Birding at the Royal Wedding

7:02 PM

In case you have been living under a rock and ignoring all forms of media for the past few months, next week (April 29, 2011 to be exact) is the 'Royal Wedding'. The wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton is attracting attention from around the world and many people are traveling to England to experience what is being called 'the wedding of the century'.

My globe trotting brother, David, whose pictures from the Komodo Islands were recently featured in a couple of Nature Notes blog postings, sent me some photos from his trip to London, England earlier this month. I wanted to share with you not only the sights of London, but also some of the birds easily found in London. So take note birders, if your traveling to England for the royal wedding be sure to stop and bird along the way and add some new species to your lift list!

First some photos of London buildings and landmarks, and further below the bird photos!



Buckingham Palace a few weeks before the Royal Wedding.



Buckingham Palace a few weeks before the Royal Wedding.



The Royal Fleet of amazing cars at Buckingham Palace.



Scenic views of the city the London Eye, Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.



Big Ben!



Palace of Westminster, aka the Houses of Parliament.



Palace of Westminster, aka the Houses of Parliament.



Countdown to the 2012 London Olympics.



A funny sign.



St. James Park, the oldest Royal Park in London. The park is surrounded by three palaces.



Didn't I see this in a Monty Python movie? The Knights Who Say Ni anyone? I didn't think that shrubberies was a word that people actually use. Funny stuff!



And now we come to the birds. There are a mixture of native, possibly native and non-native birds in St. James Park. The lighting in this photo makes things difficult to see but here are the birds in the photo:
  • Bar-headed Goose Anser indicus (front left side of the photo): This goose breeds in central Asia and is famous for being one of the world's highest flying birds (over 10,000 meters). The bar headed goose migrates over the Himalayas. Its' possible that this is a wild bird, but most likely a captive of the park or an escaped captive.
  • Black Swan Cygnus atratus (center in the pond in the background): Native to Australia this swan is a captive resident of the park.
  • Grey Heron Ardea cinerea (far right standing on the edge of the pond): Native to England this heron is a sister species to our Great Blue Herons.
  • Eastern White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus (far left distant background): This large pelican species has a wingspan of almost 3 meters and is native to southeastern Europe, Asia and Africa. The pelicans at St. James Park were given as a gift in 1664 from the Russian Ambassador. These pelicans are the stars of the park. People come daily to watch their public feedings.



The birds visible in this photo include:
  • Eastern White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus (far right on the rocks): See above description.
  • Mute Swan Cygnus olor (far left in the pond): Native to England these swans were brought to Canada and make up the majority of swans we see in local city parks. Random fact #157 all wild mute swans living in open water are owned by the monarch. So, can they please take the Canadian mute swans back? We don't want them! (Just joking for all the mute swan lovers out there).
  • Eurasian Coot Fulica atra (far distant left in the pond): These birds are native to England and easily spotted in St. James Park. Random fact #89 the term ‘bald as a coot’ originated from coots having white foreheads.



The birds visible in this photo include:
  • Eurasian Coot Fulica atra (far left on the grass): See description above.
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia livia (center on the grass): Native to England and it seems introduced into every corner of the globe.
  • Eurasian Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus chloropus (far right on the grass): Native to England, a sister species to our North American Common Moorhen. Random fact #262 another name for this species is ‘Waterhen’ due to its appearance and the fact that it can be found well away from water.



A troop of Eurasian Coots.



The birds visible in this photo include:
  • Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula (left hand side, distance in the water): This species is native to England and is a common duck in the park.
  • Graylag Goose Anser anser (front right on the bank): Native to England, the only breeding species of Gray Goose in the UK.



The ducks in this photo are:

  • Common Pochard Aythya ferina (all four ducks in the photos): Native to from Asia to western Europe including England. A common resident of St. James Park.



The birds visible in this photo include:
  • Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula (center background distance in the water): See above description.
  • Eurasian Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus chloropus (far right on the grass): See above description.
  • Common Pochard Aythya ferina (all four ducks in the photos): See above description.
  • Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis (birds in the front of the photo left and right): A rare vagrant to England. Its possible that these are wild birds, but they are most likely captives of the park or escaped captives.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of London and its amazing bird life. If you aren't traveling to England for the Royal Wedding I hope you enjoy watching on tv. Keep an eye out for some of the birds of St. James Park, perhaps they will show up on your tv screen?

Happy Birding!

~ Kristen Martyn

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1 comments

  1. Wonderful snaps. Thanks for sharing.

    Catch my thoughts at - The Royal Wedding

    ReplyDelete

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