Over the years I have been lucky enough to work with the rangers at Salford Council, leading events on a variety of natural history matters, but the ones I look forward to the most are the fungi events.
To many naturalists and indeed mycologists, they often turn their nose up at looking for wildlife in more urban areas but the species that inhabit places like Salford can be as cosmopolitan as the people living there. The mushrooms and other fungi do not know it is an urban area, they just go where the conditions are right or where their host tree grows, and we do get some interesting tree species in the area. So I shall share two highlight finds for me personally from the last mushroom season.
During the Autumn on the week of the 24th October I was leading a fungi foray at Clifton Country Park, it is a site which is good for fungi, lots of branches and rotting wood is left which creates wonderful habitat for fungi. Over the years Gale (the ranger) and myself have found some lovely species but this year Robin, one of attendees on the event, stumbled upon a mushroom that immediately made my eyes glow.
It was green, not a bright green, but a mouldy type of green, which is not common in the mushroom world in the UK. It was the Green Dapperling (Lepiota grangei). This is a species I had not encountered before and a quick check on the National Biodiversity Network website showed there were no records of this species in Greater Manchester. A new species for the county.
It will not be an overlooked species, certainly there are some small brown mushrooms which we call rare, but what is rare are people who are willing to identify them. Mushrooms that are distinctive, like this one, do not get overlooked. It goes to show what we have yet to discover, we have done many fungi events along the same route and never seen this before, it will be high up on the list of things to check on next time.
The second species I wanted to share with you came on the Saturday of the same week. This time in the more formal setting of Peel Park. Jess (the Ranger) balances the formal Victorian setting with areas that are good for wildlife well and I enjoy the mix of species we usually find as there are some interesting tree species in the park, including Gum trees.
I have been checking a few of these trees native to Australia over the years as an import has come with them, the Gumtree Deceiver (Laccaria fraterna). This was the day I finally found it. Indeed there were lots of this species growing under one of the Gum trees in the park. Statistically it is a very uncommon find, but it is increasing, it is still a new record for the county.
The annoying thing for me is I did not take my proper camera and by the time I had taken a sample home to check under the microscope it had turned almost completely white 9living up to the deceiver part of the name, they change colour when dry or are wet).
So there we have it, two interesting finds in two different parts of Salford in the same week, who knows what we may find in 2023!