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Rudland Fungus Foray 19th October 2003

[Fungus and Bird lists below]

11 members and guests turned up for the last outdoor meeting of the season at Sykes House, where we had been invited by Tom and Janet Denney. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to us, with heavy showers (the first rain for several weeks) and a cold north-easterly wind; Janet’s coffee and chocolate brownies were very welcome before we started. The meeting was led by our old friends Colin and Beryl Stephenson from Scarborough.

Because of the very dry autumn it was not easy to find fungi, at least in the form of reasonably-sized “mushrooms” or toadstools. Colin did find (and identify) a fair number of mildews and other very tiny moulds on various leaves (including blackspot, which is of course a fungus, on sycamore; as an interesting sideline we learnt that this indicator of clean air can now be found in Sheffield city centre!), coral spots and the like on dead wood, and some rather splendid birch polypores. Brian Cockerill found an interesting fallen polypore with pink “stains” underneath which are formed by a fungus-on-a-fungus. I was amazed to learn later Colin had recorded 60 different species of fungus.

Dryad fungus

We started at the house where there was a rather nice little dryad bracket on a tree stump (above), and walked down through the pasture to Harland Beck, taking in areas under trees, ditches and the heathland of the “Intake” where we spent a good deal of time hunting in the birch and pine scrub, and actually found a surprisingly large number of species, including the brown roll-rim (Paxillus involutus), several Russula species, puffballs and Lactarias. Lactaria torminosus One of the most attractive toadstools was this Lactaria (leftL. torminosus I think). There were a few fly agarics, and two or three fungi from the bolete family that have tubes or pores underneath rather than the more familiar gills. Apparently the nomenclature of fungi is under constant review, and this group is no exception: what were once all known as Boletus species are now divided into several genera (three I think), including Leccinium for “birch boletes” and Suillus for the slimy ones such as the yellow “larch bolete”, both of which we found.

Fly agaric Although we did not perhaps find as many fungi as we might have wished this was a very enjoyable trip, and extremely educational. In a strange way having fewer species made it a better learning experience in that we could really study the differences between the different types of toadstools with some chance of remembering them. I still find fungi very difficult to identify, but began to feel I might at least get some specimens down to a family group with a bit of practice. As ever I was impressed by Colin’s encyclopaedic knowledge, and his generosity is sharing it with us. We are very grateful to him and Beryl.

This colourful toadstool is the Fly agaric Amanita muscaria.

With my botanical hat on I was interested to see that there were still some plants in bloom, including bell heather and cross-leaved heath, devil’s bit scabious, centaury, mouse-ear chickweed and tormentil. I also noticed a holly with almost no prickles even at a low level: I wonder what it is that determines the spininess of each specimen? The highlight for me was finding a strange-looking “tormentil” in the middle pasture field which I later determined as Potentilla anglica or Trailing Tormentil – while not rare this is not a common plant in Ryedale and I was delighted to find it growing here.

It was also not a particularly good day for the birders among us, but Jim Pewtress did log 20 species (below, thanks, Jim). He said it was one of the very few lists which did not include either dunnock or wren. I saw my first redwings of the year, probably after some of the spectacular red berries on the hollies here, and it is always a joy to watch long-tailed tits flitting through the trees.

Gill Smith 20th October 2003

Species List

Taphrina alni on Alnus glutinosa fruits
Pyrenomycetes & Plectomycetes (hard, crusty, black/brown)  
Claviceps purpurea on Dactylis
Erysiphe biocellata on Mentha rotundifolia
Erysiphe cichoracearum on Cirsium arvense
Hypomyces rosellus on old Piptoporus betulinus
Hypoxylon serpens on rotting Quercus stump
Phyllactinia gutata on Corylus leaves
Rhytisma acerinum on Acer leaves
Trochila ilicina on fallen Ilex leaves
Rhopographus filicinus on Pteridium aquilinum
Hymenomycetes (mushrooms)  
Agaricus campestris in pasture
Amanita muscaria with Betula
Clitocybe fragrans in rough grassland
Coprinus disseminatus on buried wood
Coprinus micaceus on buried wood
Cystoderma amianthinum in moss
Entoloma conferendum in rough grassland
Gomphidius maculatus with Larix
Hebeloma crustuliniforme with Salix
Hygrocybe quieta in pasture
Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca with Pinus
Hypholoma fasciculare on Betula stump
Laccaria proxima in rough grassland
Lactarius deliciosus with Pinus
Lactarius glycyosmus with Betula
Lactarius rufus with Pinus
Lactarius torminosus with Betula
Lactarius turpis with Betula
Leccinum scabrum with Betula
Leccinum variicolor with Betula
Macrolepiota rhacodes var hortensis with Crataegus
Marasmius androsaceus on Pinus needles
Paxillus involutus with Pinus
Psilocybe semilanceata in pasture
Russula atropurpurea with Quercus
Russula betularum with Betula
Russula caerulea with Pinus
Russula claroflava with Betula
Russula cyanoxantha with Quercus
Russula gracillima with Betula
Russula nitida with Betula
Russula ochroleuca with Betula
Stropharia pseudocyanea in pasture
Stropharia semiglobata on sheep dung
Suillus bovinus with Pinus
Suillus grevillei with Larix
Suillus luteus with Pinus
Tricholoma imbricatum with Pinus
Aphyllophoral type fungi (brackets)  
Bjerkandera adusta on Acer stump
Piptoporus betulinus on Betula
Polyporus squamosus on deciduous stump
Stereum rugosum on fallen Salix
Trametes versicolor on Acer stump
Heterobasidiomycetes (jellies)  
Dacrymyces stillatus on fallen Betula
Gasteromycetes (puffballs)  
Lycoperdon nigrescens in pasture
Uredinomycetes (rusts)  
Melampsora populnea on Populus tremula leaves
Melampsoridium betulinum on Betula leaves
Phragmidium violaceum on Rubus fruticosus
Puccinia punctata on Cruciata laevipes
Pucciniastrum vaccinii on Vaccinium myrtillis

(60 species recorded)

C R Stephenson
Recorder for Mycology
Scarborough Field Naturalists’ Society

Bird List
Thanks to Jim Pewtress for this (birds seen or heard in order of appearance):

Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Jay, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Pheasant, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Lesser Redpoll, Red Grouse, Robin, Magpie, Rook and Red-legged Partridge.

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© Ryedale Natural History Society 2003, photos © Gill Smith 2003
Page last modified 21st October 2003