Hooks Marsh – Wednesday 15th November

On a bright sunny Wednesday morning 15 members assembled at Hooks Marsh car park in the River Lee Country Park before following the flood relief channel down towards the revamped Hall Marsh Scrape. 

The LVRPA have recently been working on the site: clearing sluices, adding islands and reprofiling the four lagoons, which can be flooded or drained independently of each other. This will make the area attractive for various waterbirds, hopefully bringing in winter wildfowl and waders like Lapwing and Snipe.

The path that skirts the scrape took us to the Snipe Hide where we were fortunate to spot a Stonechat, along with Wigeon, Teal and two Lapwings. 

Our route then crossed the Lee Valley Showground to the White Water Centre, built for the kayaking events in the 2012 Olympics. Bowyers Water – the Lee Valley’s oldest flooded gravel pit – was our next destination, where we saw the Old English Goats brought in by the Park as scrub control operatives.

From the path at the lake’s southern end we scanned the pit, spotting a close-by pair of Pochard showing well in the bright sunlight. A large white-headed gull that didn’t seem to fit the usual common species was also picked out in the middle of the lake. It was thought to be a Yellow-legged Gull – this was confirmed a little while later and at closer range; the fact that the bird flew up showing off its bright yellow legs also gave credence to our identification.

From here we walked to the Lee Navigation, eventually crossing the bridge over the river that leads to Seventy Acres Lake and Hooks Marsh car park. Wildfowl numbers seemed to be lower than you would expect on the lakes and marshes, given that we are well into November, nevertheless it was a pleasant walk and lovely weather. 

Bird list 43 Species:

Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Egyptian Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Red Kite, Kestrel, Pheasant(H), Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet, Kingfisher, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Stonechat, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler(H), Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch