Wednesday 14 October 2015

The Black Swan had flown down to the Serpentine. It was taking off again, heading for the bridge. When I went to the Long Water and the Round Pond later it was nowhere to be seen, and it may have left the park.

On the Long Water, the older brood of Great Crested Grebes were busily fishing under the parapet of the Italian Garden. The cold weather has made the water quite clear, and a shaft of sunlight lit one of them as it dashed around.

For the other brood it was still feeding time as usual at the wire baskets next to the bridge.

The young Grey Wagtail was at the Lido again. There were a few people at the tables on the terrace and it didn't dare creep under the fence -- it isn't as bold as the Pied Wagtail that hangs around here. It went to the strip of shore between the restaurant and the swimming area, where bushes hang over the edge and shelter it from the public gaze. This picture was taken from the jetty.

Today's toy for the young Herring Gull was a plastic fork.

Near the Italian Garden, a male Chaffinch was blending in well with the autumn leaves.

A group of Long-Tailed Tits was working its way along the west side of the Long Water.

The female Little Owl was in this year's nest tree, stretching a long wing.

I keep finding fungi that I can't identify from the guides on the web, and here is another. Mario, who has kindly and tirelessly named them, has identified the last few as Stubble Rosegills, a species of very variable appearance. But I really don't think that this can be one. It has a slightly concave cap and decurrent gills -- that is, they run down the stem for a short way. There is no trace of a ring or any structure at the bottom of the stem. It was in the grass to the west of the Queen's Temple.


  1. From the look of it – though I’d like to be able to hear it to be surer – your mushroom might well be a Russula. They are often very colour-unstable, but a handy clue to the Russulaceae is that, I think uniquely among fungi*, the gills are brittle. Run a nail across one, close to your ear, and the gills snap with a quiet rustle (which is *not where the name comes from, though it is a handy mnemonic!) The stems, which are solid, not hollow, also snap. There’s no ring around the stipe [stem], as you report; and the gills are almost always white. (As an amateur naturalist my heart always leaps at that word “almost”; such a help.)

    There are some 70 species of Russula in the UK. A guess might well be R. rosea, sometimes known as "rosy brittle gill”; but off-theicuff R. fragilis is a possibility. Of course, a consequence of not having a fixed appearance is that there often isn't an automatic vernacular name.!

    * The the milk-caps (genus Lactarius) are also Russulaceae and so have brittle gills, but they exude a milky latex when the gills are broken.

    Harry G.

    1. Thank you very much for this information. I couldn't check, because the mushroom wasn't there when I went back. Sadly, people enjoy kicking them to pieces.

  2. If someone only has time for a 15 minute visit or so at the park, where would you recommend?
    (Coming from exhibition road).

    1. You can't get to somewhere worthwhile in this large park and back in 15 minutes. The best short walk from Exhibition Road would be to Peter Pan via the Little Owls' tree and the corner of the leaf yard where people feed parakeets, but I would put that at more like 25 minutes including time to stop and have a brief look.

  3. Thanks Ralph, I will try that next week. I passed you today when I was looking for the little owl but without success.