Braeburn Park bird walks provide valuable introduction to the site

The London Wildlife Trust’s new Braeburn Park reserve in Crayford is better known by neighbours and other Bexley residents, including existing wildlife enthusiasts, thanks to two walks led by LWT staffer Peter Beckenham. Sixteen people has come along on January 24th, and nine plus the leader today (Feb 4th).

Starting off on the valley floor, birds proved somewhat elusive, but a Bullfinch was heard, a species that has declined quite significantly, and a fleeting glimpse of one was had later on.  There was a discussion about the number of Gulls overhead, and how they use playing fields – such as that at Hall Place just over the railway line – in winter. A couple of Redwings were seen, a species that comes to the UK from Scandinavia in winter, but there have been few around so far due to the relatively mild conditions until now.

The importance of the good-quality scrub found on the reserve, which has developed from a brownfield site, was highlighted.

We then took the path through Hazel coppice up to the old quarry, then the slope up into the woodland at the summit of the Cray valley side. Up to this point it didn’t feel like we had climbed that high, but with the leaves off the trees one could really appreciate just how far down into the landscape the river has cut over thousands of years.

Here in the woodland a small group of Long-tailed Tits came close, and 3 or 4 Great Spotted Woodpeckers were chasing around in the treetops, beginning to get territorial as the breeding season approaches.

Participants watching a party of Long-tailed tits in the mature woodland at Braeburn Park (Photo: Chris Rose)

Participants watching a party of Long-tailed tits and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the mature woodland at Braeburn Park (Photo: Chris Rose)

Afterwards, on the way through Crayford Rough to Hall Place, Michael Heath and I were treated to a close view of a Kestrel which landed on the top of a nearby bush, and then a Little Egret in the Cray which only flew upstream only when we got quite close – perhaps it was the same one as at Footscray Meadows yesterday.

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