I was asked by Alice to write an article about anything I wanted so long as it was seasonal. That’s always a difficult one. When you sit down and think what it should be, you get loads of ideas to choose from. I think this year it is even more difficult as the seasons aren’t, well, very seasonal. I should be out for nice crisp frosty forest walks with lots of lovely ice crystals highlighting all of the bits of plants and trees that are still standing. I’ve not been able to do that. I should have been able to go sledging by now, well most years I can, but no snow and no lovely snowy landscape pictures to take.
Instead it’s been a lovely extended Autumn, very mild, and I have been able to get out for lots of walks and enjoy the leaves changing colour. The leaves have well and truly gone now but it still seems like Autumn, but a very wet one. Because of this, one of the things I’m still seeing around is fungi. I’m not very good at fungi identification but they are great to photograph – a lot more common than bugs this time of year and a lot easier than birds that are flying round feeding up before the cold weather comes, hopefully we should still get some . I’ve seen lots of new types of fungi this year including lots of Jelly fungus, a new one for me, and these are the ones I’ve seen most lately.
If you’ve ever checked out my blog you’ll know that I like to research what I find when I’m out on my nature hunts so here’s a few fun fungi facts!
- The fungi in the pictures are just one part of the organism. I say organism as they are not plants, they are in fact their own group of organism and DNA tests show that they are more closely related to animals than plants!
- To be able to reproduce the fungi produce ‘fruiting bodies’ which are the bits we see above ground. These release spores that float off in the wind to find new places to grow.
- The main bit of the fungi is underground the bit that is called the Mycellium which is basically loads of thin wire type structures called Hyphae.
- Mycellium can be huge, one in Oregon USA was estimated to cover 2400 acres!
- The Hyphae are how the fungi feeds. They secrete enzymes to break down food, such as dead wood, and reabsorb their food.
- Fungi are useful to us. They can be food, but many are poisonous so I stick to the shops for mine. But they are also used to make food and drinks for us. Yeast is a fungus used in bread and beer making.
I love walking in the woods at any time of year, but the colours and the smells of Autumn woodlands are lovely and finding these beauties and taking photo’s of them is an awesome bonus. I love crisp frosty walks too and I hope to get out for some like this soon. In the meantime, if you’ve enjoyed this post take a look at Alice’s post on Fabulous Fungi from a few months ago.
Eleven year old Zach lives in North Yorkshire and loves nothing better than getting out into the countryside exploring and watching nature. His favourite activity is nature hunting, photographing his finds, researching and learning about them and writing it up in his blog (yearofnature.blogspot.com). He was voted BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Junior Blogger of the Year for 2015.
Zach is very concerned about the future of our environment and an active conservationist having written letters to the PM and his local MP, doing beach cleans whenever he goes to the seaside, volunteering at a local nature reserve, helping with BTO surveys and getting involved with local ringing and moth trapping groups.
His aim it is to try to “get all people, especially those my age, to realise how important nature is. We need to protect it for us and future generations”. Zach very much hopes to have a career as a Naturalist or Scientist.