3 Feb 2014

New Fungus

Ardd Fotaneg · Botanic Garden

The previous weekend one of the tour guide leaders for our Wales Fungus Day, David Mitchel, returned here to record more fungi here at the Garden. One of these which he found in the Great Glasshouse,  Melanophyllum haematospermum, was apparently new to him and as he was Northern Ireland’s main fungus recorder, then it had to be really interesting.  So one of the main objectives of this walk was to examine the Fungi in the Great Glasshouse and photograph this one.  As he had recorded it’s exact GPS location it should have been easy.

But as the weather was unexpectedly dry at the start, contrary to the forecast, we took the opportunity of a quick walk around the Garden to see what else was going on.  And even earlier, as we were meeting up in the visitors car park a Missel Thrush was spotted cacking away at the top of one of the trees in the Roots and Shoots adventure playground.  Then, further up in Spring Woods we heard the Green Woodpecker in the same area as the previous week.  Perhaps there are lots of Anthills in the grasslands above there.

The Snowdrops were now mostly out and some of the Daffodils were showing buds.  But it will probably be some time before they are out.  And it was rather sad to see that our fabulous Willow Boar at the top of the hill had been succumbed to the high winds that we have had. Down in the Bee Corner absolutely no Bees active – no surprise there given the dull and windy weather.

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Last year John had set up a footprint tunnel and after some time we had found what could have been Hedgehog footprints.  Unfortunately all the various expert bodies disagreed.   One said Hedgehog, another Brown Rat, another something else.  However, in the hope that it was a Hedgehog a box had been set up behind the Bee Corner in the hope that one would use it.  But alas no though, as mentioned before on a previous blog, we do have a Hedgehog hibernating in the Welsh Country walk.

Further on in the now restored Bog Garden we searched for Frog Spawn, but it seems to be too early for those at the Garden.  And once we got a bit further on by the Slate Beds the promised rain began, so we hurried on to the Great Glasshouse to search for Fungi, in particular Melanophyllum haematospermum, or Red Dapperling which is the common name which is now most favoured.  It should have been easy with both Howard and John using their devices to home in on the GPS setting.  However, after a rather frustrating half hour or so with all of us wandering around and despite finding other Fungi we concluded that the location couldn’t be correct as it was actually outside the Great Glasshouse.  So off to the restaurant for the usual chat and food and a discussion as to how to proceed.  The Fungus must be there somewhere.

So later on John, Howard and Anne had another search – no luck.  But we don’t give up that easily and the next day, Jan, Keith and John came back for another search and Jan found it.

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