"Partners in Crime": Egyptian Goose Pair on Victoria Park lake. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
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Victoria Park’s wild side: biodiversity in the East End

In spite of our inner-city location, Bow is home to a diverse variety of animal species, transporting us away from the humdrum of city life.

One of the best things about living in Bow is the diversity we experience on our streets every day. On a short stroll down Roman Road Market you will pass Edif Cinpolat selling golden gözlemes from Turkey, a century-old East End cafe with a Bengali menu taped to the window, and a French coffee shop come vintage clothing store all in the space of a few minutes. 

While the hustle and bustle of so many cultures and communities is what gives the East End its unique character, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the constant churn of inner-city life.

With rising prices, holidays are unattainable for many this summer, and you might find yourself craving the fresh air and sense of adventure that nature provides. 

However, on top of our cultural diversity, Tower Hamlets is home to a number of different parks and nature spots where swans, squirrels, terrapins and robins have made their homes. 

The following photos were all captured in our award-winning Victoria Park, home to familiar (but no less majestic) swans and robins, as well as the more surprising yellow-bellied slider terrapin. 

The terrapin (or turtle, as it is called in its native USA) is less prevalent than its red-eared cousin, but neither terrapin can breed in the UK’s cold climate. 

The animals are feral, which means they have escaped from a domestic or captive status and are living as wild animals, and can be found in the lakes and grasslands of Victoria Park. 

Contrary to the connotations of the word ‘feral’, yellow-bellied slider turtles are known for their friendly temperaments, though it is unadvisable to approach them next time you’re picnicking in Vicky Park. 

If, however, you fancy a bit of bird watching in the park, we have on good authority that the area between the People Park’s Tavern and the ‘Olde English Rose Garden’ is the most productive spot.

 

Yellow Bellied Slider Turtle in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“The Lonely Seeker” Yellow Bellied Slider Terrapin in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
A coot, taken in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“The Angry Bird” Eurasian Coot in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
A baby coot, Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“Why fit in when you are born to stand out !” Eurasian Coot Chick in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
A haven of wildlife, Victoria Park Lake, Tower Hamlets, East London.
Victoria Park Lake provides a haven for wildlife. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
Geese on Victoria Park Lake, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“Partners in Crime”: Egyptian Goose Pair on Victoria Park lake. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
A grey squirrel in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“Each day is an adventure” Grey Squirrel in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
An avenue of trees in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
Trees are home to a multitude of birds in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
A robin in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“Backyard Singer” European Robin in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC
A swan, nesting in reeds in Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, East London.
“Sweet Swan of Avon” Mute Swan in Victoria Park. Photo by Shashwat Mohapatra © Social Streets CIC

If you enjoyed this piece, you might like our photo essay about Victoria Park’s roller-skating revival.

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