Sunday, 9 February 2020

London is being battered by Storm Ciara and the park is closed. Here is a view of the wind-whipped trees from over the railings. Even the rhinoceros in Knightsbridge is swaying a bit.

So I went for a walk in Battersea Park, which remained open. On the way a heavy rainstorm forced me into shelter on the walkway under Chelsea Bridge, which was trembling noticeably in the gale.

There is a successful heronry in Battersea Park with 16 nests this year.

Nesting is always much earlier than at the small heronry in Hyde Park, which hasn't even got going. The young herons are already out of their nests.

One of the adults was fishing in the Thames.

Another was on a moored barge with a group of Cormorants and gulls including a Great Black-Back at the far right of this picture.

There is a thriving colony of Carrion Crows on the edge of the Thames with territories on both sides in Battersea Park and the garden of the Royal Hospital.

Some of them were bathing in the river.

A Blackbird was glad of the torrential rain, which brought up plenty of worms.

Feral Pigeons sheltered on Albert Bridge, whose cheerful pink colour compensates for its structural weakness.

Designed by Rowland Mason Ordish in 1873 as a kind of early cable-stayed bridge, it was not up to the job even with the light vehicles of the time, and had to be strengthened with an added suspension system designed by the great civil engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette. More recently it was propped up in the middle with an extra pier. There is a notice at each end of the bridge telling troops to break step when crossing to avoid vibration which might damage it. Only one other bridge was built to this design, the Franz Joseph Bridge in Prague, which started to collapse and was demolished in the 1950s.

More wildlife on the walk: a crocodile in Battersea Park ...

... and a griffin in Lower Sloane Street.

A plane tree in Queen's Gate has unwisely started coming into leaf.


  1. Good on you for even going out.

  2. I'm scared just watching the first two videos. I hope you didn't get drenched.

    Is the crocodile a cleverly disguised bench?

    1. It's in a children's playground. Unsurprisingly there were no children, so I didn't see what they were doing with it.

  3. What with all that weather, it was actually quite mild for February, wasn't it. And with all the advance warnings, I somehow expected more ferocity. Still, see what this night brings. (after all , we're on 'an island, in a major ocean, next to a major landmass'. Can't remember who said that; like the description, though.) And I can't help but feel the Royal Parks were closed not so much from concern from us, but for fear of being sued. Cynical, I know.

    1. All the Royal Parks are being kept shut on Monday morning for 'safety assessment'. Of course anything that was going to fall down in a storm already has, so they are safer than they were before, but the official mind doesn't think like that.