and are probably part of the larger flock of around 30 + Canada Geese which live near Shad Thames. Any further details in the comments section below please.

Greylag goose (Anser anser)

The Greylag geese usually stomp around Hermitage with occasional trips over to More London to eat the grass and amuse the tourists. However one was seen swanning geesing along the canal at Spirit Quay. Resident Canadian geese not too bothered by this.

Mirror Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Five big mirror carp are back in the canal (did they ever leave?).  They don’t do much apart from carp things. Good to see though. Lots of little tiny fishes in canal too, presumably baby carp in waiting. Anyone know technical term?

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba)

Only seen once bouncing across the green stuff on Hermitage Pond these are great to watch if you can spot them. Small black and white bird.

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Spotted several times over the weekend along the canal and Shadwell basin this is a lovely little bird that, despite its name, is grey on top and yellow underneath. Like the Pied Wagtail they love eating insects as they zip around. But then don’t we all?

All references are taken from the RSPB Bird Identifier. All mistakes are my own!

Interested in birds?

I am currently reading a book titled: Birds in a Cage: Germany, 1941. Four POW Birdwatchers. The Unlikely Beginning of British Wildlife Conservation. This is stocked in the lovely Riverside Bookshop in Hays Galleria at London Bridge. Pop in and buy one.

Interested in birds enough to go for bird spotting Wapping wanders?

It is a testament to the wide variety of urban wildlife that we have in Wapping that since moving here a few years ago I have become fascinated by the birds here.

During the weekend I bumped into others who share my interest (Hi Terry!) and was wondering if anyone else would like to meet up at a weekend for a bird spotting wander around Wapping? If you are please let me know in the Comments section below or via email / the Contact Form.

Think it might be good fun, we could make some new friends and learn something. But don’t rely on me for information as I am new to this!

2 thoughts on “Wapping Urban Wildlife Ranger Patrol Report #723 (Birdie Edition)

  1. Good morning. I do enjoy these Ranger reports. I saw the duck you mention about 8 days ago. I was curious enough to come home and look it up in a rather old copy of the Birdwatcher’s Pocket Guide (a leftover from the days when my son briefly joined the RSPB). I thought it was a Scaup. But it could have been a Tufted Duck wanting a smooth, sleek look to match its urban lifestyle. According to the guide Scaups tend to hang out “near mussel beds and sewage outfalls”. Not sure what this tells us about the canal and even less sure I want to know.

    1. Dear Mummy Penguin, it’s good to know you like the Ranger reports. Our Chief Ranger is out at the moment checking a sighting of a school of dolphins in the canal but I will draw his attention to your kind remarks on his return. I need to get our Duck Identification Team to fully confirm the Scaup sighting and will ask them to see if it is in fact a new breed of Tufted Duck or a Scaup. Will let you know.

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