Site list

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

Whooper Swan: Very Rare
A group of five flew NNW over Wanstead Flats mid-morning on 25th November 2023, having been seen previously on the Thames. (JL, TB, MH)

Bewick's Swan: Very Rare
Alexandra Lake 5th February to 21st March, 1931 EN XXIII p. 150
One record of a bird on the Basin in the winter of 1947
Seven flew east over the park on 16th December 2017 (NC)

White-fronted Goose: Rare
50-60 birds flew over the Flats on 28th January 1979.
One Shoulder of Mutton in the spring of 1987 (BV)
Juvenile on Jubilee on 3rd & 10th December 2007
c100 birds over the Flats 22nd December 2011 (NC)
Fifteen over the Flats 8th October 2016 (JL)
1cy bird east over Alex on the 26th March 2019 
A pair of long-staying birds on Alex and adjacent football pitches from 30th November 2020 (Dennis Ellison) to 1st January 2021  
A flock of c25 birds flew east over SSSI at 15:00 on 13th December 2022 (NC)
Pink-footed Goose: Very rare
A flock over the Flats at 23:30 16th September 2022 (BV noc mig)

Greylag Goose: Common resident breeder
Numerous feral birds can usually be found around Alexandra Lake on the Flats. 
Highest count 85 in September 2017.

Canada Goose: Common resident breeder
A large flock of c200 birds is resident on Wanstead Flats

Brent Goose: Very Rare
3 dark-bellied form over Wanstead Park on the 21st January 2010

Shelduck: A regular spring flyover
In April 2015 flocks of 10 birds were noted on several occasions.
The earliest was 1st January 2016 flying east over Heronry

Egyptian Goose: Common resident breeder
Once relatively rare, a steady increase since 2011 has resulted in regular counts of over 50

Mandarin Duck: A scarce visitor
A pair on Heronry 19th April 1984
A pair on the Ornamental Waters 11th March 2012 for a week, mating attempted
A male on Heronry on the afternoon of the 30th March 2014 (NC)
A male on Alexandra Lake April 6th 2019 was very (very!) confiding.
A male in the Park on 5th May 2020.
Small numbers of records in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Mallard: Common resident breeder.

Pintail: Very rare.
There is a record of a pair on 10th October 1963,
A female on the Ornamental Waters on 1st February 1975. 
A female flew over Alexandra Lake on 30th September 2020 (NC)
An eclipse male on Jubilee Pond 10th September 2023 then Heronry 10th-17th September (MH)

Gadwall: Common winter visitor, declining
Numbers can reach three figures but are normally around 60 birds.
In 2013 a 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: Common winter visitor
90 on 13th December 2015 is the record count

Wigeon: Scarce winter visitor and on passage
Early winter period of 2015 saw numbers rise to 40 birds

Teal: Winter visitor
Seen in the Park, on the Roding and on Alexandra Lake. 65 on in the Park on 14th October 2018 is the record count

Garganey: Very rare
A pair on Heronry 23rd April 2009 (JL)
A male spent the day on Jubilee on the 31st March 2019 (RS)
A female flying over Long Wood 14th July 2021 (NC)
An eclipse male on Alexandra Lake, 26th August 2021 (RS)

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 Alexandra Lake–the first record for the area

Red-crested Pochard: Scarce visitor
A pair on Heronry from January 9th to 12th February 2009
A juvenile on Heronry from 17th September to the 24th 2013
Adult male on the Ornamental Waters on the 25th April 2014
A juvenile on the Heronry August 2014
Male Heronry 14th May 2016 (JH)
Female Jubilee Pond 26th February 2017 (JL)
Female Heronry 16th December (RS)
Ferruginous Duck: Extremely rare
An adult male on Jubilee Pond 16th Jan 2024 (TH)

Tufted Duck: Resident, common winter visitor
Usually around 60, though can peak close to 100. Found on all the ponds
Small numbers also present as a resident non-breeder, and has occasionally bred, e.g. on Jubilee

Scaup: Extremely Rare
Seven or eight birds on the Basin in 1929

Common Scoter: Very rare passage migrant
A drake on the Basin on May 25th  1959
A drake on the Basin December 23rd  1961
2 'live' nocmig records evening of 2nd April 2020 involving multiple birds, part of a nationwide movement (JL)

Goldeneye: Scarce visitor.
A female Alexandra Lake from November 20th to December 24th 1977
A female Alexandra Lake March 23rd 1999
A female Heronry 2nd 2009 to end of December. 
Two females on Heronry 15th October 2012
Four birds, three males and a female 20th February 2013 on the Perch Pond (DH)
2 records of 2 birds over Bush Wood, 3rd November 2015 and ?
One Alexandra Lake (then Shoulder of Mutton) 21st November 2015 (NC)
A female on Roding behind Ornamentals 3rd February 2018 (NC)

