This year our fungi hunt was delayed to June. An autumn without rain meant the usual outburst of colour from the ground and trees didn't show until nearly winter.
Now that its wet and cold enough, those magical fungi have appeared. Some are the fairy kind of magic - charming rings and fairy fingers, bright rainbow of pouches and waxgills, the perfect blue toadstool.
|purple pouch fungi, wax gill fungi|
|wax gill fungi, finger jelly fungi|
|blue-green potato fungi, blue pinkgill fungi|
Then there's the other kind of magic -slimy extrusions, jellies, dark mouldery toadstools, puff balls that let out eerie clouds of dust and evil smelling stinkhorns.
|stinkhorn, unknown fungi webcap fungi, puff balls|
When I look them up in field guides, our finds read like spells or incantations.
Brackets, caps, pouches, balls, fingers, corals,
baskets, nets, horns, slimes, moulds, inkcaps, helmets,
earth-stars, bird's nests, woodtufts, potatoes
|L-R T-B shaggy inkcap, bird's nest fungi, basket fungi, Bondarzewia|
Here are some of the fungi we saw on our winter tramp into the Orongorongo valley.
|another type of puff ball|
|Scarlet pouch (top) and something else!|
|a puff ball|
|a bracket fungi|
I added all the finds from the walk on Nature Watch.
I've used a couple of field guides and books to try to learn more about fungi:
A Photographic Guide to Mushrooms and Other Fungi of New Zealand by Geoff Ridley, photos by Don Horne - the most comprehensive and the most useful as it has 136 species, unfortunately the binding makes it hard to flip through in the field, it just won't lie flat.
Some Common Fungi at Mount Holdsworth by Di Batchelor - a nice little overview that explains the different kinds of fungi lifestyles.
Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest by John Dawson and Rob Lucas published by Godwit Press - mentions some of the common fungi, but not enough to really help with identification on a nature walk where so many are seen.
Many thanks to my tramping friends who have shared their photos with me.