Trip reports

Pole Hill and Yates Meadow Walk on 15th Mar 2020

Pole Hill and Yates Meadow Walk on 15th Mar 2020
T.E. Lawrence pillar on Pole Hill - by Debbie Burkett

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Thanks to Rich for this write-up:

A very vocal Song Thrush greeted everyone as we congregated for the start of this walk, March quite often being the first month of the year when the male birds begin to sing more regularly to proclaim their territory.
We made our way along the path alongside the golf course, a group of noisy House Sparrows chirped insistently from within a bush and we heard a Green Woodpecker in the distance calling its 'laughing' like call. On the opposite side of the path in a front garden, a Carrion Crow sat at the top of a large Scots Pine with a broken piece of branch in its bill, while its mate was perched nearby looking on. This nest building exercise is actually shared by both the male and female bird.

Our attention was then drawn back to the edge of the golf course where we noted another species of corvid. In fact there were twelve Magpies all sitting in a bush noisily calling to each other. Magpies are highly sociable birds and will form large groups like this to establish territorial rights and individual hierarchies.
Moving on into the wooded area, many birds were now singing, we stopped and listened as we picked out the songs for Wren, Great Tit and Blue Tit while a Nuthatch also called and was briefly seen as it flew from one tree to another before disappearing. A Great Spotted Woodpecker then dropped in and started drumming, this bird would have long established his territory by now as I've heard this species start to drum as early as the end of December.

The next stage of the walk brought us to one of the highest points in Chingford (Pole Hill) with distant views of the London skyline. Here, in an open grassy glade area, is where two obelisks are situated. These were erected to mark the Greenwich Meridian Line. This same area is also noted for T.E Lawrence (a.k.a Lawrence of Arabia) where he owned some land here.
We continued down the hill with views of Chingford Reservoirs in front of us as we made our way a little further to Hawk Wood where the common tree here is the silvery barked Hornbeam. Several Jackdaws were calling above and we also spotted the shy Stock Dove as it perched up before taking flight deeper into the wood.

Back out in the open again, we were on Daisy Plain, a Grey Heron flew across in front of us with slow deliberate wing beats. We then spotted several thrushes foraging on the ground up ahead. One species was bigger than the other and in fact turned out to be two Mistle Thrushes and two Redwings. We then began the steep climb up to Yates Meadow (well worth a visit in May / June where you will see a mass of wild flowers), three Buzzards hovered and circled around us in the wind.
In the surrounding hedgerow we listened to a male Chaffinch calling a 'nasal' like call often heard in early Spring and also for most of us our first singing Chiffchaff.

A rather plump looking bird was then spotted perched on top of a bush, it was a female Bullfinch. Quite often this species is seen in pairs but unfortunately the colourful male was not to be seen, but still always a treat to see one of these birds. Walking back to the cars we saw a group of handsome male Mallards dabbling away as they took advantage of a flooded area on the Plains.

Total number of different bird species seen: 33

If you click on the link below (, it should take you to the Facebook post for this walk where you can see additional photos, including views of the London skyline.