Goosander: Scarce visitor 
A pair flew over Perch 5th January 1997 (BV)
One flew over Wanstead Flats on 20th December 2009
Female 28th January 2011 on the Ornamental Waters, and Perch next day
Four drakes and a duck 9th February 2012 on the Basin briefly
Pair flew over Long Wood 23rd October 2017 (NC)
Female over Jubilee 10th November 2017
Drake Perch pond 28th December 2020 then long staying various numbers for several days into Jan with peak of seven birds on 1st Jan 2021 (SR)
Drake west over Long Wood 9th April 2022 (NC)

Smew: Very rare.
A female on the Ornamental Waters on 13th November 2006
Two females on the Roding from 8th February 2012 for about a week

Ruddy Duck: Former breeder
First noted around 1998
2 pairs bred on the Flats in 2003
Last record on Heronry 14th July 2007

Pallas' Sand Grouse Extremely Rare
Several records from the invasion summer of 1863
Bird shot on Wanstead Flats in July 1864

Red-legged Partridge: Rare visitor
A pair bred in the Old Sewage works in 1977
A pair from February 2004 through to March 2006 in local gardens near SSSI
One on the Flats in April 2015, which stayed for a number of days
One seen briefly in Alex scrub 4th April 2021 (MJ)
One in large Skylark enclosure 27th March 2024 (TB)

Grey Partridge: Former breeder?
Last reported as being present in 1981

Pheasant: Rare visitor
Once present in small numbers in the vicinity of the Old Sewage works in the late 1970s. Heard more often than seen rcently.
Male SSSI from 7th February 2010 until at least 26th April
Male on golf course April 2014
Male in OSW February 2017
Heard in OSW 2019 and 2020
One seen in Pub Scrub 28th March 2021 (MJ)
One regularly in Brooms, April 2022 (JL)
Female Wanstead Flats 31st October 2023 (June ?)

Quail: Very Rare
Record from 1889 in Manor Park (Birds of Newham, Colin Plant)
One flushed from the grasslands to the east of centre path on 24th August 2013 (BV)
A nogmig record, 15th May 2020 (JL)
One, or possibly two, calling in fenced off area of brooms 7th June 2021 (NC)

Red-throated Diver: Very Rare
Juvenile January 1877 (A Lister)
January 1887 on the Basin
Record from 1930
Bird recovered dead on the Flats on 11th February 1964
A single bird on Heronry for a few hours 1st December 2002  (BV)

Black-throated Diver Extremely Rare
Wanstead Park in 1881.

Slavonian Grebe: Extremely rare
3-17th January-2015 on Heronry (NC)

Black-necked Grebe: Very Rare
Shoulder-of-Mutton, a superb summer plumage bird, from 24th to 29th April 1981 (BV)
Alexandra Lake, a summer plumage individual, from 3rd May - August 2021 (MH)
Alexandra Lake, presumably the same individual as the previous year, 11 April 2022 (RS, SK)
Alexandra Lake back once again from 28th March 2023 (NC) however this time with a partner! A news blackout ensued, but one of the pair left 12th May and the presumed original bird died of injuries 30th May 2023.

Little Grebe: Breeding resident in small numbers

Great Crested Grebe: Resident breeder in small numbers
The Basin, Heronry and Perch Ponds are favoured
Two pairs bred 2012 and 2014

Red-necked Grebe: Extremely Rare
" 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: Very Rare
Adult on Shoulder of Mutton on 1st May 1981 after storm
A bird flew west over Wanstead Park on 25th September 2010
Four birds over the cemetery on 24th September 2018, they had been seen flying down the Thames at Rainham early morning.
A bird flew over the Flats 26th Spetember 2021 (NC), probably the bird seen flying down the Thames from Coalhouse Fort

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

Little Egret: Common resident
Increasingly common in small numbers.
In 2015 14 birds were seen on Heronry taking advantage of the low water levels. During a drought in July 2018 there were  regularly double figures of Little Egret found with a record of 39 birds found across the patch on 27 July, with the majority on the Ornamental Waters. Birds are frequently found on the Roding.

