Places to see birds

Lee Valley

Adult bittern wading in reedbed at Lee Valley Country Park

This sprawling series of open spaces, in the valley of the River Lea, includes lakes, reservoirs, marshes and wet grassland. The wonderfully diverse range of wetland habitats has made this area a haven for many rare plants and a tremendous range of birds.

The site is immensely important for its avifauna; the valley holds internationally important numbers of wintering gadwall and shoveler. Breeding birds include kingfisher, little ringed plover, skylark and yellow wagtail; London's largest heronry is at Walthamstow Reservoirs. The Chingford and Walthamstow Reservoirs are a major refuge for national and regionally important numbers of waterfowl, including bittern, tufted duck, great crested grebe, goosander and goldeneye. Nationally rare wintering and passage species are regularly recorded.

The site is very important for the specially-protected water vole, which is locally abundant. The specially-protected great crested newt also occurs; fish include the declining bullhead. The reed beds and other riparian habitats support a nationally important assemblage of invertebrates. This includes several nationally scarce moths, such as the dotted fan-foot, Webb's wainscot and brown-veined wainscot. The red-eyed damselfly (Erythromma najas) which is scarce in London, also occurs.

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