Monday 25 May 2015

Baeosphora myosura, Scotland

Baeosphora myosura

During early January 2015 I travelled by train to Scotland to visit friends who kindly accommodate me quite reguarly.  They allow me to relax, take me to new places so I can search for fungi,  and enjoy country walks.
The weather forecast did warn of a storm at the end of the week but that often happens so I kept an open mind.  I had purchased an open ticket thus allowing travel flexibility.

On my first full day we visited a new haunt for me called Montreathmont Forest in Angus. Once Royal hunting ground it is now Forestry Commission land with walking tracks. A bitterly cold day, with a dry atmosphere not ideal fungi weather but one always lives in hope! 

The ground was covered in pine cones some exposed and some half buried.  I found one such pine cone that had 2 or 3 very small fungi growing out of it.  This was an education for me!  Photography was not easy as they were so tiny, it was breezy and the pine cone kept blowing about and my hands were getting cold!

Below is a photograph of Baeosphora myosura .

The chacteristics of B. myosura are:

Cap 1-2 cm, convex then flattened.  Pale ochre.  Gills white, very narrow, very crowded.  Stem 2-6 cm very slender, wavy with hairy rooting base. Late Summer-Early Winter.  Found in pine or pine debris.

Each night we gathered around the TV to watch the weather forecast.  Each evening the warning of a big storm followed by a further even bigger one 24 hours later was given out as a certainty.  The word 'hurricane' was mentioned with travel disruption and structural damage.  Oh dear all brewing for the day I was to travel home. 

The 'hurricane' did come on the Thursday night at 10.00 pm. It roared like a lion all night long.  At one point it blew the kitchen door open and literally came into the kitchen complete with rain drops scattered all over the floor.  After about four hours sleep at 6.00 am I switched on my ipod to check out the situation.
The wind had abated to a normal winter strength.  Bad news the winds had been recorded at 140mph at Stornaway not so far away, 96mph on the Tay Bridge  Edinburgh, and Scotland had no trains!  All services out of Scotland were suspended until trees and lines were declared safe.  There was a window of 12 hours before another storm came.  I really did need to get home. At 9 am, we decided to try Arbroath Station to test things out for news.  No trains.  We then decided to travel to Dundee further south and try there.  If no luck I would have to just sit things out. Dundee station was surreal.  No passengers, no trains, no announcements, no anything. I was told that in one hour there would be one train to Kings Cross then may be nothing due to the next storm.  I decided to take it.  For a further hour things stayed the same and I sat alone in an empty, large, city railway station waiting room, at a huge empty station, devoid of trains, staff, people, just silence and me.   I don't think I will experience that again!

Thank you so much Michael for driving a 20 miles round trip to Dundee. I got home........eventually!............

Photographs of B. myosura can be seen on Browse 5 at

Monday 4 May 2015

Collybia fusipes (Toughshank, Spindle-shank)

Collybia fusipes (Toughshank, Spindle-shank)

A difficult fungi season so far.  The weather had been cold and dry, rather than warm and moist so trying to find new photographic opportunities had been rather difficult.

Went to visit one of my local haunts the University Park, Nottingham (December 2014), where I usually find something of interest. It did not disappoint.  A small cluster of fungi caught my eye in grass near stumps of trees.  The characteristics reminded me of something I'd seen in Scotland called Collybia confluens. Though confluens has a hollow stem and is flesh coloured or grey.  This one had a lovely ruddy-dark red-brown cap.  The whole stem being grooved and twisted. Because I had found it at maturity the gills looked quite spectacular - being grey with olive tinges. I had to ask for help to identify this one so thank you to RR for his thoughts.

The general characteristics of Collybia are:

known as Toughshanks.  Have tough fibrous and flexible stems with no ring. Some have strong smells.
The gills are crowded.

More pictures can be see at Browse 5.