It’s been a wet and rainy autumn and you may have noticed that this has been fantastic for fungi! Here’s a gallery of recent fungi sightings from Portway Hill, with a couple of photos from the more recent cold snap too.
Here’s a bumper crop of interesting sightings from the Rowley Hills over the summer and autumn this year!
Andrew Cook photographed this Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) on 20 June while he was doing a butterfly survey.
This Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) was discovered on Portway Hill by Andrew Cook on 24 June. It’s the first record of this orchid at this site, and only the 10th record in the whole of Birmingham and the Black Country. A fantastic record! Photograph by Mike Poulton.
On the same day, this Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) was also photographed by Andrew Cook. One or two Bee Orchids usually appear somewhere on Portway Hill every year, but they are unpredictable!
A Buff-tip moth (Phalera bucephala) caterpillar photographed on 12 August by Mike Poulton.
On 2 September, 8 hibernating Herald Moths (Scoliopteryx libatrix) were found and photographed by Mike Poulton in an outbuilding in the Portway Hill area. This is another new record for the site.
On 10 September a local dog walker reported to the Wildlife Trust volunteers working on the hillside that he’d just seen a huge Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) caterpillar walking across the path in front of him. We didn’t manage to find and photograph it, but here is a photo taken by Mike Poulton of the moth that the caterpillar would metamorphose into!
This Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) was photographed on Portway Hill by Mike Poulton on 13 September.
Join us for a Fungal Foray across Portway Hill this coming Sunday (27th October), 10:30am -1:30pm. The recent wet weather has brought out lots of colourful fungi in the hills and local fungi expert Lukas Large will be helping us to identify them. Meet at the entrance to Bury Hill Park on the A4123 Wolverhampton Road (grid ref. SO 97834 89474). We advise all those attending to wear sturdy footwear and outdoor clothing appropriate for the weather. Participants will need to be moderately fit as the walk involves some steep hills.
Our volunteers day on Portway Hill on the 20th October was very productive. We cleared all of the grass and bramble debris piled up from the previous volunteers day and even managed to find a few new fungi for the Portway Hill site. The reason for removing all arisings from the site is to reduce soil fertility which should in time increase the diversity of the wild flowers and insects found here.
Here are some photos of before, during and after the volunteers’ hard work, as well as lots of lovely fungi!
As autumn approaches fungi and slime moulds are now appearing on the hillside. Look out for more as you walk across the hills this autumn and send us your photographs. Here are three that we’ve spotted so far:
Some more interesting fungi have been spotted on the Rowley Hills recently, and their appearance this late in the year is undoubtedly due to the unseasonably mild weather we’ve been having. These are Earth Tongues, which are important indicators of nutrient-poor grasslands of high value for nature. They normally appear during October and November, and from their appearance it’s obvious where their name comes from! There are several similar-looking species and the shape of this one suggests it is a Trichoglossum; it’s not possible to make a more accurate identification without a microscope.
Even at this time of year, nature still holds surprises – there is always something interesting to see! Click here to read a bit more about Earth Tongues.
There are some amazing fungi out on the Rowley Hills at the moment! These photos were taken by Mike Poulton last week. We’re not great on fungi identification so if you know what any of these are, please let us know. And if you’ve seen any interesting fungi, plants or other wildlife on the Rowley Hills recently, get in touch!