Saturday, 5 October 2013

Funky Fungi

Saturday afternoon is traditional "drag the kids out for a walk" afternoon. 

This is an event they all Look Forward To Enormously during the week. It is, possibly, the Highlight Of Their Weekend. You can imagine just how much when you consider that they are all now teenagers, or in the case of L, might as well be (12 going on 16), and a Walk Through The Countryside With Their Parents is High On The Agenda of things they want to use their weekends for. This time I bribed L with a new Camelback - he drinks copious amounts of water which he we get fed up carrying. But I have discovered that if you put the water in a nifty new rucsac complete with numerous exciting straps and tubes with clever on/off switches he is more than happy to carry it round himself and what is more, doesn't moan about Being Thirsty All The Way. (Top Tip: boys, like men, respond well to New Toys, which trick them into doing all sorts of things they think they don't want to).

Anyway, I've had a hankering to go mushrooming all week, having watched them Pop Up all over the lawn and drive in recent days. Did you know (incidentally) that the roots of a mushie are always there beneath the surface and the fruit (the bit we consider to be a mushroom and the thing garden gnomes are almost always pictured beside) only pops up when conditions are right, and not necessarily every year? And did you also know that mushies are one of the Most Ancient Species on the planet?(possibly as much as 200,000,000 years old)

Science Lesson Over, back to the story.

This is Mushrooming With Camera rather than to eat. I think I mentioned before I tend to stay away from ingesting fungi since I had an unfortunate experience involving People Who Weren't There that lasted most of the night.
So with the sun shining and two boys in need of Removal From Minecraft And Enforced Fresh Air Time, we bundled everyone in the car, put Ted in the boot and drove to Emer Bog, an important Lowland Valley Peat Bog, as it says on the info board (shame about the punctuation errors, but Never Mind- Denise, you Will Be Cross about the Unnecessary Commas):

I have been to the bog many times (it is a regular dog-walking haunt for me and Mrs M, and in fact come to think of it Mrs M's hubby D is a Veritable Mine Of Information when it comes to mushies, so we must try and all go out for a walk together there soon so he can Put Me Right on my ID mistakes). I had never before noticed the Moth Connection with the bog but now I know that I feel even warmer towards the place. It's managed by the Hants and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and is a fascinating habitat (Ooh, I think I might be starting to sound like an ecologist! I bloody well hope so, given that I've been traumatising my brain this week stuffing it full of New Learning about sub-atomic particles and the Creation Of The Universe. I've even had to buy a Brian Cox DVD for heaven's sake. This is much to my husband's delight because I have spent years being fairly merciless in my impersonations of Mr Cox's effusive presentation style: "let me show you, using only this Old Lemon Squash Bottle and a Ripe Pear in a Fantastically Expensive Setting somewhere in the Colorado Desert where I have been flown at not-inconsiderable expense because I am a Cool and Trendy Astro-Physicist who's made it onto Prime Time TV, how the Universe Was Formed" and so on. M loves him, and now I have to read his books because they are on Modern Ecological Reading Lists.

The bog was Mushroom Heaven. There were so many I didn't know where to start. I had a fabulous hour wandering around peering at the ground snapping away like mad while the boys climbed trees and Teddy did poos which M had to collect in a bag and carry all the way round.

My Fungi ID knowledge is Pretty Shameful, so if you spot any glaring errors please feel free to shout. And whatever you do, don't take the ones that do have labels as permission to eat anything. If they don't kill you first you may well end up talking to fairies all night, which is not so bad, until they morph into woman-eating-trolls at about 3am who have six heads, are dressed in sequin-encrusted leotards and quote Yeats and Shelley until you think your head's going to explode.

Could these be Penny Buns clustering around an Earth Ball? 

Scleroderma verrucosum

Hypholoma capnoides or Sulphur Tuft

"Not Know", as L used to say when he was little.

Does anyone know what this is? It smelt terrible and looked like rotting flesh. Yuk. Or "Ewwww" as my daughter would say.

Now I feel I should be able to ascertain what this one is given the distinctive roll over of the top, but can I find it anywhere...?

Hypholoma fasciculare (sulphur tuft)

Probably some kind of Boletes Mushroom

Amanita Muscaria or Fly Agaric (poisonous, although some apparently have a pleasant taste. How Naughty!)

Dung mottle-gill (Great Name)

Fly Agaric

Hypholoma Capnoides

Milk Cap of some variety?

