Site list

This is the historical site list, which stands at over 200 species


Mute Swan: Common resident breeder found on all the local ponds.

Bewick's Swan: There is one record of a bird on the Basin in the winter of 1947. Prior to that Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii Recorded from the Alexandra Pond on Wanstead Flats on 5th February, 1931. This bird later visited the Perch Pond and was to be seen on the Basin on 15th March, returning to the Alexandra Pond where it remained until 21st March (EN XXIII p. 150)

White-fronted Goose: A flock of 50-60 birds flew over the Flats on Jan 28th 1979. More recent records are of a juvenile on Jubilee on December 3rd & 10th 2007, and a flock of c100 birds over the Flats as part of a wider cold-weather movement on December 22nd 2011.

Greylag Goose: Small numbers of feral birds can usually be found around Alexandra Lake on the Flats, where they mix with the Canadas, sometimes with dire results.

Canada Goose: A large flock of c200 birds is resident on Wanstead Flats. Small numbers breed in the Park.

Barnacle Goose: Single feral birds are sometimes seen associating with the Canada Geese on the Flats.

Brent Goose: Very irregular, small flocks sometimes seen as part of wider cold-weather movements in London. 3 dark-bellied form over Wanstead Park on the 21st January 2010

Red-breasted Goose: May contain plastic, but in any event a beautiful bird that graced the Alex for a week at the end of May 2011

Shelduck: Single birds or pairs very occasionally seen flying over the area. Last sighting of a pair circling near Alexandra Lake on April 27th 2012. Subsequently a fairly regular spring flyover as London's population increases. In April 2015 flocks of 10 birds were noted on several occasions. Earliest ever record on the 1st January 2016 flying east over Heronry.

Egyptian Goose: Once relatively rare, a pair are seemingly now resident in the Park, and are most often seen near the tea hut. As of 2011, more birds seem to have moved into the area, with up to eight regularly seen on the Basin, and four regularly on Wanstead Flats. By 2016 numbers are on the rise with 20 + seen on the Police Scrape early in the year.

Mandarin Duck: A rare visitor from further north in Epping Forest. The most recent record is of a pair on the Ornamental Waters on March 11th 2012 that stayed for a week or so and were evening seen mating. More recently a male on Heronry on the afternoon of the 30th March 2014

Mallard: Resident breeder.

Pintail: Very rare here. There is a record of a pair on October 10th 1963, and then a female on the Ornamental Waters on February 1st 1975. One record from Hollow Ponds in January 2015 of a female.

Gadwall: A regular winter visitor, numbers can reach three figures but are normally around 60 birds. The majority are on the Ornamental Waters. In 2013 a record count of over 350 birds was noted making this site one of national importance for wintering Gadwall.  In 2014 this record was surpassed with 459 in December of that year

Shoveler: Winter visitor in small numbers c.30 +. A record number of birds gathered in the park prior to their spring migration numbering 62 on the 3rd of April 2015, this record was broken on the 13th December when 74 birds were counted in the Park (+ 16 on the Flats)

Wigeon: Rare but annual visitor, typically in cold weather, usually of single birds or small parties.2nd winter period of 2015 saw numbers rise, with favourable water conditions in the park, to 40 birds

Teal: Irregular winter visitor during cold weather, appears to be increasing in numbers. More likely to be seen in the Park, or around Alexandra Lake.

Garganey: Occasionally seen on spring passage. Last seen in 2009.

Pochard: Winter visitor, peaking at c50 birds. A record high of 76 was recorded on Heronry on the 12th September 2014. In 2015 a pair bred on the Alex–the first record for the area

Red-crested Pochard: A pair were present on Heronry from January 9th to February 12th 2009. In 2013 a single juvenile bird stayed on the Heronry from 17th September to the 24th and again in 2014 a juvenile was sighted on the Heronry in August and an adult male on the Ornamental Waters on the 25th April

Tufted Duck: Winter visitor in larger numbers, usually around 60, though can peak close to 100. Found on all the ponds. In hard weather they retreat to the Thames. Small numbers also present as a resident non-breeder.

Scaup - one very old record of seven or eight birds on the Basin in 1929. A repeat is overdue!

Common Scoter: A drake was found on the Basin on May 25th 1959, and another, moribund, at the same location on December 23rd 1961.

Goldeneye: Rare visitor. A female was on Alexandra Lake from November 20th to December 24th 1977. Another female was on Alexandra Lake on March 23rd 1999, and yet another female arrived on Heronry during hard weather on November 2nd 2009, and stayed until the end of December. Two females that stayed only for about three hours on October 15th 2012 - also on Heronry, and most recently four birds, three males and a female, spent February 20th 2013 on the Perch Pond. 2015 2 records of 2 birds over Bush Wood, and one later in November on Alex (then Shoulder of Mutton)

Goosander: Rare but possibly annual visitor, associated with hard weather. There is a record of a redhead on January 28th 2011, first found on the Ornamental Water, and the following day on Perch, and most recently, on February 9th 2012, 4 drakes and a duck were on the Basin briefly - just some of approximately 20 birds noted passing through Wanstead during a cold snap.

