18 April 2015

A walk on the wild side

This is the wild side of the reservoir sites. Unlike the reservoirs on the north side Ferry Lane, Walthamstow Reservoirs are almost like natural lakes, with green walks and mature trees, natural earth banks, reed beds and birds everywhere. Nobody except fishermen visit the place. We saw one bird watcher and one couple just enjoying the sunshine, otherwise the place was deserted on a Sunday afternoon. Rusty machinery and Victorian engine buildings coexist with the mundane and unobtrusive purposes of Thames Water. Not least fascinating are the well-equipped fishermen, dressed like members of some east European militia, camped out for the day (or night) with vast amounts of olive-green equipment - the management thoughtfully provide metal trolleys to carry everything. Pay the £1 admission charge and you can walk for hours exploring and discovering.

One of the two cormorant islands, home to hundreds of breeding pairs of these strange-looking birds - you sometimes see them flying over Walthamstow, long necks stretched ahead. The trees On this island are practically dead,over-fertilised by the weight of bird droppings.

Greylag geese with a new brood of yellow goslings. Fascinating to watch how the adults manage to keep all six of them rounded up. These were on Reservoir No. 5, along with a few men fly fishing for trout, and hundreds of cormorants presumably also fishing for trout.