20th November 2021 – Sandal Beat Wood

 Leader : Louise Hill

7th November 2021 – Visit to Archbishop Holgate Almshouses, Hemsworth

 Leader : Francis Hickenbottom, assisted by Kevin Gilfedder.

The venue is the site of almshouses, built in 1896, and now occupied by people who have been involved with the Church of England. There are lawns between the groups of houses which have been mown regularly for the last 150 years or more, but have had no weedkiller or fertiliser applied. This ancient short turf grassland forms a very rare habitat and contains a wealth of rare fungi. Over 60 species of fungi were found during our 2½ hours walk around these lawns.

The Nats members were then given a gentle warm-up, finding a good-sized patch of Orange Peel Fungus followed by several commoner species such as Shaggy Ink-cap, Fly Agaric and a couple of species of purple and pinkish Brittlegills. We moved on to a section under tall pine trees, which proved to be well stocked with small grey or brown species, but also examples of Aniseed Funnel, Wood Woolly-foot, Charcoal Burner and the Blusher. An interesting singleton next to a pine tree, and probably feeding on its roots, was Dyer’s Maze-gill. We concluded this section with the find of Ear-pick Fungus, a small Ascomycete with spines apparently reminiscent of historic ear picks and which grows on pine cones.

Moving across the first lawn we began to find the club fungi, corals and earth-tongues which are the specialities of the site. Francis collected several yellow club fungi for later identification, though he was pretty certain about the Apricot Club because of its white tip. There were plenty of Earthy Powdercaps growing in rings, as well as more Fly Agaric. The first waxcaps were then discovered – Snowy and Parrot Waxcaps to start with, and then plenty of Blackening Waxcap. The star of the show was kept till almost the last – a couple of very distinctive Pink Ballerina Waxcaps. These have become an emblem in the campaign for the conservation of ancient undisturbed grassland habitats.

The lawns also provided us an example of a fungus which parasitises insect larvae, Scarlet Catterpillar Club Cordyceps militaris. It has been said that almost all species of insect have their own species of Cordyceps parasite, which would mean that there are a vast number of different species of the parasite, all finely evolved in sync with the host animal. It looked superficially similar to the many yellow club fungi we were seeing, but its yellow was densely spotted with red and the mature tips divided into several points.

Other species were confirmed by interesting and fairly simple techniques. To intensify the smell of some of the specimens Francis showed us a good trick, which is to place them in a plastic pot for a few minutes. Comparing the smell of an empty pot with the now-intensified fungal smell was very successful in improving the chances of using this feature for ID purposes. Then there was the taste test – chewing and then spitting out a small sample of the cap was very effective in identifying Peppery Bolete! For other species, chemical tests were used – ammonia and guaiacum produced purple and blue colours to identify Ugly Milk-cap and Bloody Brittlegill respectively.

We then moved into the pleasant dining room to eat our lunches, and Francis gave a couple of demonstrations. Firstly he showed us some gill sections he had prepared beforehand to show the spores of a Basidiomycete fungus. Then he showed us how to photo-stack pictures to obtain a much more 3-dimensional impression of a wasp’s face. His set-up was of a good microscope with a mobile phone attached to the top of the eyepiece. After setting the phone’s camera to manual he simply took a photo, moved the focus knob slightly, took another and repeated the process a dozen times or more. Software stacked all the images together to achieve a very satisfying final result.

So a very interesting and fruitful day for all. The Almshouses provided us with plenty of examples of all forms of fungi, from Agarics 15cm across, to spindly stalks only a couple of centimetre tall, from ‘standard’ gill fungi to the waxy gills of the Waxcaps to pore fungi like Boletes, and those with no gills or pores like the Clubs and Earthtongues. It was a very interesting morning and we thank Francis and Kevin for their time and expert knowledge of this challenging group of organisms. Also many thanks to the residents who made us a welcome cup of tea in their pleasant meeting room.

Hemsworth Almshouses Nov 7 2021
Common Name Latin Name Buczacki page No
 Earthy Powdercap  Cystoderma amianthinum  68
Shaggy Inkcap Coprinus comatus 70
Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare 112
a Pinkgill Enteloma sp 126
Grey Knight Tricholoma terreum 158
a Funnel Clitocybe sp 166
Aniseed Funnel Clitocybe odora 166
Wood woollyfoot Collybia peronata 172
Club-foot Ampulloclitocybe clavipes 172
Milky Bonnet Hemimycena lactea 180
Pine Conecap Strobilurus tenacellus 200
Clustered Domecap Lyophyllum decastes 208
a Cavalier Melanoleuca sp 210
Drab Bonnet Mycena aetites 218
Collared Mosscap Rickenella swartzii 236
Orange Mosscap Rickenella fibula 236
Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria 244
The Blusher Amanita rubescens 246
Blackening Waxcap Hygrocbe conica 266
Pink Ballerina Waxcap Porpolomopsis (Hygrocybe) calyptryiformis 266
Oily Waxcap Hygrocybe quieta 268
Scarlet Waxcap Hygrocybe coccinea 268
Butter Waxcap Hygrocybe ceracea 270
Parrot Waxcap Hygrocybe psittacina 272
Slimy Waxcap Hygrocybe irrigata 272
Heath Waxcap Hygrocybe laeta 274
Meadow Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis 274
Snowy Waxcap Hygrocybe virginea 276
False Saffron Milkcap Lactarius deterrimus 282
Ugly Milkcap Lactarius turpis 290
Charcoal Burner Russula cynoxantha 298
Purple Brittlegill Russula atropurpurea 304
Bloody Brittlegill Russula sanguinaria 308
Humpback Brittlegill Russula caerulea 320
Frosted Webcap Cortinarius hemitrichus 348
a Fibrecap Inocybe sindonia 369
a Poison-pie Hebeloma sp 380
Peppery Bolete Myriostoma piperatus 408
Slippery Jack Bolete Suillus luteus 416
Common Puffball Lycoperdon perlatum 432
Dusky Puffball Lycoperdon nigrescens 432
Pestle Puffball Lycoperdon excipuliforme 434
Yellow Club sp. Clavaria sp. 452
Wrinkled Club Clavulina rugosa 456
Meadow Coral Clavulinopsis corniculata 458
Apricot Club Clavulinopsis luteoalba 460
Earpick Fungus Auriscalpium vulgare 470
Dyer’s Mazegill Phaeolus schweinitzii 497
Scarlet Caterpillar Club Cordyceps militaris 598
Earthtongue Geoglosssum cookeanum 600
Orange Peel Fungus Aleuria aurantia 608


