The Thames, its riverbanks and surroundings form an important wildlife corridor. Twickenham Riverside is home to nine species of bat, the Thames being one of the most important superhighways for the flying mammal in the south of England. The upper tidal stretch of the Thames at Twickenham also supports four species of freshwater mussel on the riverbed and its waters are home to the critically endangered European eel, plus a vast array of fish. A solitary harp seal visits regularly as does the occasional porpoise. Glovers Island and Eel Pie Island provide safe nesting sites for herons, kingfishers, grebes and more. Abundant foraging opportunities and varied habitat make Twickenham Riverside the perfect place to enjoy a plethora of wildlife.
We'll further develop this page to include more information about all aspects of the local environment and wildlife, including activities directly related to it, such as clean-ups and walks.
What can you see in the area?
The following birds are present most days on and near the Riverside - Herons, Mallards, Swans, Mandarin Ducks, Great Crested Grebe, Seagull, Egyptian Goose, Canada Goose.
We have listed some of these below and hope to provide downloadable resources here in the near future, including searches, treasure hunts and challenge cards.
Flocks of Canadian Geese have settled on the Thames in Twickenham they can often be seen waddling along the embankment nibbling among grassy knolls. Their numbers have risen to 62,000 breeding pairs in recent years. In Spring and throughout the summer goslings are in abundance.
One of the most distinctive birds on the Thames this agile and supreme fisher is more widely known for its impressive wingspan, of up to 160m. It can be commonly seen drying its black wings on stationary boats up and down the Thames.
Once a thriving resident of the Thames, the elusive European eel is now critically endangered and close to extinction. The Zoological Society of London has been working towards their survival through ongoing conservation work up and down the Thames.
RIVERSIDE WILDLIFE PROFILES
Great Crested Grebe
An elegant waterbird with ornate summer plumage, often spotted from the banks of Twickenham near to Hammerton’s Ferry. Most famous for its elaborate courtship display which sees pairs rising out of the water with their heads shaking in unison. Come spring and summer, stripey-feathered young take to riding on their parent’s backs, a beautiful sight indeed.
Introduced in the 17th century for their ornamental beauty, there are approximately 1100 breeding pairs throughout the UK today. They are a pleasant addition to the Thames and can be seen from Twickenham riverside most days.
This iconic long-legged freshwater bird likes to fish in the shallows but is most majestic when it takes to the air. Its large nests can be seen in trees on Eel Pie Island and other places along the river Thames.
Unmistakable thanks to its bright blue and orange feathers and extended beak. Kingfishers like to hunt from perches such as branches overhanging rivers. They fly rapidly so are difficult to spot but its distinctive high-pitch call helps provide a clue to its whereabouts. They can be seen in York House Gardens stalking the ornamental pond and at the eastern tip of Eel Pie Island from the river.
An estimated 5,700 pairs of Little Owl live throughout the UK. Although their numbers are in national decline, Twickenham is fortunate to have a small population established in Marble Hill Park. On bright days they like to perch on branches, sometimes for hours at a time, but given their superior camouflage skills sightings can be tricky.
The male is very distinctive with an elaborate display of orange plumes. Originally introduced from the Far East there are around 2300 breeding pairs today. Despite its colourful appearance Mandarin Ducks prefer to remain out of sight, nesting high up in trees and concealing themselves behind overhanging willows throughout the day.