Back to Outney Common and a 1st for Suffolk! 27 October 2023

Readers of my last blog entry about Outney Common will have noticed I mentioned a strange russula sp that had everyone scratching their heads. Well, Jeremy kindly offered to analyse a specimen if I could get hold of another (my original one has now deteriorated and is useless). Hence this return visit...

I was dismayed to find the area has completely flooded since my last visit so signs weren't good. With a little bit of effort (and wet feet!) I managed to get around the back of the same rough area in the hope I might find some that weren't under a foot of water - and luckily I stumbled upon a small group growing under a waterside willow about 30 meters from my original spot. More on the analysis later. 

While sploshing about I also found some nice Elfin Saddles, White Fibrecap, Sulphur Knight, Variable Webcap and Golden-banded Webcap, Cortinarius saniosus. On the grass was also a recently deceased Rudd presumably 'displaced' by the recent flooding.

Back to the mystery russula - I dropped the specimen off with Jeremy the following morning and he did the necessary microscopy and chemical analysis. To summarise - mild taste (no heat), bruises light brown, blackish-green reaction to FeSO4 and blue with guiac, spores pale ochre with warts and a few connectives, smell very slowly developing to something resembling crab paste. The cell structure of the cap cuticle was also looked at. All of these factors and the fact that it was associated with willow point to it being Russula subrubens and therefore a first for Suffolk!

                                                                                                                                 Russula subrubens
                                                                                                                                    Elfin Saddle
                                                                                                                                    White Fibrecap
                                                                                                                     Golden-banded Webcap

A long weekend in Hellfire Corner! 20 - 22 October 2023

To celebrate Belinda's birthday we had a long weekend in east Kent, the area known as 'Hellfire Corner' in WW2! We stayed in a lovely little Airbnb in the village of Ringwould about 3 miles SW of Deal.

The weather was wet on Friday morning and all day Saturday but Friday afternoon and Sunday were bright and sunny. Regardless of the weather we got out and about to make the most of our time.

The highlight from a natural history point of view was a visit to an old friend Nigel Jarman in Kingsdown on Saturday afternoon as he'd offered to share the contents of his fridge with us - moths that is! He'd trapped a few goodies - Oak Rustic (of 2 colour forms), Pearly Underwing, Vestal, Gem, Satellite, Old World Webworm, Olive-tree Pearl, Brick and Scarce Bordered Straw - all of which I gratefully photographed. For me the star of the show however was a lovely Mottled Shieldbug he also had. This rare species was only discovered in the UK in 2010 and is still confined to parts of South London and Kent.

A few bits of botanical interest were seen during the weekend with Golden Samphire, Rock Samphire, Narrow-leaved Ragwort and Carline Thistle the best. 

Birds weren't much to write home about with a few Rock Pipits and Ravens at Dover and St Margaret's and a flock of Siskins over Kingsdown.

On Sunday morning quite a few Small Whites were on the wing along the clifftops but check as I did I couldn't find one of a southern persuasion!

                                                                                                                           Mottled Shieldbug

                                                                                                                                     Oak Rustics
                                                                                                                           Old World Webworm
                                                                                                                             Olive-tree Pearl
                                                                                                                                 Pearly Underwing
                                                                                                                          Golden Samphire
                                                                                                                              Rock Samphire
                                                                                                                            Carline Thistle
                                                                                                                                Small White

Outney Common, 18 October 2023

While out and about in the Bungay area I opted for a wander around Outney Common that lays in a loop of the River Waveney. 

Mooching about in the willows and alders surrounding the fishing lakes and various oak and birch copses I found plenty of fungal fruiting bodies. Oakbug Milkcaps, Ugly Milkcaps and Blackening Milkcaps were exceptionally numerous but I also turned up some more unusual stuff. A curious chestnut-brown Russula sp under willows and sallows was distinctive to look at but may never be id'd without microscopy. Variable Webcap was another goodie with Witches Butter, Sulphur Tuft, White Dapperling, Brown Birch Bolete, Tuberous Polypore and Scurfy Deceiver being the best of the rest.

                                                                                                                             Russula sp
                                                                                                                            Variable Webcap
                                                                                                                                 White Dapperling

                                                                                                                                    Scurfy Deceiver
                                                                                                                              Brown Birch Bolete


Close to home

In the last few days there have been a few local bits and bobs of interest.

On Monday 16 October winter thrush migration was underway with Redwings and Fieldfares much in evidence over the village. On a walk along Mill Lane I also encountered c5 Yellowhammers and c20 Meadow Pipits while a curious dark brown clump of fungi in a driveway on Mill Lane proved to be Clustered Domecap, a new one for me.

On Wednesday 18 October a walk along the woods and meadows between the 2 Pulhams revealed a fantastic orange Shaggy Bracket on a doomed Ash and a Hornet nest that had completely engulfed a bird box! Nearby a verge full of flowering Marjoram was a strange unseasonal sight.

Thursday 19 October saw me make a quick visit to Smockmill Common to 'twitch' a lovely Wrinkled Peach fungi found by Cee Cook. 

                                                                                                                            Clustered Domecap
                                                                                                                                 Hornet nest

                                                                                                                           Shaggy Bracket
                                                                                                                              Wrinkled Peach

Dunwich Forest, 15 October 2023

A long circular walk in Dunwich Forest taking in some of the more remote paths in the northern section.

As ever fungi provided the main points of interest with some rather pleasing finds - new to me were Beechwood Sickener and Star Fibrecap with a back-up cast of Bay Bolete, Fragile Brittlegill, Liver Milkcap, Common Rustgill, Purple Brittlegill, Amethyst Deceiver, Beech Brittlegill, Ochre Brittlegill, Russet Toughshank, Skullcap Dapperling and Blushing Bracket.  

                                                                                                                            Beechwood Sickener
                                                                                                                                       Star Fibrecap

                                                                                                                                   Bay Bolete
                                                                                                                                 Skullcap Dapperling
                                                                                                                                         Russula sp
                                                                                                                         Amethyst Deceiver


Thornham Walks and Wortham Ling, 14 October 2023

Belinda dropped me off at Thornham Walks on her way down into Suffolk to visit her parents grave. It's traditionally been pretty good for fungi although I have never done a full-on foray there. 

I had a good 3 hours there poking around quite a large area of woodland before metting Belinda back at the main carpark after a sneaky flat white in the cafe! Mycology highlights were my first ever Chestnut Boletes, Brick Tuft and Wood Mushroom plus Purplepore Bracket, Soft Puffball and Fragile Brittlegill.

After meeting up with Belinda we opted for a walk of out usual circuit of Wortham Ling as it was almost on our route home. Here I found plenty of interest with Cep, Crab Brittlegill, Bluefoot Bolete, Orange Mosscap, Jewelled Amanita, loads of Blushers, Peppery Bolete, False Chanterelle, Witches Butter, Purple Jellydisc, Sulphur Tuft, Fly Agaric, Small Stagshorn and Birch Polypore.

                                                                                                                               Chestnut Bolete
                                                                                                                             Purplepore Bracket
                                                                                                                                   Crab Brittlegill

                                                                                                                                 Wood Mushroom
                                                                                                                                   Brick Tuft
                                                                                                                                 Witches Butter
                                                                                                                                Bluefoot Bolete
                                                                                                                                       Small Stagshorn

                                                                                                                   Jewelled Amanita
                                                                                                                                False Chanterelle
                                                                                                                                     Bluefoot Bolete
                                                                                                                                 Peppery Bolete