A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
18th February 2012
Legendary Urban Birder David Lindo shares his favourite places for spotting birds in the city
I explore the world’s cities in pursuit of urban birds and other wildlife and I am yet to find a city that lives up to the popular misconception that there is no wildlife to be found in urban centres. There is nature everywhere, even in the heart of the most concrete of urban jungles; we just have to look up!
In my travels I have come across some fantastic little known urban birding spots.
Set in the heart of London’s Square Mile and towering over 600 feet above the busy streets of the capital, this impressive vantage point is great for observing migration.
During spring and autumn common buzzards and red kites sometimes share the same airspace as the resident peregrines. When there is little in the way of bird activity you can always admire the stupendous views of the city.
Pronounced as ‘bi-yowna’ this 1,087 marshy ecosystem is my favourite patch in the City of Angels. Situated very close to LAX and only a 30 minute drive from Hollywood, the birdlife at this coastal site can be incredible, with an array of waders, ducks, terns and gulls to be seen. Some of the birds can be seen at ridiculously close range like ring-billed gulls sitting rubbing shoulders with brown pelicans.
Although the adjacent beach can sometimes resemble the set on a Baywatch episode if you arrive during the heat of the day you can still come across mixed loafing flocks of gulls and terns. Ballona Wetlands is a truly special place.
Also known as Suan Rot Fai or the Railway Park this is an amazing bit of urban paradise that despite being well-visited by the locals still harbours some fantastic birds.
You will not fail to see the ubiquitous tree sparrows hopping on the lawns among the handsome Asian pied starlings as they search for tidbits. During the winter glorious Indian rollers turn up adding a gorgeous splash of royal blue as they lazily flap from tree to tree.
I love this island! Literally a few minutes ferry ride from the city centre this urban nature reserve is rich in flora and fauna. It was a military base with very restricted access until 1989, now it hosts several visitor centres manned by very friendly staff.
During the summer expect to see large breeding populations of common gulls and plentiful wheatears.
Smack bang in the middle of town, this park would hardly seem to be a centre of birding excellence. However, despite consisting of small areas of ornithologically uninteresting manicured parkland its lake is surrounded by a relatively undisturbed marshland. This is the ingredient that makes this place so special, as it is a breeding ground for several species including snipe.
Exquisitely graceful Arctic terns are abundant breeders in the tufted grasslands and the lake attracts panoply of waterfowl including the elegant long-tailed duck.
'The Urban Birder', David Lindo is a one-man ornithological phenomenon. He is a regular on TV and radio, has a flourishing website and blog plus writes for a host of magazines including BBC Wildlife, Bird Watching and the RSPB's Birds. For more information, visit his website.
For more closely-guarded intell from travel industry professionals read our Insider Secrets blog
John Downer on flying with birds
Earthflight Producer and director John Downer on how he created the BBC's most innovative wildlife series to date (with video) More
Snapping Flappers – photographing birds
Birds come in a dizzying array of colours, shapes and sizes: perfect photography subjects says legendary photographer Steve Davey More
Digital technology gets birds in a flap
Birdwatching enthusiasts are abandoning their binoculars in favour of digital technology to attract the feathered creatures More
View all posts from
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Finland travel guide, including map of Finland, attractions, weather, food & drink, health and safety and general facts on Finland
Thailand travel guide, including map of Thailand, top Thai travel experiences, tips for travel in Thailand plus where to learn to dive and trek to hilltribe vil
It might be largely lacking in trees, but there’s much to delight in Hampshire’s gently wild, pony-grazed, coast-fronting national park
Geneva is a money destination in more than one sense. Visit the explorable ‘small big city’ for helpings of history, science and amazing fondue
Smaller and more intimate than the famous German markets, Italy’s ‘Mercatino di Natale’ offer a more intimate and traditional Christmas experience. Here are five of the best
Meraid Griffin discovers that a visit to Russia's cultural capital doesn't need to cost the earth. Here are five tips to make your roubles go further
Love to read? Don't forget to look up and around you when you're in these incredible European libraries
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
Patagonia: Save up to £200 on Tucan Travel's Penguino
Exclusive offer from Intrepid Travel
Save up to £170 on winter activity holidays in Leutasch & Seefeld with Headwater
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too