After finding lots of fungi on a routine walk out last week, I saw an advertisement for a free fungi walk in one of the local papers and phoned to see if they had space and whether children were allowed to come. The answer was yes to both, so on Sunday morning we took a short (about 10 minutes) drive to Hatfield Moor National Nature Reserve. There’s also more information about this fascinating area, here: Thorne and Hatfield Moors Conservation.
Your photographer for this post will mostly be Nin (and occasionally John with the later photos)
Unfortunately, although I remembered the camera, the bundle to get out of the door and to the Reserve on time meant I forgot to bring a notepad and pen – so my plan to make a note of the species we saw was rather scuppered.
The following photos aren’t in any particular order and where I think I remember what it is in the photo, I’ll say (I do remember a few of them).
I think these may be puffballs? And this:
A very serious blokey leading the walk. He did emphasise a few times how difficult he can be to correctly ID some species (for some you need to take spore prints and/or examine them under a microscope, etc.) We weren’t allowed to pick anything on this reserve, although he did have permission to pick a few specimens and it appeared that the walk was also being used as a survey and some of the variety of species to be found on the reserve.
Ted (in the background) is hunting grasshoppers – we tried to get a photo but they were just too fast! There were also loads of dragonflies – but Nin didn’t get a photo.
Where Nin was really enthusiastic about the talk and finding fungi, Ted quickly lost interest and was off exploring. One of the other volunteers very kindly chatted to him about snakes, as the Reserve is home to adders
. We were warned before entering the reserve (probably because the children were with us) and apparently they are commonly spotted on a particular sunny path (which was pointed out to us for future reference). We plan to return to do some adder spotting, but probably next year as they’ll be going into hibernation soon.
Anyway, back to the fungi…
Amongst the various things we learnt about fungi is that the gill structure of fungi can be very different and is a very important part of identification. From the expected ‘gills’:
(the underside of a Fly Agaric)
(not sure what this is the underside of – I have to be thankful to a lovely lady on the walk who said she was a keen photographer of fungi and suggested to Nin that she try to get some ‘under shots’)
To a ‘sponge’:
The variations account for the differences between the species in spore dispersal.
Nin appeared to have a talent for finding fungi and called out a few times having found another species we hadn’t found yet on the walk. We found what we think is another of the red fungi we found last week:
It’s called a Red Waxcap
) and apparently it’s edible. We will be leaving the ones we think are likely to be the same, alone though – they look pretty where they are!
It smells sweet – kind of ‘perfumey’. The guide allowed her to take it home with her and it’s now drying out on the seasonal table. She was very proud.
John spotted a frog and Nin grabbed it for a photo:
There were very many different species of fungi – we have more photos than I have included here.
I think these are Sulphur Caps (above) but I’m not entirely sure.
The nature reserve has varied landscape, not just the moors. So we walked over grass, through woods and then onto the peat of the moors.
Across the horizon, above, are loads of windmills, but they’re a very faint white in the photo. There were different water habitats (above and below) and we plan to return with some binoculars.
The estimate was that the walk would take about two hours, but we weren’t anywhere near the end of the trail we were following when we were approaching the two hour mark so the pace was picked up a bit. I’d like to go back and explore at our leisure.
The guide commented on how good it was to see children on the walk and how important it is for the future that children learn about the countryside around them. A few people commented on how enthusiastic Nin was and she really was in her element. She loves being behind the lens of a camera and taking photos of what she discovers and also got up really close to have a look at all the species that were found on the walk.
Although Ted was off and all over the place, he really enjoyed the walk too, but more for the wealth of insects and various beetles and spiders that he found – some with the help of one of the accompanying volunteers – and, the past week he has gone on to draw lots of pictures of beetles in his Nature Journal, although quite a few are non-resident species like the Goliath Beetle (from Africa) that are his favourites from one of his books. I’m happy to see an interest awakened in him that encourages close and careful observation!
I’m also pleased that we’ve found a new local place to go walking (I’ve been down the road we took before and actually not noticed the sign and turning for the moors!) Now we know it’s there, we’ll be going back (and next time I’ll remember a notepad, some field guides and our binoculars!)