Scaly Wood

Amenita Rubiscens, The Blusher

Turkey Tail

Pleurotus Ostreatus or Oyster Mushroom (possibly?)

Whilst Hunting Mushrooms I came upon this Rather Lovely Miniscule Froglet, who obligingly posed for a couple of pics before diving back into the grasses. This is one of the things I love about looking at the minutiae of nature- quite unexpected things often pop into view that you would miss if you weren't crawling about looking among grasses and leaves.

And talking of which, as we were getting in the car to set off to the bog I spotted this Remarkable Insect dangling from a spider's web on the car door. Do you know what he is? No, I didn't either. He is a Common Backswimmer, more usually known to you and me as a Water Boatman. Apparently they are Fine Flyers in Warm Weather. Needless to say I rescued him and Returned Him To The Wild. Bit gorgeous isn't he?

I'll leave you with these Rather Adorable Mushies who were all Lined Up In A Row on this tree branch. It is important, when Mushroon Hunting, to Look Up as well as down....

Wishing you all a Marvellous Weekend. I'm off to eat a Thai Green Curry and Treacle Sponge Pud, drink champers and watch Ashes to Ashes. Happy Days....

CT :-)


  1. Fascinating to see all the different types of Fungi. It does look like a mushroom forager's paradise. As I have no expertise with mushrooms I couldn't help with any of the IDs, though. And I love the mushrooms lined up on the trunk, obviously it's their ability to adapt to their environment that has kept them thriving for so long.
    Love the little froglet, too!

    1. I'm not sure how many were edible but it was fantastic to see how many there were, and it's still early in the season so there should be more to come.
      I too loved them all lined up on the trunk. Incredible to think they were around for so long before people turned up.

  2. It is odd, is it not, how fungus can range from the delicate and quite beautiful to hideous beyond extreme a la Quatermass. Such if the diversity of lufe...sigh...

    (Note how I restrained myself from making obvious jokes like, 'There's not mush room here for a longer comment,' and 'I bet your son had a laugh whilst taking his Saturday constitutional - such a fun guy!')

    Hope the curry and pud were good! X

  3. HI CT I have never seen such a wide variety of fungi. Just wonderful. Hope you enjoyed your champers.

    1. I don't think I have either. A fantastic place for them :-)

  4. Great selection of fungi from your walk. Sorry can't help with the id - I can identify about 4 species with any certainty!!! Every autumn I attempt to id more and fail miserably! Toadstools very unlikely ever to be on menu in our house!!

    Looks a great place for wildlife though :)

    Will give MS a wave next week from you (won't risk shouting out hello!!!!) :)

    1. I've begun looking through fungi ID books and now feel very intimidated!
      Looking forward to hearing all about MS in due course....! :-)

  5. What a great place! We've been out today but not found that many; a wonderful Fly Agaric at a very early stage but nothing else I know the name of. Fabulous mystery insect and froglet. No idea what it is I'm afraid and you could spend HOURS on the internet looking!

    1. We're going back next weekend to see what else is there. It's a local hotspot for them- must be nigh on perfect growing conditions :-)

  6. Well this collection is almost as marvellous as your moths...but not quite due to the lack of furriness!
    I loved your dinner, curry, sponge pud, and champers...yummy
    Great water boatman, I've never seen one quite so close.

    1. Me neither- had no idea he was a water boatman. I thought he looked very exotic!

      Couldn't believe quite how many mushies there were, a fab place to see so many different types in.

      Suppers was delish thank you x

  7. Just got back from dropping my daughter back to Southampton after she had been home for the weekend, so now catching up on blogs. We stopped at Rufus Stone to take Daisy for a walk and we have never seen so much varied fungi before. It was lovely to see your fungi finds too and I was amazed by your close up on the water boatman.
    Sarah x

    1. The forest is perfect condition-wise for mushies of all varieties- it's the permanent underlying damp I guess.

      Hope you all had a lovely weekend together x

  8. Looks a fabulous place to walk! I too went on a fungi walk on Saturday but it will probably take me about a million years to write a blog about it! Glad you are enjoying your studies! :) x

    1. I think all country folk are out hunting for mushrooms since the weather got damper- are you good with IDs? That's my focus this Autumn :-)

    2. I'm rubbish! the only one I could ID is fly agaric. I have ordered a fungi book so I can improve my knowledge too. I just saw a brief thing about mushroom picking on the local news. Apparently this year is going to be a bumper year for them and they are worried people are going to try and pick lots and sell them. This would no doubt result in a worse year for them next year!


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x