Thursday, 28 September 2017

27-9-2017 Greyfield Wood

Scarlet Berry Truffle and Other Exciting Fungal Finds at Greyfield Wood, 27th September 2017

Ten of us gathered for this meeting in hazy, mild dry and calm conditions. We were in for even more of a fungal treat than in 2016, with around 70 species being recorded in the morning, including several notable finds. First we explored the western part of the wood. As in 2016, this was very species-rich, making our progress slow but rewarding. Some of the more notable finds included: two large groups of Sinuous Chanterelles (Pseudocraterellus undulatus); an outcrop of Jelly Tooth (Pseudohydnum gelatinosum) on a conifer stump, a large specimen of Dyer’s Mazegill (Phaeolus schweinitzii) on another stump; a large group of Beige Coral (Clavulinopsis umbrinella); several Poplar Brackets (Oxyporus populinus) on a sycamore trunk; tiers of Antrodia xantha on the cut end of a conifer log; a splendid array of Yellowing Curtain Crust (Stereum subtomentosum) on a log and several Stinkhorns (Phallus impudicus) at various stages of eruption, disruption and fly coverage. But then, as we approached the main path through the wood, Alice Nissen pointed to something red protruding through the ground, which I had superficially dismissed from a distance as a squashed yew berry! Closer inspection revealed it to be a kind of truffle, but not one I had ever seen before. Some on-the-spot internet searching by Chris Hargreaves quickly revealed it to be Scarlet Berry Truffle (Paurocotylis pila), and further searching of the area revealed another ten or so specimens. Apparently it is an immigrant from New Zealand, where it is said to imitate the fruits of Podocarpus trees and get eaten by large birds. There have been fewer than 40 records in the UK, only three of which are in Southern England (two in Sussex, one in Devon).  
Alan Rayner

  Red Berry Truffle on the ground (Karen Tesson)

Red Berry Truffle in Alan Rayner’s hands after cutting open to reveal convoluted internal spore-producing surface (John Nissen)

                                  Sinuous Chanterelle (Karen Tesson)

                                             Tiers of Antrodia xantha (Karen Tesson)

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

17/09/17 Dolebury Warren

led by Alan Feest

We gathered as a small group in the small car park at the foot of Dolebury Warren on a misty morning and I explained the nature of the site and the intention to look for CHEGs (Clavaria, Hygrocybe, Entoloma, Galerina) species, which are characteristic of nutrient poor grassland and therefore threatened in today’s polluted countryside.  If enough CHEG species are recorded from a site it may be classified as an SSSI.  Such is the case for Dolebury Warren (along with many other features) and between 1999- and 2004 Justin Smith and I carried out a full assessment of the CHEG status of three areas on the Warren.  We were therefore looking for CHEGs (and anything else!).
As often happens the first interesting species  was identified by Alan Rayner (Phlebia tremelosa, Jelly Rot), which was found on a stump in the car park. Then, when nearing the top  of 150 steps up the hill out of the trees into rough grassland, we encountered the Ascomycete Helvella crispa (White Saddle) and our first CHEG (Hygrocybe conica).
Reaching the first ramparts of the Iron Age fort , we were immediately struck by the huge human effort of creating such a huge structure with nothing more technical than a deer’s antler. Moving into the first area of the fort, a huge number of ant nests came into view, a rare sight in the British countryside due to ploughing. It seemed that we were too early for the bulk of the CHEGs and most of the fungi we encountered were coprophiles, growing on cow and sheep dung, notably species of Coprinopsis and Panaeolus.
Looking at the water runs down the scattered Oak trees proved to be interesting since not only was this the habitat of some interesting bryophytes but also of the bryophilous fungi, Mycena pseudocorticola and M. hiemalis, which are not often recorded by mycologists with their eyes on the ground!. These were also abundant in nearby woodland, where the leaf litter was extensively colonized by troops of Marasmius  rotula.
Back in the open we continued to record Galerinas,  Psathyrellas and Lycoperdons  then finally another beautiful Hygrocybe (possibly H. chlorophana). We continued to find scattered fruit bodies of other common species (Rickenella swartzii, Bovista nigrescens) and then a single spike of “Golden spindles” (Clavulinopsis fusiformis). 
We moved to the highest point and had spectacular views of the estuary and Wales and were struck by the black patches of the Photo-voltaic “farms”. After lunch in a sheltered spot we continued into the large inner part of the fort and continued to find numerous coprophiles and spotted some Speckled Wood butterflies flying in the sunny shelter against the wood. After finding some specimens of  Slender Parasol (Macrolepiota mastoidea) and Pestle Puffball (Lycoperdon excipuliformis), we realized our finish time was approaching and so hastily retraced our steps across the Warren and down through the wooded hillside towards the car park. Along the way we saw a Small Heath butterfly, a colony of Entolomas (probably E. serratulum) and then the rarity of the day, Orange Coral (Ramariopsis crocea) as a group of branched yellow fingers poking up through leaf litter (thus completing the CHEG list).  Having scared off a Roe Deer we were left to extricate our cars from the car park.

Alan Feest

Monday, 11 September 2017

11/09/2017 - 09:36 Otter sighting

I watched an Otter in the River Avon from about 10.55-11.10am on Sunday 10 September”. My first sighting in the city centre!  The animal kept close to the far bank and within the bank-side vegetation. It was actively hunting for food. It dived a few times and I was able to follow its trail of bubbles, before its head emerged again. It continued swimming down the river and I eventually lost its trail when I was down by Spring Gardens”.

Thanks Lucy