Monday 12 October 2015

A Black-Headed Gull made a low pass over the Serpentine to pick up a rat-tailed maggot, missed it, wheeled around, and dived in vertically to make sure of the catch.

This time it got its meal.

The playful young Herring Gull had chosen a sweet chestnut as today's toy, and was happily throwing it around on the south shore of the Serpentine.

The Great Crested Grebes from the fallen poplar were busy feeding their chicks near the bridge.

Again, the grebes from the island came out to challenge them in a half-hearted way, but soon gave up. Having chicks gives a pair a moral advantage, and they can win most of their territorial disputes without even trying.

The female Little Owl was in this year's nest tree, calling angrily because a Magpie was annoying her from another branch.

When I went past later she was being pestered by a squirrel. The life of an owl is not an easy one.

In the same tree, a Blue Tit was paying very close attention to a twig, climbing round it and poking at the same place. There must have been some unusually appetising insects here.

Lower down, a Coal Tit was examining the chestnuts. Evidently these have insects on them too.

The fading of the summer flowers had left a honeybee no choice but a dandelion.

This handsome medium-sized mushroom was growing alone in open grass near the top of Buck Hill. I tried to identify it on the web, but again failed. It is about 5 inches tall on a long thin white stem with no ring, and the pale brown cap is rather flat and slightly darker in the centre.

Update: Mario says that it's another Stubble Rosegill, quite old so that the cap has gone flat. This seems to be a highly variable species, whose cap may be white, grey or brown.


  1. I just want to hijack your post Ralph to forward on my thanks to the incredibly knowledgeable Mario, for all the id help with my fungi finds on Saturday.
    I had no laptop for most of yesterday and today so have been unable to comment until tonight. Again Mario, huge thanks from myself

  2. Ralph, would you be surprised if I were to tell you that this looks like an old Volvariella Gloiocephala? If you get the chance, check whether you can still see the volva at the base of the stem.

    1. This protean fungus seems to be a different colour and shape every time it turns up. The patch of wood chips near Physical Energy has just produced one in the classic shiny pale grey with a bell-shaped cap. Yes, I did look at the base of the stem of the one in the picture, and couldn't see anything but straight stem. But it was buried deep in the tangled underlayer of the long grass and might have been out of sight.

  3. Fantastic shot of the Black-headed gull!