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Lea Marsh Diary   
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Sept 13, 2014Lea foams at the mouth of the weir, sending who knows what up to a kilometre from the banks. It could have been a deadly chemical or perhaps just an enormous quantity of bubble bath. Nobody knew.
August 28, 2014"I saw something tonight that I feel everyone should know about. A HUGE crane has collapsed into a ditch from the path that runs along the east side of Springfield marina," writes John Kindness.
"What this ridiculously heavy piece of machinery was doing in a nature reserve I can't possibly imagine, but to get it out of there they are going to need something else at least that size. It will probably do a lot of damage in the process. "
August 24, 2014"Saw my first hobby, flying over the River lea near to the cattle grid," writes John Sellar . "The linnets were seen behind the stables and the common red starts in the same field. the starlings were fantastic to watch flying around behind the ice rink. Normally seen in the evening not at 8 in the morning."
February 7, 2014The guys with a laser theodolite were back measuring the picnic area next to Horseshoe Thicket. They were last here on January 21 . This is the area the National Grid plans to start boring its tunnel 60 metres under Lea Marshes.
February 7, 2014The Flood Relief Channel is moving an enormous amount of water right now. It's full to bursting and the flow rate is incredible.
February 3, 2014Strangely, although much of Walthamstow Marsh was in flood , the cattle creep was unusually dry on February 3. However, a few days later the cattle creep was as wet as ever. Someone must have swept the water out.
February 3, 2014Several incredibly ugly signs have gone up on the absurd fence preventing people from using the land underneath the rail viaduct on Walthamstow Marsh. The signs proclaim the land belongs to Network Rail, effectively a nationalised corporation (though according to the strict letter of the law it's owned by no-one but itself, a sort of Oozlum Bird of the corporate world). Quite why Network Rail would want to own this impoverished and useless (in commercial terms) land is a mystery. But in addition to the barbed wire we are told that there are now thermal imaging cameras primed to prevent anyone enjoying an evening's stroll underneath the arches.
February 2, 2014 Because of the amount of rain we have had over the last month we have had a large amount of Teal arriving. You will see that I spotted a little Firecrest on the Middlesex Filter Beds. It has been there for about a month now but it's my first sighting. John Sellar
January 21, 2014Two men with a laser theodolite were measuring up the picnic area next to Horseshoe Thicket. This is the area the National Grid plans to start boring its tunnel 60 metres under Lea Marshes.
December 17, 2013Shaun Dawson, chief executive of the LVRPA, plans to create a charitable trust that will take over the management of many of the sporting facilities, including the ice rink. Apparently Dawson believes this would cut LVRPA's liability for business rates on the Olympic venues it has inherited. In general, there's been too much financial jiggery pokery aimed at reducing tax bills in the UK, but it is a fact that cutting LVRPA's resources would be a mistake.

The problem is that Dawson's vision is the creation of a leisure management company, the kind that runs swimming pools and leisure centres. But the obvious problem with LVRPA is that most of the people who pay for it (especially those in areas like south and west London) feel they get nothing out of LVRPA and have very little say in how it spends their money. Forming a charitable trust will make the democratic deficit worse and increase demands for the abolition of LVRPA
November 14, 2013We now have Brambling which returned last week. John Sellar
September 12, 2013Two kingfishers off the Friendship bridge. The coal tits were seen over by the meadow on EFB. The whinchat was down in the bushes on the boardwalk. I also noticed that there appeared to be a spring in the water. Have never seen it before. It's in the water looking out of the first window of the hide on the right. Plenty of swallows all over the north and south marshes feeding and I'm sure getting ready to disappear back to South Africa. The Pied Wagtail was a good sighting in the field in front of the Stables. John Sellar
August 1, 2013Today is Lammas Day, the traditional time for animals to be allowed to graze common lands, like Leyton marshes. In fact the ornamental cattle have been back for a few days. This is one of the sillier things LVRPA does (the idea is to re-create the ancient grazing pattern to promote traditional plant and animal species but all the evidence is that it was sheep and goats which have a completely different grazing style, that were here a century ago). Even so, somehow it's nice to see them back.
