Monday, 7 November 2016

Kidbrooke Park

The Sussex Fungus Group met at Kidbrooke Park on Sunday, a private site just outside Forest Row and grounds of the Michael Hall Steiner Waldorf school, where we were joined by Brad Scott of the Forest Row Natural History group.

The fungus kingdom laid on an intriguing show for us throughout this large and varied site; although many of our most interesting finds were very small. Too small for the taking of satisfactory photographs with my compact camera.

Stepping out onto the expansive lawn, we came across a lovely patch of Golden Spindles Clavulinopsis fusiformis, with a few Scarlet Caterpillarclubs Cordyceps militaris mixed in. It was a treat to see their slim bright fruit bodies poking up throught the mossy turf.

Moving under the conifers at the edge of the lawn, Nick Aplin pointed out the equally small Conifer Conecap Baeospora myosura growing among the litter. We also came across a patch of spiky puffballs and I was interested to know whether it would be possible to identify them from visual characteristics. Following some debate about their spikiness, it seemed no one was sufficiently confident to settle on an ID in the field, so Nick took a specimen for determination.

Puffball of some kind, Lycoperdon sp.
We also came across an Agaricus mushroom of some kind. There are several species like this which look alike, so Ted Tuddenham took a sample for determination.

Agaricus sp.

A little further on, under a line of Beech trees, we came across a troop of Buttercap Collybia (=Rhodocollybia) butryracea.

Buttercap Collybia (=Rhodocollybia) butryracea, blending in.

It's their greasy caps which give them their name.

This is a common mushroom which I feel I should recognise if I meet it again, so I stopped to get a good look at its features. It's interesting to see how the cap colour changes, depending on how old and dried out it is:

Buttercap Collybia (=Rhodocollybia) butryracea
Returning to the theme of small things, Nick found a most incredible little pink Mycena growing on dead fern debris. He took a specimen for determination, but I'm going to throw caution to the wind and say based on some cursory Googling – they could have been Mycena pterigena. Well worth looking at these photos of M. pterigena as they give you an idea of just how small and pink these little beauties were.

In the same patch of leaf litter Nick also found Slender Club Macrotyphula juncea Pipe Club Macrotyphula fistulosa*, which I wouldn't have clocked as a fungus at all, if it hadn't been pointed out to me.

A little further on, my field notes say we found a "weird little white thing looks upside down". Again, too tiny to photograph. Nick identified this as a young example of Plicaturopsis crispa. They looked rather like the second photo down on this page, here.

Walking through the mixed woodland we got a reasonable haul of mushrooms. As well as the obligatory Honey Fungus Armillaria mellea and Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria, we found various little brown jobs from the Bonnet Mycena, Webcap Cortinarius, Milkcap Lactarius and Pinkgill Entoloma families.

Nick suggested it would be worth getting a look at the spores of the Entoloma we found growing in damp woodland with Willow Entoloma Politum – under the microscope. So I have. They look like this:

Entoloma spores. 1000x magnification.

Our route took us past this stunning iron-rich stream...

... and on to an old fallen Beech tree which we all fell upon – fascinated by the diverse community of fungi and myxomycetes growing here.

Sussex Fungus Group in action.
As well as the now-familiar Porcelain Fungus Oudemansiella mucida, we found a stunning display of Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus.

And a beautiful Olive Oysterling Sarcomyxa serotina.

Jelly fungi were also out in force doing their bit to cleave the bark away from this deadwood hulk.

Beech Jellydisc Neobulgaria pura
Purple Jellydisc Ascocoryne sarcoides
And Small Stagshorn Calocera cornea was there, taking advantage of the exposed wood.

Even the Wrinkled Crust Phlebia radiata looked gorgeous in its own wrinkly way.

Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare peeped out from the rotting heartwood, at the broken end of the trunk.

And tucked underneath the main trunk, these golden mushrooms were putting on their own perfect display.

They looked like they could be Golden Scalycap Pholiota aurivella or a similar species; Nick took a specimen for determination.

I also found the remains of a myxomycete, possibly a Stemonitis species, which I'll try and identify this week, if I get the chance. And over the whole trunk, Woodwart Hypoxylon species swarmed.

On our route back to the cars we found a solitary waxcap, Snowy Waxcap Hygrocybe virginia, which didn't look snowy at all – more like a splash of milky tea. As well as Slippery Jack Suillus luteus and this patch of Clouded Funnel Clitocybe nebularis.

We saw a few more tiny mushrooms as we wandered back across the lawn, including a few False Chanterelle Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, growing underneath a large conifer. But by now time was pressing, so we didn't linger long.

With thanks to the Michael Hall school for allowing Sussex Fungus Group access to survey this fabulous site and to Brad for making sure we didn't get lost.

For the record
Date: 06/11/2016
Location: Kidbrooke Park (private site)

All records to be submitted by Sussex Fungus Group / Nick Aplin.

* Correction to original posting 08/11/2016

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