Trip reports

Fishers Green Walk on 12th Jan 2019.

Fishers Green Walk on 12th Jan 2019.
Acabashi

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Thanks to Rich for the write-up:

Our first walk for the year, this site makes up one of several within the Lee Valley Park's network.
Twelve of us set off from the car park and we soon spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying towards us, followed by another one, their bounding flights helping identify them.

We made our way to a hide that had some feeders set up in front of it, Great Tits and Chaffinches were busy feeding on them while a pair of Pheasants pecked away underneath at any fallen seed. Scanning further in the distance in the fields beyond, we could see groups of Canada Geese and also a couple of Egyptian Geese.

A small bird caught our eye perched quite upright on the hedgerow along the edge of the field, a restless bird, we could just make out the white patch on the side of the neck that belonged to a Stonechat. We watched as it moved backwards and forwards from the hedge and dropping to the ground to feed which is characteristic for this species.

We left the hide and found a Redwing and a Fieldfare perched in the same tree next to each other which when looking through the scopes was a really nice way to compare these two winter thrushes, noting the larger size of the Fieldfare with its blueish/grey head and rump and the Redwing with its bold white stripe over its eye and red flanks that gives the bird its name.

We were now at a better distance to view the geese, which as mentioned earlier consisted of a large group of feeding Canada and also some Greylag Geese were amongst them. We carefully scanned through the flock and spotted two clearly smaller looking species.
They were White-fronted Geese! - one of them being an adult with the white forehead which the second bird lacked, showing this to be a juvenile which tend to stay with the parents until the following breeding season.

We continued skirting around the edge of the field where we picked up two Red-legged Partridges running at great speed before they disappeared into the long grass to the side. A Buzzard flew up from the ground which we presume had been 'worming' and settled into a nearby tree. Then another large bird of prey was spotted soaring above which we thought at first to be another Buzzard but then the familiar forked tail and longer more slender wings showed it was a Red Kite. Sightings of these stunning raptors are definitely increasing in the South-East so we hope to see these birds more and more on our future walks.

Where there were farm buildings on the other side of the field, these were covered in hundreds of corvids with the majority made up of Jackdaws. Linnets twittered nervously as they moved along the hedgerow ahead of us as we continued to walk up the lane towards Holyfield Lake.

We then came across a tranquil scene with a small pool that had pairs of Wigeon, Shoveler and Moorhen quietly feeding. Just before turning onto the approach to the Grebe hide, we noted from first glance up to ten Pigeons feeding on the corner of another field but after a closer look with the optics, we could see they were the smaller and 'kinder' faced Stock Dove which is a bird often overlooked.

Some of the birds seen from the Grebe hide were Tufted Duck, Cormorants and we briefly heard the high pitched whistle of the Kingfisher. Great Crested and Little Grebes dived for fish and two 'Redhead' Goosanders (females) were glimpsed before disappearing behind one of the islands.

We left the hide and retraced our steps past the arable fields, which now seemed to be alive with Fieldfares and Redwings feeding at ground level. As winter moves on these thrushes will take to the open fields searching for invertebrates after their initial diet of berries when they first arrive in the autumn. We also noted two more Buzzards sitting in a nearby small tree, giving us great views and detail when we viewed them through the scopes.

From the final 'Bittern' hide (sadly, no actual Bittern reported recently though) that looked over the Seventy Acres Lake we saw four species of gull: Lesser-black Backed, Common, Herring and Black-headed. Teal dabbled and a Muntjac Deer was seen as it made its way along the edge of the pit.
After a cup of coffee we made our way back to the cars and a Kestrel flew over to finish our morning.

Total different bird species seen: 52

[Photo credit: Photo by Acabashi - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39842892]