Sunday, 24 April 2022

Big fungi find today and City Nature Challenge 2022

It has been slow on the fungi-finding front these past few months with occasional sightings of interesting things - above the normal split gills, cinnabar brackets and the like, which are present year-round.

Today, I scored.

We did a Vagabond social outpaddle this morning on the Touws River in Wilderness. The top end of the river connects with the Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail, which I've done twice. Near the kayak stop, I remembered seeing jelly fungi in the area, so I went to take a look.

OMG! So many wood ear fungus. An explosion. Magnificent. In the same spot there were a number of other fungi, most of which I knew or recognised.

Then, this evening I took the dogs out. The overcast morning had turned into a magnificent afternoon - cool and clear. We took a trail up through the forest and all along this one I found hundreds of fungi. I have never before seen so many individuals. The abundance was incredible. They looked to mostly be pine ring (Lactarius deliciosa), which is edible. I'm not 100% sure of the identification but it is the most likely. 

Further up I found one of my favourites - sticky bun (I love the dough-like texture of the cap) and then more and more others. The poor dogs had to be patient.

The annual City Nature Challenge 2022 on iNaturalist comes up from 29 April to 2 May and marks one year since I discovered iNaturalist and almost a year since I discovered the world of fungi, which are abundant here on my doorstep in the forests around George. I've learned an incredible amount this past year and I know that I've barely covered an ice crystal in an iceberg of what there is still to learn. 

For the City Nature Challenge, I'll log observations of items other than fungi and aim to expand my species count and my general knowledge of what is out here. I'll be aiming to find items that I've never seen before so that I have fresh species identifications on my iNaturalist log.

The iNaturalist app is great for quickly uploading from your phone. I like to use the browser version on my laptop when I'm searching to identifications.

The City Natural Challenge is a global initiative. There are many regions in Southern Africa that participate so become a citizen scientist and hop on board.

Of course, observations can be logged throughout the year, and not just in this one week. But take care... It is addictive (in a good way, of course).

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