In a wooded area at Ackworth, there is a fallen log, about 70cm thick, which has been lying on the ground for several years. About two weeks ago, I lifted a piece of bark from the log as I helped young students to search for centipedes and millipedes and I was surprised to find two great-crested newts beneath the bark. There are plenty of other spaces on the log, beneath bark and in cavities, where there may be other newts, so I will be asking the gardeners to leave the log in place.
Yesterday, Colin Booker and I had a look at the log and we found a couple of interesting fungi.
The first one is a Coprinellus species, a small ink-cap. We think it is Coprinellus micacea (Glistening Ink-Cap) or Coprinellus xanthothrix but I’ve read that a microscopic examination of the spores is needed to separate the two. Coprinellus xanthothrix is the rarer of the two species. By this morning, as is normal for an ink-cap, the cap of the fungus had liquefied.
Our identification for the second fungus is a little more certain. We think this is Xylaria polymorpha, which is commonly known as Dead Man’s Fingers.
I believe this species, as its name suggests, is quite variable in shape and colour. I expect it to darken as it ages and I will check on this in the next few days.