Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Foray to Ards

Given the success of my Drumboe foray, I took a trip to Ards just in case there was something early there, too. Within the first minute we had found plenty of Chanterelles in the usual place near the car park, and then I glanced up the forest path and immediately recognised the Destroying Angel - Amanita virosa:

Amanita virosa - Destroying Angel

Amanita virosa produces the same toxin as the Death Cap: this causes death by multiple organ failure within 72 hours. Something had chewed the right-hand side of the cap, destroying the symmetry of the image, but it will serve its purpose. Growing under Beech.

New to my species list (although I had seen destroyed specimens in previous years).

The next part of the foray was through mature mixed woodland, where many of the Conifers have been harvested, leaving plenty of open areas with some logs left behind to enhance the habitat. I spotted a couple of very fresh Russulas at the base of one of the stumps:

Russula velenovskyi
I had a great deal of trouble identifying this specimen when taking it through Geoff Kibby's excellent new key, with no decent match turning up. After a couple of days, however, I noticed that the stipe had developed a pink tinge at the base and that led me quite quickly to Russula velenovskyi. Key characters (in my specimen) are: blood-red cap with umbo, peeling 60%, cream gills and spores, mild taste and smell, pale pink suffusion to base of stipe. Habitat is said to be mixed woodland, and there were plenty of Beech trees nearby.

New to my species list

The next notable species was a bracket - which I hadn't seen before - on a dead deciduous branch:

Crepidotus mollis: top and underside
Thinking it was something special, I took a specimen back with me and made a spore print. It turned out to be Crepidotus mollis, which is very common and widespread, so I have no idea why I hadn't seen it before.

New to my species list

A couple of red waxcaps caught my eye: I noticed they had very sticky (viscid) caps:

Hygrocybe mucronella
Waxcaps are usually associated with grassland, but I find quite a few on bare soil under trees.

New to my species list

Many of the expected Ards fungi were not yet obvious, although I did spot a little patch of the exceedingly rare Phellodon melaleucus in its usual spot:

Phellodon melaleucus

This has clearly just emerged, and is paler than the long-lived mature caps will be later in the year.

Ramaria stricta was also very fresh-looking:

Ramaria stricta
Whilst Ards contains this ancient forest, it also has a coastal fringe on three sides, so we took a look there to see what was around. Just as we arrived the sun came out, so we were soon surrounded by insects of all types foraging, flying and just sunbathing. I'll keep that for tomorrow.


Gill said...

Another fascinating and informative page, thanks Stuart.

I hope you got your chanterelles and destroying angel right way round in the take-home-and-eat bag?

Look forward to the insects - we've got masses too, and as a result a large number of young swallows and martins flying around which is nice.

stuart dunlop said...

For mushroom collecting I use one of those new plastic lunch boxes with multiple sealed compartments of different sizes. Edibles are safely separated from the others, and spore cross-contamination is avoided.