Trip reports

Walk at Cheshunt Gravel Pits

Walk at Cheshunt Gravel Pits
Photo by Debbie Burkett

Saturday, 22 January 2011

This was an all day walk (but you could stay however long you liked) led by Roy Woodward - for the East London Birders Forum (ELBF) and the London Natural History Society (LNHS). This is a good time of year for looking for wintering wildfowl and this area of the Lee Valley has a good record of attracting some of our smartest looking ducks.

It was a rather overcast day but the rain stayed away as we set off north along the River Lee Navigation and then towards Hooks Marsh . The duck highlights were:-
Goosander - 1 fly over male, then 2 preening females (with clear views of their orange legs)
Smew - 2 red-headed females initially then later we saw a lovely male 'White Nun'
Goldeneye - 2 males and 1 female on Friday Lake

At Hall Marsh scrape, two Stock Doves were walking around with two Woodpigeons so Roy was able to point out the distinguishing features as Stock doves are often overlooked.

We walked a little way up Fishers Green Lane as Roy had seen a Pink-Footed Goose there with a flock of Greylags - sure enough he soon spotted it. In addition there were a couple of Egyptian Geese. Also around the fields, there were Fieldfares, Redwings and a Great Spotted Woodpecker - not to mention the cows who seemed interested in a little people spotting (see my photo!).

I had to head off home then but the rest of the group set off to the Bittern Information Point to eat their packed lunches and hope for a view of the elusive Bittern. I don't know if they were successful but I was very happy with further excellent views of the male Smew (definitely my favourite winter duck) as I returned to the car park near Cheshunt station.