Birding in Hyde Park

Posted Jul 11th, 2009 at 8:14 am in Birding, Traveling About | 4 Comments

I wanted to share a little more about the birding we’ve been able to do thus far. We went to Hyde Park the other day, as seen in these pictures which I mentioned previously.

I didn’t bring the big lens for bird photography. It’s too darn heavy for a whole day’s trip, and it’s best to photograph birds in small doses if Amy’s with me, as being a spectator quickly gets boring.

There were a few birds however that were extremely cooperative, such as this immature Great Crested Grebe that came up close enough to get a picture even without the big lens.

Great Crested Grebe

Pigeon, It’s Whats for Dinner

Rock Pigeons

We did witness one of the most spectacular events of predation I have ever seen. A Yellow-legged Gull (our life bird) was standing amongst a group of Rock Pigeons that were being fed by tourists. The gull had a small wad of feathers in its bill, which struck me as odd. I asked Amy, “Is that gull hunting pigeons?” Seconds later the gull grabbed a Rock Pigeon in it’s bill, getting a hold of it by the top of the wing near the pigeon’s body, and flew out to the lake where he proceeded to drown the pigeon and ultimately eat it. The struggle took a good five to minutes before the pigeon finally succumbed. It was utterly amazing if a little hard to watch.

Habitat is Key

As any birder can tell you, habitat is the key to finding a diversity of different species, and as one might expect, London itself doesn’t have many open spaces. Hyde Park is great though. Even if a little manicured in places, it has lots of big trees and vegetation along Serpentine Lake that sits in the heart of the park.

Trees like this really gave one the feeling of being in England, sneaking around on the King’s land despite the penalty of death. Of course England has changed in the last 600 years, so such fears were entirely imagined.

Forest at Hyde Park, London Read the rest of this entry »

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London Pictures

Posted Jul 10th, 2009 at 8:36 pm in Photography, Traveling About | Comments Off

Pictures from our first two days are now online.

Our first day we wandered around and ended up in the Wellcome Collection, a museum that has art and artifacts related to the history and science of medicine. On our second day, we went to Hyde Park to get the birding bug out of my system so I could enjoy the rest of my time in London’s museums and other attractions.

I’ve managed to get a couple of really fun pictures too, even if I had to make myself look like an idiot to do so.

Here’s a picture of the train pulling into the station. I used a really slow shutter speed with the camera on my mini tripod. The train’s movement rendered it a blur of color and light.

Incoming Train

After getting off the tube (as they call it over here), I got the following pictures with a sign for London’s Underground (the subway) and St. Pancras Chambers in the background.

London Underground

London at Night

We’ll publish more as time allows.

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Crossing the Pond

Posted Jul 8th, 2009 at 10:20 pm in Traveling About | Comments Off

It’s 3:30 in the morning as I write this, but I couldn’t sleep. There’s a blackbird singing in the dead of night outside my window. And not some two-bit Icterid, Corvid, or Starling that people back in the States call blackbirds. No sir. This blackbird is the real McCoy, as made famous by The Beatles.

That’s right, we’re in England! London to be specific. We’ll be here for two weeks, followed by a week in Paris and a week in Germany.

Jay and Amy

So far so good, though we were in trouble within five minutes of landing. The good folks at customs got a little peeved at us for taking this picture.

Jet lag has been a little hard. We made ourselves stay awake the entire day and that night we slept hard. But now I can’t sleep and I’m finding myself up all night. Amy’s sleeping like a log. Tomorrow’s going to hurt.

As far as pictures go, I’d like to post some while we’re over here, but I may not have a lot of time to get that done. I’ll just have to play it by ear.

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