Ravensbury Park - Description[edit | edit source]

Tufted Duck (female)

Ravensbury park managed by Merton Council provides a welcome and attractive compact open greenspace for the residents of Morden south-west London. Situated along the River Wandle this park a remnant of a once large estate (Ravensbury House) cuts through the dross of urban living and provide a tranquil setting rich in wildlife. (See Map)( 1 )

Within an urban context the park supports a significant and varied assemblage of birds that reflecting the quality and diversity of habitats that are found. Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Little Grebe are frequent seen all year round and the park is alive with song birds in spring. Winter bring a good variety of unusual wintering species including Firecrest which can be found along the river walk in ivy's and holly's and wild ducks add significantly to the spectacle of a walk through the park in winter. Teal, Gadwell and Shoveler are all regular visitors at this time and numbers can build up considerably.

My Ravensbury Park Birding Diary & Patch List 2010[edit | edit source]

Species (Visits / Dates) 9 Jan, 17 Jan, 24 Jan, 30 Jan, 6 Feb,
Black-headed Gull (5) 86 20 10 35 14
Blackbird (5) present 15 8 16 20
Blackcap (5) 1 1 2 4 2
Blue Tit (5) present 28 20 27 18
Canada Goose (5) 8 10 4 5 8
Carrion Crow (5) present 4 10 25 12
Chaffinch (5) present 2 2 2 2
Chiffchaff (4) 2 - 5 7 4
Collared Dove (4) 4 - 2 2 1
Common Gull (5) present present present 2 1
Coot (5) 20 34 16 17 24
Cormorant (5) 2 1 1 1 2
Dunnock (5) present 4 4 5 4
Egyptian Goose (2) 2 - present - -
Feral Pigeon (5) 10 6 present 2 4
Fieldfare (2) 2 1 - - -
Firecrest (1) 1 - - - -
Gadwall (3) 12 4 - 1 -
Goldcrest (5) 3 3 4 4 6
Goldfinch (5) 4 2 12 2 2
Great Black-backed Gull (4) 1 present present present -
Great Spotted Woodpecker (5) 2 3 3 4 2
Great Tit (5) 26 29 25 22 14
Greenfinch (5) 4 2 2 2 2
Grey Heron (5) 1 1 1 1 3
Grey Wagtail (5) 2 2 2 2 2
Herring Gull (5) present present present present 4
Jackdaw (5) present present present present 4
Jay (4) 3 5 - 1 1
Kingfisher (2) 1 1 - - -
Lesser Black-backed Gull (4) present present present present -
Little Egret (1) - - - 1 -
Little Grebe (5) 6 1 5 6 4
Long-tailed Tit (5) 12 21 12 8 8
Magpie (5) present 7 4 2 2
Mallard (5) 53 82 28 54 36
Meadow Pipit (2) 4 4 - - -
Moorhen (5) 18 present 22 25 28
Mute Swan (5) 3 2 2 2 2
Nuthatch (5) 2 2 2 1 1
Pied Wagtail (yarrellii) (5) 2 1 1 1 1
Pochard (2) 1 present - - -
Redwing (5) 24 12 1 52 2
Ring-necked Parakeet (5) 6 4 6 6 21
Robin (5) present present 10 12 12
Shoveler (5) 18 10 6 6 4
Skylark (1) - - present - -
Snipe (2) 1 - - 1 -
Song Thrush (5) 6 3 1 5 4
Sparrowhawk (2) 1 - - 1 -
Starling (5) present 2 4 4 3
Stock Dove (5) 6 2 2 1 2
Teal (5) 37 present 4 20 10
Treecreeper (4) - 1 1 1 1
Tufted Duck (5) 4 6 2 1 1
Water Rail (1) - - 1 - -
Wigeon (1) 1 - - - -
Woodpigeon (4) present - 24 32 24
Wren (4) 10 - 8 14 14
Total species: 59 55 47 48 50 44

Saturday 9th January 2010 Ravensbury Park[edit | edit source]


A bright but cold day as the freeze continues fresh snow and hard frost over night temperatures below freezing all day with an increasing light to moderate Northerly wind becoming a feature.


The Ravensbury Park - white Coot named "Snowy"

A great start to the list with a total of 55 species being recorded the River Wandle providing a sanctuary and feeding opportunities away from an otherwise frozen landscape. Accumulations of Duck were notable Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwell were all in good numbers. While scarce species included a Snipe, a female Wigeon on the small lake, a Firecrest along the river side path and a female Blackcap. A Kingfisher made a brief appearance as did a male Sparrowhawk and together with the resident 2 Egyptian Goose and Snowy the white coot produced all in all a fantastic mornings birding.

Sunday 17th January 2010 Ravensbury Park Weather

Much improved over last weeks near artic conditions with a thaw settting in from wednesday. Today was bright and much milder with long periods of winter sunshine (Temps 0c - 8c) in light NW wind


A further two species added to the list today with Skylark and Treecreeper being recorded. Skylark as a fly-over with a small movement of birds north and (2) Treecreeper being recorded in along the mainpath (Small Lake area). The Firecrest that was so engaging last week could not be found, but anglers in the area made searches to the mill cut and surrounding habs impossible. The accumulations of Duck noted last week were also much reduced although c(80) Mallard continue to be Strong. This was by no means a full survey but nevertheless showed declines in wintering species in particular (Winter Thrush) with only a hand full of Redwing and Fieldfare being seen or heard.

Total species recorded from so far at Ravensbury Park = 57 (See list)

Number of Visits = 2

Sunday 24th January 2010 Ravensbury Park[edit | edit source]


Generally a dull day with just the hint of winter sunshine and very light winds. Temperatures holding around seasonal averages (3 - 9c). In this respect the weather has shown much improved from the extremes of recent weeks.


