As summer is steadily drawing to a close and the first signs of Autumn start to show themselves around the reserve, walking around the reserve is made all the more enjoyable by the new species that are starting to emerge. The Raspberries are still out and the blackberries are ripening nicely, turing from a rich green to a dark reddish black.
However the most exciting organisms to have appeared over the last few weeks are the wide assortment of fungi, sprouting from tree trunks, fallen dead wood and forming wide fairy circles on the woodland floor. It seems that no matter where you look around you on the reserve, the mushrooms and toadstools have emerged and add a mix of new colours to the summer greenery.
Among the species you might spot are fly agaric (the stereotypical red toadstool with white spots), stag’s horn fungus with its bright yellow antlers emerging from the pine needles covering the ground of conifer plantations and many others. Some fungi of the Boletus family (known as ceps or Penny-buns) are edible as are some of the Agaricus (field mushrooms), but these can be mistaken for other poisonous species.
However the best way to enjoy all these species is simply to admire them on a woodland walk and even try and identify some. I will definitely be out on the reserve with my fungi ID book for the next few weeks so will see if any particularly interesting species pop up!
Bye for now!
Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Ranger