Wednesday 28 October 2015

The Black Swan has found a friend -- one of the two young Mute Swans. (There is a third, older than  these two and not related.) They are now going around everywhere side by side.

The difficult bird only likes one of the two young swans. When the other one approached to be with its sibling, the Black Swan chased it away, and it went to sit on the shore at the Lido, looking miserable.

The young Great Crested Grebes from the fallen poplar tree are growing up fast, and are as big as their parents. Here is one of them seen against a reflection of bright yellow autumn leaves.

It went to fish under the bridge, and was pecked at by a Coot. It dived and pecked the Coot's ankles, as you can see here, and chased it for quite a distance.

The Grey Heron from the Dell restaurant was standing at the bottom of the waterfall in a vigilant posture. It's hard to know what it could be trying to catch in the rapids, certainly not the carp which are in the little stretch of open stream.

A Ring-Necked Parakeet dropped a yew berry it was eating. These fruits are very viscous, and quite hard to Parakeets to eat since they chew them up rather than swallow them hole as a Blackbird would.

In fact the fruit is not really a berry, as you can see from the way it has a hole in the end, exposing the seed which is the true fruit. The red outer part is technically an aril. A well known aril is the spice mace, which is the outer covering of a nutmeg.

A Wood Pigeon was hanging perilously upside down in a holly tree to reach a bunch of berries. It had its wings spread, which was a wise precaution because a second later it lost its grip and fell out of the tree.

The male Little Owl was on his usual branch, preening himself.

His mate was in the other tree, nut not in a good place for a picture.

The ivy hedge at the back of the Lido bathing area was full of bees and wasps feeding on the ivy fruits, and there were also some big European Hornets (Vespa crabro), which were eating both the fruits and the wasps.

These hornets are fairly docile -- unlike the equally large Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) that are now arriving in Britain. But if you do annoy one enough to make it sting you, you will be in real agony for some time.

The patch of wood chippings under the plane trees near the Physical Energy statue has produced a fourth species of fungus.

I think it's Inocybe cookei, which has no English name. But if it isn't, I'm sure that the vigilant Mario will correct me.

Update: Mario says that they are large Brittlestems (Psathyrella), a difficult group to identify, and he can't be sure of the species -- and if he says it's difficult, you can be sure it's really difficult.


  1. Why would the black swan like one of the youngsters and not the other? Is the other one whiter, or paler? What a strange creature...

    1. They look exactly the same to me, but probably not to the Black Swan.