I’ve been wistfully liking other bloggers’ pictures of the type of toadstool you see in fairy tale illustrations (orangey-red fly agarics with white spots) while wishing my woodland searches had uncovered one.
The woods are rich in fungi: pale, greyish, beige, brown, pinkish, purplish and black ones growing singly, clustered in their hundreds along fallen logs or running the whole height of dying trees. I’d seen alarmingly slimy ones, shiny ones, pert ones, shelf types, toadstools like pontefract cakes and a lot that looked like small potatoes but any flashes of orange or red had turned out to be berries cast down from trees.
At one point I discovered the brown form of fly agaric toadstool pictured above. You can’t take my word for this as I am no expert, but I suspect it may be the deadly poisonous Amanita pantherina, the panther cap or false blusher. Another possibility is the similar-looking blusher, Amanita rubescens, named because the white flesh turns pink where bruised. An interesting find, but not half as exciting to me as seeing a red one. Continue reading “Two Types of Fly Agaric Toadstools”
My sister and I were on a mushroom-spotting walk in and around Sunnyhurst Wood when we found these pale ones just above head height on an old beech tree. The tree has been struck by lightning and part of its canopy is dead and bare.
We weren’t planning to pick mushrooms, neither of us being able to identify them, just to see how many different types we could spot before the autumn leaves covered them. We found quite a lot, though no unusual colours, such as purples, and none of the elusive white spotted red ones I’d love to see. Most of the fungi were growing at the base of trees, on the ground or on fallen branches, and the ones in the trees were more often bracket or turkey-tail types so these seemed unusual, the luminous backlight showing them off well against the living half of the tree. Continue reading “Pale Mushrooms and a Richness of Swallows”
My first picture provides some context for those that follow. A narrow walker’s path tracks a drainage ditch along the edge of a wood. Often muddy, part of its fascination comes from the patches of tree roots that weave through each other just above ground level.
These roots are familiar, yet I marvel at them each time I pass. Have they been left behind as soil eroded or did they surface to find air in a boggy place? Are their buttressed forms better able to anchor trees that lean out into the neighbouring meadow for sunlight, or are they seeking out better soil?
Bluebells woods have a mysterious air. To get the full effect, you have to imagine everything moving in the lightest breeze, bees humming in the bells, birds singing as they attend their nests, and the odd grey squirrel bouncing around.
Earth’s name should remind us of its thin layer of soil that provides 95% of our food, but how much do we know about the soil? It’s one more thing most of us take for granted. I certainly found no pictures of good old plain soil in my files and found myself wishing I’d taken a picture of a giant molehill I noticed a day or two ago.
Scientists compare our soil to a living skin, vulnerable to rough treatment, chemicals and erosion. And rough treatment is often what it gets.
UK readers may be feeling outraged that one of our beautiful, meandering rivers, Hereford’s River Lugg, has been reshaped by landowner(s) who almost certainly knew of their legal duty to protect it. A site of special scientific interest, the river and its “riverbanks, gravels and beds of water crowfoot are home to crayfish, otters and salmon, lampreys and dragonflies and a host of rare river wildlife” to quote The Wildlife Trust. Continue reading “World Soil Day is 5th December”
When my sweetheart described the woods near the Entwistle reservoir as temperate rainforest, I was taken aback. Rainforest sounds like something you’d have to travel thousands of miles to see rather than walk less than four miles up the road.
Our moist, cool, steamy climate encourages mosses and liverworts, lichens, fungi and ferns to creep over trees and boulders. The Irish sea keeps conditions mild enough for these ancient plants to thrive through summer and winter.
Having grown up scrambling through the wooded valleys of the moors, the Tolkienesque character of this type of landscape is as familiar as the open moorland over the hill. Wild orchids grow further along the path that heads from this spot towards an outcrop of rock called Fairy Battery; follow Cadshaw Brook and you may surprise a fallow deer grazing near Entwistle reservoir. Continue reading “Comparing Lancashire Rainforest With Mississippi Backwater”