The rich reds of the berries and greens of the leaves: it can only be holly. The upper picture also has a small inconspicuous cricket – it’s on the upper edge of the leaf below the berries.
When they are fully out, earth stars look like some kind of alien flower.
At an earlier stage, their relationshop to puffballs is more obvious.
This mushroom had obviously already provided a good meal for something.
Milk caps are a group of mushroom species which exude a fluid when damaged. In some of these species the fluid resembles milk in colour and consistency. In other species the colour is different, or changes gradually on exposure to air.
This small flock of gulls frequent the playing fields of Compton Park when there is little human disturbance. Most are black headed gulls, but the juvenile, with what looks like mainly grey feathers, is a different species, probably lesser black backed.
This mushroom always grows in symbiosis with … a larch tree.
The cap of this mushroom is a more or less gelatinous cinnamon yellow-brown when it first emerges, with somewhat paler stem and gills. It then turns black.
The rim of the cap of this one gives some hint of the richness of the original colour.
Autumn is the peak time for fungi, so that’s why they are dominating the posts at the moment.
The panther cap is not a particularly common mushroom, but this one was growing right by a canal bank near Compton.
This specimen seems to have proved a reliable food source for something small in the way of the local wildlife. All pictures are of the same individual. The top two are views from the side and top; the lowest picture was taken a couple of days earlier as the toadstool emerged, already nibbled at.
The steep angle of the cap of this toadstool gives it a funnel shape.
This series of pictures are of two fruiting bodies of the same fungus.
The top two pictures show the toadstools directly from above.
These next two show the same toadstools from the side, in the same order.
These two pictures show the so-called ring, the structure around the stem.
This final picture shows how the two were located in relation to each other.
These cross spiders are huge, and have grown very rapidly – presumably the female of the species.
The top two pictures are of the same individual, as seen first from above and then below.
This tiny mushroom was just visible in the recently mown grass is the barley field in the Smestow Brook Nature Reserve.