East India Dock

From Londonbirders

This small reserve is situated just East of the Isle of Dogs and immediately across the Thames from the Millennium Dome. It is at the southernmost end of the Lea Valley Park. There is a tidal lagoon with a shingle island and mudflats which almost disappear at high tide. The basin is fringed on one side by a narrow band of reeds and trees adjacent to the main road (Lower Lea Crossing), which can hold Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings. Also present in front of the reeds is the closest patch of genuine salt marsh to central London. There is a small wooded area about half the size of a football pitch by the Thames, where the river can also be scanned for stray seabirds in the right conditions. The reserve is the last remaining part of the famous East India Docks, a hub of the spice trade in the late nineteenth century, the rest having been filled in and built over.

Specialities include Black Redstarts in Autumn/Winter, Peregrine visible on and around the Millennium Dome, Kingfisher, breeding Linnets and Grey Wagtails, passage Warblers and Little Ringed Plovers, breeding Common Terns, and occasional Little Egrets and Yellow-legged Gulls. Whilst the site might look a little unpromising, it is in pole position for the Lea valley migration flyway, and regular watching has yielded surprises: Barred Warbler, several Firecrests, Nightingale, Siskin, Whimbrel, Honey Buzzard and Roseate, Little, Sandwich and Black Terns have been seen in recent years. Winter can produce such local delights as Redwing and Meadow Pipit. Watching the Thames during migration periods has produced seabirds such as Arctic, Black, Sandwich and Little Terns, Shag and Kittiwakes, particularly in bad weather with easterly winds. Actually, this site is somewhat of a tern hotspot for London, at peak migration times in the right conditions. Birds appear to be funnelled down the Thames, and then rise high over the Isle of Dogs, or turn north up the River Lea.

The nearest train station is East India Docklands Light Railway. From the station walk directly towards the Thames and then turn left and walk alongside the river to enter the reserve. There is a carpark on the reserve, the entrance to this is in Orchard Place, if this is closed,it is possible to park in the sliproad leading to Orchard Place and then enter the reserve at the NE corner through the small gate (This road has yellow lines, so be vigilant). Buses 115 and 277 also stop near this entrance. An exit point at the western side enables the Lea to be viewed, where there are resident Grey Wagtails and the possibility of Black Redstarts. Incidentally, this site is in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, though infomation on the west gate puts it in Newham. This is incorrect: Newham starts on the other side of the River Lea, thus including nearby Bow Creek Ecology Park.

It should be possible to do a thorough circuit around the site in half an hour or so, but it is also worth scanning the adjacent stretches of the River Lea, where there is a high tide Redshank roost in winter opposite the Esso garage, and regular Common Sandpipers. Bow Creek Ecology Park (entrance via the blue bridge visible over the Lea, further up the A13/East India Dock Road) can also easily be taken in, with Reed Warblers in summer, and a small patch of vaguely promising flooded grass and marsh in winter. Other options include Tower Hamlets Cemetery, which is a 10 minute walk west along Mile End Road from Bow Church Docklands Light Railway station, and in late August it is worth getting off the train at Island Gardens Docklands Light Railway station on a low tide, to see if the regular Ring-billed Gull is showing at the end of the Glenaffric Avenue slipway, and to check for finches, thrushes and Monk Parakeets at Mudchute Farm.

Richard Harrison's 2008 Patchlist http://editthis.info/londonbirders/User:Ricandele

Jonathan Lethbridge's 2008 Patchlist http://editthis.info/londonbirders/User:Jalethbridge

Paul Hyland's 2009 Patchlist http://editthis.info/londonbirders/User:PaulHyland

Gary A James' 2008 Patchlist (76 at 12TH DEC):- Little Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Sandwich Tern, Black Tern, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Feral Pigeon, Kingfisher,Great Spotted Woodpecker, Swift, Swallow, Sand Martin, House Martin, Rock Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Black Redstart, Wheatear, Whinchat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackcap, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Reed Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jay, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting. (76 Species)

   Gary a James 2009 Patchlist [1]
   Nick Tanner 2009 Patchlist [2]
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