Lifecycle of a toadstool

Shaggy inkcap

This is what a shaggy inkcap, also known as the lawyer’s wig fungus, looks like when it has only recently emerged.

As it sheds its spores, the cap of the mushroom appears to eat itself from the rim inwards.  This one is well on the way.

Shaggy inkcap

This grouping show more advanced stages in the process.

Shaggy inkcap

Finally, the cap is reduced to a blackened rim around the stem.

Shaggy inkcap

Yew berries

Yew

These yew berries don’t just look beautiful. They appear good enough to eat. But, like virtually every part of the tree, they are poisonous.

Common funnel cap

Common funnel cap

This toadstool was growing in heavy shade under leylandii.

The ones below, pictured at the same time, were a couple of days old.

Common funnel cap

Red Admiral

Red Admiral

This red admiral looked in fine shape as it was feeding on ivy flowers yesterday, even though this week is the last one when this species is normally seen in Britain.

Getting a pointer?

Heron

This heron was fishing from the signpost at the junction between the Staffs & Worcs and the Shropshire Union canals

Cortinarius

Cortinarius

This little toadstool had already provided a hearty meal for several small creatures.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

This inkcap species was just peeping through the short grass inches from the little Japanese umbrella.

Puffballs

Puffball

The prolonged spell of dry weather means that this has been a poor autumn for mushrooms so far. But a recent expedition to West Park still showed several species, mostly of small, inconspicuous fungi which could hide even in short grass.

Posts in the next few days come from this outing on October 25th unless otherwise indicated.

For the first find, these small puffballs – perhaps a centimetre in diameter – were lurking in the sculpture garden behind the Conservatory.

Puffball

FairiesBonnets

Fairies' Bonnets

Also known as the trooping crumble cap, this is a species of inkcap which grows in dense clusters. This grouping is showing a characteristic variation in colour between the individual fruiting bodies.

Growing by the entrance to Compton Park on October 25th.

Styptic fungus

Styptic fungus

Another bracket fungus growing from a tree stump: once again quite likely the cause of the tree’s early demise.

Tyromyces stipticus might prove useful to any Victorian gentleman who had used the razor strop fungus to sharpen his cut-throat razor – it could be used to staunch any resulting cuts.

A slug has sneaked into the left of the picture.

Little grebe

Dabchick

The stretch of the Staffs and Worcs canal downstream from Compton lock provides winter territories for little grebes every year.

This picture taken September 26th, shortly after the birds returned. The bird had just caught a small fish, shown here still in its bill.