July 29, 2013A small area of the marshes between the railway crossing and Coppermill Lane, has been damaged by fire . It seems to have destroyed some bramble and killed a lot of snails . It has also revealed quite a number of mounds. These could be ant hills but there are so many of them that it looks like the work of a mole colony.
July 28, 2013Theo Thomas of the Love The Lea project was out measuring oxygen levels in the Lea Navigation. He said oxygen levels had been so low that there had been a report of an eel leaving the Lea to escape. Fish do not have that choice, hence the large numbers of dead fish seen on the Lea Marsh part of Lea Navigation. Photos and videos of the dead fish have been posted on the various e-lists and online groups concerned with the Lea.
July 14, 2013Bat seen flying over Porters Field for the first time in many months (perhaps years). Pipistrelles used to be quite common here but when the Riding Centre introduced flood lighting they disappeared. Bats are not blind and get disturbed by lights. It was not possible to identify the type of bat there tonight, but it appeared to be too big for a pipistrelle and was quite close to the Lea, so perhaps it was a Daubenton.
July 6/7, 2013A rave seems to have been held on Walthamstow marsh, in the area between Coppermill Field and the place where the railways cross. Shame they can't hold them in the Little Triangle since the area would benefit from some footfall (it would open it up to the general public).
July 5, 2013Common Bluetail damselflies back on the marshes.
July 2, 2013There were the nine, yes nine, grey wagtails feeding on the ground near to the Hackney Stonehenge !!! in Middlesex Filter Beds and the Reed Buntings were seen in bed 14, four new fledglings being fed by the parents. See John Sellar's bird survey .
Despite a huge protest campaign LBWF's planning committee gives the go ahead for the privatisation the riding stables and replacing the golf curse with a camp site .
June 25/26, 2013Vehicles parked on the marshes suggested it was being used as a film set again.
June 15/16, 2013A huge stretch of the Lea (from the Princess of Wales to Tottenham Lock) is closed , whatever that means, because of pollution.
June 12, 2013Lea Bridge Ward Community Forum discusses LVRPA's attempt to have 300 units on the golf course and its incredible strategy to privatise the riding stables. LVRPA sends lots of officers but has little credible to say.
May 8, 2013A display of the flimsiest possible type at the Waterworks Centre, produced considerable laughter despite the seriousness of the plans -- LVRPA wants to have up to 300 chalets, tents or caravans on the poor old golf course . The guffaws were caused because LVRPA believes transport to central London is easy from Lea Bridge Road (particularly by bus). It discovered this because visitors to the camp site told them this during the Olympics . But, of course, what the campers didn't know is that London had been drained of tourists and locals as everyone took a wide berth round the Olympics. Some described the city as a ghost town. In ordinary conditions buses take an unbearably long time just to cross Hackney, let alone to get to central London, during much of the day.
May 7, 2013Two police divers and a Marine Policing Unit were investigating the Lea Navigation close to Markfield Park . Apparently they were looking for a scooter, possibly containing a gun. .
April 21, 2013The newts are back. In the 1970s there was a pond in the middle of the Diagonal Path on the inner marsh in Walthamstow. This always had newts in it but it was destroyed, probably as part of some improving work carried out some time or another. When the pond went so did the newts. Remarkably in recent years the pond has started to come back. And now the newts are back too, though only in the ditch between inner marsh and the extension to Coppermill Lane after the cattle creep .
January 18, 2013John Sellar writes: The 37 Ring neck parakeets were seen flying north over from the Essex FB to the South Marsh. I had a first when I spotted two Lesser Redpoles in the Horseshoe Thicket. And the two Little Owls were perched in the trees behind the Riding School where they are seen regularly.
