On a quick walk around Woods Mill at lunchtime on Monday, I came across this scene:
Masses of tiny mushrooms popping up on a decaying log. I thought they were probably Fairy Inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus and just grabbed a quick snap, as I had every intention of going back for a closer look.
Now, suddenly, it's Friday. And I realise I never did go back to look at those mushrooms. So I took a little detour on my way home from work to see how they're doing.
They're not just 'gone over', or shrivelled up, or decaying. I searched all over the log and can find no trace of the mushrooms that I saw on Monday.
Since making my tentative identification on Monday, I've since spotted in the Collins (photographic) Guide that there's another species which is "virtually identical macroscopically to Fairy Inkcap": Psathyrella pygmaea.
So I guess the identity of these vanishing mushrooms must remain a mystery.
And the moral of the story is: never leave till tomorrow mushrooms which you can identify today.
UPDATE 28/07/2017: Today's update is brought to you by the cliché "sometimes life gives you a second chance [at identifying mushrooms]".
A lunchtime stroll took me back past this log, and I was most surprised to see it was once again covered in tiny mushrooms.
Masses of them.
On a second look, I'm sure these must be Fairy Inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus. They have very fragile caps and thin hollow stems.
Looking at photographs of the similar-looking P. pygmaea, here, that species looks much less dainty than C. disseminatus.
This habit of growing in profusion – swarming all over rotting wood – is also characteristic of C. disseminatus; as is the colour change from very pale when young (bottom photograph) to grey-brown, as they mature.
So there we go, I'm calling it: Fairy Inkcap Coprinellus disseminatus.
But what of it's mysterious reappearance? I have some theories:
1. Some kind of physical paradox has caused these mushrooms to be both present and not-present in our universe: these are Schrödinger's mushrooms.
2. These are spectacularly emphemeral mushrooms – the likes of which I've never seen before.
I also like Laurie's suggestion: these mushrooms are just messing with me.
I returned to this spot today, 23 and a half hours after I took the photographs above.
The mossy log is now a scene of total devastation.
For the record
Date: 17/07/2017 and 28/07/2017
Location: Hoe Wood
Grid reference: TQ217136