WFV, St Chad's Churchyard, Headingley, 29th Oct 2019

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Thu, 31st Oct 2019, 5:14pm

Scarlet WaxcapThe church grounds are locally renowned for their population of waxcap fungi and today was a repeat of the 2018 outing which, although yielding a goodly variety of fungi, produced very few waxcaps. That year was the worst in recent memory for waxcaps & we met with a similar failure at another venue in Mirfield. The consensus amongst the mycological community was that the spring & summer had been unusually dry.

The mini-bus was reluctant to start following several overnight frosts and after an anxious wait for it to be recharged, seven of us set off on a sunny but chilly day. On arrival we met up with Sue and Marilyn who had used their own transport. 

Within 5 minutes we had seen more waxcaps than in the whole of 2018!  A small group of Blackening Waxcaps were living up to their name, nearby a few Scarlet WC's and some trickier ones to ID which after careful examination were agreed must be Butter WC's (Hygrocybe ceracea). The latter can be easily mistaken for the Golden WC!  A few hard to ID Galerinas,Mycenas & Psathyrellas were also present.  Upon turning the corner, heading left, we encountered a couple of small Parrot WC's. The green gills & stem apex plus slimy texture make this an easy one to nail down.

The back and opposite side of the churchyard yielded many more species: Lilac Bonnets, Tawny Funnels, Buttercaps & Wood Blewits were seen in large numbers. Also present were Clouded Funnels, Shaggy Parasol, Brown Rollrims, Orange Peel Fungus & Weeping Widows. A helpful lady told us where to find the earthstars These were 'Collared Earthstars'. A very good find indeed. Many years since I saw my first & only one!

Lunch was taken in or near to the bus. Marilyn had already left as she had an afternoon appointment. More fungi were spotted nearby; Shaggy Inkcap & small agarics that were most likely sylvaticus (Blushing Wood Mushroom) as there were pinky/red colours on the damaged stem & gill area. Close to the ground directly outside the Community Centre were several more species; Giant Polypore, Slimy Waxcap & Oyster Mushroom. This can be somewhat hazardous when certain persons are pointing things out with their sticks!

We then retraced our steps towards the woodland at the rear of the church & progress was slow as more & more fungi kept on being spotted; Honey Fungus, Pestle Puffballs, Candlesnuff, Jelly Ear, Smoky & Blushing Bracket, Hairy Curtain Crust (Stereum hirsutum), Purple Jelly Disc, Plicatura crispa, Ganodermas (prob. Southern Bracket), Ochre Brittlegills, Beech Milkcaps (tasted by me!), Common Puffballs, Clustered Bonnets, Hen of the Woods, Crystal Brain, Deer Shield & several tricky species such as a Hebeloma & a yellow Clavulinopsis.

Plantlife, insects & birds were all more or less absent as was to be expected. We left the site about 15:30 and got back to a gridlocked Bradford due to an earlier bus crash that occurred by Jacobs Well.

Thanks to Julia for being the driver & engine starter.

John Gavaghan


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