Croydon Ducks - South Norwood Country Park - 2011

Latest update: 11th January 2012

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South Norwood County Park is a 125 acre park, adjacent to Elmers End railway station, three tram stations and Beckenham
Cemetery. It is mostly wild wet meadows and woods, with a large pond or lake. The land was originally a sewage farm, then
unused for many years and only developed as a park 25 years ago.


There is a car park in the park, entrance in Albert Road (both shown on the map above) next to the Croydon Sports Arena, parallel
 to Portland Road in South Norwood, and entrances from the three tram stations, Elmers End, Arena and Harrington Road.  The park
is closed at night. Note that South Norwood Lake and Grounds is a different park, a couple of miles away.

There is visitor centre with toilets next to the car park, but it's only open for two hours weekend afternoons. Also an excellent children's
playground and  pitch and putt. There are lots of paths through the park, with cycling encouraged, but no sign posts and some of the
smaller paths are hard to find.  The park is well managed for wildlife, with natural fences made from tree trunks and branches around the
pond and along the streams to stop dogs worrying the wildlife. The pond has a large island for nesting and resting, and four small jetties
for visitors to feed the wild fowl. There is a no fishing in the lake.

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Wide view of the lake in South Norwood Country Park in early Spring, showing the island where a lot of water fowl rest and nest, a few
of which are heading towards us looking for food.  The edges of the pond are heavily vegetated with only a few beach areas where ducks
can rest, and are virtually inaccessible from the paths surrounding the lake by people or animals, which is at least 20 yards away from
the water, with just four access points to the short feeding jetties into the lake.

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Wide view of South Norwood Country Park, taken in early spring from the small hill at the southern end, looking north, the pond is
not actually visible, but is in the far distance beyond the trees, Crystal Palace transmitter mast in the haze.

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One of the bicycle paths across the South Norwood Country Park, in early spring, the lake is in the far distance.

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A summer view from the small hill at the southern end of the park Crystal Palace hill in the distance.   

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Taken from the small hill looking south over the Croydon Tramlink line and the Croydon Sports Arena whose flood lights can be seen.

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The new South Norwood Country Park Visitor Centre, with children's play area on the right, very busy in the summer holidays.

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The car park at the South Norwood Country Park.

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March 2011, a selection of the  water fowl, two Canada Geese in the foreground, one Mallard, two while domesticicated ducks that are not usually seen
wild, normally being farmed, one Coot looking away, and four Tufted Ducks.

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One of the four short jetties into the lake, to which most of the wild fowl immediately head when people appear.

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The domesticicated ducks again, rather larger than Mallards and the Coots and Tufted Ducks behind.

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A view of the other side of the island.

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Two more of the short jetties in the lake, with the island on the right. The fenced nursery area is at the top of the photo.

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Lots of Canada Geese sitting on the island, and a few Mallards.

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April 2011, three Mallards, five Canada Geese, two Coots and a Tufted Duck (I think, although can not see a tuft on the neck).

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16th April 2011, a view across the lake of the island, and another short jetty at the top middle of the photo. 

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24th April 2011, the first Mallard ducklings on the lake, probably a few days old, arriving from the nursery area.

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The Mallard family, mum and dad, and eight ducklings.

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3rd May 2011, the Mallard family surrounded by hungry Canada Geese, seem to be only seven ducklings now.

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3rd May 2011, a family of Coots venturing out from behind the fence, which stops the Canada Geese reaching the nursery area.  The
water is very shallow, as can be seen in some later photos.

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The Mallard ducklings are probably a week or two weeks old now.

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The island again, the Canada Geese are probably trying the build nests, but the park wardens apparently collect the eggs to keep
the numbers down.

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3rd May 2011, a family of Coots, the adults have a white beaks, but the juveniles are yellow with reddish heads.  Unlike the Mallards where the
ducklings feed themselves, the Coot parents are always collecting food and taking it make to the juveniles.

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And more of the Coots, six juveniles have come out of hiding at the pond edge.

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8th May 2001, the Coots are growing very fast, mum on the water surrounded by  juveniles, the yellow and red has gone.

