Archive for September, 2016

The Kings staircase leads into the presence chamber where King George I and II would receive visitors and petitioners. Compared to the rest of the apartments it is rather sombre in its decor.

The Presence Chamber

The Presence Chamber

Probably the most impressive room in the suite is the Cupola room, with its amazing musical clock as a centrepiece. This room was used for entertaining and it was here that the baby princess Victoria was baptised.

Musical Clock in the Cupola room

Musical Clock in the Cupola room

Decoration in the Cupola room

Decoration in the Cupola room

Ceiling of the Cupola room

Ceiling of the Cupola room

The Kings Gallery is a long room designed for indoor walking and other leisure pursuits. It was also an excellent place to display items from the royal art collection.

KIngs Gallery

Kings Gallery

Fireplace in Kings Gallery

Fireplace in Kings Gallery

River Walk (2)

Posted: September 15, 2016 in London, UK
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Passing under Blackfriars Railway Bridge, where the station is situated on the bridge and was opened in 2012.

Blackfriars Station

Blackfriars Station

Sion Hall on the north bank is on the site of a theatre built by the Earl of Dorset and designed by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of London. The current building was built to house Sion College in 1886. It is now an office building.

Sion Hall

Sion Hall

Sion Hall

Sion Hall

Next door is the building which housed the City of London School from 1879 until 1986.

City of London School Building

City of London School Building

On the opposite bank of the river is the Oxo building. Originally built as a power station, it was acquired by the makers of Oxo cubes to be converted into a cold-store. The Tower was added in 1928 during a major re-building. The words are actually formed by windows as there was a ban on advertising on the Skyline. After Oxo moved it out it remained empty for a number of years whilst arguments raged over whether it could be demolished or redeveloped. Eventually it was re-developed as accommodation, restaurants and shopping.

OXO Building

OXO Building

Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge

Now approaching Waterloo Bridge, I pass out of the city of London and enter the city of Westminster.

City of London boundary

City of London boundary

Here HQS Wellington is moored. A WWII escort ship, she is now the headquarters of the Hon. Company of Master Mariners.

HMS Wellington 1942

HMS Wellington 1942

HQS Wellington

HQS Wellington

On the opposite bank is the National Theatre.

National Theatre

National Theatre

Passing under Waterloo Bridge I approach Hungerford Bridge which carries the Southeastern Railway across the Thames to Charing Cross Station.

Hungerford Bridge

Hungerford Bridge

Here is Cleopatra’s Needle, an ancient Egyptian obelisk. The name is a misnomer as it dates from over 1000 years before Queen Cleopatra lived. It was erected here in 1877.

Cleopatra's Needle

Cleopatra’s Needle

 

Arriving at Embankment Station its time to head off to my next meeting but a great way to spend a couple of spare hours.

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Having a couple of hours to spare after an appointment in central London and having the previous day failed to catch up with either Brown Hawker or Southern Hawker Dragonflies at London Wetland Centre, I decided to go for a walk around the lake in Regents Park to see if I could remedy this.

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As usual, the lake held its normal array of waterbirds, including 3 species of geese, all present in good numbers.

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

Greylag Goose

Greylag Goose

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

One surprise was to find Coot that were still nesting. I located 2 nests, one of which had young visible.

Nesting Coot

Nesting Coot

Young Coot

Young Coot

On the dragonfly front, I was not successful with only Common Darter being recorded.

Common Darter

Common Darter

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)

Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

London Wetland Centre

London Wetland Centre

A bright sunny morning saw Keith and I heading for The London wetland Centre. We had two aims – firstly to photograph some Butterflies and Dragonflies and secondly to see what migrating birds were present on the reserve.

Our first good sighting was a Small Copper Butterfly resting on the vegetation.

Small Copper (photo by Keith)

Small Copper (photo by Keith)

Unfortunately, despite this good start,the remainder of the butterflies that we saw were, with the exception of one Red Admiral and one Speckled Wood, whites.

It was a very similar story with the Dragonflies where, although there were many individuals, only Migrant Hawker and Common Darter were identified. One fly-by appeared to be a darker red and have a waisted body – a possible Ruddy Darter, but it didnot stay around long enough for a confirmed identification.

