Monday, October 06, 2008

Black Redstart

I have seen swans, herons and cormorants in Deptford Creek but never a Black Redstart. Not that I've ever gone down there in full twitcher mode with binoculars etc. but it would be nice to see one as it is a rare bird in the UK, with this one of the few areas it is found. When the Laban centre was built in Deptford they included a rubble 'brown roof' which the birds apparently favour, and there is also a Redstart Close in New Cross named in the bird's honour.

There is a whole lot of information about Deptford Creek and other London habitats at this site. They note that in the 1960s 'with the regeneration of the Barbican the population crashed and although there is still the odd pair recorded in the City, the black redstart’s distribution has gradually moved eastwards along the Thames. In the ‘70s and early ‘80s there were still a few pairs breeding in the docks and along the South Bank but as these areas were regenerated so the black redstart’s numbers diminished'. Lets hope that regeneration doesn't have the same impact on the bird in Deptford - or maybe the global financial crisis has come to its aid.

As you can see it looks a bit like a robin, but is black with a red tail. Anyone seen one?


Anonymous said...

Not yet, although I have occasionally heard bird songs that I haven't been able to identify. I think I need to go down there and linger a bit.

But I have seen a kingfisher! (at the mouth of the creek next to Millennium Quay).

Anonymous said...

are numbersof black redstarts increasing ???

we of course have flocks of green parakeets in Dulwich Park now making their way to Peckham Rye

originally from Kingston (actually Walton on Thames Rugby club)

But have they gone further East ?


Anonymous said...

Just fyi: the bird in the picture is a middle eastern subspecies; the birds you'll see in London only have red tails and not all that red on the belly.

Transpontine said...

Thanks Harry, I have finally got round to changing the picture to the correct sub species