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Arguably Croydon’s premier bird watching site, South Norwood Country Park offers a wide range of habitats and the birds to go with them. Like many sites, regular watching brings the most rewards. Around 100 species are recorded each year. The site is run by Croydon Council, with wardens on site. The site was a sewage farm from the middle of the 19th century until 1966 when it fell into disuse. It was declared Metropolitan Open Land in 1982. The country park itself was opened in 1989 after the creation of the pond and wet meadow.


Location

The main entrance is off Albert Road, South Norwood; the track leads to a car park near the visitor centre. The site is also accessible on foot from Harrington Road, Westgate Road and Elmers End Road.

Public transport

Train: Elmers End Tramlink: Arena, Elmers End and Harrington Road stops Bus: 197 and 312 along Portland Road, 356 along Elmers End Road and 289 along Long Lane

Habitat

Very varied. Areas of grassland/rank vegetation, scrub, small areas of trees, lake, wetland.

Species

Several species of warbler breed here, including Reed Warblers (the main site in the borough where this species nests, although they occasionally turn up elsewhere). Sedge Warblers used to breed here, bur now mainly recorded on passage. Marsh Warblers have also been reported. The lake supports the common waterfowl found in parks including a flock of Shovelers in winter months, but occasionally something more exotic, such as Shelduck, Pintail and Goosander, drops in. There is also a reasonable chance of seeing Kingfisher which bred here in 1998 (the first known breeding record for Croydon). In recent years both Little and Great Crested Grebes have bred on the lake. Snipe and occasional Jack Snipe winter in the wet meadow and other waders are occasionally recorded around the lake. At least one Water Rail (sometimes more) spends the winter around the lake, in the wet meadow or in the stream near Harrington Road. All three woodpeckers may be found, although in common with its decline elsewhere Lesser Spotted Woodpecker is now scarce. The site holds a good variety of finches and tits as well as Reed Buntings. Little Egrets are becoming more frequent. Among the scarcer species recorded here in recent years are Red Kite, Merlin, Hen Harrier, Dartford Warbler, Great Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Bearded Tit, Twite and Firecrest.

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