Wildlife Watch October 2017 by David Cummings
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WILDLIFE WATCH

Barn Owl
David Cummings

David Cummings

October

2017

A monthly series for 2017 about the wonderful world of wildlife. Each month I hope to share with you some of my experiences of watching and filming wildlife across the world, as well as keeping you up to date with wildlife sightings in the Parish

Autumn Fungi

This is the best time of year to see lots of varieties of fungi, and I was reminded of that whilst driving along Littleton Lane past the Pit. One of the trees on the left hand side of the road has a magnificent specimen of a “chicken of the woods” fungus. This is quite a common fungus that grows on many kinds of deciduous trees, and is edible. I’ve included two other images of this type, one much more sulphurous. It is from the family of bracket fungi which are very common in woodland especially on silver birch.
There have been several giant puff balls growing near the back of the Pit this autumn, but nothing like the one seen held by youngsters from the Primary School in the late 1970’s. This was found in a garden near to the Ring O Bells, and is a magnificent specimen. Giant puffballs are also said to be edible when they are young and fresh.

One of my favourite varieties is the Shaggy inkcap, which can be seen along the canal bank, meadows, gardens and on many other sites. When young and its gills are white, it is said to be edible. When the gills turn black it resembles a black ink and the mushroom disintegrates rapidly and is not edible.

The specimens that are definitely not to be eaten are the Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria. They can be found in coniferous and deciduous woods and are so attractive they are regularly shown as attractive features in children’s books. However they should not be touched, as the poison cannot be removed by cooking or peeling the skin. One of the pictures was taken in a local garden, the other in woodland, and I’ve also included another variety with an orange skin.

Fungi are classified in three groups, “mycorrhizal fungi” which from a symbiotic relationship with a tree or plant, “sapro-phytic fungi” that live on dead matter, and “parasitic fungi” which attacks plants and kills them. I love finding the different and unusual forms and photographing them, but apart from field mushrooms have never tried to eat any of them. I have included some of my favourite fungi pictures with this article and I hope you enjoy them. The best sites locally are Delemere Forest or Bickerton Hill, but fungi turn up in all sorts of unexpected places, so keep your eyes open in the next month or so.

Reference:
Field Guide to Mushrooms and other Fungi of Britain & Europe.
Published by New Holland Publishers

  •  Bolete

    Bolete

  •  Bolete

    Bolete

  •  Chicken in the Wood

    Chicken in the Wood

  •  Chicken in the Wood

    Chicken in the Wood

  •  Chicken in the Wood

    Chicken in the Wood

  •  Field Mushroom

    Field Mushroom

  •  Fly Agaric

    Fly Agaric

  •  Fly Agaric

    Fly Agaric

  •  Gian Puiff Ball found by the Children

    Gian Puiff Ball found by the Children

  •  Orange Coloured Fly Agaric

    Orange Coloured Fly Agaric

  •  Parasol

    Parasol

  •  Parasol

    Parasol

  •  Rosy Earthstar

    Rosy Earthstar

  •  Scarlet Elf Cup

    Scarlet Elf Cup

  •  Shaggy Scalycap

    Shaggy Scalycap

  •  Sooty Ink Cap

    Sooty Ink Cap

  •  Turkeytail Bracket

    Turkeytail Bracket

Wildlife Watch October 2017 by David Cummings