Sunday, 11 September 2016

Here comes the rain

Another day out with the Sussex Fungus Group yesterday, to Stedham Common near Midhurst – coinciding perfectly with the arrival of the Autumn rain. 

Stedham Common has an interesting mosaic of habitats including birch woodland, coniferous woodland and heath. Apparently the group's last visit generated a list of around 100 species for the site, including a first-for-Britain on the cattle dung, but we didn't expect to see as many this time. It has been so dry.

From the car park you enter a mixed woodland of birch and conifers. Here we saw a few small, well-nibbled Chanterelle Cantharellus cibarius growing amongst the leaf litter. The colour of the cap and the decurrent gills which run down the stipe make this species quite distinctive.

Alongside the main track which runs from the car park we saw a huge Chicken of the Woods Laetiporus sulphureus. This species is beginning to feel familiar as I've seen a few this year, starting with that gorgeous young one at Woods Mill in May.

Further down the main track – a treat for me as I've never seen one before
– we spotted this Cauliflower fungus Sparassis crispa. This one's a little past it's best.

Heading into a patch of coniferous woodland, I found this bracket fungus growing on pine. Nick Aplin identified it as a rather aged example of Purplepore Bracket Trichaptum abietinum. I think I've seen this before at Rowland Wood and not known what it was.

I gave up taking photographs after this, as the rain fell harder.

We got a few different species in a grassy, heath-y glade where the trees had been cleared. Four or five moderately-sized inkcaps grew around the edges of a small fire site – probably Coprinellus angulatus as these are burnt ground specialists. Two faded Plums and Custard Tricholomopsis rutilans poked out from behind a decaying tree stump – presumably pine. And a troop of Spotted Toughshank Rhodocollybia maculata grew under a conifer at the edge of the glad. 

We passed a few Brown Birch Bolete Leccinum scabrum on our way around. I have to confess I paid these scant attention as boletes still look all rather-the-same to me.  

Common earthballs Scleroderma citrinum were plentiful through the woodland at the eastern side of the reserve. Although I haven't figured out how you separate them from other species like Scaly Earthball S. verrucosum.

Nick also pointed out a new species for me from the same family as Turkeytail
Lumpy Bracket Trametes gibbosa, growing on a decaying tree stump.

And here's a photograph of Sussex Fungus Group folk. Wet, but with spirits undampened by the rain.

For the record
Date: 10 September 2016
Location: Stedham Common
Grid reference: SU856219 (site centroid)
All records submitted by Nick Aplin on behalf of Sussex Fungus Group

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