Great White Egret: Rare
Perch Pond 8th January 2018 and then returned for a few days on 16th January
One flew over Alexandra Lake 24th March 2018 (NC, RV)
One flew W over Wanstead Flats 9th October 2018 (JL)
One flew E down Lakehouse Road on 25th March 2020 (JL)
Two birds flew NW over the Flats towards Walthamstow on 12th October 2020
Several records of flyovers in 2020 to be added.
One flew over Wanstead Flats 29th Aug 2021 (JL, RS) 
One flew from N to SSSI and landed briefly 14th Jan 2024 (NC, JL)

Cattle Egret: Very rare
One in Wanstead Park on May 10th 1998 (BV)
Two flew over the brooms on 4th November 2018 (NC)

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

White Stork: Very rare 
One spent time at Rainham and then flew back over London 16th April 2019 (NC)

Osprey: Very Rare
Southbound fly-over early in the morning of  7th September 2011 (JL)
Over the flats on the 8th April 2014 (NC)
A single bird was reported on 13th April 2016 over the Esso copse 
A bird flew south over the brooms 28th September 2019 (TB)
A Scottish colour-ringed bird flew north west over the Flats and Park on 6th May 2021 (NC)

Red Kite: Increasing visitor
Increasing passage migrant, especially in spring. The final two weeks of March are consistently the best but birds can be seen at any time.

Buzzard: Regular visitor
Occasional visitor and passage migrant in spring.
On the 6th September 2014 a large movement of Buzzard was seen over Heronry in the afternoon, 24 birds counted

Honey Buzzard: Extremely rare.
A bird over the Park on 23rd September 2000 was part of the large national influx (BV)

Marsh Harrier: Rare
A single on 8th May 2011, seen from the Old Sewage Works*
26th August 2012 seen from the Lake House Scrub*
A single 20th March 2013
A juvenile bird was recorded over Long Wood on the 27th August ?
A female circling over Jubilee on 26th March 2018 (NC)
A bird flew over the brooms 5th October 2019 (JL,TB)
A bird flew over the SSSI on 3rd August 2020 (NC)
A bird flew over the western Flats on 4th September 2021 (NC)

Sparrowhawk: Breeding resident in small numbers.
Kestrel: Resident in small numbers.
Breeding suspected.

Hobby: Breeding summer visitor in small numbers.

Peregrine: Regular visitor.
Birds are resident in neighbouring boroughs and a regularly seen flying over Wanstead Flats. A family with three young birds were seen perched on a tower by the Western Flats on 2nd July 2016 (JH).

Merlin: Very rare
Two records from 2010, both from Wanstead Flats 
Male was seen over the flats on the 19th November 2013
A female around Alexandra Lake before being seen off by crows on the 28th November 2016
A female too prey over the Brooms on 23rd April 2022  (JL, TB et al) and we seen the following day also.
A male flew through the brooms April 29th 2023 (BV)

Corncrake: Extremely rare
Reported in 1909 as being a common summer visitor in the area
22nd October 2017 one flushed Long Wood (NC)

Water Rail: Mainly winter visitor
Birds regularly winter on the Roding and ponds in the Park
Possible breeding with a young bird on the Roding July 2016

Moorhen: Common breeding resident.

Coot: Common breeding resident.
Counts of over 200 not uncommon
Common Crane: Extremely rare
Two flew over the Park going south-east on 27th September 2020 havnig been first seen at Tyttenhanger, Herts, and were subsequently also seen over Rainham (JL)

Oystercatcher: Very rare, however more frequent recent records at night
A single bird flying east over the Flats on 12th November 2011 in very foggy weather (heard only)
23rd October 2013, one was heard over the western flats very early in the morning (JL)
12th April 2020, a nocmig record (JL)
14th July 2020, a bird heard late at night going east over the Park (NC)
24th August 2020, a nocmig record (JL)
9th September 2020, a nocmig record (JL)
12th July 2021, a bird flying around Alexandra Lake mid-morning, the first ever bird seen. (MH)

Stone-Curlew: Very rare
Broom Fields on the Flats on 5-6th April 2011 (NC)
SSSI 24th March 2013 (JL)

Little Ringed Plover: Scarce spring passage migrant
Occasionally seen on the banks of Alexandra Lake in March or April.
Female 1-6th April 2013, on Police Scrape
2 birds over Long Wood on 12th May 2013.
2 juvenile birds reported on the 29th June, 2015 flushed from the shore of Alexandra Lake
3 on Heronry on 10th April 2017
1 on Alexandra Lake 22nd April 2017
One recorded on noc mig over Belgrave Road 1st May 2022 (BV)

Ringed Plover: Very rare
3 birds were seen flying across the fairground on the 26th April, 2015 (NC)
One recorded on noc mig over Belgrave Road 23rd Sept 2021 at 21-40 (BV)
One heard flying over brooms 1st Nov 2022 (NC)

