7 February 2010

Surprises at the London Wetland Centre

The London Wetland Centre in Barnes is just a couple of short bus rides away (65 and 33) and I'm a member (not sure how that happened) so it seemed like a good place to take some friends on a fresh winter's day.

And it was.

The wetlands occupy a large area of marsh land that lie between Barnes to the west and the Thames to the east.

The centre is in two parts, one has small ponds and lots of tall reeds and the other (pictured) has large shallow pools.

A maze of footpaths weave around and between the ponds and pools to make it an interesting day out for casual walkers like myself. For the serious bird watchers and there were lots there with their tell-tale binoculars and long lenses, there are several hides throughout the centre that allow you to get up close and personal to many of the birds.

The point of the centre is to provide a haven for water birds amidst the urban sprawl of central London and a lot of them just do this.

My recognition of birds goes little beyond "is that a duck?" but even for people like me there are plenty of interesting birds.

This is still true in winter when the clever ones are off enjoying themselves in north Africa and have no intention of coming back until it's t-shirt weather here. They are not stupid!

I'm fairly sure that bird this is a swan and that it is (mostly) black with a red beak. At least I can be certain that it is cute and well worth taking a photo of.

If you want to know what other birds are there at the moment then have a look at the wetlands centre's twitter feed.

There is also a board listing the recent visitors in the reception building that also houses a cafe where we had some refreshing and warming drinks before embarking on the second part of the exploration.

The wetlands and the birds were what I expected to see but the art works were a pleasant surprise.

The reedy pondy part of the centre is festooned with works of art on a natural theme and usually constructed from waste items.

This leaping heron is joined by a host of other birds and even two crocodiles. The swans made out of umbrellas were a lot of fun too.

The London Wetlands Centre stimulates the legs, eyes and mind and is a great place to retreat. I'll be going again.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! Before The Wetlands came about I worked at the Swedish School on the other side of the Barnes peninsula. I know the area very well.

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