12 November 2014
Lismore, south end
17 waxcaps in a single visit shows the site to be a
prime example of long-established unimproved semi-natural grassland, a
habitat which has declined drastically all over Europe, including much
of the UK, but which is still plentiful in Argyll and the West
It didn't take us long to find the Violet Coral. Being late in the
season it was past its best, crinkling at the tips and with the violet
colour faded to brown. For some extraordinary reason the fungus has come out
close to its
original colour in my photos instead of the brown colour it had in the
flesh. The camera must have picked up a purplish hue that
was invisible to the eye, but I've never before taken a photo of
anything that looked brown and got this colour. Not complaining!
Species of the Month, Golden Spindles, was much more elusive.
When we finally found it, there was this
fine clump and many smaller ones scattered about in the grass nearby.
We also found a single clump of Smoky Spindles.
Not many waxcap photos were taken (it was always either raining or
threatenint to rain), but I like Jan's atmospheric
Parrot Waxcap in its slimy coat among the mosses.
The find of the day, if not the find of the year, was
this Toasted Waxcap, found by Cynthia. The gills are very
irregular for a waxcap. Itís the first vice-county record of this
species and the only record from anywhere in Argyll apart from one at
Calgary, Mull, back in 1969.
Imagine combing acres of grassland for something the
size of the earth-tongue in the left-hand picture. We managed to
spot a few, but there must have been many more that we missed.
Those we found were all either Geoglossum fallax or G umbratile, though
I'm confident the island will have other species. These two are
both G fallax. The second picture shows it in close-up, with its
smooth black cap and its rough dark brown stem.
The small knobbly clumps of Meadow Coral were a frequent find. On the right is a Blackening Waxcap that I photographed because it looked like something more interesting. They can be deceptive when they haven't yet begun to blacken, but the penny soon dropped.
Here is the complete list of fungi found on the day.
Fungi of unimproved grasslands
There were also a couple that I collected but could not identify... (not to mention all those I rejected in the field as impossible!)
The intriguing parasol mushroom was one of a small group found by Liz on a soil bank. It looks like an Omphalina species, but the cap centre is squamulose which doesn't fit any of the possible candidates. I am not at all experienced with Omphalinas as I rarely see them.
The Ink-cap is probably a Coprinopsis species but its deliquescence was too far advanced to identify it by the time I got it home. You need to have the book in the field with these! It was near a small group of Hawthorns in the grassland, which also gave us Candlesnuff fungus on buried wood and Southern Bracket on a fallen trunk.
Our waxcap grassland project is supported by Argyll & The Isles Coast & Countryside Trust so I took a photo for AICCT of some of the participants each holding up a waxcap, with the certificate of our award.
More photos from this outing by wildlife photographer Philip Price can be seen here. Click on the top photo and then, when it comes up on its own, mouse over it and a white arrow to the right will appear. Keep clicking on this and you'll see them all.
Many thanks to Kiki for hosting the event and for discovering the site's fungal riches in the first place.