One thing I find really fascinating about the wood is that every year, things are slightly different. We have the same trees, same paths, same meadows, same ponds, but what you see there can vary an awful lot. Although we may see some of the same wildflowers, butterflies, dragonflies and fungi, the relative numbers of different species can vary enormously year on year.
Last year, we had a lot of little mycena fungi in the paths, and a lot of bracket fungi of various types on our logs. We also had a lot of clouded agaric fungi and some fly agaric. This year, although we had some mycena fungi, it was so dry during September and October that we had many fewer than last year. Almost no ink cap fungi. Very few bracket fungi on logs. And I haven’t seen a single clouded agaric or fly agaric this year.
Last year, however, we had almost no parasol and shaggy parasol mushrooms, but this year there are enormous numbers. Not just here, either – I’ve seen them growing in lots of places around this locality. They are one of my favourite toadstools. They can grow very large, but also they just look rustic and woody. They look like they belong. They look like proper fairy toadstools, perfect little parasol shelters for the fair folk.
This year the fungi have come late, and we may yet see other species, but for now, I’m enjoying these wonderful fungi – and next year I’m sure it will be different again.