Dotterel: Extremely rare
A record of two birds shot on Wanstead Flats in about 1885 (Glegg),

Golden Plover: Scarce winter visitor
Usually of one or two birds flying over in hard weather
20 on 3rd February 2006. 
Six over Alexandra Lake on 5th February 2012 during hard weather
Three birds on Police Scrape on 25th March 2013
14 over Flats 13th October 2014
One bird landed on the Flats on 9th April 2015
One bird over Alexandra Lake 4th December 2016
Two birds over Long Wood 28th February 2018 (TH)
A noc mig record 16th October 2020 (BV) 
Several sightings during the February 2021 cold snap, including a flock of 7 (NC, JL, RS)
A couple of noc mig recordings Sept 2021 (BV)

Grey Plover: Extremely Rare
A single over the Flats  9th February 2012 morning, during a period of hard weather (NC)
A noc mig record 21st April 2020 (BV)
Lapwing: Scarce passage visitor
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 5th February 2012 an astonishing 373 birds were recorded, with one flock totaling over 100 birds. The most recent significant sighting was a total of at least 840 birds recorded on 28th February 2018 in exceptionally cold and snowy weather

Dunlin: Rare, annual on noc mig
Jubilee Pond on 6th February 1979
Alexandra Lake from 31st August to September 3rd 1980
A juvenile spent the day of 21st April 2010 on Jubilee Pond
2 birds were seen feeding on Alexandra Lake on 11th May 2016 (BV)
A single bird in very cold weather on Perch Pond 1st March 2018(NC)
3 birds on Alex 20th September 2020 (RR) 
A bird stayed on Alex for three days from 29th September 2020
A noc mig recording 9th October 2021(BV)
A single bird recorded with Redshank on noc mig 23rd Oct 2021

Wood Sandpiper: Very rare
One on the banks of Alexandra Lake on 11th August 2009 (JL)
One on Angel on the 19th April 2011 (NC/JL)

Green Sandpiper: Scarce passage migrant, annual on noc mig
One appears to have over wintered from Nov-2011 and April 2012.
April 2015 was an exceptional month with 7 birds seen in the space of a few days.
April 24th 2021 saw 3+ birds on Wanstead Flats
July 29th two birds over Alex football pitch (TB)

Common Sandpiper: Scarce passage migrant
More numerous in early autumn. Alexandra Lake and Heronry most likely locations. In September 2020 a bird spent over 10 days on Alexandra Lake.

Redshank: Very rare
Essex Field Club report of a Redshank over the flats in April 1983. 
8th August 2013, one heard calling over Alexandra Lake and towards Manor Park
One flying north over the SSSI on the 27th April 2015 (NC)
One recorded 6th Sept 2021 on noc mig (BV) 
A small flock recorded on noc mig 23rd Oct 2021 (BV)

Greenshank: Rare
A record from 15th September 1985 on Heronry.
16th August 1986 a bird for two days on Shoulder of Mutton (BV)
A bird heard calling over Alexandra Lake on the morning of the 7th September, 2012
A bird heard calling over the brooms on the 29th September 2014.
2 birds flew low through Alexandra Lake on 10th May 2016
Two birds flew over western Flats 14th Aug 2019 (NC)
A long-staying bird on Heronry in September 2019 (NC) was joined by a second bird for a few minutes on September 7th before both departed (JL)
A heard-only record on Wanstead Flats 5th September 2020 (JL/TB)

Curlew: Rare
Twelve flew over the Park on 21st August 1971.
Nine birds flew over the Flats on 9th March 2013 (DH)
A single, although heard only, over 8th March 2014, heard over Leyton Flats soon after (BV)
A single bird over Alex playing field 12th July 2020 (RS)
A bird photographed flying NW over the Lakehouse Estate on 30th August 2020 (JL)
A nocmig record over the Lakehouse Estate on 24th August 2021 (BV/JL)
Six flew over Long Wood, morning of 5th September 2021 (RR/JL)

Whimbrel: Rare, however multiple records at night
A record of two birds on the Flats on 6th May 1999 (HV)
A fly over 2nd September 2011 (NC)
A flock of 33 were reported flying east in tight formation on 23rd April 2012 (NC)
A sighting of two birds W over Alexandra Lake on 27th April (NC)
A nocmig record 16th April 2020 (JL,BV)
A sighting of two birds flying NW over the Flats early morning of 19th April  (JL)
A nocmig record 20th April 2020 (JL)
A nocmig record 30th April 2020 (JL)
A nocmig record 4th May 2020 (JL)
A nocmig record 13th August 2020 (BV)
3+1 flew east on 24th April 2021 (JH et al)
Sighting of one 5th May 2022 (TH)
Bar-tailed Godwit: Extremey rare
One recorded 18.04.20 flying over Belgrave Road (BV)
Black-tailed Godwit: Very rare
A flock of six reported from Shoulder of Mutton pond on 21st August 2010 
Two flying over Wanstead Flats on 31st July 2012 in poor weather (DH).
Individual on Alexandra Lake 4th August 2018 (JL).

