A very sunny but chilled morning greeted me when I arrived at Keston Ponds and Common for a look around , the car thermometer only registering 6C . As usual , my first stop was the bottom pond to see if the Mandarins had returned , and I was pleased to see that they had . Seven males and three females were hauled up on their favourite overhanging branches , along with some of the dozen or so Moorhen , that seem to have taken a liking to this the quietest pond of the three . The Mandarins are still very wary , not coming out into open water , must remember a loaf next time , just might entice them out for a photo shoot . Two Canada Geese , the first seen this Autumn here , were the only residents on the middle pond . As I wandered up to the top pond , I came across an old man with a stick , searching amongst the leaf litter . As I got closer I could see a good sized string bag , stuffed full with fungi . I spoke as I passed and he answered with a French accent . I asked if they were Ceps in his bag , he said yes and showed them to me . I have never seen a quantity like that growing there , never mind collected , and he said that he had been very lucky this morning , to find so many large specimens . I carried on up to the top pond thinking , bang goes any chances of photographing a Cep/Penny Bun today , as he had hoovered them all up . Mind you , he must have great eyesight to see them with so much leaf litter on the ground . The top pond held the usual Mallard types , a couple more Moorhen , and this individual , the black duck of the family , albeit it's head a bottle green sheen in the sun . I headed off over Keston Common , to see if there were any fungi left after the hoover . The most common species by far , was Collybia butyracea- Butter Cap or Greasy Tough-shank , true to it's name with a greasy cap . The rain and cooler nights have brought out some different species , including one of Lactarius/Milk-cap family , so called because if the cap is damaged , they exude droplets of milk like substance . This one is L.quietus-Oak Milk-cap , surprisingly found under Oak trees . I did find the odd Bolete that hadn't been hoovered up , like this Boletus badius-Bay Boletus . There was a species that I was hoping to find , but it took quite some time to do so , as they are only just emerging . This little gem , if you'll excuse the pun , is Laccaria amethystea-
Amethyst Deciever . The only specimens I could find were in the shade , in the sunshine they are really striking . Another species found in good numbers under the many Scotts Pine trees on the site was Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca-False Chanterelle , showing it's decurrant gills , running down the stem of the specimen . An unusual find , in my experience for this site , was Clitocybe odora-Aniseed Toadstool or Blue-Green Clitocybe .
I hadn't seen any Odonata where I had found them last visit , but returning to the car , a Common Darter flew past me and landed on the concrete wall , warming up . I thought , this has
to be the last of the season . No sooner had I thought it , when a mating pair flew by and came to rest on the fallen leaves on the roadside . I didn't stay to see if they went on to egg lay , but the probably did , as there was still good warmth in the sun . Not a bad November record .
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