Wednesday, June 10, 2009

8 Mile walk to work

As London Underground (a Victorian-era train service with fares at 21st century prices) decided to put its feet up for two days (see here), the daily commute to work was going to be problematic. The only other obvious choice was the bus but as the rest of London would be doing the same, I decided to walk the 8 or 9 nine miles. I had often thought about doing this walk on a nice early summer morning, taking in a few birding sites on the way. This morning was overcast and ended in rain. Still I saw 50 species on a route which took me from not so Sunny Hill Park to Hampstead Heath (not a heath either) and through Regent's Park into Central London. Highlights included Green Woodpecker and House Sparrow in Hendon followed by Nuthatch, Jay, Treecreeper and Common Tern on Hampstead Heath, ending with Reed Warbler and Great Crested Grebe just off Baker Street. I walked the route at a fair pace and didn't really stop to look around, particularly on the Heath where the bushes may have hidden an MP fiddling with his expenses. About to leave Regent's Park on 49, and round numbers are always nice, I looked around for an obvious choice to make it up - Mute Swan. Some birds can be difficult when you are actually looking for them... but then I saw one gliding past the rubber Smew and plastic Garganey. After all this, I arrived at work to find out that Northern Line had been (mostly) running all along. Apparently it's staff belong to a completely different union. That's very good of them not to join the strike but why no information or notices telling us this in advance?
The Viaduct Pond on Hampstead Heath