Wednesday, January 02, 2008


The river Lea (and its navigation) have recently become a quite famous spot for birdwatchers. From Luton to the Thames, the Lea has many spots along its length, even in the navigation parts of its journey, like the part outside the flat at Tottenham Hale, where it is VERY important for local fauna, especially waterbirds.

Anna's parents have a great flat in Tottenham Hale (which we lived in for a year), RIGHT over the navigation, overlooking the Walthamstow reservoirs also, and away in the distance (5 miles), one can see Canary Wharf to the east, the the Gherkin and old NatWest Tower to the south. A wonderful view.

It was nice to be back briefly in the flat.
It was also nice to see some things haven't changed in the last 2 years or so.
When the light goes, the more interesting ducks such as Gadwall, Shoveler, Teal and Tufted Ducks, fly in from the large reservoirs and spend the night in the relative shelter of the Lea, under the balcony - very frustrating if you are hoping to take some pictures!
As soon as the light comes again, they are off, in an effort to regain some safety on the large expanses of water.

Herons, Cormorants, Little Grebes, Kingfishers (which I didn't see this time), can be seen from the balcony during the day though, and Common Terns in the summer.
Then there are the Coots, Black-Headed Gulls, Mallards, Moorhens, Canada Geese and Swans of course - all shouting at one another. It all makes for a very good alarm clock in the summer!

Foxes abound on the banks of the navigation - we were lucky to see the "Estate fox" again - in its normal spot - unfortunately I had no camera on me at the time - maybe I should try and photograph this fox later in the year.

Add to all that, the fact that Peregrines and Hobbys are regular visitors to the reservoirs, as are Shelduck, Goldeneye and Ruddy Duck. The reservoirs attract the odd Osprey on passage each year, and Little Egrets bred there for the first time last year.

Finally, the Lea Valley as a whole, is becoming very important as a breeding ground for Bitterns - amazing stuff really, when you consider the area was reknowned for its pollution and it is right on central London's doorstep.

I thoroughly enjoy revisiting the flat, and seeing what is around. The area made London bearable, as far as I was concerned, and I do miss it from time to time!

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