My first visit was West Wickham Common for the bird survey for City of London . Quiet would be an understatement , as only 12 species were recorded , most numberous were Robin and Blue Tit . Of interest were Nuthatch , Ring Necked Parakeet , Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay . Even the fungi was in short supply with just the odd Common Yellow Russula , Bay Boletus and False Death Cap . On the heathland area , I was quite surprised to find two Small Coppers , one in almost mint condition , and one most definately not .
My next stop was Keston Ponds and quite unusually without an angler in sight . I went down to the lower pond hoping to find the Mandarin , but could only find one , roosting on the overhanging branches . No sign of them either on the other ponds , so they have either moved on or are very good at hiding . The female Mallard still has her five youngsters , they are a good size now . Before Warren gets on , I know the white and grey one isn't a young Mallard , the fifth one is dabbling with his head under water . There seems to be a strange pairing on the water with this male Mallard and a white Aylesbury type duck . They follow each other around , never more than a metre between them . On the far side of the top pond , two contractors were installing a guard rail on the edge , and despite digging and banging and chain saw noise , the best bird of the day , a Grey Wagtail was strutting the concrete dam wall , looking for breakfast . The Mallards , Coots and Moorhens were all tucked up on the nearside edge .
The Common alongside the ponds was also very short of fungi . That flush of growth with the rain about three weeks ago , is a memory now , as a search is needed for the most common species . Those Hare's Ears are still showing , albeit having lost their fresh colouring and now a bit chewed . Before leaving , I went to have a look at where the Beefsteak Fungus had been . That had completely finished , but just in front of the stump was this brightly coloured specimen . I have trawled through my two books , and my stab at ID is Lacrymaria pyrotricha , a relation of Lacrymaria velutina-Weeping Widow . If I am right , it will be a new one for me .
Close by was a chewed specimen of Boletus chrysenteron-Red-cracked Boletus .
I called in to the farm lake whilst passing , but there was very little to see . The Tufted Ducks are up to five , the Coots , Moorhens and Little Grebe remain the same as last time . I managed a good close look at the Little Grebe , and could see it is losing it's white stripes on it's head , as it gets it's adult plumage . Just one Common Darter was recorded during the visit .
Last stop was Spring Park Pond , also managed by City of London . First thing I noticed was no sign of the Moorhens . The thicker vegetated end of the pond , by the gate has been flattened , and I don't think it was done naturally . By now the temperature had risen , and two male Southern Hawkers were continually squabbling over territory . I hoped a female would come to the pond while I was there , but it didn't happen . Every now and then , one of the males invaded a Common Darter's territory , and further squabbles took place . Just four male Common Darters were recorded , along with one fly-by Speckled Wood , which very nearly became a meal for one of the Southern Hawkers .