Fungi, godwits and avocets

Meeslouwer lake, 23 February 2014

This photo shows the Meeslouwer lake, just north of Starrevaart nature reserve.

Today, 23 January 2014, to Starrevaart. In the pond next to the parking lot, gadwall ducks swimming.

A bit further, in the Meeslouwer lake: grey lag geese; coots; great cormorants sitting on poles.

Canada geese. Two little grebes. Tufted ducks.

Then, to the Starrevaart lake. Shelducks. A buzzard flying. Pheasants walking.

In woodland, fungi; the winter weather so far is mild. Scurvy twiglet mushrooms.

Witches' butter, 23 February 2014

On a fallen tree, witches’ butter.

A bit further, Coprinellus micaceus fungi. And Coprinus domesticus fungi. And Bjerkandera adusta.

Lesser celandine already flowering along a ditch, though spring still has to begin officially.

In the Starrevaart lake, scores of common pochards swimming. Behind them, over a thousand wigeons.

On the small island near the hide: many oystercatchers, scores of northern lapwings; and a few black-tailed godwits, just back from spring migration.

Oystercatchers and avocets flying away, Starrevaart, 23 February 2014

Every now and then, something scares the birds on the islet, and they fly away. On the photo, oystercatchers fly with two avocets, while wigeons swim.

Oystercatchers and godwits, Starrevaart, 23 February 2014

Most of the birds return to the island, if they think it was false alarm. On the photo oystercatchers, northern lapwings, and two black-tailed godwits; with a wigeon swimming in front of them.

Lapwings and godwits, 23 February 2014

Two male and one female goldeneyes swimming near the other side of the lake.

Shoveler, 23 February 2014

A male shoveler duck swims behind the islet.

Northern lapwing, 23 February 2014

A northern lapwing on top of a pole, with a row of wigeons underneath.

Northern lapwing, Starrevaart, 23 February 2014

Lapwings and wigeons gather as well on the rocks just east of the islet.

Lapwings and wigeons, 23 February 2014

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Rare mushrooms in Dutch winter

This video from the USA is about fungi.

The Dutch Mycological Society reports that this January, rare fungi were found in the Streekbos woodland in Noord-Holland province. They were Entoloma saundersii.

The winter weather this year so far is mild, which helps many fungi which would not survive freezing.

Entoloma saundersii is a rare, threatened species. It depends on elm trees, and many elm trees are dying from elm disease.

This map shows where this species lives in the Netherlands.

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Saving frogs from fungus disease

This video from the California Academy of Sciences in the USA says about itself:

Science Today: Stopping Chytrid, Saving Frogs

15 Jan 2014

Academy researchers are working to stop the spread of the deadly chytrid fungus to save amphibians.

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Fungi make rainforests diverse

This video says about itself:

Decay rules! Fungi are critical in the decomposition of deadwood and recycling of nutrients – watch this example from a Neotropical rainforest.

From Wildlife Extra:

Microscopic fungi is revealed as the crucial factor in regulating diversity in the world’s rainforests

An Oxford and Sheffield Universities joint research team has discovered that fungi regulate diversity in rainforests by making dominant species victims of their own success.

“In the plant world, close relatives make bad neighbours,” said Dr Owen Lewis of the Oxford University Department of Zoology. “Seedlings growing near plants of the same species are more likely to die, and we now know why. It has long been suspected that something in the soil was responsible, and we’ve now shown that fungi play a crucial role. It’s astonishing to see microscopic fungi having such a profound effect on entire rainforests.

Fungi prevent any single species from dominating rainforests as they spread more easily between plants and seedlings. If lots of plants from one species grow in the same place, fungi quickly cut their population down to size, levelling the playing field to give rarer species a fighting chance. Plots sprayed with fungicide soon become dominated by a few species at the expense of many others, leading to a marked drop in diversity.”

The study, published in Nature, looked at seedling plots across 36 sampling stations in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve in Belize. Researchers sprayed plots with either water, insecticide or fungicide every week for 17 months. They found that the fungicide dealt a significant blow to diversity, reducing the effective number of species by 16 per cent. While the insecticide did change the composition of surviving species, it did not have an overall impact on diversity.

“We expected that removal of both fungi and insects would have an effect on the tree species,” said Professor Rob Freckleton of Sheffield University. “However what was unexpected was that removal of the fungi affected diversity, but eliminating insects didn’t. Ours is the first study to unpick the effects of the different natural enemies.”

Scientists had suspected that fungus-like microorganisms called oomycetes might also play a part in policing rainforest diversity, but this now seems unlikely.

