Meet Captain Quack: Twickenham’s very own nature watcher

For the past two decades, Captain Quack has borne witness to the ebb and flow of life along the majestic River Thames.

The explorer’s passion for getting outdoors and seeing the local wildlife has led him to document his unique perspective of his sightings on his X, formerly Twitter, account so that others can also experience it.

Nestled by Twickenham’s riverside for over 11 years, Captain Quack has become a local legend, sharing tales of his encounters with the river’s inhabitants, including a majestic grey seal that he ran into last week.

Captain Quack, who keeps his identity a secret, said: “From around December to March, there is always a big grey seal like this one.

“Once you see it, it tends to pop up for a few days in a row.

“Water coming up from the estuary makes this part of the river a perfect fishing ground.

“It looks like a large dog with its head popping up over the water.

“When it’s eating, it has a tornado of gulls circling it, trying to grab its food.

“It is simply spectacular.

“Whenever I see the birds circling out of my window, I sprint outside to see if I can spot something.”

Captain Qwack typically takes his touring kayak or paddleboard out once or twice a week, with his usual route stretching between Richmond and Teddington.

If he feels extra energetic or if it is a glorious day, he might go as far as Kingston and Hampton Court.

Captain Qwack has seen all sorts, from grey and harbour seals, cormorants and herons, to more exotic birds, including egrets and crested grebes.

Captain Qwack said: “There is always something along the river; the waterbirds are literally everywhere.

“All the time, I see cormorants popping up and getting harassed by the gulls when they come up with something big.

“The crested grebes in the summer are very prolific with their begging chicks.

“The parents are constantly diving down and bringing up tiny little tiddlers to feed them and to stop them from crying.

“I’ve even seen a crested grebe coming up with a crab!”

Not only does Captain Quack’s X account document his weekly encounters with the area’s wildlife, but also the impact of high spring tides and floods caused by rampant storms, which threaten the locals’ homes and businesses.

Captain Qwack started taking pictures and posting about his sightings at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when he was in Twickenham all the time and needed something to do.

To see more of Captain Qwack’s adventures, follow him on X @KaptainKwack.

Related Articles