Saturday, 14 August 2010

A stroll along the River Thames

This last Wednesday I had to drive Chris up to London. He had some research to do at the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) for his work. I drove to Richmond, a suburb in the west of London. I would spend the day here while Chris went on the tube into central London. There is a large car park at Richmond just a short walk away from the River Thames.
I skirted the edge of Richmond Park to get to the Thames (I know this is a stomping ground for Frank The Early Birder, so maybe he could recommend something different for me to do when I next have to drive Chris up this way???). There was a lovely metal railing bridge across a parallel watercourse to get to the Thames river path.
The parallel watercourse probably has some use, but I don't know what it is.
When I got over to the pathway I had a decision to make....which way to go and this sign gave me a helping hand. I would aim for Richmond Lock.
A view approaching Richmond bridge and lock.
It's a pretty bridge and I got a bit carried away with taking photos! (-:
A London Port Authority boat was using the Lock while I was there.
A view up river from the Lock.
A nice pedestrian walkway across the bridge.
A view down river (I think, maybe I got up and down wrong! Frank'll tell me! (-: )
The bridge lights were impressive.
Enough of bridges, here are some of the birds that I saw on my stroll along the river. Nothing really rare, but fun to try and photograph all the same. This Great Crested Grebe was playing hide and seek with me. I sustained several stings from nettles to get this shot and still I managed to get him behind some foliage (the reddish blurring)!
I was surprised to come across a few Egyptian Geese here, though maybe Frank will tell me they're common along the River Thames?
My 70-300ml lens was straining to get this Grey Heron posing on the other side of the River.
Here's a shot of him with a rower passing by.
Another Grey Heron, this time on my side of the River, but still not close enough for much detail.
These Black-headed Gulls are just in the process of losing their brown heads, changing into winter plumage.
Moorhens are generally shy birds, but this one was strutting boldly on the path ahead of me (mind you, it soon scuttled over into the undergrowth as I got nearer).
One on the water making a quick getaway!
A view of some of the buildings and boats across the River from me.
Some rowers out for a practice. They created quite a lot of disturbance as they sliced their way through the water.... can be seen in the photo below of many Black-headed Gulls taking flight.
It wasn't all Birds, Bridges and Boats though. The path along this stretch of the River Thames was nice a leafy.
There's something irresistible to me about sunlight through foliage. It always lifts my spirits!
Here is the fruit of the tree above. The Horse Chestnut. It will be quite a few weeks before the lovely rich brown conkers start to appear from these prickly casings.
I used to play conkers as a kid.
This is a pretty looking flower, but it's an alien and a bit of a menace. It's called Himalayan Balsam and spreads rapidly, specially along water courses.
After a while I made my way back to the start and walked a little bit along the other way. This bridge is the one that I drove over to get to Richmond. You can see some interesting riverside homes on the far bank.
The Purple Loosestrife along here made for a lovely river scene.
Walking back under the bridge to make my way back to the car, I noticed the water reflecting on the bridge roof.
Something I noticed particularly on my walk was the constant noise of the planes low overhead making their final approach to land at Heathrow airport. It certainly made me glad that I'm not under a flight path back in my home town in Somerset!


The Early Birder said...

Hi Jen. It's been ages since I walked this part of the river. The view from the lock is UPSTREAM (there is no bridge in view on downstream side).

BTW the Egyptians are very common.. a very healthy breeding population. There are some places where the Balsam is so high even I can't see the water!

Next time, let me know in advance and I'll show you around Richmond Park or even a short hop over to Barnes WWT. Cheers FAB.

Rural Rambler said...

What a great set of pictures Jen. A little of everthing. The bridge is beautiful. The rowers are cool and I love your sunlit shots. I noticed a feathery butt in one of the heron shots! Funny. Have a great Sunday Jen!

Chris said...

What a fantastic post you did... All is new for me and fantastic! It was nice to read and see these pictures. Thanks for sharing this moment!

Mary said...

I like both bridges...the iron one and the larger one. Great shots. You saw a lot of birds! The only reason I know what conkers are is from reading "Miss Read" books :-)

TonyC said...

Hi Jen, quite a contrast to Haweswater!!. I remeber playing conkers too, and trying to it explain to a group of Japanese visitors sitting under a Horse Chestnut in windsor Great Park. I don't think they really understood....

Jenny said...

Hi Frank, thanks for the lesson is river flow! (-: I shall hope to take you up on your kind offer for the next trip east to London, thanks.

Hi Pix, glad you enjoyed it. A bit different from my normal postings. I suspect the feathery bum belonged to Mrs Mallard! (-:

Hi Chris, glad you enjoyed it. Maybe if I'd gone with my husband, I could've taken photos of some of the London Museums. It's not my favourite place in the world though! (-:

Hi Mary, it was a fun stroll because I'd not done it before and I didn't know what to expect both from the bridges or the birds I might see. I'm glad I made the effort and hope to explore more next time, hopefully with Frank as a tour guide! (-:

Hi Tony, yes SOOOOOOO different from the lovely wilderness of Haweswater, but still fun all the same. I can just imagine you entertaining some Japanese tourists! (-:

Eve said...

I really enjoyed this walk Jenny! I'm sorry it took so long for me to comment! What an interesting place with beautiful sights! Love the bridge lights. Boy am I glad you brought your camera!
Type to you soon!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your stroll along that "posh" place Jen.

Quiet Paths said...

This brought back memories. When i was in my twenties I was stranded for a flight back to the US and my host took me for a walk along the Thames around this area. I'll never forget it. Loved this, Jenny. thanks for posting.