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8th May 2011, close by, the Mallard family is down to five ducklings now, but no more are lost.

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Canada Geese on the island.

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And heading off for more food.

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14th May 2011, a mixture of Canada Geese, Mallards, Coots and one of the domestic ducks.

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And around the corner, another Mallard has ducklings, only a few days old, one in the water, others in the vegetation.

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The original Mallard family had just finished feeding, and is heading off home to the nursery.

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Only to be disturbed when a Coot starts chasing the Mallards, mum is not pleased.

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Safely back at the nursery, the water level is dropping after little rain in three months, so they are standing on the pond bottom.

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A Coot feeding two juveniles.

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21st May 2011, the Mallard family again, there is another sheltered fenced area here, but the fence is broken so the Canada Geese
can get in.

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21st May 2011, a third Mallard has ducklings, a few days old only.

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21st May 2011, further around the lake, the first goslings, with Mallard ducklings behind them.

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The Canada Goose family, parents and four goslings, probably only a few days old, but unlike the Mallard ducklings), I've not seen
them hatch.

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The domestic ducks don't seem to have managed any ducklings this year.

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21st May 2011, an early spring and the pond is much greener.

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You can see why the park wardens want to keep the number of Canada Geese down, they are also forever fighting each other.

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28th May 2011, more Canada Geese goslings, being carefully watched by the parents, with two Mallard ducklings.

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Out on the lake, the Coot mum is struggling to get food from around the jetties and take it back to her young.

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28th May 2001,  more Mallard ducklings sheltering by the overgrown edge of the pond.

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A gosling surrounded by adults.

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Six young Coots, mother out of shot.  This jetty alone has resident rats that keep appearing from the undergrowth, including on this
bank, looking for bread crumbs.

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The entire mix of wild fowl on the lake, including ducklings, goslings and young Coots.

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28th May 2011, the Mallard ducklings are now four or five weeks old, but no flying feathers yet.  Although they all look like mum, except
 slightly darker colour, some will be boys.

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The geese bullies arrive.

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Another Canada Goose mother, with goslings probably only a couple of days old, and a Coot.

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Various young Coots.

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The water level is dropping, exposing the nursery area as a long beach.

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Not sure which family of Mallards these ducklings belong to, more exposed beach.

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There are two streams running through (or dribbling) the country park, and this is the only location in the park where a dog can
drink and paddle, and it's very well used.

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4th June 2011, the Canada Geese looking after five goslings, and more Mallard ducklings behind them.

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These five ducklings look about one or two weeks old.

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The geese family stretching their legs on a beach.

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Another Coot family being hand fed.

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More exposed land as the water level drops, and young coots.

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Another Coot mother.

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Lots of young Coots on the beach.

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Even more of the nursery area exposed with slow little recent rain.

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11th June 2011, all the regulars waiting for food. There are several Mallard ducklings at the back, that are all now almost adult size
at six weeks, but not yet flying, that will be in a week or two. 

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Ditto.

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The Coot family, all with white heads.

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A different Coot family, still black heads.

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These birds are paddling,  rather than swimming.

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I believe these are Tufted Ducks, although there should be tufts on the neck. 

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One of the small feeding jetties, with heavy undergrowth either side of the path.

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Another jetty, with lots of hungry water fowl.

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Who all head to our jetty once feeding begins, almost two loaves of bread, and they would have eaten a lot more. A family of Coots in
the foreground, two Mallard ducklings behind them.

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A path up to the jetty seen from the water just above.

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Two Moorhens, probably with a young family on a nest.

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The Coot family again. following us between jetties.

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Two Canada Geese Goslings with mum.

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The Canada Geese family again, with a slightly older gosling near the Mallards.  Although we've seen a few young goslings before,
seeing them grow larger is rare, the family of four goslings has not been seen again.

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The same Coot family is now at the third jetty, as are the Goose family, they must be very hungry.

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9th July 2011, all  the Mallards are brown like adult females, but are actually a mix of real females, males that have lost most of
their grey feathers and fully grown ducklings.   The lake was strangely quiet, fewer geese than in past weeks and many of
them sitting in the water near the island and not rushing around looking for food. No sign of any goslings.

