Success for local bird brains

Eighty-two species in twenty four hours wins the race

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It was a race against the clock and a close finish at the second Bird watchersannual Hounslow and Richmond Bird Race last weekend (19 and 20 May 2006) organised by CIP and the SUN Project with funding from EU-LIFE. The Hounslow Team won the competition with a remarkable 82 species, just six species ahead of the Richmond Team and brought home the well earned 2006 trophy.

The first rematch of the Hounslow and Richmond Bird Race saw two teams of local birdwatchers compete to record as many species of birds as possible over 24 hours within the boroughs of Hounslow and Richmond. This year the Richmond team comprised of the Richmond and Twickenham Royal Society for Protection of Birds group members who delivered a respectable result siting of 76 bird species.

The determined Hounslow team comprised of Ansgar Aldridge (Ranger at Hounslow Heath), Adam Cheeseman (CIP Ecologist) and Doug Napier (CIP Head of Development), who began their marathon effort promptly at 9pm at Bushy Park with their first bird siting of a Mute Swan, in the gloaming at the Diana Fountain. The team’s main target for the evening was a Little Owl, which they soon located and after picking up a calling of a Tawny Owl later at Kempton the contented team retired for the evening, albeit a little wetter than when they started!

The competition continued for the Hounslow Team with an early start at 6.00am at Bedfont Lakes Country Park where an impressive 48 species were noted before a comprehensive tour of the two boroughs lasting a further 15 hours and 74 miles taking in The London Wetland Centre, Richmond Park and Hounslow Heath amongst other destinations.

“Considering that the event was held a week later than in 2005 and the weather was very poor on the day, we were very pleased with this total” said Adam Cheeseman. “We only really missed one species, the Sedge Warbler, that we were expecting but saw both an Avocet (at the London Wetland Centre) and a Hobby (at Bedfont Lakes) that were an unexpected bonus”.

The inaugural event held in 2005 resulted, incredibly in a tie between from the competing teams from Hounslow and Richmond, each spotted an outstanding 83 species within both boroughs.

CIP is planning to run the competition again in May 2007, and is hoping to get local residents of all ages involved in this fun event. The bird race is a great opportunity to discover the different kinds of local birds and the habitats they live in. If you are interested in taking part in next years challenge, please contact Adam Cheeseman for details on 01784 423556.


May 23, 2006