• Urban Birder Course at London Wetland Centre

The Urban Birder One Day Course

In association with Viking Optical

Dates & Location

  • WWT London Wetland Centre

    Queen Elizabeth Walk, London SW13 9WT

    Phone: 020 8409 4400

    Meet outside the Visitor Centre entrance

    • Saturday, 29 June 2024
    • Saturday, 10 August 2024
  • Price:

    £60 per person

  • Group size: up to 15 participants
  • Time: 10am – 4pm

    (times may vary so please check the individual courses)

  • Lunch and hot drinks available from the centre’s café
  • Please contact us if you have any other queries

    Email: courses@theurbanbirderworld.com

To Book

Group size: up to 15 participants


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Watching birds in urban areas is far easier than what you may have imagined. There is more out there and just pigeons. Over 600 species have been found within the UK since records began and over 90% have been discovered in our urban areas. Birds are everywhere, even in the heart of the concrete jungle. The knack is learning how to notice and eventually recognise the birds that share our urban lives.

The Urban Birder Course will be an introduction to appreciating the abundant birdlife in our urban areas. It will cover the definition of an urban bird, recognition techniques and tips on attracting birds into your garden.

Led by The Urban Birder himself, David Lindo, the venue for the courses will be at the brilliant and mould-breaking Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s London Wetland Centre.

WWT London Wetland Centre

London Wetland Centre brings the countryside to London. Although close to the heart of the capital it is a haven of tranquillity for both wildlife and people.

The lakes, pools and gardens are home to a huge variety of wildlife including Common Kingfishers, Sand Martins, wading birds and plenty more. For keen birders there are Eurasian Bitterns in the winter and Yellow Wagtails on the grazing marsh in summer; over 180 bird species are recorded every year. And, for a change of pace, the two Otters, Tod and Honey, always guarantee to bring a smile to your face.

Hyde Park, Central London

The topics that will be covered include

  • Bird identification: recognising the usual suspects in urban areas.
  • Becoming a garden birder: what food to provide and how, what flora to establish and where to place nest boxes.
  • Optical equipment: how to use binoculars, when to use telescopes and basic wildlife photography tips with a recognised wildlife photographer.
  • Fieldcraft: how to actually watch birds in the field and what to wear whilst doing it.
  • Finding a local patch: how to identify good urban habitats and recording the birds you discover.
  • Urban bird migration: learning about the reasons why birds migrate.

We will also cover twitching, note taking and urban birding abroad.

By the end of this course you will be instinctively find yourself connecting with nature in any urban area.

TUBW in association with Viking Optical

Important Notes

The courses are usually held on Saturdays (and occasionally Sundays) starting at 10am finishing at 4pm. Please check the individual courses for their start times as they may vary. There is usually a quick introductory session in an indoor room before your guide takes you out to experience birding. It is advisable that you bring your own lunch on all of our courses as it may save you time waiting to be served in busy cafes with long queues!

Most components of this course will be held outdoors in the field so please dress accordingly to the season. Always dress warmer than what the day appears to be because hours in the field can be surprisingly chilly. Also, try to wear adequate footwear, as it could get muddy or slippery.

Although the Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed we will still try to behave responsibly to limit potentially spreading the virus. Mask wearing will be required indoors and optional outside. Rest assured that any loaned optics would have been disinfected before use.

If you need to borrow a pair of our loan Viking Optics binoculars (depending on availability) please stipulate that desire when you book to avoid disappointment on the day.

Great Crested Grebe

How to get here

Please note that Hammersmith bridge is closed for refurbishment works. For latest updates and travel advice please visit the Transport For London website.

WWT London Wetland Centre is situated close to central London, on the banks of the River Thames in Barnes. It is easily accessible by private and public transport and is close to both Barnes and Barnes Bridge rail stations.

Buses from Barnes rail station, Putney Bridge and Hammersmith tube stations stop at the Red Lion Pub on Castlenau, just a 5 minute walk to the Centre.

Our address is Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, Barnes, London SW13 9WT.

For further information on public transport please visit www.tfl.gov.uk.

By bus

Buses 33, 209, 378 and 419 stop nearby (alight at the Red Lion stop, approximately 100 metres walk from the wetland centre).

The 485 bus from Hammersmith Bridge comes directly into the Centre. Please note you need to cross the bridge on foot into Barnes, and that this is not a frequent service (twice an hour with no service on Sundays or Bank Holidays).

By rail

From Barnes station it is a 15 minute walk to the centre (or 5 minutes by bus).
You can also alight at Barnes Bridge station which is a 15 minute walk to the centre through Barnes village (or catch the 209 bus).

Please note the walk from Barnes station involves a crossroads without a pedestrian crossing. For visitors with mobility issues or young children it be more suitable to take a slightly longer route either through Barnes village or across the commons, to avoid this crossing. For any further guidance, get in touch.

By tube

Hammersmith tube station (on the Piccadilly and District & Circle Lines) is the nearest tube station. From here it is a bus ride (routes 209/533) to the Red Lion pub, approximately 150 metres from the Centre. Or 25 min walking via Tow path – overlooking the Thames river.

Putney Bridge tube station (on the District Line) is a 25 min walking via tow path overlooking the Thames river. From the Putney Bridge there is a bus ride (route 378) to the Red Lion pub, approximately 150 metres from the Centre.

The Urban Birder Day Course Crew

“The Urban Birder Day Course is based on a simple ethos: it’s all about showing people how easy it is to watch birds in a city. To learn about birds and urban birding just come with an open mind and an open heart!”

David Lindo, Founder

David Lindo

The Urban Birder

The originator of the urban birder movement, David is your man if you want to learn the art of urban birding. You are guaranteed to have a fun time!

Gary Elton

Day Course Developer & Chief Tutor

A keen birder from the tender age of nine, Gary spent the majority of his early years birding near his childhood home, in and around North West London. Local patches in later years included Wormwood Scrubs with David Lindo and Hilfield Park Reservoir where at this latter site he also served as site warden for 12 years on behalf of the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. Gary also served as a Herts Bird Club committee member and has contributed to several birding publications and made several television appearances.

Gary now lives in Norfolk and plays an active part in birding there working part time at Holme Bird Observatory. He is a qualified ringer involved in running a local constant effort ringing site for the British Trust for Ornithology. Tour leading has become a major part of his working life and recent destinations include Israel, Northern Greece, Iceland, Spain, Bulgaria and The Gambia with other visits to Morocco, Switzerland, Mexico and North and South America. His other work also revolves around birds, primarily working off shore gathering data on seabirds and cetaceans.

Heather Wolf

Urban birder, photographer and author of Birding at the Bridge: In Search of Every Bird on the Brooklyn Waterfront, Heather is a keen educator. Originally from the west coast, she has made Brooklyn her home and has single handily put Brooklyn Bridge Park on the ornithological map.


Lots of information and useful tips. Great knowledgable tutor – thanks Gary!

Alan Forset

It was an amazing day and I learned a lot!

Margaret Williamson

Excellent! A lot to learn! Fun and friendly – sold!!

Claudette Borrows

Great course for all levels.

Jenny Ahmed

We are now resuming our courses acknowledging strict Covid-19 prevention measures with full adherence to the current social distancing measures.

Please note: the courses may be cancelled at short notice if the government enforces new restrictions. Of course, you will be entitled to a refund or to have your course date deferred.

If you have booked a previous course that had to be postponed due to the lockdown measures your existing booking can be transferred onto any of the newly confirmed dates.

Please refer to the course guidelines and information for more details.

Be careful, be mindful of others and keep looking up!