Trip reports

Fishers Green/River Lee Country Park

Water rail feeding at waters edge

Saturday, 5 March 2016

There are many reserves that come under the umbrella of the 1000 acre River Lee Country Park, but having contacted the warden's office enquiring about facilities etc., Fishers Green seemed like a good place to start.

Led by Neil Greenaway our excellent bird guide and fellow member, we made our way to the hide overlooking Seventy Acres Lake which is also the visitor centre and bittern viewpoint.

The lake has large expanses of reedbed perfect for bittern and whilst over the recent period prior to our visit up to three bittern had been sighted in the reedbeds, sadly there were none visible during our visit.

However we were treated to wonderful views of water rail (pictured) as they teased us with views of " now you see me, now you don't" as they shot in and out of the reeds. In the same area of reeds, a couple of darting wrens were sighted as well as a Cetti's Warbler.

Until yesterday I had never really had a good view of a Cetti; I should add that I am not good at identifying what I call " whoosh in the bush," but thanks to Neil Greenaway I got my first really good view of a Cetti's Warbler.

Most of the group chose to spend the day with Neil as our leader, birding as we went, with great views of goldcrest along the way. Other birds seen were mallard, tufted duck, pochard, gadwall, coot, moorhen, Canada and geylag geese, blue, great and long tailed tit, chiffchaff, robin, dunnock, chaffinch, goldfinch, blackbird, pied wagtail, great spotted and green woodpecker, song thrush, redwing, siskin, jackdaw, crow, magpie, wood pigeon, mute swan, heron, cormorant, wigeon, great crested grebe, pheasant, jay, black headed, herring and lesser black backed gull, house sparrow and shoveler. We stopped at Grebe Hide, which overlooks Holyfield Lake where we had lunch, Strolling back to the bittern hide, we caught sight of anglers along the bank who were also preparing their lunch; the waft of frying sausages filtering through the air.

River Lee Country Park is a vast area with open spaces that cater to all who appreciate the outdoor life and we as birdwatchers had a snapshot visit of what it has to offer us.