Saturday, 19 September 2015

Sep 19th Catton Park

After the downpour of yesterday afternoon, today seemed a good day to visit Catton Park to look for fungi. The ground in the woodland areas of the park, perfect conditions for toadstools, mushrooms and other strange fungal structures to sprout out during the night. There was one fungus in particular that I was hoping to find the most, an earthstar. I have learnt that these spectacular puffed-balled fungi with star-like 'petals' exist in this park and I have never seen one before. Unfortunately, I failed in my search for one on this occasion, but there were other fantastic fungi around, if only I knew what they were.

Yellow Stagshorn
The ones I do know, however, include these strange bright yellow structures, which are yellow stagshorn. At first, I found one tiny clump on a rotting stump. Then, further up, I noticed another clump, then another, then another. I followed them like breadcrumbs left by Hanzel and Gretel from one rotting log to another, forming larger and larger 'colonies'. They were truly beautiful! A great substitute to an earthstar.

Here are some of the other fungi I found today. Some I know and others I will ID later, once I find out what they are.
Jelly Disc Fungus of some kind
Jelly Ear
Sulphur Tuft
Lilac Bonnet (I think)
Another Lilac Bonnet (I think)
Parasol (possibly)
More Parasols (possibly)
Emerging Parasol (possibly)
Parasols again (probably)

Knopper Galls
On an oak tree, I noticed lots of strange objects growing on the acorns. These were knopper galls. Galls are strange structures created by many things such as wasps, mites, flies and even fungi. Knopper galls, in this case, are created by tiny wasps. In spring, the wasp lays its egg into the bud that the acorn will develop from. This mutates the acorn into these unusual structures as it develops in late summer and within these structures, the grub of the wasp grows inside. But it isn't an easy life being a gall wasp grub, as other species of gall wasp are burglars, breaking in with their long ovipositor that acts like a drill and makes a small hole. They will lay their egg, which grows into a grub and takes over the gall, eating the original grub. These galls will fall to the ground and the adult wasp will emerge in the spring, starting the entire cycle again.
Sweet Chetnuts
Yew Tree berries

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely not an expert but I'll have a go at some id's for you ... I think your first Jew's Ear/Jelly Ear photo is more likely to be one of the Jelly Disc fungi (shape doesn't look quite right for Jelly Ear). Second photo does look like Jelly Ear.
    The Lilac Bonnet looks quite pink - could be Rosy Bonnet (but some people think Rosy B is just another form of Lilac B anyway).
    Quite hard to tell without seeing them for myself, but I would guess the two under the Lilac B are parasols or maybe shaggy parasols. Same for the egg shaped one on stalks with shaggy caps - they're just emerging and will open out.
    The ones on the side of the tree are bracket fungus - depends what the tree is, there are polypores for most tree type.
    The bottom pic and bottom right are bracket fungi too - they look big, so could be giant polypore.
    The little round stumpy one that looks a bit spiky is a common puffball.
    Not sure about the others, sorry!