The monthly Bird Barmy Army walk in Victoria Park on 5 January turned up a big surprise in the shape of a Tawny Owl. The owl was sitting at the entrance to a hole in a large tree on the island in East Lake (see the photo above by David Darrell-Lambert), and showed very well to walk leader David Darrell-Lambert of Bird Brain UK and the 23 participants. It is the first Tawny Owl reported from Victoria Park, or anywhere else in Tower Hamlets, for many years. If, as is hoped, it turns out to be one of a pair, we can expect to see owlets appearing on the island in the next couple of months.
Tawny Owls have nested in the past in Victoria Park and Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. They disappeared from Cemetery Park in the early 1980s. The wildlife of Victoria Park has not been so well recorded in recent years as that of Cemetery Park, so we are not sure when Tawny Owls were last seen or heard there. If you’ve seen or heard a Tawny Owl in Victoria Park in the last few years, please let the Biodiversity Officer know when and where in the park it was.
In addition to the owl, the walk recorded a total of 35 species of birds, including fine views of a female Sparrowhawk, 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, and a good selection of waterfowl. Why not join David and the Bird Barmy Army for the next walk on Saturday 2 March? This will be an early start to catch the dawn chorus, meeting at the V&A building at 6am.