Smew: Very rare. There are two records, the first of a female on the Ornamental Waters on November 13th 2006, and the latest, of two females together on the Roding from February 8th 2012 for about a week. 2 were on Eagle Pond on the 5th December 2002

Ruddy Duck: A very occasional visitor, however the effectiveness of the cull means that the last record was of a pair on Heronry on July 14th 2007. Prior to this, 2 pairs bred on the Flats in 2003.

Eider Duck: A party of 7 birds seen on the Roding near Ilford in the winter of 1917 (Birds of Newham, Colin Plant)

Wood Duck: one record from 25th March 2012 on the Shoulder of Mutton

Pallas' Sand Grouse - several records from the invasion summer of 1863, and a bird shot on Wanstead Flats in July 1864. About time for the next one....

Red-legged Partridge: A pair bred in the Old Sewage works in 1977, however since then the only records are from the SSSI; a pair from February to May 2004, and then two birds near the SSSI on March 16th 2006. Latest record of a bird on the Flats in April 2015, which stayed for a number of days

Grey Partridge: Last reported as being present in 1981, and unfortunately very unlikely to occur again.

Pheasant: Once present in small numbers in the vicinity of the Old Sewage works in the late 1970s, there were no further sightings until a male took up residence in the SSSI from February 7th 2010 until at least April 26th. In 2011, a bird was heard to call from the Cemetery.

Quail: One flushed from the grasslands to the east of centre path on August 24th, 2013, unfortunately not refound.   An earlier record from 1889 in Manor Park is the only other
(Birds of Newham, Colin Plant)

Red-throated Diver: Extremely rare occurrences of disoriented birds, the most recent of a bird recovered dead on the Flats on February 11th 1964, though previously there is a record of a live bird from 1930, and before that, one in January 1887 on the Basin. "In January 1877 I watched one of these rare visitors on the Wanstead basin. My telescope showed the speckling on the back quite distinctly ; it was therefore probably a young bird."—A. Lister.  The latest was a record (Bob Vaughan) from 1st December 2002 on Heronry, and the same or another bird on the 16th December 2002 which appeared to land on the Hollow Ponds

Great Northern Diver: Possible seen flying high south over Wanstead tube station on the 4th April 2015

Black-throated Diver - a very old record of a bird in Wanstead Park in 1881.

Slavonian Grebe: 3-17th January-2015 on Heronry the first and only site record

Black-necked Grebe: Very rare, the only record is of one present in Wanstead Park from April 24th to 29th, 1981.

Little Grebe: Breeding resident in small numbers.

Great Crested Grebe: Regular visitor in small numbers. Two pairs failed in 2011, but were successful on Heronry in 2012 and in 2014 on both the Heronry and the Basin. The Basin, Heronry and Perch Ponds are favoured.

Red-necked Grebe: " In February 1877 one of these birds remained for almost a week on the basin in Wanstead Park. I watched it repeatedly with a good telescope. It was in fine plumage."—A. Lister

Gannet: On May 1st 1981, an adult on Shoulder of Mutton was taken to KGV but was found dead on May 3rd. More recently a bird flew west over Wanstead Park as part of a larger influx into London airspace on September 25th 2010.

Cormorant: Common as a flyover on Wanstead Flats, presumably from the Walthamstow Reservoirs to the river. A few birds generally to be found on Perch Pond or the Ornamental Waters.

White Stork: One seen going south over Whipps Cross on the 18th May 2004, and a another seen somewhere over Leyton going South East on the 13th May 2006

Common Crane: 2 birds seen flying east over Whipps Cross on the 29th May 2004 

Glossy Ibis: 8 seen flying northwest over Leyton  (exact whereabouts not clear) on the 11th April 2011


Bittern - there is mention of a record in 1885 (Buxton) of a bird killed on the Roding.

Little Egret: Increasingly common in small numbers, with most sightings coming from the River Roding in the summer months. Maxima count of seven birds in August 2009 when the Heronry Pond had particularly low water levels. This record was smashed in 2015 when 14 birds were seen on Heronry taking advantage of the low water levels (+ 1 seen on Roding)

Great White Egret: A record from the Old Sewage Works on April 5th 2009, and more recently of a brief flyover on Wanstead Flats on April 3rd 2013, perhaps indicative of the nation-wide trend in reports. Latest record of a flyover on 24th May 2015

Cattle Egret: One in Wanstead Park on May 10th 1998 was only the second record for London.

Grey Heron: Regularly seen flying over, and fishing on the water bodies in Wanstead Park. It is not uncommon to see four in a day.

