Thursday, 9 June 2011
Site #4 Lee Valley Riding Centre
Running North from Lea Bridge Rd we have the stables and paddocks which are set out on Leyton Marsh. A gravel footpath, which used to be an old water channel, goes up the Western side and the Eastern side is bounded by the Lea overflow channel.
The front paddocks often hold Winter Thrushes, Fieldfares and Redwings well into the Spring. Mistle Thrushes are resident and also get on the back paddock. The side paddocks are good for Wagtails and lately are attracting Jackdaws which have started to colonise lower Walthamstow and Leyton.
The line of Trees that separate the stables from the back paddock are the home of one of the local pairs of Little Owls, though seeing them is a very hit and miss affair. The South side of the third Tree from the East is often favoured but the angle is critical and leaf cover in the Spring/Summer means that it is only really worthwhile looking during the Autumn/Winter. The only place you won’t see them is in the unused nest box especially erected for them!
The back paddock gets the same stuff as the front and sides but with the added prospect of Wintering Finches, it is the best part of the patch for Linnet. Stock Doves often build up on here, with flocks well into double figures possible. Wheatears and Yellow Wagtails appear on passage and almost anything could be possible, Ring Ouzel, Whinchat and even Stone Curlew have occurred.
The path down the West side has most of the breeding Warblers of the patch. The Trees at the Southern end have held Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher in Autumn. The overflow channel sometimes has Green Sandpiper in the Winter, especially at the North end just as it goes underground.