Monday, 3 May 2010

Pelicans in the wild in central London

When you think of birds you might find in the wild in central London - pelican isn't a word which comes to mind quickly!

Pelicans grooming - on the rocks in the lake in St James Park, London
8.5" x 11", pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in large Moleskine Sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

However if you go to St James Park and sit on a seat at the Horse Guards end - right outside the Foreign Office and near to Duck Island Cottage - then you can frequently see the Pelicans of St James Park engaged in their grooming and posing activities.

I sketched them on the way back from picking up my pictures from the Society of Botanical artists exhibition last week - and on the way to the RI exhibition, as the route basically involves walking along Horseguards! It's not a very good sketch - but then it is my very first sketch of pelicans!

If you go between 2.30 and 3.00 each day, the St James Park website indicates you can see them being fed. Although getting fed somewhat compromises their 'wildlife's status.

Apparently the first Pelicans were given by the Russian Ambassador in 1684!
There are currently five Pelicans in the Park; 3 Eastern (or Great) White Pelicans and one American White Pelican, which is distinguished by different colouring and a crest on its bill. They're gregarious, social creatures and there are numerous stories of their entertaining antics. One rather mischievous Pelican used to fly over to London Zoo in Regent's Park to steal their fish for his lunch and they're often seen climbing out of the lake to sit on the benches
St James Park - Pelicans


Tina Mammoser said...

haha! Cool! I never knew we had pelicans. :) (I'm afraid I'm only familiar with the London seabirds called pigeons by the river)

annie said...

Great sketch and wonderful pelican stories, Katherine. Clever zoo strategy to survive being "wild."

thesea said...

That is such a sweet picture.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

A lovely sketch Katherine..and what audacious pelicans to go and visit the zoo for their food..

Jeanette said...

I never considered pelicans in London either! I'm sure they're quite a delight to watch.

The sketch gives such a sense of place.

Laureline said...

What fun! And this sketch is so strongly composed, with the tree on the left side framing and acting as foil to the focal parts of the scene.

vivien said...

wow! between them and the parrots living wild there - London is becoming quite exotic!