Following a wet, cloudy, Saturday, the weather for our 2015 Autumn Nature Day at Dyrham Park, simply could not have been better: brilliant sunshine and light breeze after a chilly start. So it was with some optimism that Marion and I arrived amidst wonderful autumn colours to set out our display of fungi, bryophytes, lichens, galls, ferns and fossils – plus a collection of skulls provided by the National Trust – at the Old Lodge.
And, as perhaps hundreds of visitors, from very young to quite a lot older, gathered around the display tables, we were made increasingly aware that we had indeed created ‘quite a buzz’ of interest and excitement, especially amongst children.
The two circular walks I led out into the parkland and back along the newly opened terrace path, with its avenue of hornbeam trees, also provided plenty of interest of a fungal kind, even though actual specimens were a bit few and far between after the dry autumn.
Amongst the most notable finds this year were a group of some of the largest ‘Deer Shields’ (Pluteus cervinus) I have ever seen around a much decayed tree stump, two pretty groups of ‘Pleated Ink Caps’ (Parasola leiocephala) at different stages of development, and a ghostly outburst of ‘Veiled Oyster’ (Pleurotus dryinus) from a beech tree trunk. Our only mild disappointment was that only five current Bath Nats members were present to enjoy the day with us.