Visit to the London Wetland Centre, October 2016
Having followed the amazing directions provided by Peter, via Gwyndaf, a select party of eighteen souls duly arrived at the Wetland Centre in Barnes late morning on Thursday 13th October. We were met and greeted by the WWT Chairman himself, otherwise known to us all as Peter Day. Having downed a very welcome hot coffee, we then embarked on our tour, under the watchful guidance of Peter.
We were led through a series of avian habitats from around the world, which have been expertly created by the efforts of the Trust. It is astonishing what the workforce has achieved in less than twenty years by remodelling the redundant Barnes reservoirs and diligently planting an abundant amount of trees and shrubs.
Peter walked us round, demonstrating a very impressive grasp of the subjects and imparting his extensive knowledge. He managed to answer virtually all our questions, no matter how obscure or trivial they may have seemed.
We were blessed with a dry and mostly sunny day, if a little chilly. There was
always plenty to see, with new surprises round every corner. Some of the birds there we would not have expected to see, like the Egyptian geese. However, as Peter pointed out, these had originally been imported from the Middle East by some unknown person and the young had escaped from their collection enabling them to fly to places like the Wetland Centre as and when they wished.
There is a constant threat from foxes and this has been largely controlled by surrounding the site with electric fences, extending up to three feet below ground, preventing burrowing. Incredibly they do not have a problem with squirrels or Canada Geese. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, originally set up at Slimbridge by Peter Scott in 1946, is doing very valuable work in the
conservation of wetlands, their plants and waterfowl around the world. It is also providing an educational experience for many thousands of disadvantaged and other school children every year, some of whom we
saw, and they appeared to be having a very good time.
After lunch, in the excellent café, a number of us enjoyed seeing the Asian
otters being fed. Others enjoyed further strolls, taking in some of the hides
where the wild birds can be observed in peace and quiet.
All in all the visit to the London Wetland Centre proved to be both extremely
enjoyable and rewarding. A visit we are likely to repeat in the future. We thank
Peter Day very much for organising it and proving to be an excellent host.