December 31, 2008


Situated on the north east edge of the borough, this Country Park comprises ancient woodland, with open fields and a lake. There is also a cabin serving hot snacks, and a rare breeds farm. Hainault Forest has become too known for what USED to breed here (Red Backed Shrike, Willow Tit, Wryneck, Wood Warbler, Redpoll, Corn Bunting), But their absence, though regretable should not deter you from birding here as many surprises await!

All year: Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Canada Goose, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Pheasant, Stock Dove, all 3 Woodpeckers in good numbers, Little Owl, Tawny Owl, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer.

Winter: Small numbers of common wildfowl with occasional rarity, Golden Plover & Lapwing flocks (from nearby Fairlop Waters), Redwing, Fieldfare, Woodcock, Kingfisher, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll and occasional Waxwing, Common Redpoll, Hawfinch.

Passage: Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Turtle Dove, Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, Whinchat, Ring Ousel, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher

Summer: Hobby, possible Cuckoo. Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler.


Fairlop Waters is the Boroughs most recognised birding hotspot. With 5 lakes and ponds, a stream, farmland, quarry, woodland and heathland it is suitable for a wide variety of birds throughout the year. It is possibly best known for the long staying Humes Warbler in 2004 or for its important flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing that have both reach over 1000 in former winters, although are normally up to 250 Golden Plover and 500 Lapwing Lapwings during recent years. Usually around 110 species are recorded here each year.

The Gravel Works Site on the south side Painters Road has become the best part of the site for waders and other birds. Please bare in mind that this is private land, and although it is accessible, due care should be taken at all times.

Resident all year: Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Pheasant, Lapwing, Little Owl, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

Winter: Regular wildfowl include good numbers of Teal, Gadwall, Pochard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, and occasional Wigeon, or rarer duck (Slavonian Grebe, Black Necked Grebe, Shelduck, Goldeneye & Gooseander in 2009). 1000+ of various Gulls, 500+ Lapwing and 200+ Golden Plover in the adjacent fields. up to 8 Green Sandpiper, 30 Snipe and occasional Jack Snipe and Woodcock. Short Eared Owl often present and hunting at dusk. Large influx of Long Tailed Tits and Goldcrests. c100 Redwing and Fieldfare. Stonechat and Yellowhammer sometimes present. Occasional groups of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll. Occasional Water Rail or Kingfisher. Barn Owl, Merlin, Peregrine and Marsh Harrier all possible, but not regular.

Passage: Wheatear, Whinchat, Hobby, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, occasional rarer Tern, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail, Cuckoo. Any wader could show up but usually only on their own. Occasional Osprey, Black Necked Grebe, Wryneck, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Yellow-Browed Warbler.

Summer: Breeding Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Whitethroat. Breeding Little Ringed Plovers. House Martins, Sand Martins, Swifts and Swallows all usually present around the lake.

Map of Fairlop Waters


Black Eared Wheatear: Rare Vagrant

  • 28th September 2009, 1 in Valentines Park - possibly the 1st London sighting


Red Throated Pipit: Rare Vagrant

  • 27th October 2009 - 1 over Wanstead Flats


Wood Duck: Rare Visitor (probably escaped)

There are 3 pairs of Wood Duck in Valentines Park that have been released by the park Manager. But 'wild' ones may turn up anywhere, but you can never really be sure how 'wild' they are.


  • March 17th, male in Hatch Forest (river Ching)
  • November 5th, pair in Knighton Woods


FULMAR: Rare (after as storm)
  • In 1995 P Hopkins discovered the storm driven bird in the front garden of a house in Bath Road, Ilford. The bird was taken later that day by Wildlife Rescue.


PUFFIN: Extremely rare vagrant

A puffin was found exhausted in the centre of Ilford in the 1950's

Picture Album

Please note: due the wonderful amount of Photos that now come in to this blog - as well as being posted on the blog, all new pictures are added to the individual bird photo pages, rather than to this general gallery...
To view then: please click on the particular bird species for photographs of that bird (right hand side of the blog)!.... Please continue sending in your pics - the more the merrier!
Wheatear, April 2010 - Wanstead Flats (JLethbridge)

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wanstead Flats - April 2010
(Jonanthan Lethbridge)

Dunlin, Wanstead Flats - April 2010
(Jonathan Lethbridge)

Robin, Hatch Forest - 5th March 2010 (Andrew Perrin)