December 26, 2012The Flood Relief Channel is unusually full.
December 24, 2012Goose killed in collision with electrical cable.. The bird was flying high above Coppermill Fields when the wind drove it into the cables.
December 19, 2012Riding centre closed until the New Year. What a peculiar way to run a leisure facility!
November 9, 2012John Sellar writes: The highlight of the day were the two Egyptian Geese seen in the Paddock behind the Riding School and that the Fieldfare have arrived. Notice that the Feral and Wood pigeons were having a good feed on the marsh where they have just re turfed and seeded where we had the basketball arena.
November 2, 2012Cock pheasant seen close to the paddock. John Sellar writes:Highlights of the day were the 12 Brambling seen just over by the bridge at the Waterworks Centre and the little Goldcrest seen over by the workshops.
October 15, 2012Highlights of this morning's bird count (conducted by John Sellar) was the Little Egret flying over the bridge at the entrance to EFB. The Kestrel hunting (and catching a vole) on the beds by the pigs. The grey wagtail at the friendship bridge. 2 Redpoll by the meadow in EFB. Yesterday out walking saw a Garganey just up from friendship Bridge. And we can now declare winter has arrived, spotted 16 teal in bed 14 !!
September 9, 2012Suddenly there are horses all over the marshes. Have they forgotten that there is a conflict between young, inexperienced riders on horses and dogs off leads, see this video? Or are they hoping something will happen so they can justify permanently fencing off most of Porters Field as an exclusively horsey area? This was the plan LVRPA put before the user forum on February 24, 2010.
August 30, 2012Apparently the film The Wedding Video was shot partly on Walthamstow Marsh? This fact does not seem to be recorded on the Internet Movie Database.
August 30, 2012The green slime in the Flood Relief Channel has been cleared again, presumably at huge cost. Is this something to do with the start of the Paralympic Games (biggest ever damp squib in UK history)? The FRC was cleared on July 28, at the start of the Olympics.
August 25, 2012Lea Marshes is almost always a great place for slugs and snails. Today there were so many of them it was extremely difficult to walk without treading on them.
August 16, 2012Three kestrels hunting over the enclosure containing the ornamental cattle, at the same time today. There was also a cat stalking round the enclosure, but it was hard to know if it was after the same prey as the kestrels (presumably mice) or the birds themselves. Cats are very rarely seen so far from houses so it probably came from one of the boats. The Lea Navigation at Lea Marshes has far more boats than usual right now because it has been blocked further down and the house boats cleared, as a security measure associated with the Olympics.
August 8, 2012The Walthamstow and Leyton Marshes were unusually quiet this morning, despite the five ringed circus down the road. The authorities seem to have given up the annoying helicopter monitor and police patrols. Perhaps they have realised that the marsh birds and voles pose little risk to national security.
August 8, 2012Baby coot seen wandering on Sandy Path. Poor thing had a damaged leg with what appeared to be a green growth or parasite. Perhaps it had been rejected by its parents.
July 28, 2012Several vehicles (mechanical diggers) at work clearing the flood relief channel. The idea seems to be to remove the river weed that grows everywhere. It is surprising that the flood relief channel didn't clear itself in the recent period of high rainfall, during which the FRC had high quantities of water rushing through it.
July 16, 2012A £100k project to restore Sandy Path appears to have started.
July 16, 2012There is now a mink raft on Walthamstow Marsh. The idea is not to trap the American Mink (should it ever arrive on the marshes) but to monitor it. If the mink passes through it leaves a tell tale footrprint.
July 13, 2012Ornamental cattle back on the marshes.
June 24, 2012Appalled that the towpath on the Lea south of Lea Bridge Road is shut for some kind of event organised by a pop music broadcaster. The towpath is going to be shut again for the Olympics from July 3, just a few days away, making it hardly worth re-opening. Ironically this was supposed to be a free event, but free in the pop world just means security guards and closures, apparently.