Osprey: One historic record of one in the Park fishing on Perch Pond, and very recently from Wanstead Flats, a fly-over early in the morning of September 7th 2011. In 2014 a bird was seen on passage over the flats on the 8th of April of that year. A single bird was reported on April 13, 2016 over the Esso copse

Red Kite: Increasing passage migrant, especially in spring. Three records of flyovers from 2010, two from 2011, and five in 2012. The final two weeks of March are consistently the best.

Black Kite: A bird reported over Wanstead Park on October 17th 2010*. on 27th  June, 2015 a single bird was noted flying north up the Roding

Buzzard: Occasional visitor and passage migrant in spring. There were 18 birds recorded in 2010, including ten in the period from April 11th to May 22nd. In 2012 sightings had surpassed this previous total by April. On the 6th of September 2014 a large movement of Buzzard was seen over Heronry in the afternoon, 24 birds counted including 2 or more that were most likely Honey Buzzard

Honey Buzzard: Extremely rare. A bird over the Park on September 23rd 2000 was part of the large national influx. More recently, a bird reported over Wanstead Flats on September 16th 2010. * Lately 2 +probables were noted in with a large movement of Common Buzzard over Heronry (6th September 2014)

Marsh Harrier: A single record on May 8th 2011, seen from the Old Sewage Works, with another on August 26th 2012 seen from the Lake House Scrub, and on March 20th 2013. In 2014 a juvenile bird was recorded over Long Wood on the 27th August

Hen Harrier: one ring-tailed bird seen flying ENE over Leyton (exact whereabouts unknown) on the 8th September 2003

Sparrowhawk: Breeding resident in small numbers.

Goshawk: Records from both the Park and the Flats in 2010 and 2011.

Kestrel: Resident in small numbers. Breeding suspected.

Hobby: Breeding summer visitor in small numbers.

Red-footed Falcon: A probable 2nd calendar year bird seen flying towards the patch from Snaresbrook on the 5th June 2012

Peregrine: Scarce, but sightings increasing. Birds are resident in neighbouring boroughs.

Merlin: Two records from 2010, both from Wanstead Flats.  Subsequently a male was seen over the flats on the 19th November 2013 (all now accepted by the London Recording Committee)

Corncrake: Reported in 1909 as being a common summer visitor in the area. A probable bird was seen east of Long Wood briefly on the 24th August, 2013,  where it landed (not to resurface) in a large bramble patch

Water Rail: There are records of wintering birds in Wanstead Park as far back as the 1970s. A bird regularly winters on the Perch Pond, and others have been seen on Heronry, The Dell, and by the Roding in recent years.

Moorhen: Common breeding resident.

Coot: Common breeding resident. Counts of over 200 not uncommon.

Oystercatcher: A single bird flying east over the Flats on November 12th 2011 was the only record, and was heard only. On 23rd October, 2013 one was heard over the western flats very early in the morning

Stone-Curlew: A single bird flying over the Broom Fields on the Flats on April 5th 2011, present again April 6th, was the first record. Almost improbably, another was seen in approximately the same area on March 24th 2013.

Little Ringed Plover: Rare spring passage migrant, occasionally seen on the banks of Alexandra Lake in March or April. The most recent record was on April 1st 2013, on Police Scrape, of a female that stayed for almost a week, and of 2 birds over Long Wood on 12th May that year. 2 juvenile birds reported on the 29th June, 2015 flushed from the shore of Alex

Ringed Plover: A single bird heard calling over the Flats at dusk on November 5th 2011 and one heard on the morning of the 2nd December, 2012 over Angel Pond. 3 birds were seen flying across the fairground on the 26th April, 2015

Dotterel: a record of two birds shot on Wanstead Flats in about 1885 (Glegg), 1871: Forest Gate (Essex), 14 at the end of August (Wood, 2007)

Golden Plover: A rare visitor, usually of one or two birds flying over in hard weather, though a flock of 20 on February 3rd 2006 are notable. A group of six over Alexandra Lake on February 5th 2012, again during hard weather. The latest record is of three birds on Police Scrape on March 25th 2013, following two the previous evening on the football pitches. One bird landed on the Flats on 9th April 2015 and the previous year a flock of 14 birds flew east over the flats on October 13

Grey Plover: The only record is of a lone bird flying over the Flats on the morning of February 9th 2012, during a period of hard weather. An earlier record of a bird shot in Forest Gate comes from the Birds of Newham, Colin Plant, 1986

Lapwing: Uncommon in hard weather, though summer movements of failed breeders are sometimes seen. Records are usually of single birds or small flocks flying over, though very occasionally they land. On a snowy February 5th 2012 an astonishing 373 birds were recorded, with one flock totaling over 100 birds.

