For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Song thrush, Greenfinch, Chaffinch etc. in a Sussex garden on 15 October 2019.

 Two Great Spotted Woodpeckers happily pecking at Grape vine buds and at a Wisteria sinensis.
Click on any picture to enlarge it.
One Woodpecker bottom left and the second one middle right.

 A Blackbird? was gorging on hawthorn berries.  However, having just seen where Ring Ouzels have been seen, could this be a female 1st year Ring ouzel?  Advice please.

Response from SOS follows
For a Ring Ouzel of any age, one thing which usually stands out is the scaled effect, which unfortunately does not appear to be present on your bird. Your bird seems to be all one solid colour, except for the few odd markings around the head. These could simply be a plumage abnormality, as there is not even a hint of a white breastband, as there should be even on juvenile Ring Ouzels. Therefore, I am sorry to suggest that this is probably a Blackbird, but I would be interested in other peoples' thoughts on this.

(Agree, it's a Blackbird - Ed)

posted by William Arrowsmith on 17 Oct 2019 14:15   

Thanks All, too bad!  Peter

 A Song thrush enjoying this wildlife friendly garden.

Note the "armour-plated" bird boxes on the pergola covered in clay roof tiles against woodpecker attack,



Great tit

Blue tit

This garden is the subject of an illustrated talk: details at   This talk suggests to ignore gardening advice to cut back lavender flowers after flowering.  Play the video above to see why.

Friday 11 October 2019

Fungal Foray Nature Walk, Knepp Castle, West Sussex

 The weather forecast for 10 October 2019 was sunny and at one day's notice my "Nature walks email list" was invited to walk the Castle Walk looking for fungi and deer.   Five of us enjoyed a fabulous day -- enriched by nature-loving company and five pairs of eyes.  The oaks were a fruitful starting point with four fungi species seen.
Click on the pictures to expand them.
 William decided to measure one and estimated around 500 years old.
 Hundreds of Parasol Mushrooms Macrolepiota procra were seen this day.

 On hot days cattle love to shelter under trees, where lots of manure accumulates.  For that reason above might be a Mottlegill Mushroom.
 By contrast, this might be a Umbrella Polypore, which is parasitic on oaks and beeches according to Field Guide to Mushrooms and other Fungi...

 An old unidentified bracket fungus was feeding of the trunk.

 More Parasols

 A Fairy ring.
Not a Parasol above.
Views of the route and some unidentified fungi.

 A female Kestel
 Freshly emerged Parasols

 Two Red Admiral butterflies on Ivy flowers.
 Exmoor ponies.

 A puffball
 Above and below: a Red Deer stag photographed from the footpath with max zoom.

 Three Buzzards soared overhead.

 Shipley church and windmill
Many more Umbrella Polypores? and a Beefsteak Fungus - Fistulina hepatica

Beefsteak Fungus - Fistulina hepatica

 A Shaggy Inkcap
 Dragonfly, Southern Hawker, male

 Above perhaps a nibbled Fly Agaric.

 Any suggestion for an ID for this on is welcomed.

 A wax cap species perhaps
Earlier nature walks include;
The search box on the blog is very helpful to see what is about and where.  Try searching Wolstonbury for example.

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