Sunday, 11 October 2015

Fun little guys, UK Fungus Day!

Somehow there's something very appealing about delving about in the damp leaves on the forest floor and scrummaging amongst old log piles keeping your eyes peeled for fun little guys emerging from the mulch or peeping from the decaying trunk of a fallen tree.

I love this time of year, for although some fungi can be found in any month of the year, the best time for taking part in a fungal foray is autumn. In the UK that is now, typically August through to October when the leaves are turning beautiful colours, senescing to put a posh word on it! And the colours are not just restricted to leaves as the wide variety of fungi we have in the UK come in all sorts of shades and forms, not just your typical mushroom shape but include mould and yeast forms too. During my childhood I spent many a time curled up with a good Enid Blyton book or fairytale and just the word toadstool conjures up images of a fairyland with talking animals and tiny beasts. There's something mythical and magical about these amazing organisms that play such a vital part in our ecosystem feeding on the decaying matter in our countryside. Then there is the fact we have a large selection we can successfully eat without falling ill...but there is also many more that are highly poisonous so make sure you know your stuff before attempting to find the edible or recreational kind!

The iconic Fly Agaric is so well recognised but I don't seem to find many so always excited to stumble across one, a real live toadstool...

No walk is complete without having spotted a few new specimens, for me anyway! Here's a few I've found over the last few weeks while out and about at work and with the dog...

Ok so the majority of these I've found are various shades of brown and cream but the sheer diversity in shapes and formations is fascinating!

I also found one of these the other day while on a dawn bat survey (a rubbish pic I know)...these stripey critters are often associated with mushrooms...

A foraging brock, just escaping into the hedge!

..and if you look closely you'll spot the association! It was also National Badger Day this week, stunning animals.

So yes, Happy Fungi Foraging, go and see what you can find :)

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