Although the journey to Lee Valley was foggy, it soon cleared leaving the day calm but cold. Before we set off Jeff gave a quick impromptu presentation of ‘long service’ awards – to Sue and Ian Griffin, Irene Robson and Maria Yetman for volunteering activities for the group.
First stop was the bittern hide – the bittern was allegedly in the reeds (seen just 5 minutes before we arrived) but did a fantastic job of remaining hidden while we were there; however, most of the group did manage to get views of water rail.
From here we walked north towards Holyfield Lake and along the way saw: long-tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, goldcrest, treecreeper, siskin, song thrush, redwing, jay, robin, tufted, mallard, shoveler, teal, great crested grebe, gadwall, mute swan and cormorant (I never knew they could perch so high up in the trees and pylons – Ed). A flock of bullfinch was seen by some of the group. At Holyfield Lake and the weir we added: red-head (female smew), pintail, wigeon, canada goose & common gull.
After failing to find the picnic spot marked on the map (for which my apologies – PY) we did manage to connect with great-spotted woodpecker and an overflying goosander while eating our lunch.
Our return trip was via the western side walking through the Nightingale Wood in the vain search of the Pochard Hide although most of the party managed to see a Muntjac deer. Then alongside the North Metropolitian Pit where we got good views of goldeye before coming back over the bridge to Seventy Acres Lake and catching up with lapwing, little grebe and some lovely floatias of shoveler. A further visit to the bittern hide this time gave up little grebe, teal and water rail, but the bittern was resolutely not coming out.
Overall the trip got the ‘thumbs up’ and should be on the programme next year, but points for improvement would be a better lunch spot (eg the car park which has seating and toilet facilities) and making arrangements for the bittern and kingfisher to put in an appearance!
PS: Here is the complete of species seen – thanks to Irene:
Coot, Mallard, Tufted duck, Pochard, Lapwing, Mute swan, Cormorant, Black-headed gull, Canada goose, Water rail, Moorhen, Wren, Blue tit, Great tit, Greylag goose, G.crested grebe, Shoveler duck, Magpie, Long-tailed tit, Goldcrest, Song thrush, Crow, Wood pigeon, Gadwall, Blackbird, Robin, Redwing, Jay, Siskin, Grey heron, Wigeon, Tree creeper, Herring gull, Pintail, Smew, G. spotted woodpecker, Goosander, Little grebe, Teal, Goldeneye, Common gull, Dunnock and Egytian goose.
PPS: Please let me have any photos from this trip and I will include them in report – Ed.