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Whats in Wapping

Best of Wildlife in Wapping 2013 – photos

Best of Wildlife in Wapping 2013 – photos

It’s been an exciting, eventful and at times hard year for wildlife here in Wapping.

So I, the Wapping Squirrel am delighted to have survived and been invited to write for What’s in Wapping and share my wildlife highlights from the last 12 months.

Just in case you were wondering, I’m Wapping’s most handsome squirrel who tweets as @WappingSquirrel and usually live in Wapping Rose Gardens (Nest 2). My favourite food is nuts.

Highlights from Wildlife in Wapping 2013

The year started with terrible weather and despite the squirrels prudent stashing schedule during autumn, we suffered badly during the snow and went hungry as we were unable to dig deep enough to recover them.

The Wapping Squirrel in the snow

Even the pretty little resident Robin who brightens up the park with his song stopped singing as he became worried how scarce food had become.

Robin in Wapping Rose Gardens

The snow eventually melted, but by February we’d run out of stashed nuts and resorted to raiding litter bins. Residents discarded tuna and sweetcorn sandwiches helped keep us alive.

Down to the last piece of sweetcorn now

In March, we were delighted to meet the beautiful Veronika in Wapping Woods who turned out to be the first wild raven seen in London since the 1850′s.

The Ravenmaster from the nearby Tower of London was kind enough to help us identify her and was just as excited as us about the discovery as we were (until we discovered she had an appetite for our nuts).

Raven in Wapping Woods

Meanwhile, the annoying male egyptian goose was being particularly noisy near Shadwell Basin and intent on trying to get into a fourth floor flat. But after getting no reply to his knocks he eventually gave up.

Egyptian goose flying at window

Believed to be looking for nesting material, the Egyptian goose pair moved to Rotherhithe later that month, where mother goose was seen sitting on a well hidden nest whilst father goose found new ducks to terrorise.

Egyptian goose

Back in Wapping, a new white duck had arrived, but wasn’t welcomed by the swans who chased her endlessly around Shadwell Basin. Eventually she move to Limehouse, but we can’t blame her I guess.

White duck being chased by swan

The bad weather lasted most of the spring and food was getting scarcer still for the wildlife. Even Mr Burns, the Wapping heron was seen away from the River Thames and flying near the ornamental canal, presumably looking for fish.

Heron flying

The highlight of the spring came when the Wapping swans living on Shadwell Basin brought us the cutest cygnets in London. There’s always one though and it figured, why bother swimming when you can hitch a ride.

Cygnet rides on mother swans back

There were many more new arrivals during May and June as the weather improved and we were especially happy to see a baby sparrow as they’re sadly not as common as they used to be.

Baby house sparrow

July brought Wapping lots of cute ducklings.

A benefit of being a summer born duckling is that you get to sunbathe at the side of the canal to dry off your fluffy down after swimming.

Summer ducklings

In August, many butterflies appeared almost from nowhere as presumably their eggs hatched at the same time.

This lovely cabbage white butterfly was seen having to make do with a dandelion as there aren’t many cabbages growing in Wapping unless we’ve missed them, but it looked like it had competition from a fly behind.

Cabbage White butterfly sits on a dandelion and a fly approaches from behind

Times were finally good for us squirrels, with plenty of natural food and residents taking more walks and feeding us extra nuts.

The squirrels however had some serious competition on their hands from Georgie the terrier, who not only chased us up trees but then grew a taste for our nuts, despite being a dog.

Georgie the terrier - Wapping

Strange goings on at the International Tattoo Convention in Tobacco Dock where a squirrel was seen tattooing a rabbit.

Thankfully the idea hasn’t caught on in Wapping, possibly due to a lack of willing local rabbits.

Squirrel giving a rabbit a tattoo

The Wapping Fox is tweeted about by residents regularly but for one reason or another he’s avoided being caught on camera for the last two years.

In October, he finally let his guard down when his friend was resting in Wapping Gardens, but we do hope that next time they might like to  pose under a street lamp.

Wapping Fox ( x 2)

Late autumn in October and November was wonderful for us squirrels and we feasted on fresh conkers every day. It was squirrel heaven.

We’re now wishing we’d buried a few more but after pondering for a second or two, decided it wasn’t worth the risk of them rotting underground.

Autumn squirrel

Happy New Year from the Wapping Squirrel

In other squirrel news, broadband speeds in Wapping went from bad to worse during 2013. So us resourceful squirrels built our own high speed fibre nut-o-net and are now operational as a tier 3 Internet service provider for wildlife in the E1W area. More on this next year, as with enough nut power we may be able to extend it to human residents.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this, do show your appreciation by bringing extra nuts (Watirose finest or equivalent quality only please) to Squirrel Park, aka Wapping Rose Gardens in Wapping High Street.

You can find and follow me on Twitter @WappingSquirrel where I tweet on behalf of the wildlife population in E1W and recognise the kindness of Wapping residents who help feed us during the hard winter months. Special mention to Wapping resident @PootlingAround for his wonderful Christmas nut mix which gave us the energy to rebuild our nests after the recent storms.

On behalf of What’s in Wapping, thank you for all your interest and support this year and we’re sorry for the many emails we’ve not managed to reply to, but we will try harder next year.

Have a very happy, safe and utterly nuttastic new year.