Field Trip to Beacon Wood Country Park on 20th October 2012

Led by Margaret Willis.

Coprinus comatus (Shaggy Inkcap or Lawyer's Wig) in Beacon Wood Country Park on 20 October 2012. Shaggy Inkcap, Coprinus comatus,
in Beacon Wood Country Park.

Ten of us gathered at Beacon Wood this Saturday, following a very wet week (especially the Friday when the leader had a very soggy recce). However the rain brought up the fungi; ten days before the wood seemed almost bare. Fortunately the weather on the Saturday was quite pleasant, cloudy, dry and mild.

The most obvious mycological feature of Beacon Wood is the display of Amanita muscaria, which was at its best with most mature specimens still in good condition and many more coming. This, the classic red toadstool with white spots, grows with birch, the predominant tree in Beacon Wood.

Lactarius torminosus (Woolly Milkcap) showing small drops of milky exudate where the ribs are broken. Beacon Wood Country Park, 20 October 2012. Woolly Milkcap, Lactarius torminosus,
in Beacon Wood Country Park.

We started finding things in grass near the car park, a fine Coprinus comatus Shaggy Inkcap or Lawyer's Wig among others. A wander round the surrounding area brought us to the path by the pond and round the southern part of the wood. Among the common finds were Tricholoma fulvum, another birch speciality, and Hebeloma crustiliniforme both in large numbers.

We found both the shaggy milkcaps Lactarius pubescens and L. torminosus with the latter probably the more frequent. There were some Cortinarius to puzzle us; one was C. trivialis with its spiral of rings round the stipe. The other chunkier one remains unidentified.

Birch Catkin Bug, Kleidocerys resedae.  One of many found crawling over the picnic table. Beacon Wood Country Park, 20 October 2012. Birch Catkin Bug, Kleidocerys resedae,
in Beacon Wood Country Park.

Two groups of Chlorophyllum (Macrolepiota) rhacodes were seen. On a much smaller scale Mycenas and maybe Marasmius were abundant. Among those named were Mycena tortuosa, M. arcangeliana and Marasmius epiphyllus. The large and beautiful white Mycena pura and its pink version M. rosea were both found — mainly the latter.

We made our way back to the car park for lunch observing the fauna on the well-weathered picnic tables as we ate. Bill Welch, of course photographed and identified Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae.

Mycena rosea (Rosy Bonnet) in Beacon Wood Country Park on 20 October 2012. Rosy Bonnet, Mycena rosea,
in Beacon Wood Country Park.

After lunch six of us set off round the other side of the wood which seemed less rich in fungi. Pleurotus cervinus and P. salicinus were seen and several Tricholomas, including the yellow T. equestre var. populinum and T. populinum reflecting the presence of Aspens in the wood.

A good find was Clavariadelphus juncea (renamed Macrotyphula juncea in my new book); this is a thread-like club fungus which looks rather like dead grass stalks and could be easily overlooked in the undergrowth. Kathy Knight's sharp eyes spotted the first patch, which was well hidden, then further swarms were seen later.

An unusual group of Mycena-like fungi on a log caught our attention; we couldn't quite place this one. Thanks to Joyce Pitt who looked at my finds and corrected some of our tentative identifications, this was named as Simocybe sumptuosa.

We found two myxomycetes to make Irene happy. The bird list was unremarkable.

This was a more interesting and successful day than I had dared to hope for after my previous visits. Thank you to all who helped with identifications.

Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric) in the Birch wood in Beacon Wood Country Park on 20 October 2012.

You can see Bill Welch's photographs from this field trip in this Picasa web album: Beacon Wood, October 2012.

This article originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of our quarterly bulletin "Fieldfare."

This article is copyright © Margaret Willis 2013.     The photographs are copyright © Bill Welch 2012.