US social scientist Kenneth Boulding : ‘If you believe exponential growth can go on in a finite world, you are either a madman or an economist’.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

14/2/10: Valentine's Day bird-watching

Another well-led London Natural History Society bash, this time to the Waterworks Nature Reserve and Golf Course in the Lea Valley

the Lea Valley Riding Centre over the road, and Walthamstow Marshes.

The former includes a ring of old filter beds allowed to reach various stages of succession, from largely open water, to increasing amounts of reeds, wet meadow and Willow carr. There is a circular walkway in the middle, ringed by a bird hide 'wall' with lift-up flaps and viewing 'windows' opposite each bed.

Before entering the site proper, two Sparrowhawks were seen overhead, and a Grey Wagtail was by the canal.

On the filter beds, great views were had of Teal (the males have some fantastically cream feathering), Snipe, Shoveler, Little Grebe and Green Sandpiper. A Cetti's Warbler was heard (not that I would have known that's what it was without the leader saying so), ditto Water Rail.

Unprepossessing grass and horse-trampled fields in the Riding Centre were awash with large numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare, also a few Mistle Thrushes. Here we also had good views (through another members' telescope) of a Little Owl well camouflaged in a big old Willow tree and a pair of Stock Doves, both 'firsts' for myself.

Apart from a Kestrel, there wasn't anything of note on Walthamstow Marsh South.

Plant-wise, the stand-out was the large amount of Tansy bordering the canal channel, at both the Filter Beds and Riding School sites.

A worthwhile trip to a location well-served by buses, and a reasonable walk from Clapton railway station.

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