Stratford, cormorant flying downstream

Stratford, cormorant flying downstream

A cormorant flying high, following the River Avon downstream over Stratford. Presumably heading for a less disturbed stretch of the waters.

Blushing bracket, Anglers Walk

Blushing bracket, Anglers Walk

Blushing bracket, a common bracket fungus. These were growing on the trunk of a tree in the small wood by the Anglers’ Walk, a footpath along the River Avon heading upstream from Clopton Bridge in Stratford.

Bird in a bush: reclusive goldcrest

Bird in a bush: reclusive goldcrest

Just visible through the leaves of this bush, a reclusive goldcrest, making itself even harder to photograph by flitting to another branch every few seconds, seemingly at random.

Red and green: arils

Red and green: arils

They aren’t fruit. They aren’t berries. The bright red, squishy covering of yew seeds are arils. Notice the open ends. Look closely down this open end, it’s possible to see the seed within.

Heron fishing, swan nearby, Stratford

Heron fishing, swan nearby, Stratford

Heron watching for fish just downstream of the River Avon lock on the Avon at Stratford. A swan was also nearby, a few yards along the shore of the island separating the lock from the weir.

Below the weir, Avon, Stratford

The river was high after lots of recent heavy rain. The water coming down the weir was making standing waves in the river. Perhaps the heron’s prey was fish taking refuge in the backwash just upstream of this disturbance.

Autumn leaves, spindle, Stratford

Autumn leaves, spindle, Stratford

Bright, bright red leaves on a spindle tree, beside the River Avon, between the open air theatre and Holy Trinity Church, Stratford on Avon.

Lake, with swan family, Compton Verney

Lake, with swan family, Compton Verney

Swan family grazing on vegetation growing in the lake at Compton Verney. The lake itself is yet ano0ther “Capability” Brown creation, designed to show off the big house and itsextensive grounds.

Cedar, Compton Verney

Cedar, Compton Verney

The huge cedar in the middle of the lawn in front of the big house at Compton Verney. The blue mushrooms in the previous post were growing in its shade, along with other mushroom species.

Cedar, Compton Verney

The other blue mushrooms, Compton Verney

The other blue mushrooms, Compton Verney

A second set of blue mushrooms at Compton Verney. These were in the shade of a huge cedar, in the middle of the wide lawn directly in front of the big house.

The colour, much faded, washed out by repeated bouts of heavy rain, a greenish-blue, or blueish-green. The colour and the scaly stem indicate they are verdigris agarics, now sometimes also being called verdigris roundheads (Stropharia aeruginosa).

Fall-back food

Fall-back food

It’s not just the tourist attractions, shops and restaurants of Stratford on Avon which have been hit by the fall in tourist numbers during the pandemic. The huge crowds of swans which gather on the river where it flows through the centre of the twon seem to be somewhat reduced in numbers. Many do still remain. In the absence of human-provided bread or gain, they are resorting more often to flocking to the Recreation Ground on the left bank, cropping grass.

Fall-back food

Blue mushrooms, Compton Verney

Blue mushrooms, Compton Verney

Macro-fungi come in many colours which are not found, or are found only very rarely, in plants or animals. But only a handful of British species are blue. On a visit to Compton Verney in Warwickshire at the start of this month, we came across two different blue species in the grounds.

I’m not sure what species these were. Although they had been up for some time, and were showing signs of age, most still kept some of their bright blue colours. They were in a small patch of open ground surrounded by a variety of different trees and bushes at the back of the ice house.

Privet berries, roadside, Compton Verney

Privet berries, roadside, Compton Verney

Black and glistening, these are privet berries. They were growing in the hedge separating the parkland of Compton Verney from the narrow but busy road running alongside.