Keston Ponds was my second stop , and without any tree surgeons around , I had a look for the Mandarins , down on the bottom pond . Five at the last count , has increased to ten today , seven males and three females . Still very shy , all ten are in this shot , all perched on what seems to be their favourite tree which droops down to the water . Within 10 metres , was what I can only think was a Moorhen convention , with 11 specimens in the middle of the pond . Not unusual to see Moorhens here , but 11 together is unusual . Just as I was about to leave the bottom pond , a flash of yellow landed near the Mandarins , and the bobbing motion could only be a Grey Wagtail , but it insisted at staying as far as it could from the camera . With very little else of interest found , I headed off into the woods and heathland looking for fungi , with very little result for my efforts . I did find a Common Lizard on the heathland area , and shortly afterwards , found only my second Amanita muscari-Fly Agaric of the Autumn , the first the other day up on the Ridge , but a well chewed specimen . It gets it's common name from being used in medieval times as a fly trap , as the cap was broken into bowls of milk , and the flies were stupefied when they fed on it . Like many of the Amanita family , this one is poisonous , and also hallucinogenic . It affects the central nervous system and cause convulsions , dizziness and a death-like sleep , this is when the hallucinations are experienced . Apparently , the Reindeer in Lapland are affected in the same way , perhaps that is how Rudolph and the others manage to fly . Very little else was found until I found Otidea onotica-Hare's Ears growing under a Holly bush . No need to explain how this one got it's name . A single male Brimstone and two Small Coppers were recorded on the site . With little found , I stopped on the Common on my way home . There was no sign of the Wasp Spider who has laid her eggs , nor of the web with the zig-zag , but her egg sack is there , suspender by threads , and sealed at the open end with a cotton wool type material . I shall keep an eye on it in the Spring , as all 'old' egg sacks that I have found , have still been sealed , suggesting no young have ever emerged from them . A walk over the heathland area produced little , till I got to the sheltered area where I had the Clouded Yellow last visit . Within a very small area , I recorded a very fresh , female Brown Argus , warming herself in the afternoon sun , an equally fresh Small Copper , and then , a very fresh looking , twitchy , Painted Lady , three specimens that I certainly didn't expect to record . I had to pass the Hornet nest on my way back to the car , so stopped for a look . Things are definitely slowing down now , but still comings and goings . I got a few shots , then four Hornets came out , line abreast , heading my way . One last shot , and I got out of their way and out of the line of fire .
1 day ago