Better news at the Black Path. Although technically still closed the fences have been pulled down and it is possible to use it freely. The reason for the closure appears to be the digging of some kind of trench, presumably for a pipe or a cable. The authorities took the opportunity to tarmac the whole path yet again. Did anybody really want fresh tarmac?
June 17, 2012Suddenly there are lots of slugs on the marshes. It's been wet for weeks but slugs have been few and far between, until now.
June 14, 2012Ecologists working for the ODA on Porter's Field looking at grass types. They're going to have a problem tracking down the fungi spores. They were removed along with the top soil and asbestos! See more about the practice basketball courts.
June 9, 2012The Black Path is closed. Goodness only knows why.
June 8, 2012High winds bring down a chunks of a couple of trees, including quite lot of one of the iconic black poplars on the borough boundary between Walthamstow and Leyton marshes. The damaged tree is the one closest to Sandy Path and the loss will change the appearance of the marshes.
May 19, 2012
A Facebook post reports that Carter, a Saluki dog, apparently suffered ulcertated ears and mouth after drinking from puddles on Sandy Path (Porter's Field). Blood tests were taken and a vet expressed the view that the cause was chemical poisoning. See basketball courts index. Subequently two other dogs became ill. A Facebook post said:"Three dogs who regularly play on Leyton Marsh have now become sick - two with ulcerated mouths, one with confirmed toxic poisoning. Please be aware of this information before walking your dogs there." One of the dogs was called Biff and was owned by Claire Kelly.
April 29, 2012Lea Flood Relief Channel very swollen and the Navigation itself is full with a strong current. In early March the authorities said that because of the drought we'd have to have a hose pipe ban this summer.
April 27, 2012Caroline Allen and local Greens visit Porters Field. "Planning permission was granted by Waltham Forest on the basis of the structure removing less than 15cm of soil, for this reason no environmental impact was required," she says in a blog. "However the developers knew, prior to the date of the planning meeting, that foundations of 0.5m would be required. Now this earth work has been done we have a pile of contaminated rubble and soil, until recently completely exposed to the elements and now partially covered with a loose tarpaulin, that could be leeching arsenic, asbestos and lead. The site contains the rubble from blitz sites in the East End.

"No one will agree to investigate or study soil samples and there appears to be no come back on the broken planning rules."
April 4, 2012LVRPA is going to the High Court today seeking an injunction giving it powers to remove persons unknown from Porters Field. This is a highly unusual legal manoeuvre and may fail. Some people will be identifying themselves as "persons unknown" and attempting to oppose the action. Very strange. This is all connected to plans to build a basketball practice court.
See statement by Save Leyton Marsh
March 7, 2012Sustrans underpass flooded again. At the userforum in February 2012 we were told there had been a problem with the pump and the Thames Water Authority electricity supply but that this had been fixed.
February 14, 2011Scary warning from waterworks echoing down Coppermill Lane. A disembodied voice constantly repeating: "Warning ozone gas leak in the east plant. Do not enter this area until further notice. " The east plant is presumably the one closest to Coppermill Lane and ozone is a colourless, poisonous gas!

January 19, 2011
Three men surveying Porter's Field with a laser theodolite. They're getting remarkably close to the Black Poplars (time for a tree preservation order?). Apparently the Olympics is going to require a large marquee and temporary basketball court here. It's not long ago that LVRPA was talking about devoting most of Porter's Field to the riding stable. Porter's Field is pretty well the only large bit of all weather recreation area available to the public on Walthamstow and Leyton Marshes!
January 13, 2011A pair of green parakeets seen on the marshes (above the Cattle Creep). It's very likely these will be the commonest birds on the marshes in a few years time. See birds on marshes.
December 26, 2010Heron eating frog under the closed pedestrian bridge at the marina. There's often a heron there searching. This frog seems to have chosen a bad spot to hibernate in.