City Tour

Bird Watching (UK) - - Event Norfolk Bird Race -

The Square Mile is also the lo­ca­tion for Tower 42. Stand­ing at 600ft over Lon­don’s busy streets, it is now dwarfed by other far higher, and more mod­ern sky­scrapers, like The Shard and the Lead­en­hall Build­ing. None­the­less, it is the head­quar­ters of the Tower 42 Bird Study Group, which spends many hours dur­ing the spring and au­tumn scan­ning the skies for drift­ing mi­grant rap­tors. Tower 42 has a flat roof of­fer­ing a mag­nif­i­cent 360° panorama of Lon­don. Over the years the Study Group has recorded reg­u­lar Buz­zards, oc­ca­sional Spar­rowhawk and more rarely, Kestrel, Hobby, Red Kite, both Hen and Marsh Har­ri­ers and re­mark­ably, two Honey Buz­zards. One thing that you are guar­an­teed to see on ev­ery visit is a Pere­grine. From the roof you can ob­serve up to six ter­ri­to­ries of this re­mark­able rap­tor. It is quite amaz­ing what you will see if you take the time to look up. Fur­ther east, close to the bor­der with Es­sex and si­dled next to the Thames, lies an­other con­crete is­land, Ca­nary Wharf. At first glance, it ap­pears to be a ster­ile-look­ing busi­ness area, dom­i­nated by the tow­er­ing pyra­mid-topped One Canada Square. But in the pub­lic green space di­rectly below the tower, and nearby in lightly wooded Ju­bilee Park, next to Ca­nary Wharf sta­tion, there are birds to be found, es­pe­cially dur­ing mi­gra­tion pe­ri­ods. In­cred­i­ble records em­anate from here, rang­ing from reg­u­lar Firecrest, Wheatear and com­mon war­blers like Chif­fchaff to Wry­neck, Grasshop­per War­bler and even Blyth’s Reed War­bler – all ap­par­ently lured in overnight by the bright lights that sit on the crown of One Canada Square. This area has not been birded with much reg­u­lar­ity over re­cent years, largely be­cause the bright lights are now dim­mer due to com­plaints re­gard­ing the re­sul­tant light pol­lu­tion. One of the main fea­tures of Lon­don is the Thames, and it is al­ways worth a scan even if you are en­joy­ing a lunchtime drink on the crowded South­bank. On one such oc­ca­sion, I watched an adult Shag, as it con­tin­u­ously dived, obliv­i­ous to

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