• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

London Wetland Centre (Barn Elms and Lonsdale Road Reservoirs) - BirdForum Opus

Stub.png This article is incomplete.
This article is missing one or more sections. You can help the BirdForum Opus by expanding it.

England, London


Situated in a tight bend in the River Thames are the reservoirs of Barn Elms and Lonsdale Road and the surrounding areas of various kinds of development, grassland and trees.

Both reservoirs are now disused. Barn Elms is now a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre and Lonsdale Road a local nature reserve.


Notable Species

This area has attracted more than 220 bird species since the construction of the reservoirs at the end of the 19th century. Large numbers of waterfowl have long gathered at Barn Elms but in the 1980s these began to disappear and the site itself was no longer used as a reservoir.

To rescue the site the WWT began to develop part of the area for the benefit of waterfowl and other birds and since taking over the site in 1995 the variety and numbers of birds have increased again. Recent work has included landscaping of the banks and the creation of reedbeds and islands.

Around the wetland centre are a range of other habitats; to the west housing with mature gardens, southwards are Barn Elms Park and Barnes Common with open grassland, scrub and trees. The towpath and riverbank lie on the eastern shore of the reservoir.

Lonsdale Road Reservoir has densely vegetated banks and a small reedbed at the northern end.

Breeding birds include Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Mallard and Tufted Duck. Little Ringed Plover also nests as well as Northern Lapwing, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler and Reed Bunting.

Northern Hobby is regularly seen during the summer as it breeds locally and in recent years Peregrine Falcon breed nearby and hunt over the area with some frequency.

The trees beside Lonsdale Road Reservoir host Tawny Owl and Sparrowhawk, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Stock Dove, and Ring-necked Parakeet is increasingly seen here.

During passage periods various waders and terns occur as well as Garganey and Water Rail and various passerine migrants can be seen in the scrubby areas.

Black Redstart sometimes winters at nearby industrial sites.

Wintering waterfowl of various species including Common Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall and Wigeon. Goldeneye, sawbills and scarce grebes and divers occur sporadically. Yellow-legged Gull is regular along this stretch of the Thames and Caspian Gull is becoming more frequent with four present in December 2001.


Regular viewing of this area has produced records of vagrants such as Eurasian Spoonbill, Gull-billed Tern and Ferruginous Duck, and Red-crested Pochard is sometimes seen.

Occasionally seabirds such as Manx Shearwater (1991), Shag and Kittiwake appear on the reservoirs. Nearctic vagrants have been recorded including Ring-necked Duck, Buff-breasted Sandpiper (1981), Spotted Sandpiper (1988) and Bonaparte's Gull (1983) and Barnes Common has even produced a Common Nighthawk.

Recent rarities have included Marsh Warbler and Cattle Egret and three Bitterns were recorded in the winter of 2001/2002. In April 2003 a male Subalpine Warbler was present at Lonsdale Road.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Common Goldeneye, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Kestrel, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Feral Pigeon, Common Woodpigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet, Tawny Owl, Common Swift, Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Blue-headed Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Common Wren, Dunnock, Eurasian Robin, Black Redstart, (rare W), Whinchat, European Stonechat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, (rare W), Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Common Magpie, Eurasian Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch, Eurasian Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

Being such an urban site the other wildlife of this area is rather limited but butterflies include Large (Ochlodes venatus), Small (Thymelicus sylvestris) and Essex (Thymelicus lineola) Skippers, Common (Polyommatus icarus) and Holly (Celastrina argiolus) Blues and on Barnes Common, Purple Hairstreak (Quercusia quercus). In the region of 700 species of moths have been recorded, including some national rarities. The site has a good range of bat species and sightings of European hedgehog have increased in recent years.

The scarce Great Water Dock Rumex hydrolapathum grows in Barn Elms pond.

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

To do

Access and Facilities

To visit this area take the A205 and turn north towards Hammersmith Bridge. Shortly before the bridge turn left onto the B350 for Lonsdale Road Reservoir and park in Verdun Road, or, turn right into Merthyr Terrace for Barn Elms.

Public transit: From Hammersmith Underground, take bus #283 signed with the duck logo for the Wetland Centre. Alternatively for those coming from the southwest, the centre is a short walk from the National Rail station at Barnes.

Contact Details

Tel: 020 8409 4400

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve


Leicaman's review

A very good site for wintering ducks but not so much for waders. Breeding Little Plovers in the summer. A good variety of birds and the odd rarity, e.g. Bluethroat and Night Heron May 2004. Pros

  • Easily accessed by public transport especially 283 bus from Hammersmith which goes right into the centre.


  • Can get busy with families looking at the "pretty ducks".

leebee's review

Lonsdale road nature reserve is a beautiful place with wild flowers and butterflies adding colour to the dense green of leaves and the bright light of sky reflecting on water. Numerous birds singing in the bushes inicludiing Willow Warbler, Blackcap, BlueTit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Treecreeper, Robin, Dunnock, Magpie, Jay, Rose-ringed paraket, Wood pigeon. A Kestrel frequently nests in a old tree. The water hosts a small Herony with 3 nests, mainly on rafts. Common Tern flying over water. Cormorant, Little Grebe, Gadwall, Moorhen, Coot, Herring Gull, Mallard and Tufted Duck on the water Pros

  • Beautiful
  • easy access.


  • Noise from planes and helicopters.

teamsaint's review

The site has one large lake with grazing marshes and a wader scrape. Wildfowl are everywhere on the lakes and up to 30 Snipe can be seen on the grassy islands during the winter. Other birds include Jack Snipe, Pintails, Dunlins, Peregrines, Shelduck, Herons, Cormorants, Bitterns in winter, thousands of lapwing, knot, woodpeckers, parakeets, kingfishers, great crested grebe, the occasional godwit and in winter large flocks of starlings, redwings, fieldfares, siskins and redpolls,


  • Thousands of winter wildfowl.


  • Not a good site for waders.