26 JULY 1935, Page 16


London Birds

London continues to justify itself as one of the best of bird sanctuaries. Last year, as most other years, brought new records. Who would have thought of seeing a red- throated diver (a bird I associate with the remoter West Scottish islands), a Sclavonian Grebe (a bird that most of us have never known), an oyster-catcher whose shrill note belongs essentially to the sea-shore), or golden-eyed duck or sandpiper with many another migrant—who would have thought of seeing any, much less all of these within sound of London's central roar ? The Committee on bird sanctuaries in the Royal Parks tell us of all these and many more in their latest annual report, which is singularly well written as well as abundantly documented. And London is remark- able for battalions as well as single species such as the diver and Grebe. For myself I have never been more astounded by a spectacle of birds than by the rising of several hundred widgeon from the Staines Reservoir and the sight of great crested grebe swimming and diving as if the supply of London water were a Norfolk Broad. It is more surprising to know that as many as seventy poehard con- gregated at a time on that favourite haunt of theirs, the Round Pond.

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