Sunday, 30 November 2014

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Bird of the week - Coal tit

The coal tit, Periparus ater, or Periparus ater britannicus.  Coal tits appear to be monogamous and usually stay paired for life.  However, all is not as it seems.  Older males are particularly prone to cheat on their partners and father chicks by other females.  Maybe the females prefer more mature males (sensible!) as they may have better genes for longer survival.  See here.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Many-headed slime mould - part 2

An update on my previous post on the slime mould.  It is now mostly at the mature spore-producing stage.  The black spore heads cover most of the surface.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


A great day out [watching] bird ringing with Chris W at Williwood.  The day's catch included blue tit, great tit, coal tit, marsh tit, long-tailed tit, robin, wren, blackbird, dunnock, chaffinch and goldcrest.  A few highlights are shown below.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Bird of the week - Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis, meaning thistle finch.  In truth they could feature in this spot any week as they are here in the garden all the year round.  A few photos from this week in Autumn sunshine.  Females (first four, perhaps) and males (last four, perhaps).  Telling males from females in the field or in photos isn't easy (see here).

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A clattering

The collective noun for jackdaws is a clattering.  Recently at around 2 o'clock each afternoon a couple of dozen or more appear in the tallest trees in the garden and sit around clattering before flying off, presumably to roost. Today there were more than 50.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Wood blewit

I think this is Lepista nuda, or wood blewit, in the garden.  It has a beautiful lilac or mauve colour but when it is used as a dye for paper or fabric the colour produced is bright green.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Bird of the week - GSW

Dendrocopos major.  Literally "large master of the trees" (I think).  O level latin was a long time ago.