Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)
Sat 16 Oct 2004 (Part 2) (back to Part 1)
On 22 Sep I showed the Hoof Fungus, Fomes fomentarius, on Beech. Here it is on Birch, which is a more usual host for it. The one on the right had turned completely black, even the rim which is white in the left-hand one. But it's when these giant fungi get really old and fall off the tree that they are at their most awesome, great tough log-like objects that are hard to recognise as a fungus. They probably don't get the chance to grow so big on Birch as they do on Beech, and these are small specimens.
Last three before lunch. First Pluteus cervinus, so-called because the cystidia have an antler-like shape which we saw under the microscope after the foray. A single specimen growing on a dead Birch. Next a Cortinarius with a mauve, slimy stem, probably C stillatitius (= C pseudosalor). Finally another Lactarius, I think this is L vietus. In moss under Birch, gives white milk.
We had lunch on the shore listening to the calls of three very vocal Great Northern Divers, still in full breeding plumage, who were answered by another group some distance away. Earlier we had seen a small flock of Fieldfares and Redwings, winter visitors to the woods.
Sorry for the endless stream of bland top views of caps, but no doubt I'll get better pictures of some of these species in due course now that I know how to id them. This is Lactarius pyrogalus, notable for the extremely fierce taste of its milk. Lactarius species are often identified by tasting their milk, and this one apparently tastes like hot chili peppers. The gorgeous creature on the right is the Tree Slug, Lehmannia marginata. Thanks to Roger Cottis for this ID.
Wedged in a tree crevice was this Brown Rollrim, Paxillus involutus.
On the left is the Hedgehog Fungus, Hypnum repandum, which has spines hanging down from its undersurface instead of gills. The upper one is in situ but the lower posed for the photo. On the right is a striking Cortinarius, from the Telamonia group again.
On the left a small pair of Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare, under a Rowan. In the middle, a young Russula in moss in the fork of a Holly tree, some way above the ground, which is odd because Russula needs to live as the mycorrhizal associate of a tree and Holly does not have such associates. On the right, Cordyceps capitata, a species that grows as a parasite on truffles (Elaphomyces sp). Cordyceps have spores that break into pieces while still in the ascus, and the identification of this one was confirmed by measuring the length of the spore pieces under the microscope. Some Cordyceps species grow on truffles and some on butterfly or moth pupae in the soil.
This old bracket fungus on Birch was too decayed to identify but was possibly a Coriolus species. On the right is a Russula from the compactae group, possibly R nigricans. It turned red where bruised.
In the bottom right of the first picture is the primordium of Fly Agaric, when it is entirely covered with the white scales which are later dotted over the red surface. In the top left is a slightly more developed one which has already lost almost all its scales. The right-hand picture shows Nyctalis asterophora growing on a decaying Russula.
Another large white one half-buried by leaves, this one is probably a Lyophyllum, perhaps L connatum. Finally the Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius.
Other species found but not photographed included Tricholoma fulvum, Lycoperdon perlatum, Hygrocybe laeta var laeta, Collybia cookei, Chlorosplenium aeruginascens and Piptoporus betulinus.
After the foray we had an extremely interesting microscope session looking at spores and other parts of the species we'd collected at magnifications of up to 1000x. This enabled some species to be identified more accurately than was possible in the field.
Many thanks to Ernest and Valerie for such an entertaining and educational day out.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer