Monday, 30 September 2013

I forgot to say yesterday that Paul Turner saw two Hobbies over the Long Water, an adult and a juvenile to which it was passing food in the air. We had thought that our Hobbies had left several days ago, but are not so sure now. On Saturday I thought I heard a distant Hobby call from the Round Pond area, but put it down to imagination. It is possible, but unlikely, that our Hobbies really have gone and that the recent ones are other birds passing through on their way to Africa.

The daily visit to the rowan trees at the top of Buck Hill produced a Carrion Crow which had managed to find a stable place to perch and was eating berries at quite a rate.

The male Little Owl was in his usual tree, taking advantage of a sunny spell.

I know I am publishing a lot of pictures of this bird, but he is irresistible.

A Tufted Duck was diving busily in the shallow water near Peter Pan.

This is a female. The males are recovering from moulting and growing their smart white sides, but are still not very presentable.

The adult Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine have been fishing very close to the shore in recent days. Presumably there are a lot of small fish there. I have not seen one catch anything but they seem to be able to swallow small fish without surfacing. This one is having a flap.

Its wings look quite tidy, so I think it must have already regrown its flight feathers after the late summer moult. Some of the adults have no flight feathers at all at the moment.

The three young grebes from the poplar tree on the Long Water were playing and diving together. You can tell when a grebe is about to dive. It clenches its feathers to make itself smaller and reduce its buoyancy, and its shoulders sink under water, as here.

This mushroom seen near the recently fallen horse chestnut tree is an Ink Cap (Coprinus comatus), also called Shaggy Cap, Shaggy Mane and Lawyer's Wig.

They are edible, but you must not drink alcohol with the meal because you will feel sick. They contain a substance similar to Antabuse, the drug given to alcoholics.

There was also a large growth of Parasol Mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera) -- not the inedible Shaggy Parasol that I illustrated three days ago -- deep in the shrubbery on the east side of the Long Water between the Vista and the martial arts bandstand.


  1. Which is the martial band stand?

    1. On the east side of the Long Water halfway between the bridge and the Italian Garden. It seems to be a bandstand but is used by people practising kendo and kickboxing. To see the mushrooms just go to the east side of the Vista and walk about 75 yards north. Note that they are behind a spiked fence,so agility is needed. A friend (who had better be nameless) has just lacerated himself climbing over to photograph them.