This year we commenced our meetings on 29th September and held them every two weeks until our final meeting on 1st December. We were delighted to see so many new faces including an enthusiastic young family.
Our first meeting was held at Fattingpark Copse and although the weather had been mainly dry for several weeks we did manage to achieve identification of 39 species. One of the species we are always pleased to see is the green staining fungus Green Elfcup, Chlorocibora aeruginascens, and in fact, we saw it at each of our meetings except the last one at Newtown Rifle Ranges – a very late in the season visit. Another fungus we saw was the Beefsteak Fungus, Fistulina hepatica, well named for when it is cut open the flesh gradually takes on the colour red just like a rare steak. We also found this at Parkhurst Forest and at Godshill Beech Woods. Particularly well represented at Fattingpark was the Razorstrop Fungus, Piptoporus betulinus and the Blushing Bracket, Daedaleopsis confragosa, both of these grow attached to dead trunks of trees.
The next meeting was our annual foray and Alan Outen again came over to identify our finds. A break from tradition this year, the identification took place in the woods as we went along. The morning session was held at Mark’s Corner end of the forest and the afternoon session from the main car park. Thus we were able to cover both the ancient woodland as well as the more recent plantation. Despite the dry conditions, over the course of the weekend Alan identified a total of 210 species compared to 245 last year. Alan’s particular interest is a very difficult group of fungi called Inocybe and some of us were able to accompany him to the private woods at Briddlesford were he was able to identify six species, only one of these was seen at Parkhurst the previous day. He has stories to tell about many of the fungi and he also points out the features to help with the identification.
Our next visit was to Firestone Copse on 20th October where we missed Colin and Jilly Pope, as well as David Biggs, as they were on holiday but Beth Dollery and I did manage to identify 27 species. Again, the weather had been dry and it was difficult to find the fungi, however towards the end of the meeting a lovely sample of the bright red Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria, was found, as well as the White Saddle, Helvela crispa, a particular favourite of Beth and mine. Both of the Deceivers were well represented, The Deceiver, Laccaria laccata, and Amethyst Deceiver, Laccaria amethystina. One of the fungus found here The Brown Rollrim, Paxillus involutus, was also found at Parkhurst, however we usually see far more of them each season.
Our last visit to the Rifle Range at Newtown was in 1994 so this year we arranged two meetings. One at Lock’s Copse on 3rd November taking in the meadows on the return to the cars, and the December visit which was for the grassland species, but we also visited Robin Wood. We found 53 species on the first visit and on the final one 42 species. We identified eight species of Waxcap during the two visits, the Meadow Waxcap, Hygrocybe pratensis, buff coloured, looking rather like a washed out yellow waxcap, was only found in December. Howard Atkins found several huge fungi in the wood, Tricholoma saponaceum. On both occasions we found quite a number of Candle Snuff, Xylaria hypoxylon. In Robin Wood we found some beautiful, tiny white fungus in clusters on fallen wood that had droplets clinging to the cap. Colin took a sample home and identified this as Hemimycena tortuosa, which was subsequently confirmed by Alan Outen.
The other wood we visited was the Beech Wood in Godshill where 56 species were identified including two species that grow high up on Beech: Porcelain fungus, Oudemansiella mucida, and Pleurotus dryinus. We also found Jelly Ear (previously called Jews Ear), Auricularia auricula-judae, this year only seen previously at Briddlesford Copse. Also seen was an Artist`s Bracket, Ganoderma applanatum, up in a tree and photographed by Ian Boyd, with what appeared to be a “Pixie” sitting on it !!!