Heron

Heron in reeds

Its watchful position in the middle of a small reed bed gave this heron the confidence to ignore the constant stream of people along the towpath on the opposite bank of the Staffs and Worcs canal.

Mushroom

Wood mushroom

This mushroom was growing on a pile of wood chips which appeared to have been dumped on a grassy verge.

Wood mushroom

Earth Star

Earth Star

Geastrum triplex, to give it its official name, is one fungus which would be missed by someone just on the lookout for the classic toadstool shape.

This one disperses its spores through the hole visible in the centre.

This post, along with the harlequin ladybird and the dead man’s fingers, with thanks to the Wildside Activity Centre Fungi Foray, led by Sue Shanks.

Dead Man’s Fingers

Dead Man's Fingers

Yet another fungus with no resemblence to the stereotype of the toadstool shape.

Xylaria polymorpha can indeed be imagined as long-decayed human fingers. Found on fallen and rotten wood.

Harlequin ladybird

Harlequin ladybird

This north American species is, by some accounts, threatening to displace the various European species.

This one seems to be under attack by the much smaller aphids, which are in reality its prey.

Honey fungus

Honey fungus

Armillaria mellea are very variable in appearance. A common fungus, which lives off trees.

Honey fungus

Once the fungus gets established, it throws out a whole cluster of fruiting bodies near the base of the trunk. It is always fatal for the tree.

Haws

Haws

Autumn is definitely coming when the hawthorn berries take on their full red brightness.

Harvestman

Harvestman

What has eight legs and isn’t a spider?

Lots of creatures, actually. This harvestman is indeed an arachnid, but nevertheless not a spider.

Shaggy parasol

Shaggy Parasol

The shaggy parasol, lepiota rhacodes, is one of the most distinctive of the toadstool-shaped fungi.

This specimen had only recently emerged. If it is not disturbed, the cap will flatten as it grows, eventually spreading out to as much as six inches wide while keeping the flaky appearance.