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The other side of the lake, almost deserted apart from Coots and Moorhens.

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9th July 2011, the third feeding jetty reveals a new Mallard family six or seven ducklings perhaps one week old. This could be a
second family for the Mallard that had ducklings in April. 

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The island in the centre of the lake with a few Canada Geese and another dark bird in the water centre photo  that I don't recognise.

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23rd July 2011, a Coot family is still living in the shallows near the feeding station, might be the second family of the year.

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23rd July 2011, the lake seems quieter than in previous weeks, although many of the birds are simply resting around the island and
pond edge, and do slowly arrive when they realise food is available. No obvious male Mallards or ducklings, the former have lost most
of their grey feathers and the latter are fully grown, so all look like females.

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More Coots, Moorhens and Crows on the far beach.

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And finally a Mallard family appears from no where, the ducklings must be two or three weeks old.

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Having eaten a little food, the ducklings all follow mother back to the pond edge somewhere safe.

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6th August 2011, the lake looks very quiet initially, we've only been spotted by a few ducks heading towards food.

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But more ducks and geese arrive from the margins of the lake, although not as hungry as in spring when bread last a few seconds
in the water.

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A Tufted Duck with two ducklings, maybe two weeks old, so very late in the season.

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Still quiet on the other side of the islands, mostly the Moorhens and Coots that live near this bank.

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But on the far side of the lake, the new Mallard family now probably four weeks old.

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Some Canada Geese with the Mallard family.

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The summer rain has filled the lake a little, but the water level is still much lower than the spring, so the birds go wandering around the
beach.

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12th August 2011, the Tufted Duck family is still here.

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Canada Geese, a Coot and the Tufted Duck family.

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Poor photograph against the sun, but these birds look like Cormorants, swimming very low in the water.  There were several standing
on the beach looking for fish.

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The Mallard ducklings on the far side of the lake are growing, but will still be here for another month or so.

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Moorhens, Coots and Crows live near this beach.

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3rd September 2011, fewer geese than during the summer, but still hungry.  

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The water level is still low exposing a lot of beach, Mallards, Coots and Canada Geese.

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A Cormorant balancing on the no fishing sign, but that's exactly what he's doing, looking for lunch. 

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A Grey Heron on the far side of the pond is also looking for lunch.

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A pair of Tufted Ducks.

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17th September 2011, we've only seen two Domestic Ducks all summer, but now there are four.  No idea if these are two new adults or
the family of the residents.  Note the male Mallards now have their winter colours again.

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16th October 2011, a lot of sea birds have joined the ducks and geese.

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The larger Domestic Ducks, Mallards and Tufted Ducks.

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Yet more sea birds joining the regular water fowl looking for food.

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A busy pond.

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Still a lot of activity on the pond beaches, the Moorhens keep appearing, taking food and disappearing back into the shrubs, and the
Crows are still here.

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November 2011, a little misty so poor photographs.  All the Canada Geese seem to have flown away from the park,  perhaps annoyed
by the large number of noisy sea birds.  But there are still four white Domestic Ducks, lots of Mallards, Coots, Tufted Ducks and
Moorhens.

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There were also six Shoveler Ducks, the first I've seen in any of the parks. Slightly smaller than Mallards but with a longer
dark bill, unfortunately they did not come anywhere near the jetties for food so could not get better photographs.

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The Domestic Ducks must have been hungry since they followed us all around the pond to different jetties. 

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Christmas 2011, there are now six Domestic Ducks on the lake, no idea where they are coming from.  One book calls them Aylesbury
Ducks.  Still no Canada Geese and the lake is relatively peaceful, mostly sea birds.

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The Shoveler Ducks come looking for food this visit, so much clearer photos. 

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A Shoveler Duck in the middle, a male Tufted Duck at the top, a female Tufted duck at the bottom.

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More Shoveler Ducks, three males and probably a female, looking much like a Mallard female but has a larger bill that can not be seen
in this photo.

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The ground staff have heavily cut back vegetation around the lake, which can be seen for the first time from the surrounding paths.  This
photo is from the south east corner showing the island, really need a small tower to get a better photo.  


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