Grubbing Around

Out again in the sunshine with the boys. Their avowed intent – to walk to the Pepperpot, a 15 minute walk at a brisk adult pace. We spent a couple of hours not quite getting there. There was just too much to see and do on route.

The first distraction was the presence of a number of Speckled Wood butterflies, although to be honest I was more interested than the boys. They were more engaged with the tiny frog that S found in the grass by the path…

Both boys have quite an eye for small creatures in the undergrowth so having them along is a real advantage. Unfortunately they have an atavistic response to the wildlife they find. S was determined to stamp on this poor froglet, and when I persuaded him to stop that, his instinct was still to poke and squeeze. The next frog S spotted was already beyond harm – dead and dried out. B was fascinated and picked it up to take home to show his mum – eventually giving up on that idea when the frog hampered his climbing in a favourite yew.

Close to the yew, a couple of large fallen beeches beckoned – B remembered them from previous visits and was keen to clamber over them again. I was interested to see how their decay had progressed. They were covered in fungi. The soil is thin here and the roots spread wide, hewing out a large but shallow shave of soil and rocks when they fall. On both trees, both sides of this root island were hidden by an outburst of some kind of inkcap.

In different areas the toadstools were in different stages of their fruiting…

…nubs of newly emerging mushrooms….

…more mature specimens…

…beginning to fray and deliquesce at the margins…

…and twisted, blackened cups near the end of their lifetimes.

Elsewhere there were slick and shiny jellyfish marooned in a woodland wreck…

Around these coral forms, and all over the tree, the bark was covered in tiny nodules…

…I’m not sure whether of fungi emerging or having dried up and finished.

There was Jew’s Ear fungus…

…and these tiny but startling alien forms nestling in a crack in the bark…

It was another gloriously sunny day. We were screened from direct sunlight by the trees, but there’s a dappled quality of light in woods in sunshine that I love.

It’s hard to know how to capture that quality except in the strong contrast between the deep shadows and the bright pools of light. This time I was struck by sharp shadows on the trunk of a beech…

Something I think I will pursue when the opportunity arises again.

The boys had other interests to pursue….

…scratching around after a centipede in the dirt.

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Grubbing Around

5 thoughts on “Grubbing Around

  1. Hi Mark
    Nice to see so many mushrooms about….. and how I chuckled at the children and frogs… I could just see a large Wellington Boot chasing a frog through the grass…

  2. fatdogwalks says:

    That’s an impressive array of fungi Mark. I curl in shame when I remember that I never got around to posting the photos I took of various mushrooms…last September!

    Having said that I always end up walking too quickly and miss all the detail you manage to pick up. Maybe I could hire you…(lol)

  3. I’ve enjoyed catching up with your entries after a month away from Google Reader!
    It’s amazing how the list of ‘labels’ seems to increase, isn’t it?
    Your ‘natural history’ photos and comments are fascinating as always.
    Enjoy the onset of Autumn.
    Martin

  4. parklover says:

    Just found your blog via outdoor bloggers. Beautiful photos, will inspire me to go further afield with my daughter – I’m down in Manchester. That last pic of your boys crouching down in the dirt is just like her! Will add you to my blogroll.
    Kath

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