5th November 2021 – Visit to Denaby Ings YWT Nature Reserve – Harvest Mouse Survey Part II

Meeting Start Time: 10am, Denaby Ings Car Park.

The weather was chilly but with bright warm sunshine.

Six members of the Society met in the car park and all walked alongside Pastures Road to access the marsh on the northern side of the lake in order to extend the area of search in both a westerly and easterly direction. Survey in the marsh commenced at 10.30am. One surveyor left after about 1 hour to go and search other parts of the reserve for plant galls. Water levels were significantly higher than on the previous visit. Previously areas of search that had been dry were now under at least 6 inches of water.

Four members of the group continued the search after 12 noon to inspect the margins of the marsh on the western side of the Pastures Road but the accessible habitat was not suitable for nests. The marsh was inspected from the roadside and water was observed flowing under Pasture Roads from the main lake  in a westerly direction. The western marsh was considered suitable for harvest mouse and should be targeted in future survey work if safe access can be gained to the area.

Survey Technique
The survey method used was careful visual inspection of standing and fallen clumps of vegetation looking for evidence of small woven nests. A smartphone with GPS was used to record the location of each nest. The Recorder also used GPS tracking to record the areas of search. NB the other surveyors searched in similar areas.


Table 1
No Grid Reference Time Description
 17 SE 49982 01044  10.55 Single nest. 75 cm above ground. In partially fallen Phalaris arundinacea.
18 SE 49984 01051 10.58 Single loose nest. Finely shredded leaves. 70cm above ground. In Phalaris
19 SE 49996 01000 11.08 Single, tightly knitted nest of thin leaf shreds. 50cm above ground in damp
Glyceria maxima.
20 SE 50009 00986 11.13 Single flimsy nest. 70cm in Glyceria maxima.
21 SE 50004 00967 11.19 Half-built, flimsy nest. 50 cm in Phalaris arundinacea.
L1 SE 50015 00961 11.24 Feeding platform. Chewed vegetation. Many small blunt ended olivegreenish
droppings. 1-2 mm x 5mm. In Glyceria maxima.
L2 SE 50016 00960 11.36 Feeding platform. Chewed vegetation. Many trampled blunt ended olivegreenish
droppings. In Glyceria maxima.
22 SE 50101 00889 11.43 Well made tightly woven single nest. 50 cm above water. In half fallen
Phragmites australis supported by fence.
L3 SE 50076 00912 11.52 Feeding platform. Chewed vegetation. Many trampled blunt ended olivegreenish
droppings. In Glyceria maxima.

Other observations
The decayed carcass of a deer (Roe Deer) were found by the fence at the edge of the marsh beside Pastures Road. SE 49886 01053

A barn owl was seen to leave the low rectangular pole-mounted nest box near SE 50031 01005. It dislodged two pellets which fell on the ground below. These were later collected for analysis.

The small ‘feeding platforms’ were located in the Glyceria marsh. These comprised approx 1 inch diameter roughly circular platforms created from short I inch long (and shorter) sections of chewed vegetation. One had a collection of many very small cylindrical blunt ended very small olive green friable droppings and the other two had a trampled mass of similar droppings. These are very similar to Water Vole droppings but are too small and are presumably Bank or Field Vole droppings. (See photos, below).

see www.ptes.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Your-guide-to-looking-for-signs-of-water-voles-and-otherriverbank-species.pdf

The presence of further harvest mouse nests was confirmed, linking the two areas where nests were found on the previous visit and also extending the distribution to the farthest accessible eastern limit of the marsh (marked by a fence line). A mixture of tall monocots (Phalaris arundinacea, Glyceria maxima and Phragmites australis) were all utilised as nesting locations. Nest height range from 50cm – 75cm high but in many instances the vegetation had already collapsed to semi-horizontal positions.

Survey effort – 5 surveyors for 1.5 hrs + 1 surveyor for 1 hr = 8.5 hrs search time to locate 6 nests.
Find rate = 1.41 nests per hour.

Pink track = first visit search route
Green Track = second visit search route

Numbered Yellow Dot = Harvest Mouse nests (first visit)
Numbered Red Dot = Harvest Mouse nests (second visit)
L = Bank/Field Vole feeding station and latrine

Image : Google Earth

Louise Hill