Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Parrots in the Peak ;)

First of all, an apology to birders who were drawn in by the title. I'm afraid this edition of my blog contains no birds at all. The parrot waxcap is pictured right.
Had a nice outing to Greno and Wheata Woods at the weekend, taking out an acquaintance who is keen to learn about fungi. Much of the earlier flush had gone over, but it was not bad for showing some of the main groups of fungi, as within the first 5 minutes we saw brackets, amanitas, russulas, lactarius, boletes, and others. We found trumpet chanterelles - what you birders would call a "lifer", and after scrupulous checks, I scoffed the lot. Not bad: a nice earthy taste, but not very substantial. And best of all, I'm still alive.
Just realised that this month marks the 40th anniversary of my arrival in Sheffield. Wow! Like so many, I was captivated my the lure of the Peak District on my doorstep, but over the last few years, I've been discovering the charms of South Yorkshire. However, now is a good time to rediscover the Peak District: now I've retired I can go out during the week, when it's not quite as busy as at the weekend or in high Summer.
So yesterday, the forecast being good, I set off for one of my favourite walks near Bretton (the one between Eyam and Abney, that is). It has everything - conifers, beech, oak, birch, rowan, hazel, and rough pasture, not to mention fantastic views. And most surprising of all for a circular walk, it is almost all downhill. Yes, yes, I know... it just seems like that.
It was a day where Summer collides with Autumn, to make it almost perfect. Sadly the heather had all but gone over, but there were still butterflies searching out the last remaining blooms. As I set off, there was thick cloud over the Derwent Valley, below blue skies. By the time I'd got my boots on, it had burned off, so the only photo I got was with my phone camera.
One of the main reasons for this choice was to hunt for waxcaps - the jewels of the fungus world, and I was not disappointed. Yellow, orange, red, pink, black, white and green... (the parrot waxcap) . I also saw lots of what is now called the Scarlet Catterpillarclub. No, not an exclusive organisation for red wannabe butterflies, but a fungus which infects insects to use as a food source.  The colours in the woodland fungi were pretty spectacular as well - yellow chanterelles, red and maroon russulas, orange lactarius, red and white fly agaric, and verdigris agaric. Don't want to fill my blog with too many photos, so please follow the link on the right to Flickr if you want to see more. There were plenty of brown birch boletes down in the valley, but it was only under pretty much the last tree of the walk that I found a magnificent cep. Patience rewarded.
In addition to fungi,  (I'll list these on the fungi lists page) I saw peacock, small tortoiseshell and small copper butterflies. Sorry, birders, the only other flying things I saw were a light aircraft, a glider and these : the Birdpeople of Great Hucklow

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