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Ornithology notes Beginners guide to the Wetlands

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Personal Information Name: Age: Start Date: End Date: The Types Of Birds You Want To See:

Field Preparation

Make the most of every opportunity that arises!

Making Field Notes The most important skills to learn when starting to identify birds is to watch, examine and take notes. If you remember a single feature it probably wont be very sufficient to make an accurate identification. Patience is required to watch and note down every part of the birds body as well as when and where it was seen, how it moved, how it fed, how it flew and which other birds that it associated with and so on.

These notes are called field descriptions and it will make it much easier in classifying which bird that you have seen. Human Behaviour vs Bird Behaviour Today we know that avian eye is superior to human eye. It is now believed that birds see more colour than we do and also appear more saturated than ours do. it is accepted that bird probably do see colour similar to the way that we see them, although not in exactly the same hue. Most species can rotate thier heads up to 180 degrees and can see much widder angles than us. A green field jacket is probably a richer shade though the birds eyes than what we can actually see. The most important issue here is that birds can see you and thanks to thier heightened sense of hearing, they can hear you moving around behind that bush! Staying still and being patient will earn you more bonus points because they can sense or movementt too and at times thats what they will notice the most.

Bird In The Wetlands Centre Have you seen any of these birds?


Anas Platyrhynchos

Type: Duck - Like Size: 55 - 62 cm Behaviour: Swims, up ends, takes off and lands on water or ground. Bird names in latin not only tell you that one bird is a close relative to another but are also the only universally acceptable internationally

Grey Heron

Ardea Cinerea

Type: Heron - Like Size: 90 - 100cm Behaviour: Wades, walks, take off and lands back on ground.

Herring Gull

Larus Argentatus

Type: Gull- Like Size: 53 - 59cm Behaviour: Swims, wades, walks, perches openly, takes off from ground or water.


Hirundo Rustica

Type: Swallow- Like Size: 16 - 22cm Behaviour: Aerial, takes off and lands on buildings


Fringilla Coelebs

Type: Finch - Like Size: 14.5 - 16cm Behaviour: Flits, hops, perches openly off from vegetation or ground.


Erithacus Rubecula

Type: Chat - Like Size: 13 - 15cm Behaviour: Flits, Perches openly, hops, takes off from vegetation and ground.

Birdwatching Tips For Beginners

Who is hiding from who? Hide and Seek

The first point you need to remember is, that althought you wish the bird no harm, you are in fact the ‘hunter’ to their eyes. You do not wish to kill but to observe as closely as possible without frightening the bird, therefore using colours like bright orange and bright yellow are out! Over the years it has been observed that that birds are getting used to the fact the people are standing behind the Observatory the Wetlands Centre and therefore react more at ease about it. In the Wetlands Centre in Barnes there are three main hides. Hides are fundamental for studies of nesting and birdwatching photography. They are aslo useful if you are studying an open area like a pound. Some birdwatchers carry ‘hides’ with them. One of the most popular solutions is a net. But if you are a begginer visiting the Wetlands in Barnes you might find that a bit too extreme, althought it might be fun for kids to prepare themselves for a trip to the centre, wearing appropriate cloths and birdwatching accessories!

What are its filed marks? Field are nothing more than bold patches of plumage that stand out when the bird is seen. Head patterns, wingbars and tail and rump patterns are the ones which are the most appropriate to make a note of. This should be a great help for a bird identification process. The main diagram below shows the names of each group of feathers and indicates in particular the complex feather structure. A full, working knowledge of a bird’s anatomy is essencial to producing an accurate filed description

Bird Habitat

What is the Wetlands? ‘Welands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water thatt can be naturalor artifical, permanent or tempory. They have water that is either static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt’ Over the centuries birds have adatped to particular lifestyles an niches, some are confined to one niches while others can expliot a wide range of habitats. Identification is facilitated by knowledge of what birds are found where.

Another way to record how the bird looks like is by using a camera. When using it, make sure you choose a longer, slower over a shorter, faster one.

Your Notes 1. What would you like to remeber for your next vist? • • • • •

2. How many types of birds have you seen today? Circle your answer

1 - 3 4 - 6 7 - 9 10 + 3a. Which of the hides was the mostly enjoyable? Circle your answer



Wader Scape

Peacock Tower

3b. Why did you find this the most enjoyable? • • •

What were your favourite parts of the day? • • • •

Any Other Notes....

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Date: Time: Place: Habitat: Size: Call: Wetaher: Conclusion: Other Notes: • • •

Date: Time: Place: Habitat: Size: Call: Wetaher: Conclusion: Other Notes: • • •

Date: Time: Place: Habitat: Size: Call: Wetaher: Conclusion: Other Notes: • • •

3 2





5 9 8




15 18

17 22




24 23




26 27


32 Spotbill 1 Hooded merganser 16 Northern pintail 33 Mallard 2 Rreasted merganser 17 Red-billled pintail 34 Laysan teal 3 European Eider 18 Steamer duck 35 Ring-necked duck 4 Carolina duck 19 Freckled duck 36 Baer’s pochard 5 Mandarin duck 20 Cape shovel 37 Magpie goose 6 Barrow’s goldeneye 21 Pink-eared duck 38 White eye 7 Goosander 22 Cape teal 39 New Zeland scaup 8 Garganey 23 Versicolor teal 40 Tufted duck 9 Argentine red 24 Puna teal shoveler 25 North american ruddy duck 41 Scaup 42 Goosander 10 Hottentot teal 26 Maccoa 43 American wigeon 11 European golden eye 27 White-headed duck 44 Canvasback 12 Bufflehead 28 Philippine duck 45 European pochard 13 South Georgian pintail29 African duck 46 Smew 14 Bahama pintail 30 North American 47 Brazilian teal 15 Smew 31 Meller’s

48 European wigeon 49 Redhead 50 Gadwell 29 51 Rosybill 52 Chiloe wigeon 53 Green-wiged teal 54 Baikal teal 55 Falcated duck 56 Crested Duck

28 30






57 Garganey 58 Sharp-winged teal 59 African black duck 60 Chestnut teal 61 Cinnamon teal 62 Blue-winged teal 63 Black headed duck 64 Bronze-wiged duck 65 Australian Shovler 66 Common shoveler

37 36





38 42



46 49



48 53









57 61



65 64

63 66

References: - Conder, Peter on RSPB to Birdwatching, Hamlyn - Birds Guide (consise encyclopedia of birds) - Goonder, John on Field Guide to the birds of Britain & Ireland - Walkabout Guide from Wetlands Centre in Barnes Websites: - British Trust for Ornithology - WTT - Wetlands Centre in Barnes


Field Preparation - Making Field Notes - Human Vs Bird Behvaiour

Page 2 - 3

Bird Types in Wetlands Centre

Page 4 -5

Birdwatching Tips - How to Observe Birds - Why is hiding from who?

Page 6 -7

Bird Habitat

Page 8 - 9


Page 10- 11

Your Notes

Page 12 - 13

Recording Bird Details

Page 14 - 17

Most Common Birds

Page 18 - 19

tweet tweet away!

Wetland Guide  

Weland guide for beginners