Saturday 29th September Firestone Copse
We had a damp start for our first foray of the season but, until recently, the weather had been dry. Fungi were just starting to make an appearance. Firestone Copse is reliably good for fungi but our group of eight forayers were able to name just 34 species. We hope to do much better over the coming weeks!
The smallest fungi are sometimes the most beautiful and interesting and that proved to be the case on this foray.
Marasmius bulliardii is a little Horsehair Fungus which grows on fallen oak leaves. One distinguishing feature of this Marasmius is that the gills under the cap are joined near the base to form a collar (referred to as a collarium) around the top of the stem or stipe.
Also growing on fallen oak leaves, a tiny white cup fungus, Lachnum ciliare, has beautiful fringed cups on stalks when viewed under a lens.
Sunday 6th October Parkhurst Forest
Today proved to be an extremely productive foray although we only got from the carpark to Signal House and back in a circular route. We were a group of 13 members and friends and we were blessed with a sparkling sunny day.
We were puzzled by a large slim unopened fungus pushing up through the grass but this proved to be just a Parasol Mushroom, Lepiota procera. There were plenty of earthballs, Scleroderma, about and we were delighted to find one fine specimen with two parasitic boletes attached. We also found a cluster of Oysterlings, Panellus stipticus, on dead wood.
Selena made the best find of the day, three small fungi growing from a pine cone. It was only when someone remarked that they had spines instead of gills that the penny dropped that we were looking at the Earpick Fungus, Auriscalpium vulgare. The cap of this fungus is laterally placed making it look like a kidney-shaped cap on a hairy stipe. Fungi books describe the Earpick Fungus as being common and widespread but that does not appear to be the case with us. It is indeed inconspicuous but we have held many forays at Parkhurst Forest and other Island sites, often with very experienced and professional mycologists, and yet this fungus has never been recorded in recent years. Indeed, there are just two previous records: at Mottistone in 1932 and at Shanklin in 1924!
We frequently find two species of Cauliflower Fungus, Sparassis crispa and the rarer Sparassis laminosa when we visit Parkhurst and today was no exception. What was surprising this time was that both specimens of Sparassis laminosa were growing closely associated with fungi associated with conifers. Sparassis laminosa is generally considered to be associated with broadleaved trees. We found on specimen growing over Rootrot, Heterobasidion annosum, and the second with Earthfan, Thelophora terrestris.
We also found some interesting smaller fungi. Chromelosporium ochraceum is a remarkable mould that looks spectacular under the binocular microscope. It is actually the asexual stage of a Peziza cup fungus. It has been reported from here once before on a visit of the British Mycological Society.
Far more spectacular was the splendid display of Fly Agarics, Amanita muscaria, growing alongside the path back to the carpark.
We recorded 56 species on our two hour visit. There would have been plenty more to find had we stayed longer. Parkhurst Forest 6th Sept 2019
Saturday 19th October Osborne Estate
We were grateful to English Heritage for allowing our group to visit the grounds of Osborne House for our main foray of the year. Our group of twenty four included experienced mycologists Alan and Patty Outen from the Bedfordshire Fungi Group, Eric & Sue Janke, Alan Lucas, Sue Rogerson and Ginnie Copsey from the Hampshire Fungus Recording Group and Jackie Derby. The prolonged wet weather over the previous few weeks had produced a spectacular display of fungi and there was so much to find that we only managed to cover the lawns in front of the house and the walled garden during our all day foray. In all we recorded 169 species including some which were new for the Island.
Russula or brittle gills were showing very well in rings around parkland trees including red Russula sanguinea and purple Russula caerulea
Interesting finds including the bracket fungus, Ganoderma resinaceum, with a waxy reddish bracket, an unusual bolete Gyroporus castaneus and, on woodchip in the Walled Garden, the delightful Bird’s Nest fungus, Crucibulum laeve. It was nice to see this particular bird’s nest as it has not been recorded on the Island for over fifty years.