Oomycetes are potent pathogens that can cause seeds and seedlings to rot, and were responsible for the 1840s potato famine,” said Professor Sarah Gurr, formerly of Oxford University and now at the University of Exeter. “To see if they play a role in promoting rainforest biodiversity, we sprayed plots with Ridomil Gold, which protects plants against oomycetes. It had no significant effect on the number of surviving species, suggesting that true fungi and not oomycetes are driving rainforest diversity.”

“We suspect that the effect of fungi will be strongest in wetter, hotter areas because this is where they thrive,” said Dr Robert Bagchi, who began the study at Oxford and completed it at ETH Zurich. “This has important implications for how rainforests will respond to climate change, which is often predicted to reduce overall rainfall, making it harder for fungi to spread. Without fungi to keep species in check, we could see a significant knock-on effect and lose a lot of the diversity that makes rainforests so special.”

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Rare fungi on Dutch causeway

This is a video about fungi from the USA.

The Grevelingendam is a causeway in the Netherlands, built 1958-1965.

It links Schouwen-Duiveland island to Goeree-Overflakkee island.

Recently, fungi growing there have been studied. 329 fungi species grow on the causeway, including very rare ones.

A few of these 329: Diachea leucopodia; Nectriopsis tubariicola; Phaeohelotium monticola; and Inocybe whitei.

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Parrot toadstool is Mushroom of the Year 2014

Parrot toadstools on a Faroe Islands stamp

The parrot toadstool has been elected by Dutch mycologists as Mushroom of the Year 2014.

Fungus in windy weather, video

This is a video about a wood ear fungus in windy weather in the Netherlands.

Humungous fungus found in Spain

Luis Conde with his big fungus, photo: EPA

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Spaniard discovers mega-mushroom

Friday 29 Nov 2013, 22:08 (Update: 29-11-13, 22:11)

Good luck for a Spanish mushroom collector: he found in the woods near Cáceres in western Spain, a fungus with a diameter of not less than 65 centimeters.

It is an oak bracket (Inonotus dryadeus). This rare mushroom grows especially under old oak trees.

Twelve kilogram

Pharmacist Luis Conde found the twelve-kilogram mushroom not far from his home. To local media he said that he had been collecting mushrooms for twenty years, but that he had never seen such a large one.

Conde has the oak bracket exhibited in his pharmacy. Scores of people already have their picture taken there with the natural phenomenon. Chances are that the mushroom will be there for a while more, as it is not suitable for consumption.

Wines’ regionally-distinctive flavors may be caused by the bacteria and fungi that live on grapes: here.

More autumn mushrooms

Candlesnuff fungi and Ascotremella faginea, Elswout, 10 November 2013

Still, 10 November 2013, on Elswout estate. After earlier fungi, now later fungi. Like these candlesnuff fungi and Ascotremella faginea on an old tree stump. Like the earlier Elswout photos, this is a mobile phone photo.

On the same stump, also deer mushrooms.

Porcelain fungi, 10 November 2013

A bit further, porcelain fungi on a branch.

Bjerkandera adusta on a tree; crimped gill fungi on the same tree.

Buttery collybias.

Phlebia tremellosa, Elswout

Phlebia tremellosa.

Russula luteotacta

Finally, two Russula species. Russula luteotacta.

And bitter russula.

Autumn mushrooms, continued

Jelly ears, Elswout, 10 November 2013

10 November 2013. After the earlier fungi in the Elswout woodlands came later fungi. Like these jelly ears; including young ones, on a fallen branch.

A bit further, buttery collybias.

Strict-branch coral fungi, Elswout

Still further along the footpath, strict-branch coral fungi.

False blusher, Elswout

And a false blusher mushroom.

White saddle, Elswout

In the same patch, a white saddle fungus.

And white coral fungi; with behind them, on a fallen branch, Plicaturopsis crispa.

We continued. Lactarius fluens.

Buttery collybias, Elswout

And buttery collybias again; this time more fit for photography.

On a branch, granular jelly roll fungi.

In a ditch, mallards. Egyptian geese on the bank.

Clouded agarics in a circle.

On a tree, bleeding oak crust and yellowing curtain crust.

Stay tuned, there will be more on Elswout fungi on this blog.

Fungi photos from Meijendel, the Netherlands: here.

Ramaria roellinii in Berkheide, the Netherlands: here.

Stereum gausapatum photo: here.

Ramaria myceliosa var. microspora and Ramaria abietina var. valida photos: here.