Saturday, 1 October 2011

Site #7 Southern Section Walthamstow Reservoirs

To access the reservoirs you need to enter the gates by the Fishermans Lodge, opposite the Ferry Boat Inn, at 2 Forest Road, Tottenham, London N17 9NH and turn immediately left for the spacious car park and small permit office.

Permit information is available here:

Go round the red barrier and walk South onto the reservoirs. The two reservoirs on the Western edge of the site are the West Warwick and the East Warwick. The West Warwick is accessed by going under a very low railway bridge; it has a natural bank and extensive Reeds around the edge, in Summer Reed Warblers breed. A Purple Heron was seen in the Reeds a few years ago. This reservoir does not seem to attract many Fishermen and is quite undisturbed; the Western bank borders the River Lea and is fringed with Alders, it should prove attractive to Winter Finches.

Back under the railway is the East Warwick; this is a concrete edged reservoir and often holds Common Sandpipers, though these are easily flushed. Other Waders are also possible and sometimes these get on the island. Previously Wooded it was occasionally the haunt of a Wintering Ferruginous Duck, another is well overdue. The island now is the site of breeding Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls and always has loafing Cormorants, Herons, Gulls, Geese and Swans. It is overlooked by a hide, which is not at all necessary for viewing. It might be useful if it rains. It was usually locked but may now be open.

The Coppermill stream runs through the middle of the site and divides the Warwicks from the numbered reservoirs. Kingfishers are often heard and frequently seen along here. Water Rails winter along the edges but are far more often heard than seen, once a Bittern roosted in the Reedy edge.

No.1 reservoir house the Heronry on its wooded island and Kingfisher sometimes breed on the Southern tip. No.2 houses the majority of the sites breeding Little Egrets on its island, a few pairs are on No.1. It is worth coming along in June to hear the weird bubbling calls coming from the colony. No.3 is connected by a narrow channel and also has an island on which Shelduck breed, like Little Egret this is a fairly new colonizer and is gradually increasing.

The footpath between Nos.2 & 3 is well vegetated with Trees including Sycamore and Poplars and supports Tits and Warblers in season. Reed Warblers and the ever decreasing Reed Bunting breed around this area. Ring-necked Parakeets have moved in recently and may breed. Both Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker are common. There is another hide at the South-western corner of No.3, it is famous for it’s Spiders. You may see a Kingfisher here though being out in the open is a better bet.

No.4 reservoir is another concrete edged basin and is heavily fished; it sometimes has Waders around the edge and always holds large numbers of diving Duck. No.5 is similar but has two islands with nesting Cormorants. Being the largest reservoir on this Southern side it more often attracts the shyer species such as Smew and Goosander.

In reality anything can turn up on any of these reservoirs and their shrubby banks from Great Northern Diver to Woodlark and Firecrest to Great White Egret.

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