Fairies baths’ and dead man’s fingers!

Last week I managed to take some photos of different animal tracks I found on the reserve. The weather has been truly awful for us the past couple of months but all this mud has meant that I keep finding tracks all over the place! I would like you all to keep an eye out for them in your local area. I will show you photos soon but in the mean time I’d like to talk a bit more about common winter/spring fungi.

Scarlet Elf Cup (c) Alejandro Erickson
Scarlet Elf Cup (c) Alejandro Erickson

Whilst walking through the Falls of Clyde reserve recently, I stumbled upon the beautiful scarlet elf cup fungus (pictured). It is also known as red cups, moss cups and fairies baths’ and is really easy to identify. You will find it growing on dead and decaying sticks in leaf mould on the ground. It is usually enveloped by lovely green moss and reaches up to 4cm in diameter. It can be found growing from early winter to early spring and can vary in colour. As with most fungi; they start off at their brightest and then fade as they get older. Scarlet elf cups can range from bright scarlet red and fading to a dull orange, on the underside they tend to be paler.

After doing a bit of research I found out that they used to be used in table decorations, I’m not sure if they would be dried first but either way I’m sure they looked very pretty. They are edible but are more popular with rodents and slugs then they are human beings.

Other fungi to look out for include dead man’s fingers (macabre looking clusters of hard, swollen warty black fingers) and candlesnuff fungus (looks like tiny black antlers with greyish tips turning black when mature).

Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger

Preface

Last week I managed to take some photos of different animal tracks I found on the reserve. The weather has been truly awful for us the past couple of months …

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