Devastated and grieving I decided to take solace with friends in Scotland. (For reason why please read previous blog dated 3rd August 2011). I spent a few days wandering around alone in deep pain half looking for fungi. As a distraction I was very kindly taken to St. Cyrus National Nature Reserve near Montrose, Angus.
"The St Cyrus National Nature Reserve is situated between the village of St Cyrus and the sea. Thus it supports beach, dune, grassland and cliff environments – all of which are essential to the many creatures that live here. The cliffs serve as a breeding ground for terns and fulmars, while both the cliffs and dunes support an interesting number of plants – many of which are southern species. Other birds found here include stonechats and skylarks. The reserve also serves to protect the estuary-like habitat at the Esk River mouth." Extract taken from The St Cyrus Website.
Near to the entrance of the Nature Reserve Visitors Centre, amongst tall grass was a solitary Macrolepiota procera (Field Parasol). Could not believe my eyes. I had been searching for the Field Parasol for the past eighteen months with Chris but no such luck. Before my eyes was the most perfect and beautiful fungus. The size astounded me. The stem being at least 1 foot tall and the cap the size of a decent dinner plate. The dark brown scales nicely covering the umbo. The double superior moveable ring was impressive, so thick and huge, resting on the distinctive patterned stem. Amazingly, around the corner I stumbled upon at least six more forming a circle in grass outside the Ice House. All at their splendid prime and I managed to take some lovely photographs of the cap, gill, ring and stem. So, so sad that I could not share this discovery with Chris.
These photographs can now be viewed on Browse 4.