Monday 27 October 2014

The male Tawny Owl is still troubled by flies, and was restless on his perch on top of the nest tree. Here he has a good shake ...

... and a scratch to get rid of them.

There are still a lot of insects around, evidently because of the mild weather. The area around the Italian Garden is full of ladybirds, most of them the proper red kind rather than the invading harelequin ladybirds. They used to have a nest in the public convenience behind the Italian Garden, but this was destroyed in the redecoration of the place, so they must have found somewhere else.

The Little Owl was in the chestnut tree next to his nest tree, and there were no flies on him. As an insect-eating bird, he regards them as a snack rather than a pest.

This is a young Wood Piegon eating holly berries. It has not yet developed the white neck ring of an adult, but it does have the typical white wing bars. This one's eyes are mid brown, changing between juvenile dark brown and the rather odd pale grey of an adult. It is easy to mistake a young Wood Pigeon for a Stock Dove until it spreads its wings.

There were two Song Thrushes feeding in the yew bush north of Peter Pan, probably the pair that nests in the leaf yard just the other side of the statue. This one is the female, though I only know this because her mate was singing quietly to himself in the middle of an adjacent holly tree. The birds don't spend long in the yew: they dive in, grab a few berries, and go to perch in another tree.

There was a Blackbird in the yew with a white patch on her neck which made her look rather like a Ring Ouzel. This beautiful picture was taken by Eleanor Cogger.

A few months ago Andy Sunters saw what he thought might have been a Ring Ouzel between the Diana fountain and the bridge, though no one was able to find it again. It might have been the same bird.

The eight young Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond were still in good order, resting on the edge in the warm sunshine.

Several of the plane trees on the path between the Physical Enerby statue and the Speke obelisk are heavily infested with fungus. They are quite old trees and perhaps no longer in the best of health. I think this fungus is Pholiota squarrosa again, though it is less yellow than the one I photographed a few days ago near the Serpentine bridge.


  1. Today's photo is indeed of Pholliota squarrosa.
    Regarding yesterday blog, I can't tell from the photo what the first mushroom is, but it doesn't look like a Lactarius. Lactarius have more or less decurrent gills, i.e. running down the stem; and all Lactarius (= milk caps) are easily recognized by the fact that they all exude droplets of milky sap (sometime mild, sometime hot or acrid) from the gills or flesh when damaged. Your photo doesn't show the stem. If the stem had a bluish-liliac tinge (even faint) it could be Lepista saeva (the Field Blewit); they often come up in rings.
    The second photo looks to me more like the other blewit, Lepista nuda (= Wood Blewit), though with the cap colour washed out and not in the best of health.
    I have asked some friends of mine from the London Fungi Group for an opinion. I'll let you know.
    In any case, no mushroom is so poisonous that you cannot touch it. Even having a little taste of the most poisonous mushroom (provided that you spit it out) doesn't do any harm.

    1. Update: My much more knowledgeable friends agree with me that the first are probably Lepista saeva (Field blewits) while the second is a Lepista nuda (Wood blewit).

    2. Many thanks for taking so much trouble with these identifications. As you suggest, the mushroom in the picture does have a faint violet-blue tinge to the stem, and I don't know whether you would describe the gills as sinuate or sub-decurrent. There is another picture here, which I took this morning. The ring had been rather kicked about and I didn't want to pull up a mushroom from the remaining stand.