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During our trip to London we had the opportunity to spend some time walking through St. James’ Park and observe the “locals” that call the park home. The park is located near popular landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Parliament, The Treasury, The Churchill War Rooms and Clarence House just to name a few.

According to a Wikipedia entry, St. James Park is the oldest of all the Royal Parks of London and has it’s origins go back to 1532 when Henry VIII bought the land (a marsh at the time) from Eton College. In 1603, when James I was king, he drained the marsh so that the land can become a home to his camels, elephants and crocodiles. I never realized that camels, elephants and crocodiles are indigenous to England. 🙂

For some reason the camels and elephants were not roaming the park when we were there, nor did we see any crocodiles patrolling the waters. What we did find was a collection of wonderful birds and squirrels who had no shame. This was the first time that I had visited St. James’ Park and I was surprised by how a park like this can survive and thrive in the middle of London. When walking through the park, it was often difficult to see the city that surrounds it so that may have something to do with the park’s success.

There’s not much else to write about regarding the park so I’ll let the photos provide the “rest of the story”:

One of the first residents of the park that we came upon was a duck that would not leave us alone. He would stalk us until we fed him something. Fortunately my wife had crackers with her, so we were able to appease the duck:

There was no getting past her.......

A duck with an attitude......

No doubt she was poised to attack if not fed.......

Once we satisfied the duck and continued our walk through the park (give yourself at least an hour or 2 in order to truly appreciate it), we found it full of a wide variety of birds. Mostly water fowl including ducks and pelicans:

Pelican enjoying a drink

Pelicans resting between meals

A variety of other birds:

They had no interest at the attention they were getting.....

By far the "strangest" feet I've ever seen on any animal.....

Simply unique!

Unique and colorful ducks

Herons were abundant

One beautiful bird after another

Perhaps the most colorful specimen in the park

.....and her chicks.

Our other ‘interactive” encounter came from a furry resident of the park. The only animal that I think out numbered the ducks was the squirrel. They were EVERYWHERE. They had no shame and would regularly stalk people expecting some sort of handout. On several occasions we witnessed someone putting food on their shoulder, only to have the squirrel climb up and get their snack. They had no fear whatsoever. Our encounter would be similar, expect for the part of allowing a quasi-rodent to climb up on us. The squirrel that “chose” us simply liked to be photographed….hoping he’d hit the Big Time:

Waiting for the unsuspecting passerby....

Hey, can you spare a nut?

I was able to take this picture 12 inches away.

Getting ready to take our offering

A little blurry because he caught us by surprise.....

I have to admit, the walk in the park was a great break from the sight seeing. Earlier that morning we had observed the Queen’s Procession to Parliament and then had gone to the Churchill War Rooms, so a break was in order. As I mentioned earlier, the park is adjacent to other attractions in the area:

Preparations for the Queen's Jubilee at Buckingham Palace

A view of the London "Eye"

A view towards the Treasury, Churchill War Rooms and other Government buildings.

St. James’ Park is closed to traffic so it is relatively quiet and easy to navigate with paths that are laid out throughout the park. If you ever find yourself in London and are running around seeing all the sites that you are “supposed” to see, take a break for an hour or 2, bring some crackers with you and enjoy this fantastic park!

This is only part of a much larger trip report covering the trip to Istanbul and London. If you would like to be informed of future trip reports, please follow me on twitter: @lufthansaflyer.

Here is the current “index” of the trip report. The one’s with hyperlinks have already been completed:

Lufthansa First Class Services from Chicago to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Lounge in Frankfurt

Istanbul – Sultan Ahmed (Sultanahmet) Mosque.
Istanbul – The Basilica Cistern.
Istanbul – Spice Market and Grand Bazaar.
Istanbul – Park Hyatt Macka Palas.
Istanbul – Our Day with Ihsan (besttaxidriver.com).
Istanbul – Hagia Sophia.
Istanbul – Other Mosques and Churches.
Istanbul – I find out what Zultanite is….
Istanbul – The Food We Found.
Istanbul – Turkish Airlines’ International CIP Lounge.

London – Hyatt Andaz Liverpool Street.
London – Opening of Parliament – Great pictures of the Queen and procession to Parliament.
London – ‘The Sunshine Boys’ at the Savoy Theater (Danny DeVito and Richard Griffiths)…..BRILLIANT, MUST SEE!
London – Spitalfield’s Antique Market – And the lesson I learned.
London – Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum.
London – Photos from around town.
London – Dinner at Petrus
London – St. James Park. Very friendly squirrels and ducks.
London – Covent Gardens.
London – All the other things that I can’t think of at the moment….

Pluckley – They said it was haunted……