An Exciting Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers, there was lots to see in the cemetery on Saturday, most of it centred around the bird life. We were barely through the gates when we noticed this crow, getting stuck into a mystery fruit. At first I thought  it might be a mango, but on balance I’ve decided it was an orange. Who knew that crows had a taste for citrus? I love the way that the crow is keeping the fruit under control with his or her foot.

Normally the crows are pretty shy, but this one was clearly too involved in eating to be put off by me and my camera.

Then, I was looking at the blossom (which is rather fine at the moment) when my husband said ‘what’s that bird with the red head?’

And yes it was a green woodpecker, usually a very elusive bird. This one was digging up ants as if they were going out of fashion – the wet weather has made the soil a bit easier to hammer into. The bird was completely engrossed in its task, but was moving so quickly that it was hard to get a decent shot. Some birds seem to live on a slightly faster timescale than us, and this one definitely did that. If  you look carefully in the video below you can see the bird’s long tongue flickering out to lick up the ants. It looks in some of the photos as if the beak is malformed but the bird looked healthy and was clearly feeding, so hopefully it can still look after itself. It’s a hard life bashing yourself against hard surfaces all day, and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t sometimes some collateral damage.

Then we spotted a small panther, clearly watching out for mice or other small rodents.

In the more open part of the cemetery there were several flocks of redwings, probably several hundred in total. They are starting to gather for the flight back north, but it was the first time I’d seen them in such numbers.

Round we go, and here’s another panther – this one is a bit chunkier than the earlier one.

And everywhere, the daffodils and various narcissi have taken over from the crocuses and the snowdrops.

The primroses are coming into their own as well.

And one of my favourite cherry-crabs is almost at the peak of flowering.

And finally, someone has given the lovely Scotsman on Kew Road some new flowers, and some twigs. I think this is probably the finest sculpture in the cemetery, and he never fails to move me, standing there so proud amongst the trees. When he was alive, someone clearly loved him very much.

4 thoughts on “An Exciting Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Fran & Bobby Freelove

    What a lovely walk, you’ve managed to get some lovely photos. Apparently the crow family will eat all sorts of fruits including oranges something you wouldn’t automatically think of. We see Green Woodpeckers where we are but not as close as the one you recorded, they’re quite stunning and the juveniles are lovely too. You’re lucky to see all the Redwings we’ve only seen one this year! It’s lovely to see all the spring flowers too.

  2. Evadne

    I do enjoy your walks, not able to walk far myself due to old age ,86 and severe arthritis, my garden is becoming very wild ,and-non the worse for it, supprising what pops up when you are not too tidy, I manage to keep the feeders filled, love watching the various visitors, including crows ,jackdaws and squirrels,amazing how they manage to access the small bird only feeders, also have a daily visit from a spotted woodpecker,and very occasionally a green one


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