BLACK PARK

Find so­lace among the trees in this for­mal coun­try park

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

BLACK PARK IS a wellestab­lished coun­try park of some 550 acres at the western ex­trem­ity of the Colne Val­ley Park, that runs from Rick­mansworth to Uxbridge. It is named af­ter the Cor­si­can Pine, an abun­dant conifer grown in plan­ta­tions that has dis­tinc­tive black bark. In­deed, much of the site is cov­ered in a wide range of trees, in­clud­ing many grand old oaks and Scots Pines along­side stands of younger de­cid­u­ous trees. There are sev­eral open ar­eas where heather, Gorse and Broom flour­ish, and it is here that you have a chance of see­ing a win­ter­ing Dart­ford War­bler, par­tic­u­larly around the Five Points Cross­roads in the north-east vec­tor, which is close to Pinewood film stu­dios. The park lake is a pop­u­lar fo­cal point for vis­i­tors and wildlife alike, and it is also a par­tic­u­larly worth a visit to see flocks of Ring-necked Para­keets. Care­fully check through birds feed­ing on top of conifers as Cross­bill and Firecrest reg­u­larly oc­cur, while I have seen Hawfinches here in the past. In­tro­duced Red Kites are now a given in this part of the Home Coun­ties. The park also holds good num­bers of roost­ing birds and an evening visit could yield flocks of Star­lings, thrushes, corvids, para­keets and Wood­pi­geons, all tak­ing ad­van­tage of the dense ev­er­green fo­liage. Black Park is pop­u­lar with the gen­eral pub­lic and has many out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing a Go Ape ad­ven­ture play­ground, so it re­ally is best to go as early or late in the day as pos­si­ble for the best chance of see­ing birds dur­ing the walk. Many of the path­ways are sur­faced and suit­able for the dis­abled, while well-be­haved dogs are also wel­come in the park.

Dart­ford War­bler

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