Saturday 18 October 2014

Sorry for the late appearance of today's post. Blogger has been having technical difficulties.

There are the two Jays -- I suppose a pair -- who follow me around the leaf yard and the owl trees demanding peanuts. One, and sometimes both, of them will fly down to snatch a nut from my fingers without stopping, a feat we both enjoy.

Another pair: the Mandarins were perched side by side on a post at Peter Pan, looking very affectionate. The other male Mandarins are still trying to bust up the happy couple.

And yet another. There was the sad caracase of a Feral Pigeon on the shore near the Dell restaurant, reduced to just a backbone, wings and feet. Above this, in their usual place on the restaurant roof, the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were resting side by side after a heavy meal.

The holly trees near the southwest corner of the bridge, which have a rich crop of berries, were full of Wood Pigeons climbing down the twigs, flapping to keep their balance, falling off and flying back again. They are not graceful birds, but their feeding strategy is very successful.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place on the horse chestnut tree above the pair's nest hole. He was stocially enduring the flies, and the screeches of Jays and Ring-Necked Parakeets protesting at his presence. One Jay flew straight at him and made him duck. Even a Blackbird was chipping indignantly.

The male Little Owl, also in his nest tree, was having a much quieter time. He gets mobbed by parakeets too, but these were all away bothering the Tawny Owl.

The tree just to the left of the one that has the wasps' nest on it, near the northeast corner of the bridge, has a handsome orange fungus on it.

I think it is Gymnopilus spectabilis, formerly known as Pholiota spectabilis. There was another fungus higher up the tree which looked different, but in fact it is the same thing in a later stage of development. If I am right about the species, it grows quite large.

Update: Mario points out that it is Pholiota squarrosa.


  1. It is not Pholiota spactabilis (now called Gymnopilus junionius), but Pholiota squarrosa, the Shaggy Pholiota, as you can tell from the concentric rings of coarse red-brown, upturned scales both on the cap and on the lower part of the stem. I've found it in quite a few places in the park, usually in dense clusters at the base of trees. I recently foud a cluster which had all the caps neatly removed: someone (probably Eastern European) had them for dinner. The mushroom is considered not edible, but it seems that, because of some kind of natural selection, Eastern Europeans can tollerate a wider range of dodgy mushrooms than the rest of us.

    1. Thanks for the correction. Of course the East Europeans may have spent the next three days vomiting, paralysed and hallucinating.