Woodcock: Scarce winter visitor
May be seen flying onto the golf course at dusk, otherwise occasionally disturbed anywhere in winter.

Snipe: Winter visitor, declining
A few used to be regularly found on the wetter parts of the SSSI, but has become scarce and more scattered over the last few years with recent birds flushed from or flying over the brooms. In October 2018 a pair of Snipe were seen regularly on Shoulder of Mutton (JH).

Jack Snipe:Scarce winter visitor
26th October 1979 from Heronry
5th February 2012 Alexandra Lake
29th September 2013 near Alexandra Lake
23rd September 2014 near Alexandra Lake
6th December 2014 on Angel Lake
22nd October 2016 on Alexandra Lake
27th February 2018 flew on to Jubilee Pond
5th October 2019 bird flushed from DoD and flew around Alex (TB)
2020 - Angel Pond and Fairground Flats

Grey Phalarope: Very Rare
One shot in Wanstead Park on 5th October 1875.
One shot Wanstead Flats on 21st November 1888
A bird on Heronry on 14th November 1963

Ruff: Very rare
Two birds 1st to 10th February 1976, initially on Alexandra Lake
A single bird on Heronry on  31st August 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 28th February 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 28th February 2010

Kittiwake: Very rare
A bird flying over the Shoulder of Mutton Pond on 19th August 2011
Wanstead Flats 25th March 2012
Wanstead Flats 13th April 2013
An exhausted bird on Wanstead flats on the 7th January 2014 (NC)
A 1W on Wanstead Flats 9th February 2021 (RR)

Mediterranean Gull: Scarce annual visitor
A regular returning bird was thought to account for annual winter records
2014 had reports of at least 6 birds, so probably increasing
More recently a long-staying bird over the winter 2020/21 (RR), joined briefly by a second bird on 19th December 2021 (JL/TB).

Herring Gull: Regular winter visitor
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
May be found on the Flats, usually in late summer.
2017 was a good year with a number of sightings reported including 2 birds that became resident from September onwards by Alexandra Lake (2w and 3w).
More recently several 2CY birds in early 2021.

Caspian Gull: Rare winter visitor
A bird seen briefly on February 26th 2011 (JL) 
A 1st winter bird from November 2015 on and off to February 2016 (BV)
A 1st winter bird on Alex 4th-5th November 2018 (NC,JH)
Becoming more regular in recent years, latest record of either a single or two 1W birds on 5th April 2021.
Iceland Gull: Extremely rare
A first winter bird toured the Flats 23rd March 2021 and was seen on and off for three days (MH)

Great Black-backed Gull: Scarce winter visitor
Usually as a flyover, most probably to and from the roosts on the Chingford Reservoirs. 
An adult has been regular on the Brick pit in the past few winters
A record of 41 on the Flats on 7th October 2001 is exceptional

Lesser Black-backed Gull: Resident breeder
A few remain over summer in the Park and Flats, with more coming in during the winter. Peak count of 50 on 1st October 2010

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

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

Arctic Tern: Extremely rare
Three birds flying high over the Flats, calling, on 28th August 2011
4th August 2021 (NC)

Little Auk: Extremely rare
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.
Formerly a passage migrant, now extremely rare
Long Wood 19th May 2010 (JL)
1 flew through the brooms 23rd Sept 2020 (NC)
Perched briefly near Alex then flew south 1st May 2022 (TH)

Ring-necked Parakeet: Common breeding resident
First reported from Wanstead Park as early as 1985, this has become a resident bird
Many breed around the Ornamental Waters and in West Copse on Wanstead Flats, but larger noisy flocks of 60 can be seen flying north over the Flats every morning, returning south in the evening.

