I didn't really have much time to take any descent photos, most came from sitting inside a building or bus, but London always surprises me at how green it is for such a huge City. Look even at that shot of Parliament and the Eye, trees each side of the river. Every little park, nook and cranny has it's trees and greenery, the most important of which is obviously the London Plane. Look at the bark on that Madam? These magnificent trees stand all day soaking up the polluted air without a single moan or groan. In return they give the observant viewer wonderful bark to behold, and a shady crown to protect from the sun. Hats off to the London Plane I say, though not without applying factor 50 sun-cream of course.
London has many parks of course, favourite haunts of the good inhabitants of the City. But it's the unexpected wildlife which appeals to me. Many a balcony of a flat has a bird table or feeder, roof tops have gardens and house boats on the river have not only feeders and gardens, but resident gulls using their boats as makeshift islands. Everywhere nature is taking back the urban landscape.
And even though not spectacular in terms of Nature Conservation, small initiatives such as this part of the London Metropolitan River Thames Conservation Scheme, protect vital green spaces from development in Chelsea
Not that this blackbird in the Victoria and Albert Museum cafe area was worried about green development. Tea and cake was more on her mind.
Even heading into the moneyed square mile, any available space, such as this triangle between congested roads is now planted with exotica
But lets not forget the old buildings which for centuries have stood here waiting for nature to pop by. These ferns seem happy to cling onto the walls of the Tower of London, presumably Queen Victoria would not be amused. Sadly as we didn't go in, I never saw my beloved Ravens, but a lot of Carrion Crows are in the City these days scavenging in the parks. I've resisted a pigeon shot by the way, much too passe.
And as for Buddliea, was ever a plant more adapted to the urban environment? It seemed every roof and chimney, every railway arch was a home to this competitive plant. And a welcome splash of lilac into the cityscape; even if their roots are probably causing havoc with the masonry.
But my final piece of the London Wildlife Jigsaw was here, at the O2 Dome, much changed from my last visit in 2000 to see the Millennium Exhibition that year. It is (for me) a glorious building, all the more so in the bright sunlight. Though not known for it's wildlife, overhead Swifts screamed. However yesterday on the way to the entrance a line of clipped trees sheltered this East End bird. This is the only descent shot I got of it, not great, and I'm a bit stumped as to what it is. A soft repetitive seep seep call and skulking behaviour suggested leaf warbler to me, but the speckled breast is confusing. I feel as though I should know this but no doubt it's the camera angle making it seem difficult to identify, that's my excuse anyway. Presumably it's a juvenile something, but in the absence of a better view, does anyone have any ideas?
Postscript (Wednesday morning) to the birdy Id issue above - top money from the birders is a newly fledged Chiffchaff. You heard it here first!! Whereas I heard the bird of course and didn't know what it was - the shame, the shame!