Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Lesser Black-Backed Gull with pale legs was eating another pigeon. It had finished most of it, and it was impossible to be sure that it had caught the pigeon itself, rather than stealing a half-eaten meal from the usual pigeon-killing gull. However, it was in exactly the same place as it was when I saw it eating a pigeon earlier, and I think it's now likely that it has turned into a hunter.

A young Herring Gull was having difficulty with a piece of unleavened bread, hard to pick up and hard to swallow. Eventually it managed to rip it up and get it down.

A Tufted Duck got hastily out of the way as a Mute Swan thundered along the Serpentine on a takeoff run.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes, their long parental duty finished, were relaxing side by side.

A Shoveller drake was by himself on the Long Water, revolving in a small circle to bring up tiny creatures in his wake.

One of the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial was in their nest hole in the oak tree. It had been raining earlier, and they tend to return to the hole to shelter.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard was also in her nest tree.

The Nuthatches in the leaf yard came down to take food ...

... until a Magpie settled on the cache of peanuts and devoured them all.

Mistle Thrushes were eating rowan berries on Buck Hill.

There is another wasp nest in a hole on Buck Hill, only a few feet from the one I photographed a few weeks ago. It seems amazing that small insects can dig such large holes. A pile of stones on the left must have been brought up during the excavation.

This handsome clump of fungus is on a plane tree at the back of the Lido swimming area. Mario, the fungus expert who saves me from my stupid mistakes in identification, says that it's Shaggy Scalycap, Pholiota squarrosa. This affects trees in bad condition, which is bad news for the fine old trees in this area.


  1. Though I'm in Japan and I can't check it personally, the mushroom looks to me more likely to be Pholiota squarrosa, commonly known as the shaggy scalycap. Once thought to be edible, we now know it to be poisonous, especially if consumed with alcohol (although the mechanism seems to be different to that of the inkcaps). This fungus is usually found in large clumps at the base of trees, usually attacking trees that have already been wickened.

    1. Thanks very much -- have changed the text. You always correct my many blunders. Hope you are having a good time in Japan, and that some generous person has treated you to the dreadfully expensive matsutake.

  2. “I wondered why Chief Counsellor of State Lord Uji Takakuni wrote about the wonder of hiratake mushrooms but failed to notice the splendour of matsutake mushrooms.” (From a prose piece, 'Visiting Uji', by the 18th-century Japanese haiku poet Yosa BUSON)

    1. The matsutake
      Is not aware that a leaf
      is sticking to it.

      --- Translation of a haiku by Basho