To the KGV Car Park! …on Saturday afternoon. Which is something of a blog first for the Boy with the Bicycle.
Dark, moist and undisturbed conditions are required. Which sounded kinda SEXY, and so I signed up and joined the other thirty or so Fun Guys [boom] and Girls for a poke around the undergrowth.
Having watched birds and had the most amazing Nottage talk all about moths, the depth of knowledge that Chris, Greg, Glynn and Richard from WWW are able to share and pass on is incredibly impressive.
The group is a very loosely formed organisation that is held together more or less as long as the Wivenhoe Forum isn’t throwing another wobbler and deciding to take itself offline for another week.
There are no memberships or club rules etc, just an informal network of hyperlocal folk that rather enjoy watching wildlife.
Ahh – but are fungi technically wildlife?
The pre-forage catch up in the KGV car park heard how fungi are neither plant or animal, but a fifth dimension of kingdom life. Fungi are biochemically unique and they can KILL.
A strict no eating instruction was the only ground rule for the afternoon. And then it was pretty much hunting around along the ground, looking out for the fungi and allowing Chris to share his comprehensive knowledge of the fifth dimension.
We heard how:
“Picking up fungi is like blackberry picking. 99% of the plant is underground and so you are not harming the fungi.”
No fungi died during this forage.
But where to look in Wivenhoe when trying to uncover the fungi world? The veg section at the Co-op is of course a good start, but the chase is always better then the kill.
Which brings us to the KGV.
Damp summers and around the base of trees are perfect. Fungi thrive upon death and decay. They are the driving engine for the natural cycle of nutrients.
You can tell that I was tapping away on my iPad whilst on the look out for a cheapo meal for the evening.
A fungi fairy ring of grass was one of our first finds towards the foot of the KGV. A dark green circle with a radius of around two metres was clearly visible. It was the crop circle equivalent of the fifth dimension world, but this was no hoax.
Neither was the Shaggy Parasol that we soon found once we entered the dark, moist terrain of Wivenhoe Wood. Some fungus on fungus action was also visible, as well as the sighting of a phallic specimen that soon becomes turgid and is infested with files before coming flaccid.
Just another Friday night out in Wivenhoe, Comrades.
It all gets slightly sinister deep into the woods when in the form of the White Death Cap and the Destroying Angel. One of these little buggers can kill four adults with extreme vomiting and liver decay.
Which left something of a sour taste in the mouth when we then found a Beef Steak fungus and a Chicken in the Wood just off the Trail – edible, young and fresh, a delicacy in Germany apparently.
High water was calling along the muddy banks of the Colne, and soon the Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife fungi hunt had to break for the bruising skies. A flock of geese flew across to Rowhedge in formation; a couple of cormorants did the quirky cormorant arms-a-stretch dance.
Wivenhoe Wildlife had been Watched.
I headed back up town and towards the Co-op for the missing ingredient for the evening meal.
Mushrooms were sourced, but nothing too magical.
Fun guy, blah blah blah.