June 24, 2014

The Camley Street mystery

Today I went to the London Wildlife Trust's Camley Street reserve at lunchtime, to have a nosey around. It's just up the road from where I work, in King's Cross, and on such a warm day I expected it to be busy – but there were only a few other people there. There were coots on Regent's Canal, and blue tits were begging to be fed in the undergrowth; the 'gypsy-coloured engines' of red and azure damselflies skimmed over the surface of the pond.

On one of the shady, woodchip paths I came across two clumps of feathers and skin, evidence of recent predation. The feathers were a rich, ruddy red, slightly iridescent at their tips, with subtle mottling and grey down beneath. Had I been in the countryside I might have said pheasant, but surely that's not possible in central London?

I took a feather to the site office to ask for an ID, but they weren't sure either. If you're confident you know what the bird was, tweet me!