Hainault Forest Website

 Written and Designed by © Brian Ecott


Water Fowl from 2002

Mute Swan and Black Swan

Mute swan family 3rd June 2005  Photos © Brian Ecott

BLACK SWAN  Photo: 13.04.03. An individual seen on the lake and locally during April 2003.  Photo © Brian Ecott Swan pair with cygnet  17th June 2013

The lake. Photos © Michael Rumble 19th February 2013

Male mute swan's threatening pose, the female looks on. The lake. 18th February 2013

Cob and Pen mute swan, Compare the base of their bills,

"Ugly duckling" Young mute swan cygnet sunning itself by the lake edge.

3rd July 2014. Photo © Michael Rumble

No longer the ugly duckling. A young cob male mute swan in his second year. Photo © Michael Rumble 19th February 2013.

The cob Mute swan aggressively attacking a Greylag goose. These geese have been under attack for many weeks while his mate has been on eggs on the island and the emergence of the cygnets. The swan appears to be more tolerant of the Canadian geese and other Waterbirds. 

Photo © Michael Rumble 19th May 2014

The cygnets hitch a lift from the pen mute swan. Photos ©  Lynda Johnson 18th May 2014.

Pen Mute swan with her six cygnets.    Photo © Michael Rumble  18th May 2014

The cygnets Photo © Michael Rumble  18th May 2014  Sadly at the end of May only three cygnets have survived.

"Ugly duckling" This is one of two juvenile swans or cygnets on the lake. Maybe last years brood.  Photo © Colin Carron. March 2015.

The "Ugly duckling" - a young swan in its first winter plumage.

Photo © Michael Rumble  4th December 2015

Three swans. The centre one still has juvenile plumage.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble  7th March 2016.

Canada Geese

Canada geese goslings in crèches with their minders. 18th May 2012

Canada Goose family of fourteen goslings. 25th May 2011.


Canada goose Photo © Michael Rumble. 3rd March 2016.

Barnacle goose  

CANADA and BARNACLE GOOSE compared  Photo: 22.04.02 © Brian Ecott

BARNACLE GOOSE  A lone individual often seen with the flock of Canada geese. Probable escapee from a waterfowl collection. Photo: 22.04.02 © Brian Ecott
Greylag geese

Greylag goose family, 3rd May 2012

Greylag goose family. The adults aggressively defend their four goslings. 28th April 2014.

Greylag goose Photo © Michael Rumble. 3rd March 2016.

11th April 2015 The first appearance of a family of Greylag geese. All the ducks and geese on the lake formed an arc around the family as if taking an interest in the event. It's easy to put an anthropomorphous  interpretation of this behaviour - I wonder what was really happening.

24th April 2015. A fortnight later, the goslings are growing up and their parents are ever vigil and ready to attack, as my Yorkie found out when he was chased and pecked when venturing to close.  

Five out six of the Greylag goslings survived by the 10th May 2015 above, and on the 20th May 2015 two of the family are pictured right on the lake side growing their plumage and almost fully fledged.

.Both photographs ©  Michael Rumble

Another Greylag goose with two goslings by the lake.   Photo ©  Colin Carron  8th May 2015

Two Canada geese goslings resting on the grassland around the lake. Photo ©  Colin Carron 8th May 2015.

The first pair of Greylag geese hatched six goslings on the 11th April 2015 of which five fledged. Photographed here on the 1st June the youngsters were fully fledged and integrated with the others on the lake at the end of the month.
We have been following these three families of Greylag geese since 11th April 2015. The parent birds are aggressive and good parents and have protected their offspring and are still grazing in the forest. 11th September 2015. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Greylag goose on the lake. There are usually 3 or 4 breeding pairs on the lake. Photo ©  Colin Carron. March 2015

Brian Ecott writes: When the sun shone through the hazy sky, the Canada geese decided on a frenzied bath in the icy water, some laying on their backs, heads underwater, and swimming briefly underwater. I haven't noticed this behaviour before. Photos © Raymond Small 1,00pm 1st December 2016.


The first Greylag goose family had seven goslings. Hatched 14th April 2016 they lost two and only three were surviving on the 27th April 2016. They are predated by crows and pike. Photo © Brian Ecott.  

Flotilla of Canadas 28th May 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

A crèche of Canada goslings with their minders  24th May 2016. Photo © Raymond Small..

Egyptian goose

On the 28th January 2015 alongside the café, amongst a flock of Canada geese was a small brown goose above centre.. I sent a picture to Roy Woodward, Essex sector Bird Recorder for the London Natural History Society who reported "Your mystery goose is indeed an Egyptian Goose, probably in its1st winter" Roy also commented that This species has increased in number considerably in the London Area in recent years, and is now turning up in many parks, and similar areas, in the Essex sector. Photo © Brian Ecott

Egyptian goose Photo © Brian Ecott


One Mallard duck and two drakes walking on thin ice on the lake during a cold spell on 2nd December 2012. On the 5th there was a sprinkling of snow. Photo © Michael Rumble.

