Birds of Perivale Park, 2020!

Neil Anderson has sent this fantastic record of the birds he has spotted in the  Park and surrounding areas, both in December and the whole of  2020. I will try to add a few photos of some of them later, but meanwhile can the  Friends of Perivale Park wish everyone a happy new year and please call as often as you can to see the park and its birds!

December bird highlights Perivale Park

I’m pleased to report that again we are treated to the largest finch flocks that I’m aware of locally. Numbers are down on last winter but the various seedheads in the north and west of the park have attracted up to 40 Linnets recently and are mixing with similar numbers of Goldfinch. Chaffinch numbers are quite low at the moment with 6 the most I’ve counted, though it can be tricky when all the birds are feeding amongst the plants, but they frequently fly up and perch in nearby bushes and trees making a head count easier.

Last year we also had a single Reed Bunting with the finch flock. This December I’ve seen at least two different males and a female, so numbers of these have improved. Sadly, I’ve not seen any Greenfinches in the last couple of weeks but these are never with the main flock here but usually on the east side of the railway.

Probably the most conspicuous birds in the park are the gulls which can be seen feeding and loafing on the turf as well as having a brush-up in the various pools. Most numerous is the more petite Black-headed Gulls (most don’t have a dark head at the moment but will start attaining breeding plumage from January onwards). Slightly larger, with a darker back, is the Common Gull, with greenish legs. This is the second most common gull here. A few much larger Herring Gulls- the typical seaside species- can also be found along with the occasional Lesser Black-backed Gull.

It’s also worth checking any berry bearing shrubs as small numbers of Redwings are about. These small thrushes are winter visitors here and have a conspicuous white eyebrow as well as orange-red markings on the flanks and underwing coverts.

The biggest surprise for me was the discovery of a female Stonechat a couple of weeks ago and still present at the time of writing. These birds are typically birds of heathland and coastal strips. On passage and in winter they are more widespread and can be found at quite a few sites around the London area. The species does breed in Richmond Park and had a successful year in 2020 and they also get some good counts on passage with up to 30 birds on the best days passing through.

More locally Warren Farm and near Ten Acre Wood also host wintering birds. Hopefully if the weather doesn’t get too hard our Stonechat will remain for the winter. They are susceptible to hard winters and numbers decline after such freezes. Our bird has been frequenting seedhead areas from the top of the golf course up to the small ponds in the north-west of the site.

Birds of Perivale Park 2020

Little Grebe
Cormorant (fly-over)
Grey Heron
Mute Swan
Greylag Goose
Canada Goose
Egyptian Goose
Red Kite
Common Buzzard
Black-headed Gull
Common Gull
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Feral Pigeon
Wood Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Ring-necked Parakeet
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow
Reed Bunting

In addition to these species I’m aware that Little Owls have been recorded by sound by others around the park. A pretty good total for the year. Other birds that might occur occasionally include Little Egret (seen several times on the Brent south of Ruislip Rd East), Fieldfare, Meadow Pipit & maybe one of two more warbler species on passage.

Neil Anderson

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