Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Canary Wharf birds

As the more dedicated of you may recall, I used to work at Canary Wharf. Three years from 2004 - 2007. I saw very little there - after all, its a monument of glass, steel and concrete with some apologies for plants dotted round the estate. I assumed it was a dead loss from a birding point of view and never had cause to change my mind,

I was, according to this article (birdguides subscribers only), completely wrong. The author, one Ken Murray, twigged what I completely missed; that the main tower of Canary Wharf lit up at night could act like a lighthouse, and pull in migrants from and wide. The list is truly astonishing.

According to the article,between 2001 and 2006 the following were seen: 3 Blyth's Reed Warblers, Booted Warbler, Red-Backed Shrike, 2 Wrynecks, 3 Icterine Warblers, a Melodious Warbler, a Barred Warbler and supporting casts of Firecrest, grasshopper Warbler, Wood Warbler, Pied flycatcher etc etc. Then there's the ones that got away - glimpses and best guesses of Eastern Willow Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Great Snipe, Thrush Nightingale, Asian Song Thrush.

I know from my own lesser experience at the scrape that finding a spot, wondering if it will be good for birds and then finding that it is, is amongst the best experiences birding has to offer. Its what makes birding something different to going for a walk with a pair of binoculars. To do this on such a scale as done here is something most birders can only dream of. Full marks to the birders concerned for a wonderful story.


tom s. said...

Guess you should have put in a few more long evenings...

DorsetDipper said...

well Tom ... the watchers put in over 3000 man hours. That's over 1.5 years of watching at 37 hours a week. I think that putting in anything like the necessary time to see any decent birds either in evenings or during the day would have been impossible, so like so much of my birding I'm resigned to not being able to take that particular opportunity.