London 2014

london2 036 (3)London England June 25-29, 2014

It seems that despite the use of the “English” language it was certainly easy to go lost and go astray here in the land of our mother tongue.  Trails seemed to intersect with themselves and even the local corvids (jays, magpies, and crows) didn’t help me like in Sweden.  Maybe it was just that I was at the center of the universe, or at least the center of the world (if you asked the English they’d undoubtedly agree).  Could it be that the same trail really intersected with itself?

carrion crow

this Carion crow seemed to take no notice of me or my plight.  Can this really be the same species as this Hooded crow from Sweden?

hooded crow

Really?

Underground stops like Shepherd’s Bush and St Johns Wood gave me the impression of trees and forests but alas…no.  Where does one find brids here? I got out at Ruislip Manor, thinking manors have large greens and asked to a confused Brit where the ‘manor’ was but got nowhere, meanwhile the only helpful advice I could glean from public transportation was to ‘mind the gap,’ which they said over again and at every stop.  I want to mind the birds, I don’t care about the gap.

This was NOT a birding trip but….well you know what happened.  I didn’t go birding, I went to see some ducks enjoy the green, ……while Lena and Silja saw London…maybe?  Ok, I’m full of it.  We stayed at Howard and Lydia who were consummate hosts.  Howard had a backyard full of bird feeders but well better birds were seen elsewhere.

There were Tufted ducks…

tufted duckCommon Pochard…

common pochardRed-crested pochard (a new bird for me)

red-headed pochard - Copyand then I spotted the most beautiful of all ducks… A MALE SMEW!  They are so white, the contrast can ruin photography and again, it happened to me again, I got three shots before he flew away.smew 2smew 3

he wasn’t supposed to be here this time of year and it seemed that right when I spotted him, he figured that out and flew off north to points unknown.

Greylag geese taunted me

greylag geese

Then squawked at me.  The Eurasian Coot quibbled with my presence

eeurasian coot

I even saw a Gray Heron next to a mute swan, which looks a lot like our great blue herons but they are separate species although look similar.

gray heron and swan

These two thought I was so ugly that they wanted to bury their heads in the sand, their wings…anywhere.  Hurt and rejected, I looked for smaller birds and got a Gray Wagtail…

gray wagtail 2

And eventually dug out the Cetti’s Warbler out of the bush, which was NOT Shepherd’s Bush.  Yet another blah brown/ olive drab vireo looking bird, but a new species that I had never seen even with my screwed up Europe lists…

cetti's warbler england

What about sightseeing?

We headed off to the Hampton Court Palace

lauren swans

Lena found some swans and well I ended up birding, mostly as I said I heard parakeets…well I did, I did hear parakeets, rose-ringed parakeets littered the gardens, I saw at least 40 of them

RINGED parakeet

Parakeets in England?  It was a new bird for me.  Who’d have thought about it?  Then I found a Green Woodpecker

green woodpecker 2

A better photo of a gray heron

gray heron

and the ‘pied’ subspecies of the white wagtail, a very dark form of the white wagtail as you can see here

white wagtail england

We saw the world’s largest grapevine, and even in the garden, I found nice nude figures…oh lol…..I kept it small in the background.gardenThen we saw the crowds at the Tower of Londontower london crowd

 And look, my head is gotten so big it just…just fits in the middle of the Tower Bridge!olaf in london

cool, well we are heading off to see Stonehenge and to find the coast, maybe some birds…maybe some history. This is the next report.

Olaf

 

 

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