Ecology, Urban environment

London surprises

The human habitat expands in three dimensions.


But just the other side of these buses is a tributary of the Thames — the River Wandle, that gives its name to Wandsworth — and look what we have here!


A cormorant wrestling with a large, live eel which it eventually swallows whole.


There it goes!

A short walk (for a country person, her daughter and her new grandson) and we are up-river in Barnes, in the wetland reserve that nestles in a meander of the Thames.

“Wake up, Little Grandperson!  Look at these!”


Otters in their almost natural habitat doing what they do best — exploring!



8 thoughts on “London surprises

  1. Penny Taylor says:

    Wonderful photos Diana. Years ago I used to live on south dock marina and never ceased to be amazed by the amount of wild life found in London. We had a family of foxes that were regular visitors, often carrying goodies… one time a carry-out bag from Macdonalds. a large raptor ( I can’t tell you what it was.) nested on the warehouses overlooking our boat, and countless water birds.

  2. Kyle says:

    Excellent series and blog! I initially noticed your “cormorant vs. eel” series. Wow that looked like a huge eel the hungry cormorant caught here! It looked like you had the perfect shots and the bird didn’t mind!

    It looked like the large potential prey was putting up some fight, but the cormorant managed to swallow it entirely okay?? Was the bird alright after such an ordeal? I would think something so big (eaten live) would be quite desperate to damage (hopefully not) or even escape the bird’s stretchy/elastic throat/stomach if eaten in that condition??

    Sorry for all the questions, but it looks like a fascinating event, I have never seen something like it! 😉


  3. Kyle says:

    Oh fascinating! It must be neat to see something like this in the middle of the city, the cormorant must be somewhat acclimated! So the bird can keep this giant eel down despite the size of the potential prey?

    Wouldn’t such a big thing be trying to “back out” and escape if eaten in such a condition? I would think this giant/slimey (protective coating) eel would maneuver around to get out somehow?!

  4. In this case, after millions of years of evolution on both sides, I guess the Cormorant is one jump ahead! The Chinese do use cormorants for fishing so they obviously can extract the prey –probably alive. The bird may have some chemical tricks in its gullet –must read about it. Thanks for provoking thought!

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