Dunlin: A juvenile spent the entire day of April 21st 2010 on Jubilee Pond, and was extremely approachable. There are two previous records, one also on Jubilee Pond on February 6th 1979, and one on Alexandra Lake from August 31st to September 3rd 1980 and reports of 2 calling birds in flight over the brooms 13th October 2014, and 28th May 2012. 2 birds were seen feeding on the Alex on May 11 2016

Wood Sandpiper: Rare passage migrant, occasionally seen on the banks of Alexandra Lake in summer or early autumn. The last record is of a very showy bird on Angel on the 19th April 2011 which hung around for a couple of hours

Green Sandpiper: Very scarce autumn passage migrant, heard rather than seen. One took a liking to the River Roding and was seen on more than a few occasions between Nov-2011 and April 2012. April 2015 was an exceptional month with 7 birds seen in the space of a few days

Common Sandpiper: Scarce passage migrant, more numerous in early autumn. Alexandra Lake and Heronry most likely locations.

Redshank: 8th August 2013, one heard calling over Alex and towards Manor Park, while this is the only record currently, possible calling birds have been noted on a number of occasions without being seen. Subsequent to this record being added comes  a report by the Essex Field Club of a Redshank over the flats in April 1983.  Latest record of one flying north over the SSSI on the 27th April 2015

Greenshank: A record from September 15th 1985, when a bird was seen briefly on Heronry. Subsequently a bird was heard calling as it circled over Alex on the morning of the 7 September, 2012 and another heard calling over the brooms on the 29th September 2014. In 2016 2 birds flew low through the Alex on May 10

Curlew: Very rare visitor. 12 flew over the Park on August 21st 1971. More recently, nine birds flew over the Flats on March 9th 2013.

Whimbrel: Rare passage migrant, sometimes seen mid-summer as a fly-over. A record of two birds on the Flats on May 6th 1999, with a few fly-overs since: September 2nd, 2011; a flock of 33 were reported flying east, over Forest Gate but seen from the flats, in tight formation on 23-April-2012

Black-tailed Godwit: A flock of six reported from Shoulder of Mutton pond on August 21st 2010, and two flying over Wanstead Flats on on July 31st 2012 in poor weather.

Woodcock: Scarce winter visitor, usually in hard weather. It is assumed that there are at least 2 birds wintering in the area

Snipe: Winter visitor, with a few birds generally present in the SSSI. 


Great Snipe: One shot in Forest Gate in November 1889. "The Birds of London", Andrew Selfe. A bird fitting the description of Great Snipe was flushed off from the Alex Scrub on the 3rd January 2016

Jack Snipe: A single record of a bird on Heronry from October 26th 1979 was the only known record until a bird landed on a frozen Alexandra Lake on February 5th 2012. A bird was seen on the 29th September, 2013 again in the area of the Alex, part of a local influx that day. 2014 had 2 records from the 23rd September (by the Alex) and a bird on Angel on the 6th December

Grey Phalarope: A bird on Heronry on November 14th 1963, and before that, a bird killed on Wanstead Flats on November 21st 1888, with another shot in Wanstead Park on October 5th 1875.

Ruff: A very rare visitor. Records of two birds from February 1st to 10th 1976, initially on Alexandra Lake and subsequently ranger further afield, and the last record, of a single bird on Heronry on August 31st 1980.

Black-headed Gull: Resident, with significant increase in winter. Counts of 400+ not unusual on the Flats in winter. During flooding caused by heavy rains on Wanstead Flats on February 28th 2010, an estimated 2000+ birds were present. 

Common Gull: Winter visitor. The commonest Gull on the Flats in winter, with counts of 500+ not unusual. 1000+ present on February 28th 2010.


Ring-billed Gull: an adult on the Alex on the 18th March 2002, while this claim is generally discounted it was just before a bird took up residence on the Isle of Dogs for several winters and is added here in good faith

Kittiwake: Rare vagrant. There is a record of a bird flying over the Shoulder of Mutton Pond on August 19th 2011, part of a larger influx of storm-driven birds. In 2013, again as part of a London-wide influx,  there were two records, both from Wanstead Flats, on 25th March and April 13th 2013. An exhausted bird was seen on the flats on the 7th January 2014

Mediterranean Gull: Rare, but with a glut of records from 1996 to 1998, with birds in each winter period. More recently an adult was on the Flats on July 6th 2010, and also from February 11th to 27th 2011, and then also on February 5th 2012.  2014 had reports of at least  6 birds

Herring Gull: Regular in small numbers on the Flats in winter, with larger numbers flying over to and from the Chingford Reservoirs. The largest count was of 82 on February 28th 2010.

Yellow-legged Gull: Scarce visitor on the Flats, usually in late summer.

Caspian Gull: A bird seen briefly on one of the football pitches on February 26th 2011 is the only known record. Decidedly rare away from the Thames *.  A 1w bird wintered from November 2105 on and off to February 2016, favouring the Alex and surrounding areas

Great Black-backed Gull: Scarce visitor on Wanstead Flats, usually as a flyover, most probably to and from the roosts on the Chingford Reservoirs. A record of 41 on the Flats on October 7th 2001 is exceptional.

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Regular visitor to Flats in small numbers, the commonest large  Gull. Peak count of 50 on October 1st 2010.

