What a difference a month can make. At the end of October, I was moaning about the "dense foliage" hiding the small birds from view. By 27th November when we did this month's bird survey, the trees were almost bare, having been helped by some strong autumn winds to shed their leaves. As a result, the small birds were much more visible, even through the drizzle that splattered our optical aids. Walking around the park, we saw and/or heard at least 8 Robins, a couple of Wrens moving around tree trunks looking for insects, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, plenty of Great Tits (with a couple calling but not yet in full voice) and a small number of Long-tailed Tits alongside them. Close up, the Long-tailed Tit is an excessively cute little bird as can be seen in this recent photograph by Dave Bushell from the Kent Wildlife Trust page on Facebook.
Winter flocks are building up as well. At one point on Eastern Road, we saw about 20 Goldfinch suddenly rise en masse from a single tree, startled by a Mistle Thrush flying nearby. And at least 20 Starlings were making a communal racket in a tree near the playground. On the lower field, the Black-headed Gulls had returned in force, having been absent for most of the month. Perhaps they'd heard that the weather was about to turn cold. We counted 40 in total with a pair of Common Gulls among them. And along the path that borders the Cliffview Rd back gardens, we found 7 House Sparrows lurking in the hedgerows - which almost does constitute a "flock" these days for what was once the commonest bird in London.
In addition, we saw Wood Pigeons, Feral Pigeons, Blackbirds, Crows, Magpies and our old friend or enemy, the Ring-necked Parakeet. A respectable tally of 18 different species in all.