London Overview

I’ll start the first of several posts on our recent trip to London, England, with a short overview. Then over the next few weeks I’ll mix shorter blogs on London in with what is happening locally. I’ll try to keep the posts short since I know personally I’d rather see something broken down into smaller digestible junks then long encompassing ones.

Results of the Guesses

I’d like to think everyone who guessed in the comment section from the previous post that a TUFTED DUCK was my 500th life bird. And Mike played along nicely and emailed me directly since he already knew the location. Now about the location.

Greg guessed Hyde Park in London which is correct. Steve went even further and guessed the Serpentine, which I suppose is accurate. But according to the map it is “The Long Water”. I’m not nitpicking and I only bring it up because there seems to be several names for areas that “run” together in London. Be it Kensington Gardens running into Hyde Park or streets which suddenly change named and are called something else.

Either way, thanks to everyone for playing along.

Hyde Park
The small X is where I saw the Tufted Duck. Notice how The Long Water and The Serpentine are the same body of water but have different names for the two areas. Here is the full explanation on Wikipedia. The circled X is the location of the hotel which was a 15 minute walk to Hyde Park.

Why London?

My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in March. We had always wanted to go to London. So that was that. We booked the trip back in November to get a good rate and unwittingly made a very good choice on both the hotel and its location. We were literally one minute from the Gloucester Road Underground Station and could be anywhere in the city in 10-15 minutes.

Birding

As with most of my trips this was not a “birding” trip. So I only planned a day of birding. However it ended up being a bit more since we did some birding the first day by walking Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens and St. James Park later in the week.

The plan for birding was to bird Hyde Park one morning and the new London Wetland Centre the rest of the same day. And the plan worked out great.

London
The basic area we covered in London. 1 – Hotel 2 – Hyde Park for birding 3 – Theatre District, Museums, etc. 4 – London Wetlands Area for Birding. The purple line is to show how easy it was to get to Wetlands area by public transportation.

Since migration was just starting I thought by covering those two areas I could probably see most of the resident local birds. The only way I could add another 20 or so species was a trip to the Norfolk Coast. To do it right would have consumed two days which meant it was out of the question.

That’s the basics of the trip. Going forward I’ll try not to bore you with too many details.

200-500

I’m not sure anyone is interested in my personal milestones but I always like reading about other peoples. So here are a couple of mine.

This is my 200th blog. For the special occasion I was going to write a few thoughts on the state of birding. Nothing deep or mind altering, and probably not original. Just some observations of mine.

I started what was to be the 200th blog last Friday night/Saturday morning at 38,000 feet over the Atlantic. I didn’t get it completed with the attempt to sleep on the plane or the ensuing next day’s Jet Lag. That post will just have to be at a later date.

As you can guess I’m somewhere outside of the US. Not anything special but kind of fun is that I saw my 500th species yesterday. It was on a non-birding stroll with my wife at a public park.

Here is lucky 500.

TUDU

Since I don’t have time to write a full blog I’ll let you guess the species. It isn’t hard and it isn’t a RING-NECKED DUCK. Mike please don’t answer in the comment section since you know where I’m located. And no there isn’t a prize except the satisfaction that you know this rare visitor to North America.

If you don’t know or haven’t guessed the species in the photo or where I’m located, let me tell you it has to do with me blowing one question which kept me off the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” I briefly reference about the experience here. The only question I missed was about putting 4 houses of this county’s royalty in the order they held the throne. The above duck was seen on one of their palace’s ponds.

As we toured the palace’s grounds and a few other historical sites where we kept seeing the names of the different houses of royalty, we couldn’t get the game show experience out of our heads.

I’ll post tomorrow with the answer and a few more details of the trip.