Black Tern: A record of a bird on the Basin on May 2nd 1926.

Common Tern: Scarce summer visitor, single birds can sometimes be seen feeding on the larger water bodies, small flocks may fly over the Flats on migration.

Arctic Tern: The only record is of three birds flying over the Flats, calling, on August 28th 2011.

Little Auk: A bird found dead in Wanstead Park in 1962.

Feral Rock Dove: Common breeding resident.

Stock Dove: Relatively common breeding resident. There can be large roosts on the islands on the Ornamental Waters.

Wood Pigeon: Common breeding resident.

Collared Dove: Breeding resident.

Turtle Dove: Rare passage migrant. An out of season bird was spotted circling over the brick pit field on the 9th January 2016


Mourning Dove: A bird fitting the description of this species was flushed twice by separate observers on the 6th November 2014 following the aftermath of another American hurricane.  Unfortunately it was never re-located, but was reported in the 2014 London Bird Report as an escape!.

Ring-necked Parakeet: First reported from Wanstead Park as early as 1985, only in the last few years has this become a resident bird. Small numbers breed around the Ornamental Waters and in West Copse on Wanstead Flats, but larger flocks can be seen flying north over the Flats every morning, returning south in the evening.

Cuckoo: Rare passage migrant, once more regular. A record from the Park on August 20th 1999, one from the Old Sewage Works in April 2002, and latterly of a bird flying over Wanstead Tube Station on May 9th 2010. One was reported heard in the SSSI May 2011, while a young bird was picked up near Alexandra Lake in July, its apparent downy state implying that it might have been raised nearby. A late bird was seen near Long Wood on September 1st 2012. in 2013 an adult was seen in the SSSI, while a first winter bird lingered on the flats for a few days during the autumn.  Several records from 2014.  Only 4 records for 2015 (2 spring, 2 early autumn)

Short-eared Owl: Very rare visitor, with two historic records, one from near the Roding on December 22nd 1980, and the other from Bush Wood on May 12th 1985. However four recent records, from the Flats on September 13th 2010, from Bush Wood on October 2nd 2010, from the Flats on October 6th and 21st 2012, February 1st 2013 and March 12th 2013. 2014 sightings were all autumn birds (6) but may have been just the one bird. Earliest record of one on 1st January 2016

Tawny Owl: Breeding resident in small numbers.

Barn Owl: A few historic records from the 1970s, however a pair were resident in Wanstead Park throughout 1993.

Little Owl: One or two pairs are thought to breed in the copses on Wanstead Flats, but were not seen after the winter of 2010/11 until the 1st January 2013 when one was seen just south of Long Wood with sightings through to late 2014. A single bird still present in 2016, however the body of predated bird was found in August of that year.

Swift: Summer visitor.


Alpine Swift: one on the 22nd March 2010 over Hollow Ponds

Nightjar: From an account in 1893, it appears that this species used to be found on Wanstead Flats occasionally.

Hoopoe: A single record of a bird on April 30th 1976, from Wanstead Park. A probable sighting from 2014 (22nd June) was reported from Wanstead Cricket Club.

Kingfisher: Regular visitor to the Roding, where they almost certainly breed. Also seen on Ornamental Waters, and Perch Pond, where they formerly bred, as a record from 2002 testifies. Occasional records also from Wanstead Flats.

European Bee-eater: An account in 1885 (Buxton) of a bird observed somewhere in Wanstead, possibly one of the islands on the Ornamental Water.

Green Woodpecker: Breeding resident. Common in the Park and on the Flats.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Breeding resident, and our most numerous woodpecker.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: A few pairs breed in Wanstead Park, mainly around the Ornamental Water. They are frequently observed around the Dell. In 2010, a pair also bred on Wanstead Flats. Not looking good for this species, only one was seen in 2013, though a sighting from a garden late in 2014 and from Overton Drive early in 2015 means all is not lost. 1st January 2016 a male was seen by the Basin (2 other records later for that month in the Dell)

Wryneck: Once the stuff of dreams, there are now four records in the last five years! The first is of a well-twitched bird that took up temporary residence east of Alexandra Lake from September 17th to 24th 2010, having first been found near Long Wood on the 16th; the second of is of bird found on August 25th 2012 in the Lake House Scrub, and which was again well twitched and stayed until the 30th. The third bird of modern times was seen in the area of Long Wood from 3rd September, 2013 on and off for about a week. 2015 a bird was seen again by the enclosure at the end of August-Sept 3rd.

Skylark: Resident breeder on Wanstead Flats, with the greatest numbers east of Centre Road. This is the closest breeding population to central London. Keep out of the long grass! Sadly by 2015/16 the wintering population was down to three birds

Woodlark: Annual but very scarce migrant: A record from the Golf Course in the summer of 1967, and more recently a record of four birds flying north over the SSSI on December 16th 2010. A single bird was reported over the Flats and once in the Park over several days in the autumn of 2011, and another flew south over the Flats on October 11th 2012. 2013's only record was from the 19th March and in 2014 on 27th September. One 20th October 2016 going west calling. 2 Records from Leyton Flats the first concerning 3 birds flying north on the 19th October 2007, and one at Snaresbrook on the 10th October 2012 flying south.