Cuckoo: Scarce passage migrant
Formerly regular in spring, now scarce but mostly annual (2019 was a blank year)
Short-eared Owl: Scarce visitor
A few sightings annually

Tawny Owl: Breeding resident in small numbers

Barn Owl: Very rare
A few historic records from the 1970s
A pair were resident in Wanstead Park throughout 1993
A bird flew around the Flats twice chased by crows early morning of 20th October 2018 (TB) (Plumage and behaviour suggest an adult female)

Little Owl: Returned resident breeder
At least one pair is thought to have bred in the copses on Wanstead Flats
2017 with three birds being seen in East Copse during the late summer
Two pairs bred in 2018 and at least one annually since

Swift: Summer visitor and breeds locally

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

Hoopoe: Extremely rare
A single record of a bird on 30th April 1976, from Wanstead Park

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

European Bee-eater: Extremely rare
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: Common breeding resident
Very common in the Park and on the Flats

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker: Very rare
A few pairs formerly bred in Wanstead Park, mainly around the Ornamental Waters.
In 2010, a pair bred on Wanstead Flats and were present all year
1st January 2016 a male was seen by the Basin (NC) and a bird heard near the Ornamental Waters (TH)
In April 2021 a bird was recorded in the CoL Cemetery.

Wryneck: Very rare
17th to 24th September 2010 east of Alexandra Lake (NC)
25-30th August 2012 in the Lake House Scrub (TB)
3rd September, 2013 Long Wood for about a week (BV)
30th August - 3rd September 2015 Long Wood
4th September 2021 south of Long Wood (JL)

Skylark: Resident breeder on Wanstead Flats

Woodlark: Annual but scarce migrant
A record from the Golf Course in the summer of 1967, otherwise usually fly overs in autumn.

Sand Martin: Scarce summer visitor
Sometimes common on passage

Swallow: Passage migrant
Sometimes in very large numbers

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

House Martin: Scare breeding summer visitor
There is a small colony just off the flats to the north off Aldersbrook Road.
Often common on passage

Rock Pipit: Very rare
Rare visitor, sometimes heard in flight over Wanstead Flats.
2 over Alexandra Lake on separate dates (15th and 22nd) in October 2017 (NC)
One seen 16th October 2018 (NC)
At least one on the Flats 23rd October 2019 (BV, NC)

Meadow Pipit: Breeding resident on Wanstead Flats
Numbers augmented during autumn passage, when up to 50. A high of 257 were counted on visible migration on 22nd September 2018

Tree Pipit: Regular passage migrant on Wanstead Flats
Mostly in autumn when birds may stay for a few days

Water Pipit: Very rare
One bird on Alexendra Lake on the 18th March 2011 (NC)
One photographed on Alexandra Lake 21st October 2018 (NC)

White Wagtail: Uncommon breeding resident.
Pied Wagtail generally found around the margins of Jubilee Pond and Alexandra Lake.
White Wagtail is a scarce passage migrant

Yellow Wagtail: Regular passage migrant
Most records are now of calling birds flying over, commoner when cattle grazed the Flats, which ceased in 1996
A flock of 8 was seen briefly on migration through the brooms, 25th August 2018
Blue-headed Wagtail (2 birds) were seen on Alexandra Lake from 15-20th April, 1977 (Birds of Newham, Colin Plant)

Grey Wagtail: Scarce breeding resident
Numbers swelled by passage birds moving in late autumn

Waxwing: Rare
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: Very Rare
One sang briefly near the Plain in the Park on 25th April 2010
3-4th September 2013 in scrub near Long Wood (NC)
A singing bird in Motorcycle Wood on the 22nd April 2017 (NC)
A bird in the newly burnt Alexandra Lake scrub 15th-16 August 2020 (TB)
A singing bird on the edge of Long Wood 24th April 2010 (TB)

Black Redstart: Very rare
On the Golf Course on 11th October 1981
Immature male for three days on Wanstead Flats from 11th April 2013 (NC)

Common Redstart: Passage migrant
Records are concentrated on the Flats 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: Annual passage migrant
Any time from mid-March to the end of April, returning again from mid-August to the beginning of October

Whinchat: Annual passage migrant
Sometimes in good 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
A male was singing by Alexandra Lake spring 2016

Stonechat: Annual winter visitor
Declining winter visitor on the Flats, with birds also recorded on passage, 
2020 saw exceptional autumn counts however.

Song Thrush: Common breeding resident

Redwing: Winter visitor and autumn passage migrant
Maximum counts of hundreds 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,
Maximum counts of hundreds generally of birds migrating south during October

Blackbird: Common breeding resident.

