River Lee Country Park – Sunday 19th November

This was our third Sunday Stroll of the autumn attended by 12 members, including two first-timers. We had people travelling from as far away as Watford and St. Albans to meet up in the LVRP Turnford Brook car park on an overcast but mostly dry morning. 

On the nearby North Met Pit we walked through Nightingale Wood to the Pochard Hide. This looks over a small reedbed that has recently had channels cut through the reeds making it more attractive for wildlife. Several egrets flew up as we arrived – presumably using the site for roosting – this included a Great White Egret, as well as the more familiar Little Egrets.

Our walk then took us across the Essex county border to Fishers Green; the initial destination was Holyfield Lake and weir to look for the waterbirds that are known to favour this area. The main lake is used by Fishers Green Sailing Club at weekends and the numerous islands and backwaters in the south of the site offer a refuge from the boats. 

You cannot visit Fishers Green without popping into the state-of-the-art Wildlife Discovery Centre overlooking Seventy Acres Lake. The eponymous Bittern Hide has long had a reputation amongst wildlife photographers and birdwatchers as one of the best places in the country to see this secretive creature. Unfortunately, the resident bird went AWOL recently and has not been reported for a couple of weeks. Even so, everyone was impressed by the Centre and we had good views of a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the feeders.

The final leg of the walk followed the meandering Old River Lee before crossing the Lee Navigation into Hertfordshire and back to our cars. A new site for some members of the group but I am sure they will make a return visit, especially if the elusive Bittern returns to its favourite haunt.

Next month’s morning walk will be on Sunday 17 December with the venue still to be decided. You will be informed of the site and meeting point a couple of weeks before the event and we will meet at the usual time of 09:30.