This Lockdown is an invitation to seek out new places to stroll and explore (in a compliant manner, of course). Today was my first visit to the Walthamstow Wetlands, more than 200 hectares of reservoirs on the outskirts of London - a nature reserve as well as one oft he capital's main sources of water.
The Wetlands only opened to the public three years ago. And they are wonderful
One of the most atmospheric sights was the cormorants (or are they shags?) roosting in a tree.
The site also has two wonderful old industrial buildings - the most striking, the Coppermill Tower, dates from the 1860s and is Grade 2 listed.
The Engine Room stands near the main entrance and is also a cafe, currently doing hot drinks and take-away sandwiches.
From the Wetlands you can see the new Spurs stadium in Tottenham nearby, and a little further away the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf
And as you can see, the weather was wonderful - a bright, crisp, late autumn day. A delight!
I am endlessly fascinated by the herons at Regent's Park. There were about twenty today, congregating as always round the south-east corner of the boating lake. And they looked hungry. Or at least they were joining in the quest for bread and titbits provided by passers-by.
They are elegant birds, habituated to the admiring gaze of the Regent's Park public. So you can get close-up and personal - and you can admire on these photographs the brahmin-style tuft of hair that the heron sports.
On the other hand ...
When I went to the National Archive at Kew a couple of months ago, there was a solitary heron in the pond outside. One of the staff was chatting to friends about the heron. "Yes, we were all very fond of him - until we saw what he did with the moorhen chicks. Ever since then he's had a nickname - Herod ... killer of the first-born!"
Regent's Park and around has many attractions - zoo, mosque, boating lake, beuatiful gardens, open air cafes, and lots of open space for a kick around. Nice to see several generations joining in this game of soccer this afternoon. Quite a spectacle!
Around the lakes, the herons were as brave and brassy eyed as ever - at one spot, there was a bust up among a troupe of herons competing for what seemed to be chicken luncheon meat being provided by a - it would seem - regular heron tamer.
For most of the thousands sauntering around, the delight was the trees in blossom and the flowers in bloom, and weather which allowed you to take it all in. London in the spring!
On a single stretch of water at Regents Park this afternoon, fully a dozen brassy eyed, sharp beaked herons were lined up by the water. They are majestic, graceful birds. I'd never seen so many in one place. Several were so accustomed to humans that they faced, not the water, but the passers-by - just ten feet or so distant.
The photos here were taken by Anu on her i-phone - you get a sense of the heron's elegance, and its reckless self confidence.
Just nearby, swans were indulging in a courtship ritual, entwining their necks around each other in a very sensual manner.
Everyone stopped and watched, enthralled. Including a family on a pedal boat.
We weren't quite quick enough with the i-phone. So, sorry, no photos of enraptured swans, so more of those proud Regents Park herons instead.
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