Migrant Hawker  (Photo by Keith)

Migrant Hawker (Photo by Keith)

Common Darter

Common Darter

We were luckier with the migrants – a Ruffe and a Wheatear giving good views, although we did not find the Whinchat that had been seen earlier in the morning.

Wheatear

Wheatear

Ruffe

Ruffe

A juvenile Green Woodpecker also gave good views as it hunted for food on the grass banks.

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker

White tailed Bumblebee

White tailed Bumblebee

One unexpected fly-by were 4 chinook-type helicopters which flew over from the west circled over the reserve before heading off towards central London.

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As always this reserve does not disappoint.

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Northern Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe oenanthe)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Small Copper [sp] (Lycaena phlaeas)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum) -possible
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

Some more pictures of Puffins taken in the Farne Islands

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The Kings Appartments as we see them today are the creation of George I and his son, GeorgeII in the 18th century. They are accessed by the magnificent Kings staircase, decorated by William Kent in 1727.

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Ceiling - Kings Staircase

Ceiling – Kings Staircase

A River Walk (1)

Posted: September 8, 2016 in London, UK
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St Paul's Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge

St Paul’s Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge

A few hours between meetings in central London gives me the opportunity for a walk along the north side of the Thames Embankment from St Paul’s to Charing Cross.

Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge

Our first stop is the Millennium Bridge, opened to celebrate the year 2000 it became colloquially known as the ‘wibbly-wobbly bridge’ due to its initial instability – it moved as you moved! This led to its closure, but it was reopened after structural changes and now it is a solid as a bridge should be!

Close by are two other millennium monuments – a sundial provided by the Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers and an obelisk from the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers.

Millennium Sundial

Millennium Sundial

Millennium Obelisk

Millennium Obelisk

On the South side of the River is the Tate Modern, housed in the old Bankside Power Station. The original coal-powered station was built in 1891 was replaced by an oil fired station opened in 1952. It closed down in 1981. It remained an empty building for over 10 years until it was announced that the Tate gallery would take over the building as a gallery. It opened in 2000.

Tate Modern at the old Bankside Power Station

Tate Modern at the old Bankside Power Station

The river is still a vibrant waterway with both commercial and passenger traffic.

River Boat

River Boat heading towards Westminster

 

Barges going upstream

Barges going upstream

Upstream I can see Blackfriars Station.

Blackfriars Station

Blackfriars Station

to be continued……

Speckled wood

Speckled wood

This common butterfly of gardens and parks is perhaps one of the most recognised as it has two broods a year, one in the spring and another in the summer. This ensures that individual adults are on the wing for most of the summer.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

There are a number of sub-species with colour variations ranging from  white spots (more common in the north of its range) to orange spots (more common in the south of range).

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

 

 

Statue of Sir Henry Haverlock in Trafalger Square

Statue of Sir Henry Havelock in Trafalgar Square

Henry Havelock was born near Sunderland in 1795, the son of a shipbuilder. He left school in 1813 and went to study Law at the Middle Temple in London. However following a disagreement with his father in 1815, he had to quit his legal studies and decided to join his 3 brothers in the army.

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In 1822, as a lieutenant in the 13th Light Infantry. he was sent to India. He learnt to speak Hindustani and Persian as he believed these would be useful to him. He saw action in Burma but then returned to England, where he got married. A Baptist by faith, he arranged that bibles should be distributed to every soldier.

In 1839, he returned to India where his translation skills were much in demand. Three years later he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant-General of Infantry in Kabul. By 1849 he was a major in the 53rd Foot, but soon afterwards he left the army and returned to England, where he spent 2 years working with the Stepney Baptist Academy.

Sir Henry Haverlock [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sir Henry Havelock [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1854 he returned to India as Adjutant-General of India and saw action in the war with Persia and in the Indian Mutiny. It was in this latter campaign that he was responsible in September 1857 for the first relief of Lucknow, although his relief column was subsequently re-besieged within the city by the rebels.

He died in Lucknow in November 1857, a few days after the subsequent siege had been lifted and he had received the information that he had been created a Baronet. He was buried in Lucknow.

Tomb of Sir Henry Haverlock in Lucknow India ([Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tomb of Sir Henry Havelock in Lucknow India ([Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Some more pictures of Grey Seals from the Farne Islands.

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