Gravel Works, Painters Lane
It is the home to several Brown Hare which breed on site, It has also had all of these benefits noted in the last year:
- Home of the winter Lapwing flock (up to 550 birds this winter, and the only flock in the borough)
- Home of the winter Golden Plover Flock (up to 148 birds this winter, and the only flock in the borough)
- The Boroughs largest population of wintering Snipe (usually well over 20 present, and occasional Jack Snipe)
- The only location in the borough where Green Sandpiper are (up to 8, usually at least 2 on site, for 10 months of the year)
- Good numbers of wintering wildfowl, (including the only place in the borough where Shelduck are regular)
- Good for Raptors, (Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Little Owl, Hobby all regular. Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, Barn Owl, Buzzard all seen in the last 12 months)
- The only major site in the borough for grating waders (last season we saw Whimbrel, Black Tailed Godwit, 3 Ringed Plover, several Greenshank, 7 Redshank, many Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and many more Green Sandpiper passing through)
- The only place in the borough where waders breed: last year 2 pairs of Little Ringed Plover, and 3 pairs of Lapwing
- One of 2 major sites in the borough for migrating passerines (the othe being Wanstead Flats). During 2009 up to 50 Wheatear, 50 Whinchat, 50 Yellow Wagtail, several White Wagtail, 2 Rock Pipit, Water Pipit and (not a passerine, but) Spotted Crake.
- The only place in the borough where Sedge Warbler breed, and 1 of only 2 or 3 sites where Reed Warbler Breed.
Plans could include:
- Small Car Park
- Bird Hides, walkway and panels to 'hide' behind
- Planting a good sized Reedbed (to attract more Water Rail, wintering Bittern, Bearded Tit, Cetti's Warbler and to increase the breeding success in the borough of Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Reed Buntings that are all only present in single figures)
- To create a wetland habitat based on the existing layout of the works, that will benefit wildfowl and wading birds.
- To improve 7 kings water (that runs along the site), to include nesting areas for kingfisher.
- To create a nesting site for Sand Martin (that often prospect, but do not nest anywhere in the boroug at present)
- To plant more wet woodland adjacent to Hargreaves Wet Woodland to increase the excellent habitat there
- To protect the habitat that the Hares favour, and the wet meadow which is excellent on site.
- To re-introduce Grey partridge, and encourage Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting to return
- Potentially this site could become as important as Barnes, or Rainham if managed properly, and the conservation team are really behind the project.
Daniel Erickson-Hull, Redbridge Birdwatchingblog@ www.redbridgebirdwatching.blogspot.com