Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Fun Girl Foray: Part One

What better way to spend a late September afternoon than on a fungal foray around the RSPB Lodge nature reserve? Perhaps it might have been enhanced if I'd taken a fungi id book with me and my glasses. Slight oversights which left me floundering a bit at times. To be honest, I'm out of my depth identifying anything but the most common, recognisable fungi, so have mostly put up photos here to show the variety I found even sans my glasses.

The back way into The Lodge. Down a quiet lane.

A red admiral was very obliging.
The back gate is flanked by 2 old stone pillars, part of the old Peel estate wall. The Peel family (namely Sir William Peel, then on his death his brother Sir Arthur Wellesey Peel, both sons of Sir Robert Peel), owned the estate from 1851 to 1934.
The estate was then purchased by Sir Malcolm Stewart of the London Brick Company. The RSPB bought it for its new headquarters in 1961. 
The Lodge reserve is situated on the greensand ridge. The reserve is heathland and acid grassland, with deciduous and coniferous woodland. A real treat to have such a lovely site a short stroll from home.
Heathland is a rare habitat round here and the RSPB are taking steps to restore large areas to heath to encourage birds such as nightjars (worth popping to this link to hear a nightjar call) and provide more habitat for the resident natterjack toads (call here). Even though the heather is just past its best it looks fine in the autumn sunshine. (The white patch is a Cladonia lichen, forgive me for not knowing its name.)
There's a path leading round the bottom edge of the heathland. I often have the place to myself in the afternoon and evening. I'm not complaining. It's very sandy as you can see with heather (Calluna vulgaris), Scots pines (Pinus sylvestris) and birch (Betula pendula).
I found a few heather bushes still in flower.
And underneath some heather, at first I'd though someone had thrown away their lunch, this shiny brown sticky-bun-like mushroom. A bolete I think?
I wondered if it was a penny bun (Boletes edulis)?
Around an old stump were some yellowy browny mushrooms. I wondered if it was honey fungus?
The ground was a mass of pine needles and cones. The air smelt of pines. 
This delicate mushroom (about 2 inches across) was growing at the lower end of the reserve.
I noticed this patch of yellow dust on the dead bracken.
This perky little fella was coming up through the bracken debris. Another bolete?
And this wee one (same species?) with a lovely smooth silky top. 
This dainty little mushroom was only the size of a 10p piece.
This distinctive bolete (?) had been uprooted and was lying unceremoniously discarded in a pile of pine chippings.
And this one I think I now know thanks to Abbey Meadows, is sepia bolete (Boletus porosporus)
The cute halberd-shaped leaves of sheep's sorrel (Rumex acetosella) were growing amongst the pine needles and wood chippings. 
May I state now for the record that no fungi were damaged during the writing of this blog.

Part Two to follow. Update: here is Part Two.

Any help with id most gratefully received.
And for the record I don't intend to pick or eat any fungi.


  1. What a fantastic variety of fungi! The purple heather was a wonderful reminder of my trip to Scotland several years ago... the effect of this plant in your pictures is just beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Elizabeth. Our precious little lowland heath here reminds me of being in Scotland too, in the pinewoods on the edge of the Cairngorms. Stunning.

    No red efts here though :-(