Friday, November 25, 2011

Exotica of London

 We're having a very, very mild start to the winter. As I type this the last of the day's sun is casting a beautiful light outside with blue sky overhead and a few whisps of cloud. I have a number of Salvias and Nasturtiums still in flower in the garden (actually I have nasturtium seedlings coming up right now!) which is lucky as today my bees were out in force still grabbing what food they could. In London's St James' Park last week though I think I could be forgiven for thinking I was in another country or even continent.....


Bananas (Ensete maurellii) and tree ferns above, more of the same plus all sorts of exotica below including Cycas revoluta (I really hope they get taken in before long and aren't sacrificed to winter even if they are sort of hardy).


In the crab apple trees birds were feeding up for winter albeit perhaps not what one would typically expect to find eating crab apples in an English November.


On the lakes there were more exotica on display. London's Royal Parks are a repositary for all sorts of weird waterfowl, beautiful plastic traps for the unwary newbie birder like ruddy shelduck....


Snow Geese...


Smew (I think)....

Not to mention hooded merganser, wood duck, mandarin, bahama pintail, red crested pochard, whistling ducks and various other geese and ducks. Of course the most famous residents of this pond are the Pigeon-eating Pelicans which I didn't see but I'm pretty sure this Grey Heron was fishing for squirrels....


He was standing amongst a load of nuts a passing tourist had thrown the ducks and squirrels and watching with the sort of intent heron's usually reserve for things they plan on swallowing in a comedy fashion.

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