Sunday 20 October 2019

The female Call Duck was cruising round the lake, quacking loudly. There was no sign of her mate, for the second day running. I fear that someone has nabbed him to take home as a pet, which would have been easy as they are very tame and will come to be fed.

The newly arrived Egyptian Geese are all round the Serpentine, making their usual terrible racket. Here are just a few of them.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick from the west end of the island enjoyed a stretch. Grebes stretch a great deal. They seem to feel more cramped than other birds.

A Common Gull was foraging on its own at the Lido. I think there are still only three in the whole park.

Someone had put oatmeal on the balustrade at the Serpentine outflow. The alert Starlings noticed at once.

The number of Starlings in the park is greadually increasing, although the species is in decline nationally. There are still not enough here for a proper murmuration.  While I was photographing a flock over the Serpentine ...

... I saw something else high up and far away, and took a picture in case it was something interesting. It turned out to be a bunch of Carrion Crows mobbing a Common Buzzard.

The colder weather has set the Rose-Ringed Parakeets looking for tree holes where they can shelter on freezing nights. Although they have evolved to be tougher than their Indian ancestors, they can only just cope with the English winter.

The subspecies we have here, Psittacula krameri manillensis, is not the hardy Ring-Necked Parakeet that can live in the foothills of the Himalayas. It's a southern Indian bird.

Several Blue Tits were climbing around the dead tree near the bridge. They are often seen on this tree, and evidently they nest here in the holes in the trunk.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got a picture of a Coal Tit visiting from the continent. It's more yellow in colour than the English Coal Tit.

Here is the familiar one at the bridge for comparison.

When the park management decided to spread wood chips under some plane trees in the avenue leading north from the Albert Memorial, various fungi imported with the wood started coming up, and I must have seen ten species here and photographed them for the blog. Until now none of them has been harmful. But this one looked very like the destructive Honey Fungus, and I was worried. However, I've just got a reassuring answer from Mario that it's the harmless Sulphur Tuft mushroom, Hypholoma fasciculare, nothing to worry about.

For several years Poplar Fieldcap mushrooms have been growing around the Lombardy poplar on the waterfront at Peter Pan. Now they have spread up the trunk, a sign that the tree is beginning to die. It was the black poplar on the other side of the waterfront that was recently cut down to an ugly stump by the tree surgeons, but this one has been leaning more and more every year and it is only a matter of time before it crashes into the lake.

Returning to more cheerful matters, Tom took a video of a Great White Egret at Rainham Marshes ...

and a charming clip of a Blue Tit and a Goldfinch at the edge of the water.


  1. You are right, the mushrooms on the poplar are Poplar Fieldcap; but the ones on the wood chips are not Honey fungus, but they are Hypholoma fasciculare, commonly known as Sulphur tuft

    1. Thank you. That's a relief, as the fungus doesn't seem to damage healthy trees.

  2. I should also add that Sulphur tuft mushrooms, (unlike Honey Fungus which is parasitic, feeding off living trees) are saprophytic meaning they feed off decaying organic matter

  3. What a lovely and cheery video of the Blue Tit and the Goldfinch. Nothing more life-afirming than watching a bird go about its business.

    That poor duck looks distressed.

    1. She seems to have recovered today, and is following a Mallard around. Birds are enviably practical creatures.

  4. Not sure quacking loudly all the time is a good idea in a park full of foxes...!

    1. She's a bit quieter today, and I've never seen her ashore where she would be in greater danger.