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Dungeness 21 April 2018

Printed From: Reptiles and Amphibians of the UK
Category: General
Forum Name: Reporting
Forum Description: Report garden sightings and field days
Printed Date: 28 Nov 2020 at 5:04am
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Topic: Dungeness 21 April 2018
Posted By: chubsta
Subject: Dungeness 21 April 2018
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2018 at 6:03pm
Lovely Spring day so made the most of it with a trip to Dungeness RSPB. Lots of cuckoos around, constantly calling and saw a couple of paired birds flying together for quite a while. Oystercatchers, Marsh Harriers, heard a Bittern booming, loads of totally unidentifiable small brown birds as always.

Saw a surprising amount of lizards, in places we hadn't seen them before, this chap was in one of the hides...

Lots of juvenile newts which I had never seen before at Dungeness, it seemed like every sleeper had a few underneath...

and the noise from the Marsh Frogs was just crazy, everywhere you went they were calling. Managed to see some very closely and surprised to see they have the huge side pouches that they inflate when calling, didn't expect to see that in a frog in the UK but then what do I know! Make sure you turn the sound up for this one...

Loads of butterflies and bees, no dragonflies yet, and didn't manage to see a grass snake but we see them so rarely it is not surprising we didn't do so today.

Saw these strange fungus - ID would be nice if someone knows what they are, there were plenty about.

Posted By: kevinb
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2018 at 6:18pm
Sounds like a good day out, the fungus are Morels, very sought after. 

Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2018 at 7:49pm
Wish I had grabbed some of the morels, although looking dry on the outside they were completely white inside and looked very fresh, and I could have probably half filled a bin bag just from one spot. Still, best I don't go around picking wild fungi, I'm sure it wouldn't end well...

Posted By: Tom Omlette
Date Posted: 22 Apr 2018 at 8:09pm
looks like a great place to spend the day :)

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 23 Apr 2018 at 7:42pm
A bin bag? Wow! Great find (and post)

You're ok harvesting Morels as they don't tend to reappear in the same spot twice and by the time you saw them they will already have released most of their spores (like any mature fungus).

They are delicious and one of the most prized edible fungi in Europe. However, meticulous cleaning is essential before cooking as the pits are usually chock-a-block full of earwigs and woodlice.

Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2018 at 4:47pm
When I was a child on the Isle of Wight we would regularly get taken out looking for mushrooms to eat and it seemed a perfectly normal thing to do, unfortunately now I am scared stiff of picking the wrong thing and getting poisoned so it never occurred to me that we should grab some - there were loads and loads for about 50 meters along a sandy bank. I seem to remember watching an old black and white film at the cinema around that time, just on a Saturday kids matinee thing so very low budget etc, and as far as I can recall it involved a wife poisoning her husband with toadstools and I think that must have made a big impact on my impressionable mind as I can still remember scenes from it now!

I do remember one lunchtime at college going out and getting some magic mushrooms, that was the last time I think I ever picked any for consumption, and I am not even sure then that I had the bottle to eat them...

Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2018 at 10:39pm
Magic mushrooms make  a very nice infused tea that can lead to some interesting experiences, particularly outside with wildlife. Spent a very memorable afternoon sat with friends in Richmond Park surrounded by the deer who seemed to think we were part of the herd. Or perhaps we thought we were part of the herd. Certainly felt a massively heightened link with the planet and nature for a few hours, bit like feeling the earth breathe. It all seemed so normal when we got on the bus to go to the park, thought there wasn't much to this mushroom thing, give it half an hour though... Wink

Posted By: Suzy
Date Posted: 24 Apr 2018 at 11:44pm
My son bunked off afternoon school to take magic mushrooms. What annoyed me about it was he won't touch ordinary mushrooms, never mind magic ones. He said magic ones tasted disgusting, but it didn't stop him. One of his friends was forced by his parents to have his stomach pumped in hospital. I've always been too scared to try anything like that.


Posted By: GemmaJF
Date Posted: 25 Apr 2018 at 12:52am
The tea is dreadfully really Suz, first sip and you know it can't really be good for you LOL

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2018 at 9:01am
No pain, no gain - most medicines taste unpleasant. The pill can be sugared by using the water they're boiled in to make a jelly.

There's been renewed interest in them of late as they show a lot of promise for the treatment of depression, addiction and other mental health issues. This will be no surprise to many who've experienced them and subsequently felt an inner 'refresh' or 'restore factory settings' button has been pressed.
A long time ago for me and something i'd neither condone nor condemn.

Gemma's sense of a heightened connectivity to nature and the great outdoors generally, is an oft-reported effect.

Hey Chubsta - snap!

Found these beauties yesterday...

Where there used to be several accepted species largely determined by size and
shape, the waters have since clouded and Morels (Morchella sp) are - or at least recently have been - in taxonomic suspension. Our fungus group recording last years finds as simply Morchella sensu lato while waiting for the situation to be resolved.

Both your finds and mine are very large ones and would previously have been classed as Morchella esculenta.

Posted By: chubsta
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2018 at 9:32am
I guess they grow in very varied environments, yours appear to be in a very boggy soil whereas ours were all along a pretty high sandy bank in a very dry area with minimal rainfall for the UK.

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2018 at 10:29am
Yes, suddenly appearing almost anywhere is a characteristic they are noted for; from ancient grassland, hedgebanks and roadside verges to 'waste' ground, bare
soil and gardens on various soil types.
There was even a report of Morels on some mud beside the doorstep of a house in the inner city a while back.

Some literature suggests a preference for sandy substrates so maybe that's why you found such an abundance.
Curiously, they're also known to favour ground that's been burnt. In Europe this has previously led to fires being deliberately started in an effort to encourage them.

Numerous attempts have been made to cultivate the beloved Morel, but always unsuccessfully as far as i'm aware.

These fungi still have plenty of secrets to give up!

Posted By: Tom Omlette
Date Posted: 17 May 2018 at 9:46pm
still get a thrill seeing my first magic mushroom of the season Confused. you're never too old suz lol!

Posted By: Liz Heard
Date Posted: 17 May 2018 at 11:54pm
Encountering them is still thrilling for me too, although i haven't been anywhere teeming with clumps of them for years.
Aside from the psychedelic/forbidden allure/notoriety, what with their (a)cute 'nipple' heads and 'bent wire' stems they are a very beautiful and distinctive species.

Several further species have been designated 'hallucinogenic' since my - or our - youth, and i'm still hoping to get pix of (anyone seen it?), the big one -
Psilocybe cyanescens. They have caramel-coloured, wavy-edged caps and presence of the active compounds is indicated by the heavy 'blueing' of the stem. For the record, one of these reportedly equates to 10 'regulars'.

This is a North American species most commonly seen on (untreated) woodchips, often around parks and gardens. They can occur in profusion and are said to be most frequent from the home counties region where they were first found (early 20th C) - London/Epping Forest among the hotspots.

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