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Monday, 16 May 2016

St James Park, London

St James is my favourite of London's Royal Parks. It's quite small at 57 acres and forms part of a green link from Westminster in the east to Kensington Gardens in the west. King Charles II wanted to be able to walk across London from Westminster without leaving Royal greenery. It is named after James the less, one of the twelve Apostles.
London is 40% green open space - the highest for a city of it's size and the sixth highest of any city. 
One of the features of St James is the exotic wildlife, with many species of water-fowl including a small group of pelicans first given by the Russian Ambassador in 1664.
"A remarkable bird is the pelican.
It's mouth can hold more than its belican."
Pelicans in St James Park waiting for lunch!
On Sunday we saw Ruddy Shellducks, Egyptian Geese, Pochard, Red-Crested Pochard, Mute Swan, a black Swan, Mandarin Ducks, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Smew, Coots, Grey Heron and many others which I couldn't identify. At dusk one can see Pipistrelle Bats.
Although the park is very pretty and associated with Royalty it has a dubious history particularly at night-time. John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester (born 1647) was considered by many to be the greatest poet of the age. The reason that you probably have not heard of him is that much of his output was eye-wateringly pornographic. His most famous poem is "A Ramble in St James Park". I'm afraid that I can't quote any here but you can look it up online (which I have done in the interests of research!)
A magical view of London from the bridge across the lake in St James Park
Looking in the other direction with Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial with the golden angel in view.
The Welsh Guard of the Household Cavalry in the park
These red geraniums exactly match the colour of the Guards uniforms.
A view in the park with Buckingham Palace in the background.
Flower beds with Horse Guards Parade in the background
Listening to Etta James version of Stormy Weather. I think her version is as good as Ella Fitzgerald's. Listen here.


Hels said...

You have two magical views of London: 1. from the bridge across the lake in St James Park and 2. Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial. Was it specifically designed to maximise the important views?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bazza - I have to admit I've never spent time in St James' Park ... I must do that at some stage - usually I'm whizzing from one exhibition to another ... with no time to loiter for good or 'nether' pursuits!

Wonderful information and lovely photos ... cheers Hilary

bazza said...

Hello Hels. They are among my very favourite views in London. The current 'romantic' layout of St James Park was by John Nash who was, of course, a superb architect with a great sensitivity to the surroundings of his buildings so I can't imagine that the look is accidental.

bazza said...

Hi Hilary. It's the kind of place that one walks around thinking "why haven't I spent more time here?". Next time in London you must force yourself!

John said...

Hi Bazza!
The great array of birdlife has led to a few 'twitches' further afield when some of these birds have 'escaped'! Can't count them though as they are not truly wild.

bazza said...

Hello John. Of course many of the birds are introduced species and the more exotic ones seem easier (for me) to identify. For example, one could not fail to recognise a smew although I hadn't seen one before! It was great to see them all and they all seemed perfectly at home on the lake.

Sherry Ellis said...

I enjoyed visiting that park last time I was in London. I do recall there being a lot of water fowl.

bazza said...

Hi Sherry. It's a very pleasant place to spend some time in but can get very busy. The birds don't mind they sit on the park benches intimidating people for food!