Sand Martin: Scarce summer visitor, though there can be good passage days.

Swallow: Passage migrant, sometimes in large numbers.

Red-rumped Swallow: The only record is of a bird in Wanstead Park on June 4th 1975.

House Martin: Uncommon summer visitor, though there can be good passage days. There is a small colony just off the flats to the north off Aldersbrook Road

Rock Pipit: Rare visitor, sometimes heard in flight over Wanstead Flats.

Meadow Pipit: Breeding resident on Wanstead Flats, with numbers augmented during autumn passage.

Tree Pipit: Regular passage migrant on Wanstead Flats, typically in autumn when birds can stick around for a few days

Water Pipit: One bird on Alexendra Lake on the 18 March 2011.


Richard's Pipit: A report of one from 2006 appeared in  Steve Connor's London Year List and was reported on Birdguides.  One was reported in 2012, but was not accepted by the London Committee 

Olive-Backed Pipit: A calling bird flew west along Long Wood on the  26th September, while it is unlikely the record will be accepted by the London committee, it would be only the second record for London. 

Red-throated Pipit: A calling bird in flight over Bush Wood in 2009 was not accepted by the London Rarities Committee

Pied Wagtail: Uncommon breeding resident. Generally found around the margins of Jubilee Pond and Alexandra Lake.

Yellow Wagtail: Regular passage migrant in spring and autumn, they rarely linger, and most records are of calling birds flying over. Commoner when cattle grazed the Flats, which ceased in 1996. A Blue-headed form (2 birds) were seen on Alex from15-20th April, 1977
(Birds of Newham, Colin Plant)

Grey Wagtail: Scarce breeding resident, with numbers swelled by passage birds moving in late autumn.


Citrine Wagtail:  One over Leyton (exact location unknown) on the 30th August 2008 and is reported here in good faith

Waxwing: The winter of 2010/11 was an excellent one for this species, with several sightings of multiple birds. The largest flock recorded was 43 in late February. 2012/13 was another Waxwing winter with birds favouring Forest Gate

Dunnock: Common breeding resident.

Robin: Common breeding resident.

Nightingale: One sang briefly near the Plain in the Park on April 25th 2010. A bird was seen to fly out from Long Wood on the 3rd September, 2013 and was seen the next day in the vicinity of the Vis-Mig point and Long Wood's enclosure, later reports suggest this might have been around for a few days in the vicinity and one was reported in the Spring on the southern Ornamental waters

Black Redstart: Two records, of a bird on the Golf Course on 11th October 1981, and then an immature male that stayed for three days on Wanstead Flats from April 11th 2013.

Common Redstart: Passage migrant on Wanstead Flats in both spring and autumn, with records concentrated in April, and then late August to early October. The peak is typically in the final week of August and first week of September, with birds favouring the Hawthorn scrub around Alexandra Lake and Long Wood, as well as the Lake House Scrub.

Northern Wheatear: Passage migrant on Wanstead Flats, particularly in spring. Any time from mid-March to the end of April, returning again from mid-August to the beginning of October. Very Lovely Birds. A very late spring record of one on the 4th June, 2015 is the latest on record

Whinchat: Annual passage migrant, sometimes in some numbers, from mid-August to the end of September, with the occasional bright spring bird. The Broom Fields on the Flats is the best place to look, and is capable of holding birds for several days. 2016 a male was singing by the Alex that spring

Stonechat: Declining winter visitor on the Flats, with birds also recorded on passage. 2016 first winter male stayed through the winter on the grassland west of Cat & Dog (the first for many years)

Song Thrush: Common breeding resident, especially in the Park.

Redwing: Winter visitor and autumn passage migrant, with maximum counts generally of birds migrating south during October.

Mistle Thrush: Breeding resident. In autumn large family groups can be found feeding on the football pitches on the Flats.

Fieldfare: Winter visitor and autumn passage migrant, with maximum counts generally of birds migrating south during October.

Blackbird: Common breeding resident.

Ring Ouzel: Scarce but reliable passage migrant on the Flats. The broom fields and the area immediately north of Long Wood are the most likely spots to encounter them early in the morning, with a marked peak in records from the end of September and beginning of October.

Garden Warbler: A scarcer visitor, mainly passage birds in early autumn, but may breed. Any bit of scrub can hold them. A singing male set up territory in Long Wood in 2014, and a pair bred in the SSSI that year
 
Blackcap: Common summer breeder, occasional winter resident. Three birds overwintered in 2016 (1 male)

Whitethroat: Common summer breeder.

Lesser Whitethroat: Passage migrant, sometimes in good numbers, and a summer breeder.


