The discoveries started early with a patch of Sulphur Tuft growing on the wooden steps down into the reserve, this opened the floodgates as species after species kept turning up, a truly bizarre but beautiful slime mould was followed by green elfcup and a large patch of sheathed woodtuft.
There were tiny fungi growing on individual leaves and as soon as one was pointed out you were instantly surrounded by dainty little fungal caps making it very difficult to know where to put your feet. All this was just at the bottom of the steps into the reserve and less than a tenth of the way around.
A change in habitat brought about a change in fungi species, our Beech trees produced an example of Beech mast candle snuff a tiny fungus that grows on Beech seed cases! We had webcaps, pinkgills, milkcaps, brittlegills, boletes, Corals, staghorns, Earth tongues, waxcaps, Inkcaps, jelly fungi and brackets and probably many more that have slipped my mind (I won’t go into the ones that grow on dung).
The most macabre find of the day was a parasitic fungi growing out of an unfortunate Moth larvae buried in a mossy bank, the most deadly was the discovery of the Deathcap mushroom.
Most of the larger mushrooms we saw were damaged by slugs and I have come to the conclusion that Slugs must be more or less indestructible as they seem to be able to happily munch away on Deathcaps without any ill effect at all (in fact it makes you seriously wonder what they put in slug pellets).
Of the traditional toadstools the most impressive were the Orange Birch Bolete and Brown Birch Bolete as well as the iconic Fly Agaric. The total number of species recorded in the field I think topped 30 with many more having to be taken to the fungi lab to get an accurate ID by looking at them under the microscope.
Post script – the original plan was for the walk to take about two hours it actually took us six hours…
You can also see the Taf Fechan fungi list which includes some real rarities.
Graham Watkeys – Taf Fechan Volunteer Warden