Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Moorhens at the Serpentine have six chicks, which were running all over the place. They were mostly finding their own food.

Some Moorhens and Coots were fighting each other at Peter Pan. Probably the Moorhens started it and the Coots joined in, as they always like a fight.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water are now quite large, and as hungry and noisy as ever.

Two Mute Swans were investigating a metal rubbish bin thrown into the lake by some stupid vandal. It probably had snails on it.

The Black Swan was beside one of the boathouses with some Egyptian Geese. The two in the background are Blondie and her mate.

One of the pale Greylag Geese was preening on the edge of the Serpentine. This is the one with brown eyes, originally seen on the Round Pond.

It is odd that there are two pale Greylags, one with blue eyes and the other brown, and two Greylags with white foreheads, one with blue eyes and the other brown. In birds, feather colour and eye colour are determined by different genes. It seems likely that there is some sex-linked effect here.

The female Mandarin on the Long Water and her two teenagers have been joined by two drakes, in eclipse of course and looking much like females. The red bill and longer feathers on the back of the head show this to be a drake.

House Martins and Sand Martins were flying over the Serpentine. This bird has a trace of a dark bar across its neck, but this is much less clearly defined than on a Sand Martin. I think it's a juvenile House Martin from a nest on the Kuwaiti embassy. Their underside is dusky compared to the bright white of an adult.

Some of the nest holes on the embassy are still being visited, so there are still some late, unfledged broods.

Paul saw two Great Spotted Woodpeckers near the leaf yard, and got this picture of one of them.

On a changeable day, the Little Owls were reluctant to come out of their hole, but a fourth visit during a sunny spell eventually gave a glimpse of the female.

There was also a flock of Long-Tailed Tits.

The elderberries have mostly gone, eaten by ravenous Wood Pigeons.

A Small White butterfly drank nectar from a flower in the Rose Garden.

After last night's heavy rain a lot of white mushrooms, about the size of Horse Mushrooms and with rings and white gills, have come up on the grass around the Henry Moore statue. This area is fenced off, so they can't be examined closely. They look quite like the Destroying Angel, Amanita virosa -- but that is a woodland species, and these are probably something much less dramatically poisonous.


  1. It is pleasing that two of the blog's stars, the Black Swan and Blondie, should be amenable to pose side by side for a picture.

    I don't know what the Moorhens and the Coots were up to in their free-for-all, but I am relieved to find that the Moorhens are very capable of holding their own against the ever-belligerent Coots. Although at one time it seemed as if the Coots had no discernible target (i.e.: 'it's moving! attaaaack!')

    1. A very accurate summary of Coots' strategy.

  2. Has everyone read about the extinct black New Zealand "mega-swan", perhaps no more so than Jonathan King's past claims to be a megastar? Jim

    1. It'e been quite widely reported. There seems to be no evidence that it was black, people just assume that because its ancestor was.

  3. My take on your mushroom was 'Agaricus campestris', or possibly 'A. xanthodermus' (some specimens I saw had a slight yellow flush at the cap centre, whereas 'Amanita virosa' is usually entirely, vividly white). I hope a better mushroom buff than I gets a look at them before someone makes a possibly ill-advised casserole . . .

    1. As I suspected, but after a visit to the park to be sure, I can confirm that this chunky mushroom is Leucoagaricus leucothites (White Dapperling).Although these mushrooms are generally considered edible, some authorities say that White Dapperlings are slightly poisonous.
      As it happened, I also found both Agaricus campestris and Agaricus xanthodermus smewhere else in the park today.

    2. Thank you, Mario, for the identification. It was surprising to see a large growth of these highly visible mushrooms in a place where I had never seen fungi before.