WFV, St Chad's and St John's, Leeds

Submitted by Wildlife Field… on Tue, 13th Nov 2018, 1:56pm

These two sites are visited regularly, at this time of year, by the Mid-Yorks Fungus Group in order to see the display of waxcaps and other grassland specialities such as corals, spindles, clubs and earthtongues. Alas; as with our earlier venture this month to the Mirfield site, this too met with disappointment, as apart from one Golden Waxcap & a couple of emerging Meadow Waxcaps at the very start of the day, that was that!

Upon arrival at St Chad’s we were met by Mike Willison, a church representative, who kindly directed us to the nearby toilet facilities at the Community Centre. He also provided interesting leaflets entitled ‘Geological Trail’ and ‘A walk around St Chad’s Churchyard’. Our group of six was joined by Sue, Eric and Margaret who got there using their own steam.  A Red Kite flew low overhead. Shortly after that Sue spotted a Red Admiral sunning itself on the southern wall of the church. That not surprisingly was the only butterfly to be seen.

Several fungi were found in the grounds such as galerinas, Wood Blewit and the two waxcaps but more were on the logs alongside the path in the nearby wood.  Species immediately identified = Clouded Funnels, Turkeytail, Hairy Curtain Crust, Jelly Ear, Glistening Inkcaps, Smoky Bracket, Exidia sp and Candlesnuff.  A couple of species were trickier and examples taken for later examination. We retraced our steps and took lunch at the churchyard entrance. The weather was quite mild for mid-November, though a tad breezy.

We arrived at St John’s shortly after 1pm just in time to see a large flock of thrushes pass overhead, almost certainly Redwings. Once again; there was very little to be seen on the grass except some Turkeytail and Hairy Curtain Crust on a fallen branch. We decided to walk down the path to York Gate Nature Reserve but this was closed to the public. However, on the grass verge next to the road were more galerinas and a couple of dark capped fungi later ID’d as Common Cavalier (crowded white sinuate gills, dark flesh at the inside base of the fibrillose stem). The botanical interest was a Strawberry Tree in full fruit.

On the journey back a mystery sticky cap fungi from the first site was ID’d as Yellow Fieldcap. This was further confirmed by a spore print which definitely ruled out it being a waxcap. it was extremely fragile & soon fell apart!  The last of the queried specimens turned out to be Plicatura crispa. This was on a large log in the woodland area and the defining features were the forked folds instead of gills.
The waxcaps will have to wait for another year!  Many thanks go to Julia for organising and doing all the driving.
John Gavaghan

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