Grammar’s Common – 25th SeptemberSeven members visited Grammar’s Common by kind permission of the owner. The weather had been very dry leading up to the visit which resulted in only 22 species being identified of which ten were of the rusts, powdery mildews and other specialities of David Biggs including Lophodermum conigenum growing on pine cones, new to the Island. A further three species had been seen by the Botany group when they visited on 10th September. The woods are predominantly conifer and the rides are mainly of grass with some moss. We found quite a number of the Stinkhorn, Phallus impudicus. We also saw at the edge of the rides a number of Russula ochroleuca and The Earthball, Scleroderma citrinum. On the pine stumps we saw a number of Phaeolus schweinitzii in various stages of development.
Fattingpark Copse – 9th October
Seven members visited Fattingpark Copse, a wood that usually produces a large number of species. Although the weather was still unusually dry we did manage to find and identify 30 species including the Piggyback fungus Nyctalis asterophora that is parasitic on Russula nigricans. The Razorstrop fungus, Piptoporus betulinus was showing particularly well on dead Birch. Two species of the Coral Fungus, Grey Coral, Clavulina cinerea, and White Coral, Clavulina cristata, were growing near each other. The Beafsteak fungus, Fistulina hepatica, was seen about head high on a tree in the grounds of the Crematorium and when a slice was cut out of it you could see how it got its name. The flesh readily turned a blood red colour, just like a rare steak!
The annual Fungus Foray, Brighstone – 15th October
The annual fungus foray this year centred in Brighstone at the Community Hall. Our visiting mycologist, Dr Derek Reid, unfortunately was unable to attend and his presence was sorely missed, as was David Carr. Chris Holland, with his wife Tracie, visited us and helped in the identification of the fungi. Derek had kindly agreed to look at any fungus that we sent to him and the self-help group pooled their knowledge that resulted in 93 different species identified with six new records. All specimens identified were displayed with their names.
Whitefield Woods – 30th October
Eleven members enjoyed a foray in Whitefield Woods by kind permission of the owner, John Martin. We returned to this site after several years’ absence and as usual it came up to expectations. Although it started to pour with rain as soon as we started, by the time we arrived at the site of some excellent fungi it had left off. Under the conifers we came across a large patch of Earth Stars, the Geastrums, something we do not see very often, Geastrum pectinatum, and Geastrum striatum. We spent some time admiring them! In all 74 different species were identified.
Parkhurst Forest – 14th November
Twenty-two people, including 3 couples new to us, turned up for a meeting at Parkhurst Forest on a dry afternoon. Although a little late in the season 49 different species were identified, with two new records for the Island. The Amanitas and Boletus were well represented with Amanita citrina, Amanita gemmata, Amanita excelsa and Amanita rubescens, Boletus edulis, Boletus erythropus and Xerocomus badius.
Northwood Cemetery – 27th November
For our last meeting of the year we met at a new venue for us, at Northwood Cemetery. We had some very cold, frosty weather over the previous week or so and we were afraid that all the grassland species for which it excels would be over. However, we were delighted to see the Wax caps were still showing well. They ranged in colour from bright yellow, orange, red, pink, white and green. Colin managed to name a very respectable eight species of Hygrocybe, a very difficult group to identify. A new record was Microglossum olivaceum. The one appearing on a grave was black tongue-like spindle shaped and on handling went a florescent green/blue colour. There are only a few known records in England and the species appears on the Biodiversity Action Plan. 35 species were identified.