It was truly delightful watching this juvenile robin sunbathing, dust-bathing and preening last week at Polesden Lacey! I had a tough time choosing my favourite images from two wonderful days out with my best friend, Rachel and her boys Nate and Dan. We had quite an adventure at both Polesden and Wisley Gardens. Even managed to find the female grass snake that likes to sun itself near the rock gardens! Her eye is a blue-grey tone indicating that she is about to shed her skin.
The other treat waiting for us at Wisley was the little grebe pair on the Glasshouse Lake, who have finally nested and managed to hatch a couple of beautiful little humbug-striped chicks. This is the third year that I have seen little grebes nesting on the lake and they really are wonderful to watch. The parents carry the young chicks on their backs on the water, until they are old enough to start fending for themselves.
Another week, another royal park! This time it’s the smallest and oldest, St James’s Park. Set in front of Buckingham Palace, the park was originally created by Henry VIII as a hunting ground. Later, it was redesigned by Charles II and became home to the first, royal Great White (or Rosy) Pelicans. They were a gift to the King from the Russian Ambassador in 1664 and the park has been a home to pelicans ever since.
St James’s has a fascinating history that has really left it’s mark on the area. Charles II had avenues of trees planted alongside his Paile Maile (similar to croquet) lawns. Locals started calling the main road alongside these lawns Pall Mall and the nickname stuck. The King opened the park to the public and was a frequent visitor, feeding the ducks and mingling with his subjects. He filled the park with animals including camels, elephants and crocodiles and built a row of aviaries for his collection of exotic birds. The adjacent roadway gained the name Birdcage Walk. People still gather here to feed the birds and a few exotics have returned, the ring-necked parakeets!
John Nash redesigned the park in the 19th Century. The original canal was transformed into a natural-looking lake and in 1837 the Ornithological Society of London presented the park with a collection of birds and erected a cottage for a birdkeeper. Both the cottage and the position of birdkeeper remain to this day. Duck Island cottage is where you will find the pelicans being fed every day between 14:30 and 15:00. There are also around 15 species of waterfowl living on the lake.
Exploring this lovely little park was just the tonic I needed on Friday afternoon after another disappointing appointment at Guy’s Hospital. The day may have started out negatively but I turned it into something very positive! Another busy Monday ahead so I am putting my pelican into all three Monday challenges. Have a great week everyone!
Another image captured at Thorpe Lake where I go open water swimming every Tuesday. The grebes are beautiful and fun to watch too. I often see them stamping the water like this, churning it up, before they wash and preen. The sight and this image really made me smile so it’s the perfect one to post for ShareMondays!
I made a bit of a beginners error on Saturday morning when I left the house to travel up to London’s Hyde Park. I forgot my main camera! Oops. To be fair I was rather distracted by the prospect of Swimming The Serpentine for charity again (here’s a link to my fundraising page), remembering the wetsuit, goggles, entry tags, swim cap, timing tag and my waterproof camera. So at least I did have ONE camera with me! I didn’t get much from in the water though as it was quite choppy with the huge numbers of swimmers. There were 5000 swimmers over the course of the day, including myself and my mum. Colder than last year, both in and out of the water but nevertheless, absolutely brilliant! The wildlife in Hyde Park is wonderful. A sanctuary for nature and people in the heart of London. Swans are such enigmatic birds and I love swimming alongside them in open water. This youngster was busily preening its’ feathers after the latest rain shower. I was really pleased with how my waterproof Olympus performed for me in capturing this shot! I still WISH I’d had the Sony and Fuji kit there though. I really must try to get up to the park for a purely photographic outing sometime! This black and white edit is my entry for the weekend photography Fotospeed challenge.
This young swan still has a few of his adolescent plumage left and was making a real splash, preening in the River Wey, as the new adult feathers come through. What a joy to watch him! I loved this pose he struck and decided that he should be my star for Wex Mondays this week.