Ravensbury Park - Little Grebe

Water rail was added to the year list today but generally the park was quiet which reflected the quiet weather conditions resulting in little impetus for bird movements. and if anything a reduction in birds were evident. (Particularly winter Duck). Nevertheless the park in many ways out performed the much larger (Morden Hall Park NT) just down river. Of note was a build-up of Chiffchaff c(5) including an example of the northern race (P.c.tristis) with a very pale washed out bird recorded in with 5 other Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap feeding up on a huge winter Gnat hatch similar to last week along the Happy Valley section. Firecrest were not recorded again although Goldcrest were very active including song. A total of (4+) birds noted. Wintering ducks were much reduced although (6) Shoveler and (6+) Teal were still present. One of the key highlights today were Little Grebe,their trilling calls evidence of 3 territories although no nesting yet, but nevertheless provided me with the opportunities to take some pictures as they feed sporadically on the winter gnat hatch - interspersed with periods of hiding under vegetation over-hanging the river (Probably nest locations). In total (47) species were recorded for the day. The only notable birds over were (1 - 2) Skylark.

Total species recorded from so far at Ravensbury Park = 58 (See list).

Total Number of Visits = 3

Sunday 30th January 2010 Ravensbury Park[edit | edit source]

Weather Generally a sunny day starting cold with a light dusting of snow and hard over-night frost but improving by early afternoon to give spells of winter sunshine that for the first time this year had some wormth in light (NW) wind. In fact in sheltered spots it was quite pleasent. Temperatures (-1 to 8c max). In this respect the weather has shown much improved from the extremes of recent weeks.


[[File:|thumb|Ravensbury Park - Redwing]]

An increase again of winter duck was evident c(25) Teal showing well. with small numbers of Shoveler persisting from recent weeks. Warblers were undoubtedly the the high-light with creditable totals of (4+) Blackcap and c(7) Chiffchaff, noted along the river. In addition a new species for the park was recorded in the form of a Little Egret (this probably one of the MHP birds that were active on the day). A Water rail was again present above the weir where goldcrest were also much in evidance. Snowy the white coot was doing well but from observations tends not to associate all that much with other coots. Other species which were noted included Grey Wagtail and Pied Wagtail together on the waledl section of river. where the resident and very successful Mute Swan pair graced the river. The northern race Chiffchaff (P.c.tristis) with very pale washed out plumage recorded last week was not found today and no firecrest were seen either. Nevertheless Little Grebe with their trilling calls were frequent throughout the happy valley section of river interspersed with periods of hiding under over-hanging vegetation. (Probably nest locations). In total (50+) species were recorded for the day. There were no movements of birds over of any note but Redwing were much in evidance today with c(50+) birds feeding on the ground under the Hazel Coppice stands. All in all a solid days birding.

Total species recorded from so far at Ravensbury Park = 59 (See list).

Total Number of Visits = 4

'Sunday 6th February 2010 Ravensbury Park'[edit | edit source]



Weather very much non de-script, and rather cold with temps struggling to get above 6c. Wind light but increasing by afternoon. This was in contrast to Friday's weather which was after a wet start sunny and feeling quite spring like. The forecast is for a brief return to cold conditions and over-night frosts which we haven't had for a week or so. It will be interesting next week to see what the response was in avi-fauna to this. But at present the birdlife at the park is rather static and low-key.


'A total of 44 species were recorded today compared to 55 during the cold snaps. Most of the resident species were recorded with Great spotted woodpecker, starting to drum, all be it after some coaxing. Late weeks build up of teal and redwing had mostly moved on and generally like Morden Hall Park the Avi-fauna was subdued - weather being cold and dank probably not helping. Nevertheless Goldcrest were singing well and the remaining teal were displaying on the Small Lake. This was certainly a day for ring-necked parakeet again with significant activity and around 12 territory males recorded for a total number of parakeet estimated at c(35-40). There were no kingfisher recorded today or little Egret - Angling pressure increasing. Chiffchaff and Blackcap along the river were however again a feature. c(5) and two male BC's respectively. Overhead the skies were mostly clear with just local movments of Gulls, Parakeet Woodpigeon and Jackdaw, however a steady note of heron to and from Watermeads gave an indication of the importance of this NT property for foraging and probably supports a small number of breeding pairs also. Watermeads is just up stream of Ravensbury park. The temptation was to walk off patch and have a look but this was resisted. Nevertheless an exploritory visit will be needed just to fill in the gap in knowledge. '

Total Number of Visits = 5

The Park - Its History - Nature Conservation Management - Friends Groups and other information[edit | edit source]

Management Plan[edit | edit source]

I found a management plan for the site which provides a considerable amount of information of interest. If you feel that this management plan is not being adhered to or indeed would like to find out more or get involved at the park in events - conservation work parties and how it is managed there is a very friendly (friends of group) who's details I have provided. or contact Merton Council Parks & Leisure for advice.

Ravensbury Park Draft Nature Conservation - Management Plan 2001 ( 2 ) Remember that this is a draft plan produced in 2001 so some of the details / objectives and priorities may have changed.

Merton Council - Ravensbury Park - History[edit | edit source]

The Park has a substantial, varied and very interesting history and was once thought was a Saxon burial ground - Read more at the following link


Ravensbury Park Friends Group[edit | edit source]

Local contacts and the Friends group are very active and have fought ferociously to protect this park and make it better and more welcoming place. The following Link provides access to the friends groups and local activists and members.

Friends of Ravensbury Park Group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/953522@N21/

Ravensbury Park on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/70448007@N00/

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