Barred Warbler:  A bird seen first on the 28th August, 2013 in a Hawthorn between the Alex/Pub scrub, following a possible at the west end of Long Wood earlier that week.  Subsequently re-found on the 5th September (2 observers).  That's 2 pints please Mr Lethbridge!

Dartford Warbler: The only record is of a male in the Broom Fields for several days from October 31st 2009.

Sedge Warbler: Scare visitor, usually on autumn passage. Last record of a bird by Alexandra Lake in September 2012. 2013 was a good year for sightings on the Flats with up to 5 birds present on Autumn passage

Cetti's Warbler: The only known record is of a single bird heard in the south-west corner of the Perch Pond on April 3rd 2008. A report of one from the Hollow Ponds from July 2016

Grasshopper Warbler: Possibly some old records, however recently the only record is of a single and elusive bird in the scrub east of Alexandra Lake for a few days in late August 2011. A singing bird was discovered in the Old Sewage Works on the 14th April, 2015 much to the delight of those lucky enough to hear it


Blyth's Reed Warbler: A one day singing bird on the 26th May, in a thicket west of Centre Road, and only the 3rd for London. Megatastic


Reed Warbler: Scarce summer breeder, with more birds seen on autumn passage, where they can turn up in any area of scrub. At least five birds recorded in 2010, some of them singing. 2011: The pair on the Shoulder of Mutton successfully raised two broods.

Willow Warbler: Uncommon summer visitor, declining. 2011: A pair bred in the SSSI rearing 4 chicks.  It's not clear whether the summer bird in the glade successfully bred. Most often seen on autumn passage.

Wood Warbler: Very rare on passage, the historic picture was no doubt better.
In 2014 two birds, an adult and first winter, were seen during the afternoon of the 17th August after a downpour on the islands on the Alex. A singing bird stayed for 2 days in the SSSI/Motorcycle Wood area from the 25th April 2015–an excellent find by Tony Brown, an Autumn bird was seen around Long Wood on a couple of occasions in August that year.

Chiffchaff: Common breeding summer visitor, a few birds overwinter.

Goldcrest: Breeding resident, though only in certain areas. Bush Wood, Reservoir Wood and Chalet Wood have the densest populations. Numbers strongly seasonal and fluctuate year by year.

Firecrest: Rare but annual winter visitor, favouring Bush Wood, Reservoir Wood and the area near the Grotto. Winter 2014/15 was a poor winter with none in Bush Wood, while a pair were regularly seen at Snaresbrook in the Crown Court gardens. In the winter of 2015/2016 up to 7 birds were noted (5 in the park, 2 Long Wood)

Wren: Common breeding resident.

Spotted Flycatcher: Four breeding pairs were reported back in 1981, but in common with the decline of the species elsewhere in the UK, it is now only recorded on passage, though annually, with the final week of August being the best. Wanstead Flats is probably the best place in London for them; the area around Alexandra Lake has hosted as many as eight birds simultaneously. Rarely in Spring

Red-breasted Flycatcher: The only known record is from the Park on September 4th 1968.

Pied Flycatcher: Rare passage migrant in autumn, but not even annual. In 2011 there were two birds, one on August 24th in Long Wood, the other in the Broom Fields four days later. The 2012 season surpassed all expectations with five or six birds recorded in August. 2013 was the best ever year with birds seen in August and September with possible more than 10 birds involved. 2014 was a poor year with only 3 sightings.

Great Tit: Common breeding resident.

Coal Tit: Increasing in numbers, though far from common. Birds are present in Reservoir Wood, the Lake House Estate, and in Aldersbrook Wood.

Marsh Tit: Once a breeding bird, with five nests recorded in 1977, the last observation was in 1978.

Willow Tit: Once a breeding bird, the last breeding record was in 1976, and the last known sighting on January 2nd 1984 in Wanstead Park.

Blue Tit: Common breeding resident.

Long-tailed Tit: Common breeding resident.

Nuthatch: Inexplicably absent from Wanstead Park, where the habitat would appear to be ideal. The odd bird is found each year, but is not resident. Most recently three have been seen in Reservoir Wood from September 2012, prompting hopes of a recolonisation.

Treecreeper: Went unrecorded for many years until a bird was found in Reservoir Wood in 2009. Since then single birds have been found in Wanstead Park, however as with Nuthatch, it is a mystery, given the suitability of the habitat, why there should be so few birds. In 2013 a pair was located in Bush Wood from 10th November onwards.  Regular in woodland north of the Hollow Ponds).

Great Grey Shrike: A record from Wanstead Park on April 4th 1971, and a female trapped and ringed in the Old Sewage Works, October 22nd 1977.

Red-backed Shrike: Probably bred in the Old Sewage Works up until about 1950. A juvenile trapped and ringed in the Old Sewage Works on November 1st 1980 is the only subsequent record.

Magpie: Common breeding resident.

