Monthly Archives: December 2012

Flood-scapes

Flooding is posing an increasing threat to lives and property across the world. In the UK alone, it is estimated that 2.7 million homes are at risk of flooding.

The local river to my family home, the Great Ouse, is often swollen. Now, however, large tracts of it appear more as a large set of lakes than a river.

Harrold 1

I took these photos at Harrold and Odell Country Park yesterday. Here is me posing in a … what should I call it?… large puddle…

Me

Whole fields I used to walk through as a child are temporarily submerged. The sun set – in mid-afternoon of course (why is it that short winter days still surprise me?) – over the bloated water that should be a neat meandering river…

Sun

And the whole flood plain was bathed in a golden light and one heck of a lot of water…

Gold

Winter wetland

Realising I have been absent from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks, I was a little horrified when my partner had half-inched the laptop for a trip this weekend. So… this is my first ever blog-post from my iPad.

It was a stunning winter day in London today – although we have now just had a brief thunderstorm which was a trifle incongruous.

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The London Wetland Centre in Barnes is beautiful in winter. The light takes on a golden quality for much of the relatively brief day.

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The LWC was the brainchild of the late, great, Sir Peter Scott (conservationist, artist, ornithologist, sportsman, naval officer, and son of Scott of the Antarctic)…

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The LWC is the pre-eminent haven for wildlife in London. It attracts rare and interesting birds which, in turn, attract bird watchers and photographers who peer out of the excellent wildlife hides over pastures that, only a few decades ago, were part of a decaying water treatment facility. Below is a view of the Peacock Tower…

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… And a view from the Peacock Tower, with its shadow stretching out to the North East…

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I love winter waterfowl. The UK’s wetlands throng with winter migrants from the frozen far North, such as the stunning Wigeon (Anas penelope)…

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Shoveler (Anas clypeata)…

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The scarce Pintail (Anas acuta)…

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And many other species I didn’t photograph including Teal and the usual suspects of Mallard and Tufted Duck. There are also loads of Coot (Fulica atra) who I have blogged about before because of their tough-guy reputation. In case you need reminding, would you mess with this geezer…?

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There are also some rare birds not belonging to the waterfowl family that show up at LWC during winter. Apparently there were three Bearded Tits there today which are phenomenal birds. Unfortunately, as I didn’t see one (I have never seen one) you don’t get a photo (them’s the rules!) Whilst not quite so rare, you can’t get much more seasonally iconic than the Robin (Erithacus rubecula)…

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For those of you who live in or near London, I fully recommend a day out at the LWC even if you are not really into birds. Seeing the result of one man’s vision and many people’s passion and hard work, a natural oasis in the sprawling metropolis of London, is worth a visit.