London - It's for the Birds

We visited London for a few days in January for work and tacked on a weekend for a bit of fun to make it a proper bleisure (business + leisure) trip.  We discovered a serene oasis in the heart of London not far from Hammersmith in the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust London Sanctuary.  It was cold but sunny as we set out on our walk.
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust London Sanctuary
Here are some clips of the birds we spotted that day including an exotic ice skating duck and mating mallards.

Trails lead all around the reserve.  We practically had the place to ourselves.
I looked out through the hole in this sculpted art installation and spotted one of my favorite ducks of all, the Northern Shoveler.
Sculpture at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust London Sanctuary
Northern Shoveler
A three story hide sat at the edge of the wetlands and we soon learned that this was where everyone was.
Bird Hide at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in London
We climbed to the top and a bunch of people were excitedly whispering to each other about some sighting.  I asked what was going on and someone told me they'd spotted a Stonechat in the distance.  This dedicated birdwatcher patiently explained where I could find it using various landmarks ('see that culvert and that tuft of grass, it's just to the left beyond').  Miraculously, I was able to see the little fellow far away in the distance (picture taken at 100x zoom).  
Stonechat
The find was dutifully noted in the 'Warden's Notes'.
Looking around further as we warmed up inside the hide, we spotted teals...
Teal Ducks
...and wigeons.
Ducks - Wigeons
We continued our walk outdoors and came upon some natural hides.
A little blue tit seemed to be making use of it to watch us!
Blue Tit Bird
We soon wandered into the 'Wetlands of the World' area where exotic species from around the world flourish under the protection of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.  Red-breasted and Barnacle geese sat side by side.
Red-breasted and Barnacle Geese
I could have watched the hooded mergansers darting about for hours.
Hooded merganser
Oops!  This guy dove a bit too fast for me to identify.
Eyton's whistling ducks took to mimicking the tourists that had come to see them.  I found a whole flock of them on a bridge looking out over the water.
Eyton's Whistling Duck
We took a moment to admire the sun reflected in the icy water of the wetlands.
In the distance, we heard a knocking sound and followed the giant lens of another birder's camera to spot this Green Woodpecker in a tree.
Green Woodpecker
A Ringed Teal and Moorhen crossed paths on the ice...
Ice skating duck
...while a Comb Duck and another Ringed Teal basked in the sun nearby.
Comb duck
Ringed Teal Duck
We ducked inside one of the hides and took a peek through the binoculars provided.
I was super-excited to spot elegant Lapwings on the other end.  I could have stood there watching them for hours.
Lapwings
Lapwings
We finished our tour of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust with more exotic species including a White-headed Duck, Goldeneye, and Smew.
White-headed Duck
Goldeneye Duck
Smew
On our way out, we spotted various 'bug hotels' carefully constructed.  They make for great photos but I definitely wouldn't want to reach inside.  You never know what kind of creepy crawlies you might find.
Bug hotels
London Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is an amazing oasis in the heart of London and is definitely worth checking out for a bit of weekend birdwatching.

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Sidewalk Safari: London - It's for the Birds
London - It's for the Birds
Birdwatching at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust London Sanctuary.
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Sidewalk Safari
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