Perhaps the most interesting find was a single Amanita fungus growing in bare ground beneath a cypress tree. It proved to be Amanita inopinata, for which there are currently only a handful of records from the UK. This Amanita is believed to have originated in New Zealand and has only recently appeared in this country. An interesting non-mycological find by Mike Cotterill was a Hornet. Hornets, once very rare with us, seem to be on the increase. Thankfully, to date, none of the reported hornets have been Asian Hornets.
Sunday 20th October Firestone Copse
On Sunday, a few of us met at Firestone Copse to continue our foraying. We were only there for three hours and yet we recorded 139 species, once more including some unusual species. The best find was another Amanita. This time it was the rarely recorded Amanita simulans, only recently recognised as a distinct species. This was found by Alan Lucas and Sue Rogerson and the specimen will be subject to DNA studies.
Here is the full list of fungi recorded at Firestone, Osborne and several other sites over the weekend period Fungi Records – IoW foray weekend 2019
Saturday 2nd November Jersey Camp, Porchfield
Today was the day of a storm with winds up to 109.4mph recorded at The Needles together with heavy rain. Understandably, that put off several in the group who were planning to attend but nevertheless six hardy souls did turn out and we did carry out a sodden foray on MOD land. Initially, we walked around the edge of Lock’s Copse, wary of falling branches, but eventually we entered into the wood and also the meadows. Nevertheless, the weather did cut our foray short and we retired to the Range House where, in the warmth, Stuart kindly provided us with drinks and a place to work.
There was plenty to see and we recorded 65 species Locks Copse 2nd November 2019
Saturday 9th November Golden Hill Country Park
We have never visited Golden Hill for fungi before but, because next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the Country Park, we thought it was about time we had a foray here. Unfortunately, the weather was not kind to us and some of our group of thirteen turned back early which was a shame because we made some really nice finds. Particularly spectacular was a dense ring of mycorrhizal fungi around a Holm Oak comprising a mixture of Clouded Agaric, Clitocybe nebularis, a Russula and astonishing quantities of a milk cap, Lactarius chrysorrheus. We also found lots of Webcaps, Cortinarius spp., which are very difficult to identify. One attraction of visiting Golden Hill is to see if the grassland holds a good range of waxcaps and other grassland fungi. Unfortunately the cold very wet weather precluded a proper search of the grassland but a short search revealed a few species and there must be more to find. Interestingly, the more sheltered woody scrub had several grassland fungi, surviving from its grassland origins.
We also found some interesting smaller fungi including several fungi producing cup-shaped fruiting bodies on stalks. Rustroemia firma growing on oak twigs was found with remarkably long stalks. Small creamy discs of Bisporella subpallida on twigs also had very short stalks. More obviously stalked were the little white cups of Hymenoscyphus fructigena confined to the cupules of acorns, in this case of Holm Oak.
In total we recorded 48 species Golden Hill 9th November 2019
Sunday 24th November Ryde Cemetery
Our last foray of the season saw 13 of us gathered at the entrance to Ryde Cemetery. At first we saw little in the way of fungi and we thought that this sometimes prolific site was not going to deliver. However, during the course of the morning we found 40 species. A good variety of species although not in quantity. Most showy was a ring of Honey Fungus, Armillaria mellea, around a beech tree. Sadly, the beech tree was dying.
We found a good selection of grassland fungi, for which this site is notable, including the Pink Waxcap, Hygrocybe calyptriformis, a huge specimen of Hygrocybe quieta, with orange gills, and the splendid Hygrocybe punicea. Dave Trevan took these pictures. We also found earthtongues, Trichoglossum hirsutum. Whilst wandering around the cemetery we were entertained by a flock of greenfinches feeding in a tree and a pipistrelle bat flying around catching winter gnats.
Interestingly, we found the white coral fungus, Ramariopsis kunzei. We have not recorded this fungus before 2019 but this year we found it at Quarr and Osborne. It must be having a good year. Best of all was an Amanita found by Mike Cotterill beneath a pine. After much examination and investigation, it proved to be Amanita mairei, new to the Island and a fitting end to our foray season.