Ring Ouzel: Scarce passage migrant
Nearly all are found on the Flats in spring and autumn, 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: Scarce visitor, occasional breeder
Mainly passage birds in early autumn, 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: Summer breeder
Also passage migrant

Dartford Warbler: Extremely Rare
Male in the Broom Fields for several days from 31st October 2009
Male in the Brooms from 30th Sept 2022, a second bird turned up in October, both birds remained into 2023 despite 12 cm of snow in December which lay for a week. (MJ)

Sedge Warbler: Scare migrant
Annual and usually on autumn passage. 
2013 was a good year for sightings on the Flats with up to 5 birds present on Autumn passage

Cetti's Warbler: Rare migrant
Single bird heard in the south-west corner of the Perch Pond on 3rd April 2008
A report of one from the Hollow Ponds from July 2015
One singing by Alexandra Lake on the 2nd May 2016 (NC)
One on the Roding May to June 2016 (BV)
One singing on the Roding 14th April to the end of July in 2017.
A bird in the Alexandra Lake scrub for several weeks in spring 2019.
Becoming more regular as of 2020, with up to 3 birds along the Roding in spring 2021.

Grasshopper Warbler: Rare passage migrant
Possibly some old records
An elusive bird in the scrub east of Alexandra Lake for a few days in late August 2011. 
A singing bird in the Old Sewage Works on the 14th April, 2015
Blyth's Reed Warbler: Extremely rare
One singing on the 26th May 2014 in a thicket west of Centre Road (3rd for London) (NC)

Reed Warbler: Scarce summer breeder,
One or two pairs have bred on Shoulder of Mutton in recent years
A few are regularly seen in passage on the Flats

Willow Warbler: Summer visitor, probably declining
Regular in spring and autumn on passage. 
Former breeder and a pair bred in the SSSI in 2013 rearing 4 chicks

Yellow-browed Warbler: Rare, but increasing
A single bird reported from the Dell 11th October 2015 (JL)
A vocal bird in Motorcycle Wood 8th October 2016 (JH,JL)
A calling bird on Alexandra Lake island from 7th December to early January 2016 (NC)
A bird seen in Long Wood 29th September 2018 (TB) 
One on Alex island (NC) and another heard SoM 17th October 2018 (BV)

Wood Warbler: Rare passage migrant
12th May 1985 singing male Warren Wood
A singing bird 25-26th April 2015 in the SSSI (TB)
A bird on passage on 30th April 2019 in Long Wood
Our first Autumn Wood Warbler on 22nd August 2023 (JL)

Chiffchaff: Common breeding summer visitor
A small number of birds will overwinter

Goldcrest: Breeding resident,
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
This elusive bird favours Bush Wood, Reservoir Wood and the area near the Grotto
Winter 2014/15 was a poor winter with none in Bush Wood 
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: Annual passage migrant
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
A bird is often found in spring in mid-May, but the final week of August is peak time and the area around Alexandra Lake has hosted as many as eight birds simultaneously

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Extremely rare
The only known record is from the Park on 4th September1968

Pied Flycatcher: Annual scarce passage migrant
Spring records are rare with most records in late August and September

Great Tit: Common breeding resident

Coal Tit: Breeding resident
Increasing in numbers, though far from common, with birds present in Reservoir Wood, Bush Wood, the Lake House Estate, and in Aldersbrook Wood

Marsh Tit: Former breeding resident
Five nests were recorded in 1977, the last observation was in 1978

Willow Tit: Former breeding resident
The last breeding record was in 1976, and the last known sighting on 2nd January 1984

Blue Tit: Common breeding resident

Long-tailed Tit: Common breeding resident

Nuthatch: Resident
Recent increase in records from Reservoir and Bush Woods as well as alongside the Ornamental Waters.

Treecreeper: Scarce
Went unrecorded for many years until a bird was found in Reservoir Wood in November 2009, since then single birds have been found in Wanstead Park
In 2013 a pair was located in Bush Wood from 10th November onwards and birds have been regular there in winter since then.

Great Grey Shrike: Very rare
A record from Wanstead Park on 4th April 1971
A female trapped and ringed in the Old Sewage Works 22nd October 1977.
One spent a couple of hours on the flats on the 29th October 2017 (TB)

Red-backed Shrike: Former breeder, now very rare
Probably bred in the Old Sewage Works up until about 1950.
A juvenile was trapped and ringed in the Old Sewage Works 1st November 1980
A crowd pleasing immature Alex scrub 28th August-7th September 2018 (NC)

Magpie: Common breeding resident

Jay: Breeding resident
Numbers appear to increase in autumn and winter

Jackdaw: Common resident,
Only started to colonise the area this millennium. Now good numbers on the Flats near Alexandra Lake, breeding birds in surrounding streets, and a growing roost near the Golf Course.

Rook: Scare spring passage migrant.
Records are annual in spring, but usually fly throughs.

Crow: Common breeding resident.

