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.

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.