Esholt Woods, 22nd Sept 2020

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Wed, 23rd Sep 2020, 4:27pm

The weather was glorious for once with a blue sky all morning & temperatures in the mid-twenties. By the time the heavy clouds rolled in we were all on our way home.  Alice decided at the outset that she couldn't accompany the group as that would have brought the numbers to 7 so she and Margaret formed their own sub-group and went a different way to the remaining 5 that included Donald, Jean, Marilyn & Sue Z.

Our socially distanced party entered the woods from the entrance at the rear of the main car park and we meandered along for the next 3 hours searching for fungi, with a lengthy break for lunch of course! One of our group, who was sitting on a rock in the woods, complained that she was too hot in the sun! 

We were not disappointed as we soon began spotting toadstools, though not in large numbers. They were not however in fine condition. Almost everything we saw fell into one of the following categories; slug eaten Russulas, kicked over/damaged, covered in soil/debris or turning to mush! The only exceptions were of a few freshly emerging Blushers. 

Fungi require warm & wet conditions to emerge in any great numbers & it has been too dry for them in recent weeks . Much of the woodland floor is very dry indeed & in large sections the soil is too compacted. Despite this, all of the following were identified on the day:

Common Earthball, Amanita rubescens (The Blusher), Amanita fulva (Tawny Grisette), Am muscaria (Fly Agaric), Russulas = Ochroleuca (Ochre Brittlegill), Atropurpurea (Purple B'gill) & Cyanoxantha (Charcoal Burner), Glistening Inkcaps, Sulphur Tuft, Brown Rollrim, Common Rustgill and a tiny Parasola, possibly leiocephala as this is the right habitat for that species. There was also an intriguing,umbonate, brown jobbie growing underneath a dead beech which had me foxed but I have since learned it is Rooting Shank. It is always useful having contacts in the Mid-Yorks Fungus Group!

As we exited the woods we passed by a garden with lavender & buddleia & spied 3 Small Whites, a Red Admiral & a Small Tortoiseshell. The only other insects seen that day were Speckled Woods & a Common Darter Dragonfly. 

Alice reported seeing a Puffball, Beech Woodwart & Turkeytail & worryingly Japanese Knotweed!

Thanks to Alice for organising the day.

See photos here. 

John Gavaghan 

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