Friday 8 January 2016

The Black Swan has made peace with his girlfriend's brother to such an extent that the three of them are going around together. In fact, the 'brother' may be a sister, though I don't think that swans of any colour would form a ménage à trois; they are monogamous.

This interesting picture was taken by Jorgen Schiott. I had had a bad swan day, not finding him the first time I went round the lake, and then finding him alone the second time and getting only dull pictures.

A Kingfisher appeared again near the Italian Garden. I was seconds too late on the scene, and this striking picture of it streaking across the lake was taken by Tom Bell.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had made another kill.

This happened between the first and the second time I went round the lake, which takes about three-quarters of an hour. During this time the gull and his mate reduced the pigeon to an almost bare carcase, and this picture shows him ripping off the last shreds.

There was a Cormorant in full breeding plumage on a post near the island. The white patch on the thigh is always a sign, though the amount of white on the head varies.

A Great Crested Grebe surfaced from a dive near the bridge.

There aren't many fish left here. The Cormorants have had most of them.

A female Pochard was washing frantically at Peter Pan.

An Egyptian Goose on the Henry Moore sculpture was ruffled by the wind.

This Moorhen was reaching recklessly over the edge of the basin of the marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

Of course, if it fell off, no harm would be done.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits was passing the Lido.

These little mushrooms are Redlead Roundheads, Leratiomyces ceres (formerly Stropharia aurantiaca). They were growing on the wood chips laid around some plane trees near the Speke oblelisk.


  1. Interestingly, this not too large but very distinctive mushroom was first discovered in England only in 1957. We now know it comes from Australia where it grows in woodland rich soil. Together with few other mushrooms (including Stubble Rosegill and the Bird's Nest previously seen in this blog), it seems to find wood chips as the ideal environment for thriving.

    1. The extraordinary diversity of fungi on these two small patches of wood chips seems to suggest that the mycelium of all or most of them was imported with the chips, coming from the trees that were cut down and chipped. So far, I don't think we have any seriously tree-rotting fungi in these places. But it does seem to suggest that laying wood chips as a mulch under trees is a seriously bad idea.

  2. When I saw the Black Swan today, he chased off a Mute Swan pair who were displaying to each other, then returned hooting to his young lady!

    1. We're all struggling to make sense of what this swan wants. He is a crazy mixed-up kid.

    2. But always entertaining....

  3. Black swans are actual known for extra-pair mating (; he seems to have not published the results of the follow-up study yet), though I haven't heard of longterm bonds being made with more than one mate.