Fun With Fungi

Well, it’s been a busy few months…we are making headway on the Anthropology collections review at the Horniman: the team (we should really think up a cool team name!) has nearly finished reviewing the museum’s accession registers and cross-checking them against the contents of our collections management database, and next month we will be starting on the physical review proper (looking at all the objects and measuring, marking, photographing, etc. as needed). I’m looking forward to it, I love collections work. We’ve also started a Tumblr page, which we’ve been filling with pictures of amazing stuff we’ve found in the registers. You can check it out here: http://in-the-horniman.tumblr.com/, it gets updated regularly with new and brilliant things.

I’ve also been using a break from my Museum Studies course to gain new skills, some museum-related, others not so much. In the ‘not so much’ category falls archery, which I start tomorrow – I’m doing a beginner’s course with a club in London Bridge, and should be able to give Robin Hood a run for his money by Christmas! Or maybe not. More work-related are the field excursions I’ve been on with the London Natural History Society, which I joined in the summer to learn new field skills, and improve my ID skills for a variety of wildlife. And just to have fun – I’ve always been something of a theoretical naturalist, and it’s nice to be out in the field actually observing species in the wild.

Last weekend I went on a fungus forage at Bookham Common. I confess I know next to nothing about mycology, having studied a very small amount in my second year at undergrad, and I was very out of my depth. But the experts on our walk were all very kind about my total lack of knowledge, and very helpful in getting me up to speed. It was a lovely day, for the most part, and only rained a little in the afternoon. We were extremely lucky all round – it’s been a terrbile summer for fungus, having been mostly wet but then turning dry at the end of the summer, and there were fears that we wouldn’t find anything at all. But by the end of the day our list contained well over 100 fungus species, and everyone seemed pleased with the results.

I took a lot of photos (many of which are rather out of focus because the macro on my compact digicam is a bit poor). I’ve tried to identify most of them from the notes I made on the walk, and my shiny new Collins Complete Guide to British Mushrooms and Toadstools. Apologies to any mycologists out there if I’ve got any of them wrong! Corrections are gratefully received.

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2 thoughts on “Fun With Fungi

  1. Wow, look at that motherload! We didn’t find nearly enough mushrooms when we went foraging, but then it was a different time of year. (Spring)

    Hopefully one day I’ll find a Giant Puffball or Chicken of the Woods, and I’ll get the hot buttered pan ready.

  2. We had quite a haul. But we were lucky – some of the group had been to Bookham the week before, and hadn’t found anything. The weather’s finally turned wet enough that all the fungi are coming out to play.

    Just make sure you get a fresh Chicken of the Woods – someone told me at the weekend about a book launch dinner where half the guests were poisoned by the stale Chicken of the Woods that the author served!

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