STANSTEAD ABBOTTS

A bird-rich walk in the up­per Lee Val­ley

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Birding - PAUL TRODD

Sit­u­ated at the north­ern end of the Lee Val­ley Re­gional Park, this walk in­cludes the lo­cal Wildlife Trust’s im­por­tant wet­land re­serve at Amwell com­pris­ing lakes, reedbeds, is­lands, shal­low mar­gins and wil­low scrub. The river, canal, ad­ja­cent wood­lands, farm­land and damp fields com­bine to form a wide range of habi­tats en­sur­ing a de­cent va­ri­ety of birds through­out the year, par­tic­u­larly con­sid­er­ing how close the site is to the hurly-burly of Lon­don. The main view­point over­look­ing the man­aged is­lands and reedbeds is a fo­cal point for scan­ning the flocks of wild­fowl, gulls and waders, while most win­ters a rar­ity, such as Smew or Goosander, is recorded on Great Hard­mead Lake. It is also a good spot for watch­ing birds mov­ing along the Lee Val­ley to feed­ing and roost sites and in the evening a Barn Owl may put in an ap­pear­ance. Red Kite and Ring-necked Para­keet are of­ten noted from the view­point along with an oc­ca­sional fly­over Hawfinch. Bird feed­ers have also at­tracted the fast de­clin­ing Marsh Tit. The wet­lands hold a wide range of coarse fish and, in re­cent years, Ot­ters have been seen along the wa­ter­course. Much of this bird­ing walk, par­tic­u­larly along the main Lee Val­ley trail which runs up to the view­point, is on good qual­ity foot­paths, mak­ing it ideal for wheel­chair users and peo­ple with mo­bil­ity is­sues. There are also three well po­si­tioned hides over­look­ing the reedbeds and is­lands.

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