Goldcrest, Valentines Park - March 2nd (Russ Sherriff)

male Pochard, Valentines Park - March 2nd 2010 (Russ Sherriff)

Little Egret, Whitehall Plain - February 27th 2010 (Andrea Perrin)

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Ilford Garden, Feb 2010 (JCrick)

juvenile Herring Gull, Wanstead Flats - March 1st 2010, JLethbridge

Common Gull, Wanstead Flats - March 1st 2010 (JLethbridge)

Black Headed Gull, March 1st 2010, Wanstead Flats - JLethbridge

Mute Swan, Wanstead Park, Jan 2010
(Jonathan Lehbridge)

Valentino, Mediterranean Gull, Valentines Park - Jan 2010
(Emma Charles)

Grey Heron, over Wanstead - Jan 2010
(Jonathan Lethbridge)

Blue Tits checking out the local accomodation, Woodford Green
Mark Braun

Kestrel, Eagle Pond
19th April 2009, Peter Gordon

Ring Ousel, 19th April 2009
Wanstead Flats, pic by Paul Ferris

Long Tailed Tit, on nestat Fairlop Waters
4th April 2009 (Tajinder Lachar)

female Siskin in a Gants Hill Garden
4th April 2009, photo by Tajinder Lacchar

Little Ringed Plover, Fairlop Gravel Works
4th April 2009, photo by Peter Warne

Brambling in a Gants Hill garden, April 1st 2009
photo by Tajinder Lacchar

Skylark, Wanstead Flats, 2nd April 2009
photo by Paul Ferris

Little Owl, Wanstead Flats, 2nd April 2009
Photo by Paul Ferris

Mandarin Duck, Knighton Woods
February 2009 (photo by Peter Warne)

Cormorant, (summer plumage continental sinensis race)
Wanstead Park, 21st March 2009 (ELBF Walk)
Photo by Roy Woodward

Ring Necked Parakeet, Wanstead Park
(ELBF Walk) 21st March 2009
photo by Roy Woodward

Great Crested Grebe, Fairlop Waters
24th March 2009, photo by Peter Warne

Wren at Fairlop Waters
24th March 2009, photo by Peter Warne

Wheatear, Wanstead Flats, 15th March
photo by Jonathan Lethbridge

Skylark, Wanstead Flats, 14th March 2009
photo by Jonathan Lethbridge

Little Owl, Fairlop, 14th March 2009
photo by Peter Warne

Water Rail - Roding Valley NR
11th March 2009 - Photo by Peter Warne

Stonechat, Roding Valley NR, March 2nd 2009
Photograhed by Peter Warne

Tufted Duck 'D9', Wanstead Park, March 2nd 2009
See blog entry on 2nd March 2009 for detail
photograph by Jonthan Lethbridge

Siskin, Wanstead Park, March 2nd 2009
Photograph by Paul Ferris

Ring Necked Parakeet, Wanstead Park, March 2nd 2009
Photograph by Jonathan Lethbridge

Moorhen, Wanstead Park, 2nd March 2009
Photograph by Jonathan Lethbridge

Little Grebe, Wanstead Park, March 2nd 2009
Photograph by Jonathan Lethbridge


please note: when new pics are added, the newest is at the top - so this 'story' of the Valentines Park nest is in reverse!!!
Valentines Park nest The first Grey Herons to nest in the borough in over 100 year! (raising 3 chicks)
2 of the chicks out and about, 27th June 2010 (MCondon)

Pics by Gillian Ware

FledgedChick - moves out onto a Coot nest! (June 12th 2010)

June 10th - 1 chick still 'around' but vacated the nest, the other 2 still on the nest ...
(Pics by Gillian Ware)

1 fledged young with a parent testing out the water
lol @ testing out the water!

becoming self-sufficient

1 parent with the remaining 2 in the nest

June 7th - 1 chick leaves the nest

Stepping out of the nest (early june)

testing them wings..

look at me guys.... im out of the nest!

sibling rivalry - your out! and your not coming back!

The Valentines Park Chicks - Emerging From the Nest, and taking first 'flight'

G Ware, 6th June

The Grey Heron Chicks emerge from the nest - and work their way along the branch... testing out their wings (GWare) (Valentines Park, June 3rd 2010)

The Grey Heron family in Valentines Park (May 2010) - the first breeding Grey Herons in the borough for over 100 years.

(pic by Ian Cranston)

following 2 pics by Alex Blackman

(nexy 8 pics by Gillian Ware)