Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Parks and Recreation

Okay, so this isn’t Pawnee if you know the American comedy series but it comes pretty close. (I look to camera and pull a face.)

Just like that over-used swan analogy, the Lee Valley Park runs a really smooth operation on the surface but underneath…well things can be, shall we say, a bit frantic: a bit political. There are levys that some London boroughs want to stop paying (understand that one ) and then there’s an expectation in terms of legacy from the Olympics that wants a delivery of service that frankly, money can’t afford.

It’s funny, well it’s not but that’s how I’m starting this para, that most people wander through the park enjoying the scenery  and the wildlife and the amenities without really thinking about the effort and work that goes into making that happen. Nobody has to pay to enter and at no time does someone jump out of a bush asking for a donation (this isn’t the RSPB). There is a task force of people who manage the landscape, run the farms, run events, run marketing, run volunteers and run themselves into the ground to make sure everything works for anyone who’s anyone who comes to the park.

I would probably have given up by now. Of course, people are pleased and grateful (see website) and keep coming back but things are changing. Funding is not so easy and the London council tide is turning. The park is going to rely more and more on volunteers. Volunteers that aren’t just interested in nature but are truly interested in giving people a great experience and engaging with them because that builds a better brand for the park and adds weight to the parks reputation and standing. This in turn will give it the energy and arguments to win the fights it needs to win with banks, investors, charities, other stakeholders and local government.

In the meantime, people like me can volunteer, meet fascinating folk and still have time to fill a memory card with magical images. Ron Swanson may have his boat building workshop but I have my birds. Look it up stupid.


Little Egret

Drake Gadwall

Grey Heron

Canada Goose


Male Orange Tip


Small Tortoiseshell
So you see, I feel a bit of a freeloader sometimes as I can enjoy the fruits of the park without really having to prepare the ground and grow the stuff from seed. All I can do is try to open a few pairs of eyes and put on a pained expression to camera right. Right?

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