Wednesday, 11 November 2020

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull fancied a change of diet and caught a roach, which was still twitching when I arrived. The young gull that is probably its offspring hung around hopefully.

Someone had put a candle and a rose on the shore at the Vista, evidently a memorial but no one has drowned there to my recollection, and indeed it would be difficult because the water is very shallow. A Carrion Crow took a bite out of the rose, didn't like it ...

... and then tried the candle, which it also rejected.

Two of the teenage Mute Swans also examined them.

Two Magpies pulled rubbish out of a bin in the hope of finding something edible.

Another Magpie did find something to eat in the top of a miniature ornamental yew.

The holly tree near the bridge was full of Wood Pigeons. A young one swallowed a berry.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits passed along the edge of the Long Water.

A Moorhen in the Italian Garden had a quiet moment with two of its most recent offspring, still in their drab teenage colours.

Nine Cormorants and a Grey Heron rested at the island before going fishing in their different styles.

Another heron perched on an improbably thin branch in the trees above. Herons are very light for their size, weighing only about 3 lb.

A swan found a good motto for itself.

The spell of mild weather has misled bulbs into coming up around the Rose Garden.

A Judas' Ear fungus has appeared on a noticeboard. Behind the steel frame there is a plywood panel and the paint on its edge has cracked, letting in water which has made the wood soggy enough to nourish the fungus.

Dreaming of a wet Christmas. It seemed to be a photo shoot for a brand of gin, but why the poor man had to stand chest deep in water remains a mystery.


  1. The fish might be a good source of Vitamin D for the gulls, helpful in winter. Is the ringed Black-headed Gull one you've identified?

    $6M question: is that fungus safe for the pot if it has grown out of the painted plywood? Jim

    1. I'm sure gulls are really concerned about getting enough Vitamin D.

      No, that ringed gull is not one I know. It's very difficult to read a metal ring. The gull has to stay on the ground for at least two minutes while you rush around it trying to photograph it from all angles, which naturally alarms it. Even the experienced specialist Alan Gibson with his spotter scope misses a lot of full numbers.

      Oh gosh, fungi tainted with wood preservative, a new terror. I think the stuff does actually contain a poisonous copper compound. The Chinese like Judas' Ears -- the gelatinous texture appeals to them. Not to me, luckily.

    2. I have collected loads of Auricularia in my time (all from trees). It freezes well, then re-expanded in boiling water it goes well enough with stir-fry rice noodles, but I can't say it adds much beyond a talking point. Jim

    3. I think your point about nasty substances taken up from processed wood is a good one, and would never touch any mushroom from such a source.

  2. I always get a kick out of seeing vegetation grow in unexpected places, the more unlikely, the better.

    The picture of the Swan decyphering his own description is sublime. What better than being strong and sturdy?

    Before the video started I thought Pigeon Killer had caught a *cockroach*, and I was very puzzled! How did he manage to catch the fish, though?

    1. I think the gull catches fish that are just below the surface by diving on to them and grabbing them with its bill. I've seen gulls catch crayfish in this way, but not something as large and hard to grip as this fish.