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We had two visits to Woolston Eyes. The first was a minor affair with three persons, but a fair number of species were seen. The second visit, a fortnight later, was attended by a larger group. It is interesting that although many of the same species were seen at the same locations on both occasions, changes in the weather conditions meant that each visit had species that were seen on only that occasion. For instance,Scutellinis scutellata the 'Eyelash Fungus', was only found on the first visit, as was Paxillus involutus the 'Brown Roll Rim' and Amanita muscaria the 'Fly Agaric' near the bridge; Panaeolus foenisecii along the pathway and Pseudotrametes gibbosa near the north-west part of No.3 Bed. None of these were present on the second visit, More species in total were seen on the second visit, but this could be due to the fact more eyes were searching them out!
On both visits our route was the same. Only part of the Reserve was able to be covered the area between our parking spot (Weir Lane) along the western path and embankment of No.2 Bed and around the pathways of No.3 Bed. Unfortunately, time precluded surveying other areas ( No. 1, 2 and 4 Beds). The fungi season is short and volunteers were not free to visit again. Our Chairman, Mr Peter Hill who is very knowledgeble on fungi, unfortunately also has numerous commitments locally at this particular time of year in leading local groups around reserves for fungi identification. However, we hope that future visits will be arranged for next Autumn and that the species list we accumulated will be seen as just the beginning of a list which can be added to over the years.
The vegetation on the Reserve does not include much in the way of mature woodland which would normally be a prime habitat to encourage the growth of fungi. Many of the tree species are fairly young and of a type which one would associate with 'reclaimation' type of natural regeneration. We found that the most mature tree species were to be found on the canal side of the footbridge to No.3 Bed and this area supported the most number of fungi species. Nevertheless, some species of fungi enjoy grassland habitats and the grassy areas and mown pathways were home to some of these. We only investigated the woodland and scrub areas adjacent to the pathways and hides. Much of this was Elder and Willow thicket, and although some specimens were decaying they were not large and the fungi species they supported tended to be same throughout.
We hope this will be of assistance towards compilation of a species list of fungi present at Woolston Eyes. Each year that follows may be slightly different. Some species are often present at the same site every year, others are more ephemeral. There are also'good' and 'bad' years for fungi. A flash of hard frost at the wrong time can take away many of the fragile types, whereas a few others are at their best a little later in the year and brackets may be present at any time during the winter. We look forward to next year's fungi foray.
for and on behalf of Mr. Peter Hill and Members of the Rochdale Field Naturalists
Visited on 27 October 2001 - weather sunny, damp and mild for the time of year.
Area between the foot-bridge at Wier Lane along the path and western bank of No.2 Bed
Between the canal and south-east corner of No.3 Bed where there are mature trees - east of the footbridge
Over the bridge and on to the Reserve's No.3 Bed - On the grass path near the South Hide
After the South Hide the first piece of woodlnd
Following the path in an anticlockwise direction In woodland near the Tower Hide
Between the Tower Hide and Centre Hide on the grass path
In the vicinity of the Platforms where the new viewing tower has been erected
Of special interest. found attached to dying nettle stems under the newplatform walkway; two kinds of white fungi. Both very small and easy to miss and at first glance looking like white moulds. One, under a lens, looked like crystalline frosty growths - and when the nettle stems were tapped, clouds of spores, like tiny puffs of dust, arose from the growths. This species is so far un-named.
The other tiny white fungus, under a lens, had the appearance of tiny white cups. This was found to be Calyptella capula.
Also in woodland between the 'new' Tower Hide and between this and the path to the Platform overlooking the north-west pool
Along grassy path to last viewing area on No.3 Bed
The low wooden tower hide at the weat end of the north-west pool
Along the Flower Meadow path to the mown grass strip
You will notice that in the fungi list, some were only identifiable down to the species. As you will appreciate, some of the fungi groups are huge and those which could not be identified further may have been a little uncommon or were not immediately recognizeable and were of a group so variable as to be impossible to identify without resorting to collection and microscopic examination of spore shape and colour etc. - an impossible task at this time.