Lee Valley Country Park has been my patch for the last five years.
There are several access points along the (B194) Crooked Mile Road. The first car park will allow you to access Cornmill Meadows. A semi-natural floodplain grassland. It has one small hide (Wake Hide) that overlooks the main area.
The second is Fisher's Green Lane, follow this narrow track all the way to the bottom to a small car park on the right, or cross the River Lee Navigation bridge that leads to a large car park. There are several paths leading off from here. The right hand path follows the River Lee on the right and Seventy Acres Lake on the left. This will eventually lead to the Bittern Hide and beyond. If you take the path leading across the bridge you will get views of Seventy Acres Lake and Hooks Marsh. The third path by the metal gate on the left follows the River Lee and borders Hooks Marsh, eventually leading to Hooks Marsh Scrape and Friday Lake.
2) Leads to Hooks Marsh Scrape and Friday Lake
3) Leads to Bridge running between Seventy Acres Lake and Hooks Marsh Lake
The third access point is from Stubbins Hall Lane. If you take the main track this will lead to Fisher's Green car park and a short walk to the Bittern Hide. There are also toilets available here. There are several paths leading off from the car park that allow access to many parts of the park.
|Fisher's Green Car Park & Bittern Hide|
|Fisher's Green Car park & Toilets|
|Some of the main areas|
1) Seventy Acres Lake: From late October until mid March there is a chance of seeing Bittern. The obvious place to look is from the Bittern Hide. The small reedbed has held four birds in the past. There is also a good chance of hearing/seeing a Water Rail. along with maybe all three Winter ducks. (Smew, Goldeneye, Goosander). In spring/Summer there are usually Common Tern flying over the lake or nesting on the rafts. Check also the surrounding pylons and trees for perched Hobbies. Cetti's Warblers can be heard calling from the reedbeds surrounding the lake. Rarities have included Red-footed Falcon and Savi's Warbler.
2)Hooks Marsh Lake: Chance of Smew in Winter.
3)Friday Pit: Chance of Smew, Goldeneye, Goosander in Winter.
4)Hooks Marsh Scrape: In most years if the water levels are good 1-2 pairs of Little Ringed Plovers breed on the exposed shingle banks in Spring/Summer. Little Egret, Common & Green Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Redshank. Snipe & Lapwing have been seen here during the year.
5)Bowyer's Water: Can hold all three Winter ducks. Grasshopper Warbler has been heard "reeling" in this area. The rough grassland has produced Wheatear in some years. Nightingale heard singing most years from the scrub bordering the rough grassland.
6)Farms: The fields surrounding the farms can be good for Geese. Canada & Greylag the most numerous with Egyptian normally present. White-fronted Geese have been seen but are rare. Yellowhammers can sometimes be seen or heard in the trees and scrub surrounding the fields adjacent to the farm buildings. I've also seen Brambling, Wheatear and Whinchat in these areas. Red-legged Partridge can sometimes be seen here. Turtle Doves were once a regular visitor but have recently become rare. Little Owl is sometimes seen in these areas. The viewing area in the top field can be good for Raptor watching. Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk and Goshawk have been reported from this area.
7)Goose Fields: As you would expect they attract the common geese from the surrounding areas. Yellow Wagtail was regular in past years when cattle were grazed. Unfortunately numbers seem to have dropped dramatically in recent years. The small pools can be good for passage waders, with Ruff, Green & Common Sandpipers, Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits all recorded.
8)Holyfield Lake: Can hold Goldeneye and Goosander in Winter. With a chance of Common Terns and Hobbies in the Spring/Summer months. Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and Common Sandpiper have been seen in front of the weir.
9)Rough Scrubland: This small area bordering the River Lee can be good in Spring/Summer for Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff and Willow warbler.
10)Nightingale Scrub: This is the best area I've found to hear and see Nightingales. Anywhere along the path right up to the small power station can produce singing Nightingales. Good chance of Chiffchaff, Willow Warbleror Garden Warbler.
11)Cornmill Meadows: The pools normally hold common wildfowl along with Lapwing. Barn Owl has been seen hunting in this area. Kingfisher can sometimes be seen perched on over hanging tree on the River Lee or flashing past. In Spring/Summer Grasshopper Warbler can sometimes be heard reeling from scrub bordering the Cornmill Stream. Reedbeds bordering the pools can produce Sedge and Reed Warblers along with Whitethroats.
These are just some of the areas I explore, There are many more within the park.
Below is a map of my birding area in red.
|Bittern (From the Bittern Hide)|
|Egyptian Goose (Goose Fields)|
|The Weir looking out from the Grand weir hide|
|Grand Weir Hide|
|Great Crested Grebe|
|Snipe (Cornmill Meadows)|
|Grey Heron (River Lee)|
List of birds I've seen on my Patch