Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Filnore Fungi 5. Large Toadstools

Agaricus xanthodermus (The Yellow Stainer)
This one can cause serious tummy upsets.  People can confuse it with the common edible mushroom (apparently this happens a lot in Australia).  But it is easily distinguished;   - when bruised or even just handled, the white cap turns bright yellow.

Lepista flaccida (Tawny Funnel)
Although it is funnel-shaped this is one of the Blewits.  The cap frequently has a spout at one 'corner' like a jug.  They often grow in large fairy rings in woodland.

Lepista nuda  (Wood Blewit)
This species is a lovely violet or lilac colour when new but the top fades to buff leaving only the stalk and underside bluish.

Macrolepiota procera (Parasol mushroom)
It starts off as a ball on a stick, opens into a perfect parasol shape, and then flattens out, as in Simon's photograph,  except for the bump in the middle.  The cap and the stalks carry pale brown scales on a white background.

All photos taken by Simon Harding in Filnore Woods on 25th November

Sunday, 7 January 2018


Between posts 3 and 4 off the top meadow a narrow corridor has been cut through the brambles

This leads to a dried up pond, which we have been thinking of renovatiing; indeed Laura had already started cutting back some of the overshadowing vegetation.

But in fact today when I visited, it contained quite a lot of water.

With any luck this will stay long enough for frogs to lay their eggs again.

The last time frog spawn was found here was in March 2014.

Apologies for quality of photos

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Video streaming

Through the summer the stream has been almost completely dry but recent rainfall and snow has provided a goodly supply of water.

Here is the stream disappearing under the track  .  .  .

.  .  .  and coming out the other side

If this video works it may make things clearer.  If not you'll have to go and have a look for yourself.

And off goes the water to flood Vilner Lane.
(Sorry about the whistling under my breath)

 So maybe we can make a pond by trapping some of this water behind a dam.  This would be a valuable addition to our mosaic of habitats.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Spring already?

This brave little plant, throwing off its snowy blanket is ready for spring.  It's a primrose.

Its neighbours are actually in flower. 

And even the bluebells are beginning to push their pointy leaves into the world. 

The hazels are waiting for later in the New Year 
to open these little maggots into golden lambstail catkins

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Colour in December

Things are not as monochrome as you might imagine in winter.  

The bright green fronds of harts tongue fern are prolific where the soil is slightly alkaline.

The fluffy seed heads of Old Man's Beard, the wild clematis, 
are draped over bushes and trees. 

 On old dead elder wood there are the deep red fruiting bodies of Jelly Ear Fungus.

What sight is more refreshing than the silver-white bark of birches against a blue winter sky?

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Snow on the hills

From the Filnore Woods viewpoint yesterday, I could see snow on the Cotswolds.

But actually there was a fair bit in Filnore Woods too.

The benches looked a bit cold for sitting.

Walking on I found this fat, sticky bud on a horse chestnut sapling, full of spring promise. 

The resin on the outside of the bud scales helps to protect the new leaves inside from the cold.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Filnore fungi 3 - on stump ends

Many fungi live on dead wood, often on the cut ends of logs and stumps.  Here are four common ones:

Hairy Curtain Crust (Stereum hirsutum
 Photo: Simon Harding

Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor OR Coriolus versicolor
with concentric bands of colour.
Photo: Simon Harding

Chondrostereum purpureum starts off beige

 Then goes purply
Photo: Simon Harding

And eventually changes from being resupinate (flat on the wood) to a curly bracket.

And lastly some Jelly Ear on the end of a log.  It used to be called Jew's Ear, reflected in the scientific name Auricularia auricula-judae, because it occurs most frequently on Elder, which was one of the trees reputed to have been the one Judas Iscariot hanged himself from.  


It is soft and slightly furry, which does make it feel a bit like a human ear.  Put one in a feely bag and fool your friends!

And another couple of Jelly Ears on a dead Elder branch.

Photo: Simon Harding