Along the River Mersey on the 2nd I noted several troops of the Yellowing Knight Fungus (Tricholoma scalpturatum) growing with a variety of deciduous trees – they seem to be having a good year. The first frost of any potency was had on the 5th but this was fleeting and many flowers still held blooms.
On the 11th a fine Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) perched on an old stump sticking up out of the River and 4 scraggly Autumn Crocuses (Colchicum autumnale) tried their hardest to brighten a drenched pathside. A nice fungus was identified as Hebeloma fragilipes, it was found growing beneath a Silver Birch (Betula pendula) whose tresses were audibly whispering in the gentle wind. Willow Tar Spot (Rhytisma salicinum) was also added to the annual list. It is far from common unlike the ubiquitous Tar Spot (Rhytisma acerinum) which is everywhere on Sycamore leaves.
On the 15th I found a few fungi whilst walking along the top path overlooking the nearby farm.
White Saddle (Helvella crispa); Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasciculare); Candlesnuff (Xylaria hypoxylon); White Fibrecap (Inocybe geophylla); Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda) and the highly fragrant Coconut Scented Milkcap (Lactarius glyciosmus) were all enjoyed and indicating that the area has more natural value and intrigue than one necessarily deems.
I saw very little for the next few days although a couple of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) were appreciated for their hardy ways, general beauty and all round reliability.
Cycling home on the 22nd I saw a female Goosander (Mergus merganser) on the River Mersey with a Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io) fluttering by. A few yellow flowers were still around to be appreciated, these being:- Nipplewort (Lapsana communis); Dandelion (Taraxacum agg); Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens); Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium); Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare); Meadow Buttercup (Ranunculs acris); Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and Wood Avens (Geum urbanum) – they are all good for the soul and a vital food source for the remaining insect populations.
On the 29th I looked out for some blooms of a pinky/purple hue, Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum); Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum); Red Campion (Silene dioica); Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandiflora) and Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) were all greeted and appreciated at this late stage in another year. The only bug seen was a rather sluggish Alder Spittle Bug (Aphrophora alni), no doubt wary of the pending cold and hoping to have a few more clement days.
The month ended with the 30th throwing up a fine clump of Clouded Agarics (Clitocybe nebularis) near the orchard with the Common Earthstars (Geastrum triplex) still looking good nearby. The biggest surprise was to see a lovely Nettle (Urtica dioica) sporting several new flowery tresses – I am rather fond of Nettles – they are the staple requirement of any decent wildlife area.
We are very grateful to Fungal Punk for taking the time to record and send us his nature notes. He’ll send us his monthly log every couple of months so keep an eye out for them on the website.