Gallery: the birds of St James’s Park
London is blessed with many parks and green spaces and every Londoner has a favourite. Mine is St James’s Park. I love it for its views, its sense of history, its beautiful lake, and for its birdlife. The park was originally created by King James I who had the marshland here drained to create a park for his palace at Whitehall, where he kept a collection of exotic animals including camels, crocodiles and even an elephant
Gallery: a Grey Heron at Osterley Park (and friends)
The elegant Georgian house at Osterley Park was once home to the wealthy banking family, the Childs. Queen Elizabeth I visited the manor house that once stood on this site, and the present house, designed by Robert Adam, has seen many other wealthy and important visitors over the years. The view of the house from the far side of the large lake is particularly pretty, even on the November day when we last visited.
Bird weekly #52: birds with long tail feathers
Wow, so Lisa has entrusted me as guest host for this week’s Bird Weekly Challenge! It’s an honour, but also a somewhat daunting task. Unlike Lisa I’m no expert bird-watcher; I just like seeing them and trying to photograph them. And while I like to know the name of a species, the main interest for me is the challenge of trying to photograph something so elusive, so constantly mobile, as many birds are.
Gallery: owl portraits, striped and speckled
Owls are hunters, birds of prey. And like all birds of prey they pursue other animals for food, something that not everyone is comfortable with. But they are also very beautiful, with delicate markings on their feathers – spots and stripes that frame their faces, adorn their wings and bodies. They are among my favourite birds.
Gallery: playing with a selective colour technique
Lisa has set an unusual challenge, the selective colour editing of photos. It’s one that really attracted me to have a go. I love fiddling with my photos, as regular readers will know (I call it editing but really it’s quite often just fiddling!) So the idea of removing much of the colour in an image to leave just a splash appealed to me.
Gallery: meet Steven the Seagull and some friends
Not many gulls are as famous as Steven. Said to be Estonia’s most photographed seagull, he lives in Tallinn and is often seen on the viewing platform overlooking the Lower Town. He has featured in hundreds of tourist photos and became so famous that in 2016 he got his own Instagram account.
Blue feet, red feet, any coloured feet …
There are several species indelibly linked in the mind with the Galápagos Islands, and one of these is certainly the blue-footed booby. The distinctive feet that give it its name, almost turquoise in colour, really are as bright and bizarre-looking as they seem in the photos!
Gallery: Bald Eagles, American Robins and more
We travel to see things we cannot see at home: different cultures, different landscapes, different wildlife. It’s easy to think that because we share a common language, Britons visiting the US might find it too much like home. But I've never found it so.
Gallery: the flamingos of the Salar de Atacama
The only way to properly appreciate the vastness of Chile’s Salar de Atacama would be to fly over it; but a visit at ground level offers a spectacular sight of the varied colours of this unworldly landscape. Before you visit the Atacama you will no doubt read or be told that it is the driest non-polar desert in the world, with no significant rainfall for 400 years. It is surprising then to arrive at the Laguna Chaxa and see so much water!
Gallery: discovering birdlife in Bushy Park
London’s eight Royal Parks comprise areas of land that was originally owned by the monarchy and used by them for recreation, mostly hunting, of the royal family. Today the parks are all freely open to the public and are one of the delights of London. Bushy Park is one of them, less famous perhaps than its city centre cousins such as Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, but with lots to offer those who visit.