Visit Birch glade on a bright day to admire the Silver Birch (Betula pendula) or ‘Lady of the Woods’ which are looking slender, elegant and attractive with their white bark shining in the low winter sunlight.
In Canada Glade – The dogwoods (Cornus) by the Totem Pole show off their vivid red and golden stems which brighten up a winter’s day these are planted alongside Rubus cockburnianus – the white stemmed bramble.
The Volunteers have been clearing areas of Rhododendron ponticum in various areas in preparation for planting. The streamside of Keepers Wood will be planted up this year and the other areas will be left to plant up in 2019.
The Gardeners have cleared the leaves from the lawns and will be clearing the waterways and repairing waterfalls this month.
Well that is another year over and a new one is beginning. Hopefully you will have recorded some interesting birds in the park over the last year.
Those that have visited the park on a regular basis a target of 100 species should be easily achieved. If there were some glaring omissions from that list, you could make it your mission to connect with that or those species this year.
Hopefully last year’s blip will not be repeated and the species will not join the ever increasing list of birds that are in decline in the United Kingdom.
The species causing most concern at present in the park is the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker down to one pair in 2013 and only glimpsed once in 2015. This is very sad and could be due to the fact that competition for holes to nest in too great.
If the weather remains reasonably mild, waterfowl numbers on Heron Pond can build up. There isn’t a large variety; the regulars being Mallard, Pochard, Tufted, Red Crested Pochard and Coot. Most winters a few Shoveler and Gadwall will put in an appearance.
Finding scarce visitors might mean an early morning visit, scarce birds can be more nervous, so it is worth checking the water bodies first thing in the morning, before too many park users arrive.
Goosanders, the largest of the sawbills were once annual winter visitors but now no longer visit the park. The good thing with bird watching is you never know what might turn up. The year has started well with two Little Egrets feeding in the channel that runs from just south of Hawthorn Cottage into the Boating Lake.
For more bird news check out www.regentsparkbirds.blogspot.com - also covers Bushy Park
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
A species of duck of the family Anatidae. A large number has been seen in Bushy Park feeding on Heron Pond. The gadwall is a scarce-breeding bird in the United Kingdom, for this reason it is Amber listed.
During the winter months thousands of birds from mainland Europe arrive, giving the impression that it is more common than it actually is.
The gadwall is a quieter duck than the Mallard, except during its courtship, when drakes can then be seen and heard chasing the females through the skies above their chosen breeding areas.
It usually feeds by dabbling for plants with its head submerged. It nests on the ground, often some distance from water. The drakes are not brightly coloured being a mixture of grey, black and white, the duck is very similar to a mallard but is slightly smaller.