Sunday, 23 June 2019

Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf

Jubilee Park is effectively a roof garden built above an underground railway station. It was designed by the office of Jacques Wirtz. The central feature is a raised serpentine water channel with rough stone walls. Other walls are planted with tall grass species and over 200 Metasequoia trees were planted in irrigated containers. Planting was completed in 2002. On hot still sunny days the space is very well used.

Part of the raised water channel

Each part of the water channel has a small fountain at it's center

A relaxing and well designed water feature
Each section has a mini waterfall so each part is connected

One of the small bubbling fountains
The raised water channel divides the space in an un-steam-like manner, a reminder of the artificiality of the context. The Metasequoias are an odd choice but they too are flourishing. The lively grass mounding is good for sunbathers and a welcome contrast with the Gotham City aspect of Canary Wharf.

Many selfies I'm sure are taken

There also plenty of space to lose yourself in a book

Places to sit and just reflect

The design style can be classified as Postmodern. It has a strong theme and is not rectilinear. While looking up there is no doubt you are in the middle of the capital's financial Centre
Massive and impressive glass buildings

You can sit and watch live cricket on two huge screens

So tall!

Friday, 21 June 2019

Early Morning at Bowers Marsh

Today I took an early morning walk at rspb Bowers Marsh. Even at 06.30, the sun was out and it was pleasantly warm. Managed to photograph a few species thanks to Karl Price and Antoine Van De Heijden the identifying and aging the dragonfly.
Avocets with a very small chick

Many of the Avocets pairs have chicks of varying ages

Avocets are very protective and will chase off all comers


Goldfinch feeding on thistles

High flying Marsh Harrier

Meadow Brown

and with wings closed

Mute Swan with its cygnet

Cygnet hitching a ride!

Reed Warbler

Small Skipper

Young male Black-tailed Skimmer

The males have a slender, tapered abdomen with the appendages close together. Overall the abdomen looks sharp-pointed. Females have space between the appendages and the abdomen is less tapered, this gives the abdomen a blunt, rectangular appearance.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Walk along The Thames at Rainham

I parked up in the small car park about 7.30am and walked east towards the rspb centre, before retracing my steps and on to the serin mound. Sun was shining and it was a pleasant walk. Spotted a family of Whitethroats with at least four full-grown young. Sedge Warbler still singing along with Cetti's. Lots of Swifts whizzing about and a few Martins. Two male Marsh Harriers one was I presume performing an impressive territorial display, with lots of twisting and turning with wings folded back and rolling, it also gave some regular calls. Although distant great to see.

Large Skipper


Red Admiral

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Small Tortoiseshell


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

A Rainy Rainham

Walked a circuit of the reserve this morning and luckily was in the Purfleet hide when the heavy rain shower passed over. It was overcast all morning making taking pictures a little tricky but I did take just a few.

It was great to see the Mute Swan with her cygnets and even better to see at least three female Pochard with chicks of their own.

Mute Swan with 5 cygnets on Aveley Pool

Mute Swan with 5 cygnets on Aveley Pool

At least three female Pochard with their own broods from The Butts Hide

Little Grebe in one of the ditches

Little Grebe in one of the ditches

Bearded Tit at the dragonfly pool, I think this is a juvenile male

adult male Bearded Tit

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Didn't We Have a Lovely Time the Day We went to Minsmere

Yesterday I joined Havering and North East London Local RSPB Groups on a coach trip to rspb Minsmere in Suffolk. It was a fitting final venue, as this trip was the last coach trip to be organised by The Havering Group, as the group sadly due to dwindling numbers closed at our last AGM in May.

On a much brighter note, it was great to see the coach very nearly full and the sun was shining and was forecast to shine all day and it did. The reserve was looking splendid with so much wildlife to see, Dragonflies, Butterflies, Plants and variety of other invertebrates and of course a wide selection of bird species, most of which were breeding.

Some of us started at the ponds and Sand Martin bank. Brilliant to watch the adults going backward and forwards with food for their chicks, some of which could be seen waiting at their nest holes. In the ponds both dragon and damselflies had emerged, while other species were still emerging.
Azure Damselfly
Along the beach path, a section of dunes with gorse and bramble was roped off, most unusual until we were told that a pair of Dartford Warblers had bred there and were raising six young! It's the first time they have bred in the beach dunes area. I sat there and had my lunch, but kept getting carried away trying to photograph the terns in flight. As well as Common there were also Sandwich and Little as well as the odd Mediterranean Gull. They were flying from their breeding area on the reserve's lagoons which had plenty of islands to nest on and out to sea to catch fish to feed either their young or their nesting partner.

Dartford Warbler adult carrying food
Little Tern flying out to sea to fish

Little Tern returning with its catch
Sandwich Tern heading out to fish
There were a few butterfly species along the beach path but my favorite had to be this Green Hairstreak

Closely followed by this Small Copper

There was a lot going on from North Hide including a few Avocets

Lots of Black-headed Gulls

Kittiwakes vying for position on the narrow planks

male Stonechat showed really well

At the sluice, this Swallow was helping to direct visitors
By the time I got to The Bittern Hide we only had about ninety minutes left before our coach was due to depart. But, the Marsh Harriers showed so well we stayed longer than planned, they were superb. Unfortunately, the Bittern that was there throughout was a tease! and only gave tantalising glimpses.

This was my best view of a Bittern from The Bittern Hide, many others had much better views

Marsh Harrier female

Another female Marsh Harrier

Again from The Bittern Hide
cock Pheasant, they are a cracking looking bird
and a Norfolk Hawker to finish a brilliant day