So often ignored, Bush Wood really does deserve more attention. Providing a green link between the north-western extremity of Wanstead Flats and Wanstead Park, its mix of sweet chestnuts, oaks, hornbeams and stands of holly combine to form a kind of ‘magic forest’ sandwiched between Bushwood (the road) and Belgrave Road. Recent habitat management work carried out by the BARA practical work team (under the guidance of forest keeper Thibaud Madelin) has – among other things – removed invasive saplings and bramble scrub from the kidney-shaped pond. The pond already looks better, and with the recent persistent rain actually looks quite like a pond! It should certainly launch plenty of amphibians and damselflies into the world this spring. The first week of the new year witnessed plenty of bird activity in the wood, with a Mistle Thrush, Song Thrushes and Stock Doves particularly vocal. Great Spotted Woodpeckers have been drumming and I saw a pair of Green Woodpeckers displaying to each other. This is a sight worth seeing, with the male and female facing each other and swaying their heads from side to side. A Woodcock was disturbed by runners on New Year’s Day and other woodland birds include a usually elusive Firecrest (maybe there’s more than one?) in the holly, at least two Nuthatches and a couple of Treecreepers. The last two species were once regular breeders in Wanstead Park but sightings have been few and far between in recent years, while breeding has not been confirmed for many years. We’ll be keeping our eyes on these birds, hoping that they re-establish themselves as residents.
Why not pay the wood a visit? It can easily be accessed on foot from Bush Road, an alleyway from Belgrave Road, Bushwood and the playing field between Harrow Road and Lakehouse Road. One word of warning: wear boots because it is muddy at the moment.
Nuthatch and Treecreeper by Nick Croft