Mallard duck with six ducklings on lake 2nd June 2012

Mallard family. 29th April 2011

Mallard drake. The sun has highlighted the green sheen of the head feathers. Photo © Michael Rumble 4th February 2013

A female Mallard lands on a thin layer of ice on the lake.

Photo ©  Michael Rumble 9th December 2014.

Pair of mallards on the lake edge. Photo © Raymond Small.  2nd December 2016  

Mallard duck with seven ducklings. 6th June 2016 Photo © Colin Carron

Mallard duck with seven ducklings. 14th June 2016 Photo ©  Brian Ecott

The female Mallard managed to fledge 6 out of 7 of her ducklings. See previous months pictures. 14th July 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Abacot Ranger duck and Aylesbury Duck

An Abacot Ranger duck flies in and Colin Carron captures the moment. 7th September 2016

Abacot ranger duck with an Aylesbury on the lake Photo ©  Colin Carron  7th September 2016.

Indian Runner ducks or Abacot rangers 21st April 2016  Photo © Brian Ecott.
Aylesbury ducks on the lake.  7th March 2016  Photo © Colin Carron
Mandarin ducks

Female and Male Mandarin ducks on the lake 1st July 2012


Mandarin duck with five ducklings on lake 21st July 2012


A Mandarin drake was seen on Sheepwater on 15th March  2014 which later flew into a nearby tree and perched there. A further drake was seen at Bomb crater pond a few minutes later sitting on a willow coppice. They have a magnificent plumage. A pair bred on the Lake in 2013 and Dennis Maynard saw and photographed a pair on the lake on the 18th March 2014

Mandarin drake perched in tree, Sheepwater 15th March 2014

Mandarin drake at Bomb crater pond on willow coppice.  15th March 2014

Mandarin pair on lake and a close up of the drake, Photographs © Dennis Maynard 18th March 2014.

Mandarin ducks at Sheepwater. Two gaudy males and a light coloured female.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble 17th March 2015

Mandarin drake at Sheepwater. The plumage is magnificent. 17th March 2015. Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Mandarin pair perched high up a poplar tree near the lake outfall.

28th March 2016. Photo © Brian Ecott.

Mandarin ducks are returning to the lake. 26th March 2016. Photo ©  Brian Ecott

Tufted duck  

 Male Tufted duck Photo © Colin Carron  20th November 2015.

Male Tufted duck  3rd March 2016.  Photo ©  Michael Rumble

Shoveller duck  

This is a male Shoveler duck. There have been up to 20 pairs feeding in small groups centrally in the lake. They feed by filtering the surface of the water in their long bills.  Photo © Raymond Small. 16th November 2016. SHOVELLER DUCK pair. Drake on left. They have a large shovel-shaped beak which they use to filter plankton, often swimming in circles to feed (bibbing). Recognised from afar by the head-down posture. Photo: 16.01.05. © Brian Ecott

Shoveler duck (male) on the Lake. Its spoon shaped bill is designed to filter the water to collect surface plankton which it feeds on, although if an insect comes nearby it will grab it for food. Its yellow eye is noticeable among ducks. Also pictured is the same bird taking off - heavy and unwieldy.

Photos © Michael Rumble.  3rd March 2016.

Muscovy duck  

Muscovy duck. Photo © Michael Rumble 29th November 2015

A small UK resident population of Pochard is joined by immigrants from east and central Europe during September - October. This drake Pochard arrived recently at the lake and dives and feeds on molluscs and insects in the mud. The head is normally a chestnut brown and the bluish beak tipped with black but this one has mud on his face from feeding on the silt bottom.  18th October 2016. Photo © Raymond Small.

A Moorhen family swimming through Duckweed on Sheepwater.  Photograph © Michael Rumble 29th June 2014. Moorhens often nest at Sheepwater..

Moorhen at Sheepwater Photo ©  Colin Carron  4th June 2015

MOORHEN   Photo © Michael Rumble  5th August 2011.


Coot parents feed their five chicks with weed. This is gathered from the lake bottom. Coots dive for this.  25th June 2010

COOT  on the lake and also in head-down threatening posture defending territory. There is much squabbling in the early part of the year. It is very vocal.

Photos: 16.01.05. © Brian Ecott

Great Crested grebe
A resident pair of Great Crested grebes performed their ritualistic pre-nuptial displays between the 6th and 9th March. They dived together, swam towards each other, swam parallel, often calling, and there would be head and neck swaying. They generally swap pieces of water weed which they gather underwater but I didn't observe this.                                          Grebe pictures  ©  Michael Rumble 8th and 9th March 2014,
GREAT CRESTED GREBE Winter plumage  Photos: 16.01.05. © Brian Ecott and in Summer plumage carrying young chick on back.  Photo: June 2001 © Brian Ecott
General wildfowl

Wildfowl find a small area of open water. © Adam Locke Jan. 2010

Wildfowl on the lake. © Adam Locke Jan. 2010

 Mallards, Canada geese, coot and Moorhen find some open water in the frozen lake.  24th January 2013