Herts reserve of the month

Redshank, just one of the birds you can spot at the River Lee County Park (EarnestTse/iStock/Thinkst

Redshank, just one of the birds you can spot at the River Lee County Park (EarnestTse/iStock/Thinkstock) - Credit: EarnestTse/iStock/Thinkstock

Ed Hutchings finds birdlife in abundance at the River Lee Country Park

River Lee Country Park is a 10,000-acre site that straddles Hertfordshire, Essex and London. The Lee valley has varied birdlife. Reservoirs such as Walthamstow and King George V (permits required for both) attract large numbers of wintering waterfowl and the Fishers Green area in the country park is one of the most popular sites. A small reed bed adjacent to the Fishers Green car park has become the best site in Britain to view bitterns. There are numerous hides and paths in the park and Fishers Green is a good starting point. The bittern hide opens around 8.30am.

Birds seen all year include great crested and little grebes, grey heron, gadwall, shoveler, tufted duck, pochard, sparrowhawk, snipe, lesser spotted woodpecker, redshank, kingfisher and reed bunting. Spring and summer bring a few passage waders plus terns, including black. Summer is quietest but shelduck and little ringed plover may be found. Winter is probably the most productive season with all common dabbling and diving ducks, as well as goosander, smew, bittern, long-eared owl, water pipit and jack snipe. A wonderful site chock full of wildlife.

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