The Prince Agaricus augustus – this stunning mushroom was photographed in D Wood at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire this weekend, and had obviously been in full bloom for several days as many folk have asked myself and others about its identity.
In fact it was good that people noticed it as it stimulates an interest in fungi – a world were identifications are sometimes possible, but more often difficult or impossible to make without expert help.
Sadly, within an hour or so of this picture being taken, the specimen had been taken.
The Prince is quite a straightforward species to identify, even without collecting a specimen. More likely, this Prince was selfishly removed by an individual from the site by method of foraging, hence depriving many visitors the chance to see it, and become inquisitive as to its identity.
Foraging is strictly prohibited at Tophill Low NR as mentioned here. Although over 300 species of fungi have been identified on site, it doesn’t hold enough specimens to enable random collection. However, if a fungi expert was present on site on Saturday 27th, and may have inadvertently not realised foraging was prohibited, we’d like to be sent the records you collected. The email address is on the home page, or you could contact the reserve warden via the Tophill Low website. Please note the key to having a decent Tophill Low list is attention to detail – and that includes paying attention to the visitors! Anyone walking around with a mushroom the size of a small umbrella would look rather odd, so more likely the mushroom was collected then placed in something else!
A nice selection of species were noted over the weekend, photographic illustrations below featuring a Ganoderma species – probably Southern Bracket Ganoderma australe, Deer Shield Pluteus cervinus, Common Inkcap Coprinopsis atramentaria, Yellow Pholiota Pholiota flammans, and White Saddle Helvella crispa. A specimen of Fruity Brittlegill Russula queletii was a new species for the site, but no photos are available yet.
A Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus was flushed whilst surveying Hempholme Meadow on the 27th, as were small numbers of Snipe Gallinago gallinago. Wader movements were the main event of the weekend, with over 400 Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and small numbers of Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria heading south on the 28th. A male Peregrine Falco peregrinus was on the approaches on the 27th, while three Buzzard Buteo buteo flew south in the space of 45 minutes on the 28th.
The big Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo numbers haven’t yet appeared, but small numbers are moving through. A single 1st winter Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus was present on the 27th, and the 28th saw several Swallow Hirundo rustica move through, on a day which also featured Skylark Alauda arvensis, lesser numbers of Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis, and small numbers of Wagtails Motacilla spp. As ever, for a full round-up of the news from Tophill Low, check out the website.
This emergent Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta was photographed on D res substation, one of a number of fresh individuals noted over the weekend. Meanwhile. moth trapping saw Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae, Brick Agrochola circellaris and Red-line Quaker Agrochola lota added to the year list – all typical autumnal species.
A Ruddy Darter Sympetrum sanguineum was still on the wing on the 27th, and in good knick so may perhaps linger into early October. A survey of Hempholme Meadow revealed numerous Migrant Hawker Aeshna mixta, with Southern Hawker A. cyanea and Common Darter S. striolatum present in lesser numbers.