Discovering fungi

Our tale begins with an afternoon walk but finishes with an event I will leave to the end as a surprise.

Readers of our blog will know both of us love and respect nature. Our recent rambles have focussed on the autumn season with all the treasures it reveals to us. We love seasons and feel privileged to live in a country which changes with the seasons. Despite rainy days and cold winds, without the elements we wouldn't have such a bounty on our doorstep. We have really been intrigued with fungi and mushrooms and know we are far from being experts but that doesn't prevent us from enjoying the detail in what some consider decay. We are learning slowly and could never explain the feeling when we can put a name to some of the more unusual or common fungi that we find. I hesitate to use the word 'common' as I know how much time and energy we devote to discovering anything we find and we never fail to be amazed at the beauty which is often revealed in the underside of the fungi. 

A palette of pink with delicate white frills (gills)

Earth Stars - a lifecycle to be explored with reproducing spores being in the heart of the opened up stars

Nothing is impossible when my heart is devoted to the tiny Common Bonnets shown in the photo below

Common Bonnets but treasures to me, forget the word 'common'

Short and long gills in the finest porcelain mushroom (one of my favourites)

Would you spot the mushroom the boss has his eye on?

The top, looks bland but look underneath

Gills so intricate, a fine display........ a dressmaker's inspiration (taken with an iPhone, we don't always use expensive lens)

Brittle and shaded, what lies beneath

Salmon pink gills, a wonder provoking treat

Crusty tops of common puffballs - see what I mean common isn't to be ignored

As our rambles progressed we have picked up some tips to equip ourselves for our mini fungi forays. First and foremost we are responsible foragers. We don't damage or remove the fungi but we know some equipment is necessary to aid identification later. Sight and smell (although coming home with a lot of photos I fail to remember which one smelt like what!) We have learned to take note of the gills and their formation, the stems, the tops and if others are around we can see what the progression in growth as often it is incredible to think a tiny pin head can grow to a rather large size. We take photos of the top and underside and the stem, noting if there is a milky fluid or if the stems snap or the meat is solid. There is a lot to remember which is possibly why this story ends with an unexpected surprise.

Just before I recount the surprise I would like to add that I am one of the fussy mushroom hunters. I set up for my photos, take the shots and then I tidy up placing everything back where I found it and maybe a little more secure so that no-one will trample over a delicate fruit. Last step for me is to keep hand wipes in my ruck as my hands don't stay clean plus the most important thing is the fact we don't know if the things we find are poisonous. The wipes are essential until we can wash our hands with soap and water.

A senior moment 

We became engrossed with our fungi finds, going through all the procedures noted above, tempus fugit! Dad came along and kept on going, Rowallane has closing times, check the note to see what we found on our car when we returned to see we were solo parking........I repeat Tempus Fugit! 

It's ok we rang the number and were set free to come home as we didn't have toast to accompany the mushrooms for breakfast!



Lighting up Mount Stewart

Autumnal wanderings