25 June 2008

Urban birds

Because of what Alunfoto does for a living, I sometimes find myself between meetings in the Docklands district of London, UK. With nothing better to do, I sometimes bring my cameras along for a stroll along the river banks, or wherever my feet points me to in the Docklands district. Sometimes on the Isle of Dogs, but mostly on the Southwark side.

One interesting place I've stumbled onto (but fortunately not into) is the Greenland Dock area. Bombed out by the Germans during WWII and redeveloped in the 1980s into a luxurious residential area, the dock itself has become an arena for recreational watersports.

Watersports in the Greenland Dock
Pentax K10D, DA*16-50/2.8
f/8, 1/750s, ISO 200

The waters seems to be very productive. Grebes, Cormorants and Terns all hunt for fish here, and on the vegetarian side you find plenty of coots and mallards. There's apparently a project going on to create suitable nesting spots for the birds, in the shape of rafts with vegetation on them, imitating the wetlands they would naturally inhabit.

Nesting platforms and other urban dwellings
Pentax K10D, DA*16-50/2.8
f/8, 1/500s, ISO 200

While waiting for the platforms to become naturally looking, the coots seem to be content with what they find lying around. I can't help but feeling a bit sorry for her, throning on a pile of trash. However she seems well off compared to her neighbor, a Great Crested Grebe trying to brood on the bare wooden platform. It's a bit late in the year too, I think, for the grebe to be still brooding after summer solstice. Perhaps it is her second attempt.

I'd prefer to build my own nest, thank you!
Pentax K20D, DA*300/4
f/5.6, 1/500s, ISO 400

Great Crested Grebe rearranging her eggs
Pentax K20D, DA*300/4
f/11, 1/750, ISO 400

Back home in Norway, the Grebes are considered shy and reserved birds that don't easily tolerate human presence. How different the London Grebes are...

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