Hooded Crow: Very rare
Historic records from Wanstead Flats in the 1950s, and during the hard winter of 1962/6
23rd March 2016 one found on Alexandra Lake where it stayed for about 30 minutes (BV)

Raven: Very rare, increasing
A nest was seen in the Heronry in Wanstead Park in 1833 or 1834 (Gurney) 
Scoped over Olympic Park 8th April 2020 (JL).
One flew NNW over the Flats, Park and Bush Wood on 27th August 2021 (NC)
One 8th April 2022, another 7th August (both NC)
One seen over Long Wood 12th March (LL)

Starling: Common breeding resident
Numbers increase during winter, when congregations of over 1000 can occur.

House Sparrow: Breeding resident.

Tree Sparrow: Former breeder
They were regular in the Old Sewage works and the woods by the Ornamental Waters.
Three the Ornamental Waters 7th February 1987
One 26th April 1987 (BV)
A recent record in 2010 of a bird visiting a garden feeder adjacent to the Park. 
A bird of the year on the Flats from 2nd September 2022 (MH)

Chaffinch: Resident breeding bird
Quite small numbers breed but many hundreds may be seen on passage in autumn

Brambling: Autumn passage migrant
Small numbers most years. 2014 and 2017 were particularly good.

Linnet: Annual winter visitor
Formerly probably bred, but now mainly seen in winter and spring in small numbers.
A record count of 50 was seen on Police Scrape in 2015.

Lesser Redpoll: Scarce winter visitor
Generally in small concentrated flocks, though sometimes upwards of 50. The SSSI is a favoured area, though they can be seen anywhere.
(Mealy Redpoll: Very rare winter visitor One wintered with a flock of Lesser Redpoll in early 2014)

Goldfinch: Resident breeder 
Larger numbers in winter. A single flock of 70-80 birds on 14th October 2018 flew over the Brooms.

Greenfinch: Resident breeder
Numbers seem to be declining

Siskin: Regular winter visitor
Flocks of c40 often found in the Dell in good years. Also observed on autumn passage. 2015 saw numbers rising from August onwards on big movement from the continent with 344 birds reported for the month of September.

Bullfinch: Scarce winter visitor
Once quite widespread they are now rather elusive.
Six in the Park on January 1st January 2002.
Four in West Long wood December 2017
One female next to Heronry from 19th  January 2018
31st Dec 2019 into New Year
A pair reported from early 2021 in the Park. (MM)

Hawfinch: Scarce passage migrant
Present in the Park during the 1960s, records of 3 birds on 3rd May 1963, with another in 1964.
A single bird flying over the Park on 6th October 1985.
One or two birds Esso Copse 22-24th October 2012
One flew along Long Wood on the 19th October 2016.
Records of two Wanstead Flats on 23rd October 2017, 9 Wanstead Flats on 28th October 2017 and one Wanstead Flats 30th October 2017
A bird in the OSW from 20th January 2018

Common Crossbill: Rare visitor,
Almost always as a fly-over, and only in good Crossbill years. 
19th October 2011
27th July 2012
17th July 2013
31st July 2015 
6th July 2020 (JL, NC) and later (TB)

Reed Bunting: Scarce breeding resident
The SSSI usually holds the most birds

Snow Bunting: Very rare
A record from the Flats on 19th November 1938
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 (NC)

Lapland Bunting: Rare migrant
As part of an national influx in October 2010, single birds flew over the Flats on three dates (NC)
A female in the grassland to the south of Alexandra Lake from the 16-17th October 2014 (NC)

Yellowhammer: Annual passage migrant
Once more common.
Three in the park 14th December 1986
Sub-adult male on 1st  March 2011 near the Cat and Dog Pond
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.
One over Ditch of Despair on 30th March 2016
One in the brooms 14th October 2017
Two in Long Wood 28th February 2018
One in the Brooms, 8th October 2018
One over Brooms, 30th March 2021 (JL, JH)
One over Brooms, 5th April 2021 (TB)
One (poss two) over Brooms, 18th April 2021 (SR, JL, MJ)

Rustic Bunting: Extremely Rare
Only the fourth record for London 17th-22nd October 2018 (NC)

Corn Bunting: Former breeder
Used to breed on Wanstead Golf Course before the 1960s
After discussion, a juvenile photographed in bush in the brooms 24th October 2020 (JH, BV)
4th June 2023 a bird was on the flats in the evening (NC)

Ortolan Bunting: Very rare
7th  September 2016 a single 1w bird spent the day in the brooms (NC, BV)
13th September 2022 a noc mig recording (BV) 
8th September 2023 a noc mig recording (BV)

Total stands at 203

This list has been compiled from London Bird Reports 1940-2019, 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.