Jay: Breeding resident in small numbers, with increased numbers in autumn.

Jackdaw: Common and increasing resident, with good numbers on the Flats near Alexandra Lake, and a growing roost near the Golf Course.

Rook: Rare but annual. The first was of a bird flying over Wanstead Park on November 3rd 1976, another of a bird flying over a garden near the Flats on June 14th 2009, one over Alexandra Lake on March 25th 2012, and another at Alexandra Lake on March 9th 2013. On the 10th March 2014 2 birds were seen flying east over the pub scrub. Also 2 birds seen flying over the SSSI on the 14th March 2015. With records coming in again the following year from March suggest that this bird is becoming a more regular spring (Mar-Apr) visitor

Crow: Common breeding resident.

Hooded Crow: Historic records from Wanstead Flats in the 1950s, and during the hard winter of 1962/63, but none in the modern era until what appeared to be a Hoodie was chased off the SSSI by around 30 Carrion Crow on the 4th of April 2015. On March 23 of 2016 one was found on Alex where it stayed for about 30 minutes before flying south.

Raven: A nest was seen in the Heronry in Wanstead Park in 1833 or 1834 (Gurney). While there has been a more recent record, the first for may years was seen circling over the flats before flying north on the 25th of May 2016 (it was subsequently seen in Hackney later that day)

Starling: Common breeding resident, with numbers increasing during winter, when congregations of over 1000 can occur.

House Sparrow: Breeding resident in small numbers.

Tree Sparrow: A recent record in 2010 of a bird visiting a garden feeder adjacent to the Park is the only one since 1985. Prior to this they were regular in the Old Sewage Works, but declined when this ceased operation in 1978.

Chaffinch: Resident breeding bird in small numbers. Larger numbers seen on passage.

Brambling: Autumn passage migrant in very small numbers. 2014 was a very good autumn passage with 3 flocks in excess of 20 birds during October

Linnet: Scarce visitor, mainly seen in spring. The Old Sewage Works has the most records, with the largest number seen being 28 on March 6th 2010. In 2013 a record count of 42 birds was noted on several days on the Police Scrape in the first Winter period a record broken in 2014 when flocks of over 50 occurred at the same location.

Lesser Redpoll: Winter visitor in small numbers, generally in small concentrated flocks, though sometimes upwards of 50. The SSSI is a favoured area, though they can be seen anywhere.


Mealy Redpoll: Winter visitor overlooked because they are a bit of an arse to pin down.  Two birds over the SSSI on the 6th November and one again over the western flats on the 14th November, 2013, but there have been more.

Goldfinch: Resident, breeding suspected but not proven. Larger numbers in winter.

Greenfinch: Common Resident, breeds in small numbers.

Siskin: Regular winter visitor, with flocks of c40 often found in the Dell. Also observed on autumn passage. Numbers fall when there is a good spruce year (2013/2014/2015), though out of season birds can turn up at anytime. 2015 saw numbers rising from August onwards on big movement from the continent (344 birds reported for the month of September).

Bullfinch: Occasionally seen in the Old Sewage Works, were once more widespread, for instance 6 in the Park on January 1st 2002.

Hawfinch: Present in the Park during the 1960s, I have been able to find a record of 3 birds on May 3rd 1963, with another in 1964. Slightly more recently, a record of a single bird flying over the Park on October 6th 1985. Recent sightings over the Esso Copse October 22-24th, 2012 concern one or possibly two birds.

Common Crossbill: Rare visitor, almost always as a fly-over, and even then only in good Crossbill years.


Serin: One seen and heard flying over Leyton Flats (Snaresbrook Court) on the 12th October 2016, with Goldfinch

Reed Bunting: Breeding resident either side of Centre Road on the Flats. The SSSI holds the most birds.

Lapland Bunting: As part of an national influx in October 2010, single birds flew over the Flats on three dates. In 2014 a female stayed for 2 days in the grassland to the south of Alex from the 16th October.

Snow Bunting: A single record from the Flats on November 19th 1938 was the only known record until a first winter female was flushed from the long grass on Wanstead Flats on the morning of November 7th 2011, part of a small London influx.

Yellowhammer: Once more common, now a rare passage migrant in small numbers. The latest record is of a sub-adult male on March 1st 2011 near the Cat and Dog Pond on the Flats and more recently in the Autumn of 2012 and 1 heard calling on the 2nd January 2013. 4 records from 2014 including a singing male by Cat & Dog in the spring of that year.

Corn Bunting: Used to breed on Wanstead Golf Course before the 1960s.


Ortolan Bunting: A single 1w bird spent the day in the brooms trying to avoid our best efforts of approach on the 7th September 2016




* pending acceptance by LNHS records committee

This list has been compiled from London Bird Reports 1940-2006, Wanstead Wildlife website (which in turn has taken records from the WREN Group bird reports), and from the records of active local birders. To all who have aided in the preparation of these reports and the reporting of sightings, many thanks.