The last of my fungi photos—and a special Halloween collection. So to begin . . . but it has to be:
Some kindly person had knocked this fly agaric onto its side revealing the remains of the earth-egg from which it was born
Finding a perfect fly agaric is nigh impossible, since so much of our wildlife enjoy a swift nibble.
I liked the ‘baby’ in the background of this. Though its tattered veil is still quite dense, reflecting even the slightest light (which doesn’t make for photographic clarity)
Another quite easily identified fungus is this parasol, though which particular parasol . . . ? Probably belongs to the Elfin Queen!
This seems to be of the same family: it has the same splatter of tattered remnants of veil upon it. But I’d stake neither money nor life upon it
Another earth-egg? If so it’s been cooked to a sunny-yellow . . . and part-eaten
The giant puffball. And now you can see why I call them ‘earth-eggs’. But as it ages this will begin to look more like a loaf straight from the oven, all cracked and a ‘baked’ golden-brown. This is the largest specimen I’ve ever seen, its diameter ca 30 cm. It looked like the earth had developed a carbuncle!
A common earthball. And while it might look like someone has lost a sesame-seeded bread-roll, it is poisonous.
These are the best specimens I’ve found this autumn (and I have found many over the past few weeks): the common puffball.
Ground-growing fungi aren’t the easiest to see or to shoot. Wet knees, strained back, stings from nettles, scratches from brambles . . . oh, the woes of the fungi photographer! Easier by far are the bracket fungi, at least to shoot if not to identify. Moreover, they’re found all year round. I’ve tried to include some of the more colourful specimens in this collection.
I’m not sure its official name but I’m calling it the honey polypore. Notice the coral-red cap growing beneath it.
I was attracted by the colour of these polypore fungi. In the autumnal sunlight they looked positively psychedelic. And then clouds hid the sun, and I’d not yet taken the photo.
Possibly the same species. Possible another. No, it’s not the same fallen log.
I was surprised to find nothing approaching this in my field guide. Yet it’s very distinctive. Like a liver, even staining the adjacent remains of this beech tree.
Another bracket that looks like liver . . . or rather like dried clots of blood. Very distinctive, yet again not in my field guide. Note to self: invest in a better field guide before next fungi-shoot season.
This is possibly the same species of bracket, but it’s not the same tree. This tree still stands, still alive despite its infestation of tiny honey-type fungi. The previous was on a fallen log.
Is it hen-of-the-woods? Or is it a close relative? It’s classed as a bracket despite it grows out of the earth. It could be a rarity, imported in the early C19th along with the ‘specimen’ trees that now make up Felbrigg Hall woods.
The photo was taken way back in the summer. I remember the day well. I walked from Hellingtion to Surlingham and Bramerton, and had lunch by the river. Wonderful weather. The best of memories to take in to the winter.
I wasn’t going to include this photo, not being happy with the focus. Yet the colours! I couldn’t not use it.
Although a bracket, these are very different to the previous. Though I didn’t confirm it by touching, these seem to be part of the jelly-fungus family
And I thought I knew exactly what this one was . . . until I looked in that defective field guide. It gives me a choice of three.
Possibly belonging to the same family as that above, but almost certainly a different species. It’s not only a matter of colour (though that can be due to age and maturity); this one seems to have a longer, more defined stem than the previous.
Birch brackets? Yet the birch is host to several different bracket species. Which one is this?
And finally, something frilly . . .
Are these brackets only ‘frilly’ because they’re in a state of deterioration? Grown by a road-side, they have collected a dusting of cobweb and grit
I began photographing fungi earlier this year because . . . well, they were there with their interesting colours and forms. Then as summer slithered into autumn there appeared overnight these up-croppings of eggs, cups, caps, bonnets, plates and muffins. Transient, like flowers, I felt compelled to capture them. I thought with my pocket field guide I’d be able to identify them. These past four posts have shown me otherwise.
Obviously, I need a much better field guide. Mine, at best, is lacking in species. Though I have recently discovered an on-line guide combining inclusion of species with depth of description I find its lack of a key most hampering. So, now I need to familiarise myself with the main defining factors of fungi families—then I’ll be able to use said on-line guide. So it’s as well that winter, with its cold and wet weather, will soon put a stop my walks. For then I’ll have the time to make a start on this fungi-familiarisation programme. And who knows, next year I might be able to name 25% of those I find. Instead of a meagre 5%.