Welcome to West London Birding ‘Snippets’ 

Here you will find news from both our commercial and scientific projects (providing that they are not confidential!),  interesting scientific papers, and environmental news stories we like from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Also see our latest Twitter posts opposite.

08/05/2022 – Some more of the colour-ringed Greylag Geese have been moving around London recently with sightings from Grovelands Park (2 birds) and Finsbury Park in North London, Kew Gardens and Richmond Park to the west and Orpington in the south-east. 

U302 at Finsbury Park in April 2022. Photo: J Ferguson

03/04/2022  – You may remember that last April one of our colour-marked Coot, white ‘FJX’, was see in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation (see snippet below)

Well, the story continues….

He was seen back on the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens (where he was ringed in February 2017) on  both 13th & 15th March 2022. This is an incredible journey of over 4,000km and is the first UK-ringed Coot ever to go to Russia and return to the UK. 

Current world events aside, he has now been dubbed ‘Vladimir Cootin’ (by some wag on Twitter).

06/01/2022 – HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

The new colour-ringing of the Greylag Geese is already yielding results with a couple of birds seen moving between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens regularly.

Also, we have received out first sighting of one of the birds from outside the Parks. White U309 has been sighted at Grovelands Park in north London in the last few days with a small flock of other Greylags. This is 16km from where it was ringed at The Round Pond in Kensington Gardens

Please remember to report any sightings of colour-ringed birds in the Royal Parks either through the Contact page of this website or to the BTO.

Photo courtesy of : O. Hadjilambra

01/10/2021 – We are now colour-ringing Greylag Geese in the Central London Royal Parks. The rings are white with a 4 character alpha-numeric code starting with ‘U’. Please remember to report any sightings of colour-ringed birds in the Royal Parks either through the Contact page of this website or to the BTO.

01/10/2021 – Bar-tailed Godwit ‘4BYWW’ 8 day 12 hr non-stop flight from Alaska to her wintering grounds at Miranda Shorebird Centre in New Zealand.

19/04/2021  – Some really exciting news concerning one of our colour-ringed Coot.  White ‘FJX’, ringed at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens in February 2017 (and last seen there in December 2020) was re-sighted at Pulkovskiy Park, St. Petersburg, RUSSIA on 09/04/21 (2,116 km, ENE). This is only the 4th UK-ringed Coot to make it to Russia. This is a picture of him standing on the ice there.  

Coot White 'FJX'
Coot White 'FJX'

09/03/2021 – The oldest known bird in the world has hatched a chick at the age of 70! Birdguides

08/03/2021 – A great newsletter detailing the work of the North-west Black-headed Gull Study.  

Click here to see it and follow the study at #NWBHGs

08/03/2021 – Incredible sighting of a Dutch- ringed Barnacle Goose in China! 

Click here for the story.

08/03/2021  – Staying with the Black-headed Gull project, we have had the first sighting of one of the birds from the thirteen that we have managed to colour-ring this winter. The bird, 2V11 was sighted at Katingsiel, Nordfriesland, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany on 24th February. This is the 2nd of our colour-ringed gulls to seen seen in Germany (679 km, ENE) and 78 days after being ringed. This is the 2nd of our gulls to have been seen outside the UK – both have been in Germany – and this bird was sighted ca 84km NE of where 2V04 seen last August.

08/03/2021 – Apologies for the lack of posts recently. Firstly there hasn’t been a lot to report due to Covid and also the web-site was experiencing difficulties for a while. However, I’m happy to say that all seems to be functioning properly again. So some news…..

All five of the Black-headed Gulls we ringed at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens back in March 2020 have now been re-sighted.  Three were seen this winter back in the central London Royal Parks, orange 2V04 was seen in Germany (see post of 18/08/2020) and the last to be seen, which was incidentally the first to be ringed was resighted at Windsor in January 2021) 30km West of where he was ringed).

Photo: C. Lamsdell

27/10/2020 – Managed to get out to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens yesterday for the first time since March to re-start the Waterfowl Monitoring Project. Was pleased to see that Black-headed Gull Orange 2V02 was back at the Round Pond where he was ringed back in March.

18/08/2020 – We hope everyone is keeping well and staying safe despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. It has been very quiet on the project-front since lock-down but we hope to start fieldwork again sometime in the autumn.  

We have just received our first sighting of one of the Black-headed Gulls we colour-ringed in March (see below post). Orange 2V04 (ringed as an adult female) has been sighted at Schillinghafen in Lower Saxony, Germany over the past few days (see picture opposite). Hopefully she will make it back to London for the winter. 

05/03/2020 – The new Black-headed Gull study (see post of 17/02/2020) got off to a good start today (despite the rain) with the first five birds colour ringed at the Round Pond, Kensington Gardens, London. This is the first of the birds marked – orange 2V00. 

05/03/2020 – After catching over 400 nasty, bitey, scratchy, poo-ey Coot in Central London as part of the UK & Ireland Coot Study, the majority of which don’t seem to move very far, we get this…. an amazing control of a bird ringed last year on North Ronaldsay, Orkney, recaptured in St. James’s Park, London in February 2020. This is  the longest distance travelled by a Coot within UK and Ireland at 886 km (550 miles).

17/02/2020 – Great news! We have been given permission to start colour-ringing Black-headed Gulls as part of out Royal Parks and WWT London Wetland Centre projects. Look out for Black-headed Gulls with orange ring with a black, four alpha-numeric code starting 2V.. or 2X..

Please let us know of any sightings of these birds either through the contact form, e-mail or through the BTO Report a ringed bird.

Please tell us where you saw the bird, the time you saw the bird, whether bird was alive or dead and its age (if known). Thank you!

05/02/2020 – Strange things are going on in Suffolk!

A Little Owl who is deemed ‘too fat to fly’

and a Hooded Merganser with a penchant for cosmetics (does it really need it?)

24/12/2019 – The first of record has been received of one of the colour-ringed Coots from the Royal Parks project seen at the WWT London Wetland Centre. this brings to full circle our different ringing projects. Click image to see the sightings history.

November 2019 – First Common Gull of our Central London Royal Parks waterbird monitoring project ringed The Round Pond, Kensington Gardens, London. Click image to enlarge.

Swifts numbers have declined across the UK by 53% between 1995 and 2016. By incorporating a Swift brick in all new houses we can save these beautiful birds. Legislate that all UK house builders shall install Swift bricks in all new-build homes, and give incentives for retrofitting nest boxes on older properties. Please sign the petition at

Endangered Yellow-eyed Penguin named as bird of the year in New Zealand. There were more votes cast for it than there are actual yellow-eyed peenguins left in the wild.

November 2019 – 13 more Coot fitted with colour-rings in St. James’s Park. London this morning. Also ringed were a Mallard and Black-headed Gull. 

November 2019 – We have just heard that one of the Sand Martins chicks we ringed in 2017 was controlled (recaptured away from the place it was ringed)  this summer at the Sand Martin colony at Rutland Water. This is the first returning bird to the UK, that we know of, from our Sand Martin project. 

November 2019 – Sanderling that winter in West Africa have lower annual survival rates than those that winter in Europe or South Africa.  Reneerkens J, Versluijs TSL, PiersmaT, et al. Low fitness at low latitudes: Wintering in the tropics increases migratory delays and mortality rates in an Arctic breeding shorebird. J Anim Ecol. 2019;00:1–13.

October 2019 – Migrating Russian eagles run up huge data roaming charges.