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

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davea2007/3977782464

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.

Bracket

Willow bracket

This bracket, possibly the willow bracket, Phellinus igniarius, is now going the same way as the host it finished off. Like the fallen tree to which it is attached, the fungus is now sideways on, with the originally upper surface now on the left.

The tree and its attachments are being left to decay naturally on the pedestrian island on St Andrew’s ringway, right by Chapel Ash roundabout.

The green stains on the fungus and the tree bark is the lichen which is successfully colonising even in this environment.

Indian balsam

Indian balsam

This is an introduced species which has acclimatised itself in damp places. Often found, as here, beside the Staffs and Worcs canal.

Picture taken 26th September.

Web

Web

Overnight rain drew attention to the complex 3-dimensional structure of this spider’s web.

Nightshade

Woody nightshade berries

The woody nightshade berries always stand out against their background. Here the bright sunlight made them even more vivid than usual.