St James's Park&Green Park

From Londonbirders

Map: [1]

Two Central London parks that are covered together here because of their proximity to each other. Green Park is easily accessed from its Northern end from Green Park underground station. It consists of a large area of open grass, lines of mainly London Plane trees along some of the paths but there is no undergrowth, scrubby areas or even flower beds. Consequently, the diversity of birdlife in this park is quite low. One of the few species to breed here is Mistle Thrush although they are not present all year round. There are a few hawthorns in the centre of the park and intensive watching in the 1960s showed that this was the best place for migrants such as Lesser Whitethroat to turn up. At the southern end of the park is Buckingham Palace and opposite that lies St James’s Park.

The dominant feature of St James’s Park is the lake complete with two islands. It is this that adds variety to the avifauna of the park. There are a lot of trees in the park, mainly London Plane but also a couple of Alders, some Weeping Willows and exotic pines. Additionally, there are some good scrubby patches with holly bushes that are attractive to migrants, like the Firecrest that was seen on 9 October 2001. Regular migrants include Chiffchaff and Blackcap which can be heard singing in Spring, usually on the islands. There are two small reedbeds in the lake and these attract summering Reed Warblers but they’ve not yet been proved to be breeding.

There is a captive wildfowl collection on the lake including the famous – and very popular – White Pelicans. One of these is a free-flying bird which was ‘rescued’ from the Essex coast and released into the park. Other species include Black Swan, Red-crested Pochard and Eider all of which breed. The presence of these captive birds attracts all manner of wildfowl and Tufted Ducks and Pochard are resident here and breed and their numbers increase in winter. It can be difficult to determine which birds are wild at times, for example odd fully winged geese such as White-fronted, Pink-footed and Emperor Geese have all been seen here recently but are presumably escapes.

Legitimate wild birds are seen here such as Slavonian, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Black-headed, Common, Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls, Coot and Moorhen. Raptors don’t breed in the park but Kestrel and Sparrowhawk are seen occasionally while Peregrine and Common Buzzard have also been noted recently. Swifts are often seen in summer but hirundines are only noted on passage and then only on a few days each year. Waders are rarely noted with just a couple of records of Common Sandpiper and Woodcock in recent years. Breeding birds include Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit and Great Tit.

Early mornings are best as the park is very popular with tourists and office workers at lunchtime.

For additional information see the Royal Parks website: [2]

Personal tools