Monday, 28 February 2011

Site #3 Waterworks N.R.

What used to be the Essex Filter Beds has, in more recent years, been left to go fallow and has now been turned into a mini nature reserve. I suspect the primary motive is education and publicity, given that it is a very small site (If only it were 10 times bigger and 5 times quieter) but hey! I won’t knock it and will be grateful for small mercies.

It is probably best suited for Insect, Amphibian and Botanical life but does get its share of Avian treats. Access is via the Waterworks N.R and Golf Centre off Lea Bridge Rd, just across the bridge over the Lea overflow channel.

To the South is a large Grassy area bordered by low Trees. In the South-east corner are few old beds now overgrown with Willow and Birch (don’t quote me on the species, I’m not a Botanist) that has the feeling of a damp micro forest. They don’t seem to hold many species during the day but I think are popular as roosting sites for Corvids and Thrushes after closing time.

On the North side is a large ‘hide’ with slats overlooking half a dozen old beds that are in various states of succession, from relatively deep water to Grassy and quite overgrown. If you can get in there before the kids, you can get good views of Pochard, Tufted Duck and in Winter Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall. Little Grebes breed and are frequently heard trilling.

Winter usually brings Green Sandpiper and Snipe and very occasionally Jack Snipe, other Waders are very much rarer but have included Little Ringed Plover, Ruff and even Stone Curlew.

Warblers include Lesser Whitethroat, Reed and Sedge. Cetti’s is a recent colonist but this Winter may have done for them. Ring Ouzel is a scarce visitor and Yellow-browed Warbler, Guillemot and Red-backed Shrike have occurred so it is worth checking carefully during Spring and especially Autumn passage periods.

There is a Sand Martin ‘nesting tower’ and a Kingfisher bank though I am not sure if the Kingfishers know about the latter yet. The site also has good views of one of Walthamstow’s primary sites.....the sky. The vista is quite broad so always keep an eye on what is flying over, especially Raptors.

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