Birds of the Wanstead Area

We are fortunate in having a wide range of habitats for birds in southern Epping Forest. From the wide open spaces of Wanstead and Leyton Flats, to the varied landscape of Wanstead Park, complete with woods, lakes and ponds, this diversity means that over 150 species have been listed. Of these, approximately 50 are known or thought to breed or have bred here.

The playing fields on Wanstead Flats are an important overnight and daytime roost for hundreds of gulls in the winter - less in summer - but also important as a grazing area for the resident geese and a feeding area for the resident corvids. With the Roding nearby to act as a corridor, migrant species would also easily spot the open grassland of the Flats with trees and shrub for cover and to provide food and with lakes for the wildfowl. The Flats have presented an open landscape for centuries, and it may be reasonable to assume that migrating birds have used this area for all time. Wheatears have for long been known to be regular Spring and Autumn visitors, staying perhaps a day or two, but in recent years the increase in numbers and experience of bird-watchers has shown that a range of other species not native to area are also present at the appropriate season. These include Ring Ouzel, Redstart, Whinchat and Stonechat. Occasional wading birds such as Sandpipers are seen by the lakes, but like so many of the non-resident birds are easily disturbed by joggers or the early dog-walkers. Snipe are sometimes put up from the few remaining marshy areas. Increasingly Wanstead Flats in particular has seen occurrences of birds that have caused an interest to birders and twitchers from further afield. These have include Wryneck and Stone Curlew.

Importantly, Wanstead Flats has one of the largest population of Skylarks within the M25 motorway as well as Meadow Pipits, and Wanstead Park is an important breeding area for water birds and smaller nesting birds.

Please use the links to the left to access articles of interest within the website.

For an up-to-date view of the birds seen in the Wanstead area, the following website has a lot of information:


Heron Grey Heron by Perch Pond, Wanstead Park