I met up with friends on Sunday at Alice Holt. Friends with toddlers. So our explorations of the forest were mainly focussed on finding the Gruffalo.
But as we made our way along the Gruffalo trail, I did also spot these shadowy creatures, poking up through the leaf litter.
I must be getting a bit better at identifying fungi because, although I've never seen this species before, my first thought was that they must be from the genus Helvella - one of the Saddle fungi.
Having consulted with my field guides, I make this Elfin Saddle Helvella lacunosa. A common species which grows on soil in broad-leaved, coniferous or mixed woodland. Here it was growing in a pine plantation.
That stipe is just fabulous.
For the record
Location: Gruffalo Trail, Alice Holt Forest
Grid reference: SU8141