Thursday, 6 November 2014

The rowan trees on Buck Hill were full of birds after the berries. The fruit on the most heavily laden tree seems to be ripe at last; the other trees have already been stripped almost bare. There were several Blackbirds ...

and Mistle Thrushes ...

... and when these had had their fill and left, a Song Thrush, no longer threatened by the larger birds, flew into the top of the tree.

Several Jays followed me around touting for peanuts. After many tries, I managed to get a picture of one snatching a nut from the railings. They come down like lightning, grab and leave in an instant.

On the Serpentine, a Black-Headed Gull had dredged up a completely mysterious object.

Whatever it was, it didn't seem to be edible, and after throwing it around for a bit the gull let it sink again.

A Moorhen was also searching in vain for food. The pedalos have just been cleaned before being put away for the winter, and there was not a bug to be found.

The male Little Owl was on his favourite branch in the nest tree.

This peculiar fungus was growing in the shrubbery a few yards from the bridge. It is about 8 inches tall and 4 inches across the cap.

I think it is a very large specimen of a Pestle puffball (Lycoperdon excipuliforme). It is certainly some kind of puffball, because a broken one was lying nearby and you could see that it had a featureless white interior, with a crumbly texture.


  1. Rather enjoyed that oddly stylish (or stylishly odd?) photo of the moorhen on the pedalo ..

  2. Maybe the remains of a fisherman's float, still in net, the gull holding the hook? Jim n.L.

    1. Well, maybe. It looked like a tiny haggis.

    2. Just to say that the correct name is Lycoperdon excipuliformE, as the noun "Lycoperdon" is neuter in gender. The species name means "vessel shaped", while the meaning of Lycoperdon is "wolf's fart" (in reference to the way this fungus disperses its spores).
      Pedantic Mario

    3. Thanks for the correction. I should have noticed this, but just copied the name blindly from a web page. It does seem that a lot of species names don't agree with their genus, and I have never known whether this is carelessness on the part of people citing them or whether the official name is wrong.

    4. The classification of fungi is still very fluid, especially since the use of DNA data. In this particular case what's happened is that this fungus used to be known as Calvatia excipuliformis (as well as Calvatia saccata), and then it was transferred to the genus Lycoperdon, without having the adjective gender reassessed (don't they do it on the NHS these days?)

    5. I've always liked the genus name Calvatia, seeing a field of giant puffballs as a lot of bald men emerging from the ground.