Places to see birds

HMWT Amwell

Male lapwing in breeding habitat

Amwell Nature Reserve is situated south of Ware and is managed by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust. It supports internationally important numbers of wintering wildfowl and is one of four sites in the Lee Valley Regional Park that combine to form the Lee Valley Special Protection Area (SPA). There's plenty to see during the summer too, with breeding birds and dragonflies galore. The reserve includes a mosaic of lakes, rivers, grasslands and woodlands.

Spring through to autumn is a good time to see wading birds, particularly Redshank and Little Ringed Plover which breed here. Common and Green Sandpiper are regular visitors in autumn and may be joined by scarce waders such as Wood Sandpiper.

In winter the lakes support large numbers of wildfowl including Gadwall, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Pochard. Teal are also seen feeding in the shallow margins of the lake. Smew are regular winter visitors. The reserve provides an excellent opportunity to see wintering Bittern. Check out the James and White bird hides for elevated views over the reedbeds.

Amwell is one of the best sites in the area for dragonflies and damselflies with 19 species breeding here. The dragonfly boardwalk trail on Hollycross Lake enables you to get close-up views from May to September. Close-by there's a small meadow of Marsh Orchids, flowering in early June.

In summer there's a Common Tern colony nesting on special rafts on Great Hardmead Lake. Look overhead for birds of prey including Buzzard, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk and in summer, Hobby. During spring and autumn you may be lucky enough to see an Osprey flying through.

The main viewpoint provides a panorama of the site with views of a heronry and reedbed feeding station. In winter, the Gladwin Hide provides great views of an impressive gull and Jackdaw roost.