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Moseley Bog Friends' Blog 7/10/15

Posted: Wednesday 14th October 2015 by Joe.P

golden spindles fungifabulous fungi

These blog posts are sent in by Mary Girvan of the Friends of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood to give a personal perspective of a day in the life of a volunteer. She also does the twitter feed for @mosbogfriends.

Every year I make a vow to learn more about fungi. It's that time of year again, and as it happens fungi searching is today's perfect excuse to wander slowly back to work after lunch, more of which later.

For today's task is about conservation of the boardwalk. Judging by the size of the tools they must have been expecting Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, together with their friend the Giant from the beanstalk. Laid out on the floor are the smallest hoes and spades you've ever seen together with a normal brush, and this Mega Broom. Resisting the urge to whistle as we walk, we wander through the newly cut meadows to the bridge at the Pensby Close start of the boardwalk, noting the ripe sloes for later picking.

We start by sweeping the leaves, finding the Mega Broom is good for muscle building and not much else. For the rest of the day, only our very own BFG Doug attempts to use it. Then, we poke the dwarves' hoes and spades into the cracks between the planks to remove the debris and expose the gaps. Any rotten bits get picked away at to avoid further contamination, and before long the bridge is looking fashionably distressed and full of holes. One final sweep and then shovel the debris off the side and the section is complete.

Doug measures and notes the boards that need repair, when we can find the money, and we mark the holes with our new acquisition - luminous yellow spray we got for highlighting dog poo. We have a lot of doggy friends of the bog (Mosbogdogs), and it's a real pleasure to see them running wild and free, but not all their humans are well trained in pooper scooping, or they pick it and then leave the bag hanging or thrown it in the bushes. It's pretty horrible to come across raw or bagged when doing our voluntary work - kneeling to thin trees, coppice or planting, a hand down to steady yourself into an awkward space, not to mention, the children's events which take them exploring off the paths. So with some loose change found in the car park we bought the spray, in the hope it pricks the conscience, of those dog walkers who don't pick, when they see luminous yellow poo. 

The work continued in the same repetitive pattern, and though back-breaking and mind-numbing there was also something soothing in its repetition and simplicity. Spurred on by many "thank you"s from walkers, we cleared many more metres than expected and were very satisfied.

But back to the fungi. We found some old friends boletes, brackets and mycena (though which types? No clue) and three that we didn't know, all just off the boardwalk. First up a puffball in tiger or leopard skin - could it be a common earthball? Second, a little yellow army marching across the leaf litter - Clavulinopsis fusiformis? Third, miniscule grapes growing out of a felled tree - ascocoryne sarcoides?

There's a great deal of pleasure in just staring at the beauty of these fabulous fungi, but we'd love to learn more. If there's a fungi expert out there willing to lead us on an audit and teach us how to ID please get in touch.

Mary Girvan

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