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Tuesday 27 November 2012

Ingrebourne Valley - Flooded and the Site List

November 27th

I visited this morning; at last the rain had stopped after the overnight deluge, good to stretch the legs despite the grey skies.
On arrival I found the whole Valley flooded, being a flood plain it has happened before, but certainly not this much, this was the highest I have ever seen it.
All of St. George’s lower area was under water as was the whole of the viewing area, from the black bridge you could not access Berwick, I tried but too deep.
As I had no choice to stay on the Country Park side I checked along the fringe of the marsh, birds seen included 2 Bullfinch, 14 Redwing, 33 Teal, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Water Rail, 4 Cetti’s Warblers, a Kingfisher and a Common Buzzard seen distantly over the Farm Track.
From what I see on the news we are lucky with the flooding, sadly some people have lost their homes to it, and some their lives.

The path as you go round to St.Georges

Looking south towards the black bridge

Viewing are - St.Georges in the distance

The cattle gate, I understand the fence was cut to let them out, they are now on the farmers field eating the crop.

Looking towards the viewing area from the black bridge

The path leading up towards Berwick - unpassable

Site List

Last month an idea, which has been long overdue, was hatched up over a few pints at the October Birders drink, to get a site list together for the Ingrebourne Valley.
The idea being to log it in with the new blog at being a new blog you have to have a site list, myself and Sam Shippey undertook the task, he knows the Valley of old.
My Essex Bird Reports only go back to 1990, so I have been hitting from 1990 to date, Sam has the full selection going right back to the 50’s, that era should make for some interesting records.

It is basically just going through every Essex Bird Report that there is, checking each species, logging all the rarities and your commoner birds to give you a site total, also checking to see how many have occurred.
It is an enjoyable task as you suddenly recall past “goodies” which have long been lying dormant in a section of your memory, in my case forgotten, my memory is not what it used to be.Les has had some really good birds, Red Necked Grebe, Pectoral Sandpiper both wild Swans to say the least, Shaun has had 2 Ospreys over and Penduline Tit in the marsh. Not to forget there were 2 records of Temminck’s Stint so all in all a cracking set of records for an inland site.

It also shows you how it has all changed, Sam recently dug up a 1960’s record of 200 Tree Sparrows in the Valley, staggering seeing the fortunes of the bird nowadays.
Another thing to remember is that the Valley used to be far bigger, there was no Optomist Pub and Housing Estate, the Valley years ago entered parts of Upminster. Consequently Sam is checking where the records are occurring that far back in the older Reports.

As it stands at the moment, without Sam’s records we are on 190, looking at what has occurred in the past and what additions are possible gets you thinking, what new birds will be next?
Now we have a Reservoir, Scaup and Slavonian Grebe are a good bet in the colder weather and Glossy Ibis or perhaps a rarer Heron for the Marsh.
Being a big site with tons of cover, most of which is not accessible, small stuff very likely gets overlooked; it’s high time we had a Wryneck, Hoopoe or a Red Backed Shrike.
Here’s hoping.


  1. Hi dave,with the site changing towards Bonnetts wood,will the boundaries move?? have heard the two sites will be linked some point next year,also what are the official boundaries and would it be a good idea to somehow publicise them,maybe on lees ingrebourne site? all the best rob

    1. Rob,
      Thanks for the comments,publishing the boundaries of the Valley is a good idea and we can put it on Lee's Ingrebourne site.
      I am awaiting Sam to see where the boundary was in the past, will come to light when we have the full list.