As a group member of Bucks Fungus group the Society has received a report on this autumn’s activities. If you have found any interesting fungi the pictures and descriptions on the ‘Finds’ site may help you identify them. http://www.bucksfungusgroup.org.uk/ “
I thought I’d round off our extraordinary autumn season with a quick report. We have seen a remarkable and unprecedented increase in membership this year with 42 new applications,18 of which were for household membership, and I now have well over 100 addresses on the BFG circular list. Support for our autumn programme of walks has been consistently and considerably higher than previously, necessitating the introduction of our booking system kindly managed for us by Jenny Schafer, and we thank you all for your patience and understanding in complying with this. It remains to be seen whether we need to continue the system next year.
Our 14 autumn walks were held with one every weekend from August 29th to November 20th and produced a total of 1150 fungi records, including 12 new species for the county. Numbers were notably low until the latter half of October when fruiting began in earnest, with our last 6 walks averaging 108 species per event. This is a remarkable statistic on several counts: attendee numbers averaged around 30 per event until mid October but were limited to around 20 thereafter, yet it was at this point that the record numbers suddenly increased. Furthermore, in previous years we have ended our programme in early November – when fungal fruiting is often more or less over – but this year we extended it until November 20th to take advantage of the continued late fruiting and mild conditions.
All in all this has been an odd six months for fungi, to say the least! June and July saw many species starting to appear much earlier than normal (this reflected in our ongoing Members’ Finds webpage), but things then came to a halt and though we have often struggled with dry Septembers in recent years the prolonged dearth of fruiting this year has been extraordinary – likewise the prolonged later fruiting which is still continuing.
Since our programme kicked off at the end of August, Members’ Finds has been continuing on our website, thanks to the indefatigable efforts of our webmaster Peter Davis, though limited to those finds made by members over and above those on our walks. Last year – with no BFG walks – Finds topped 500 species from late August to.the end of December. This year we shall probably be considerably down on that figure despite starting in July. The reasons? I’m guessing here: The novelty is wearing off and life has returned to nearer normality with regard to Covid and Lockdowns (though it is evident that we are clearly not out of that particular wood yet). The lack of BFG activities last year coincided with arguably one of the most prolific fungal fruiting seasons in Britain for decades – sod’s law! Consequently folks were fascinated and went out looking and wanting to know what they’d found. Many rarities and species new to Britain were recorded from all over the country – it was a phenomenal year in more ways than one. Moreover this season members have possibly focused on attending our walks in preference to going out on their own, and clearly there has generally been less around to find in any case.
Nevertheless, please keep your photos coming in for Finds! There are plenty of fungi still out there despite the ending of BFG events. Yesterday (Dec 1st) I found Volvariella surrecta (Piggyback Rosegill), a real rarity and only the second time it’s been found in the county – the photos are on Finds. So this is definitely one to look out for at the moment but it only grows on rotting Clitocybe nebularis (Clouded Funnel) which, however, is in plentiful supply everywhere. It would be great to have more records of the Piggyback and I suspect it’s ‘having a good year’ unlike some other things.
We’ve decided against holding our Christmas Walk and Lunch this year: Covid is on the warpath again and our programme was a long and arduous one this autumn. So I’ll conclude by wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year and, as I said in my final report, we hope to do it all again next year! I’ll be back in touch if / when we plan any springtime walks.
Thank you all for your support. Keep safe and very best wishes,
PS If you’re interested in learning about truffles, you might like to sign up for truffle expert Carol Hobart’s online talk entitled ‘A truffler’s tale – Hypogeous Historical Snippets & Truffle Fungi in the UK’ hosted by the BMS but open to all. This is on December 15th at 19.30. Go to www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/217950514857 for free tickets.
Photo: Red Banded Polypore fungus (Fomitopsis pinicola) © Justin Long, Linford Lakes NR 26 January 2019