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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Shortcut to Mushrooms

I've spent quite a bit of time on Cannock Chase recently with a couple of groups of students and my family. The reason for the trips was to see the Fallow deer; it is their mating season, known as the 'rut' at the moment, which is an excellent time to see the buck's fighting and displaying.  It's also a great opportunity for students to develop their ability to stalk deer quietly and interpret the indirect signs they see.     

A melanistic (meaning darkly coloured) fallow doe

Deer aren't the only things to be seen on the chase, there are plenty of birch polypore to be seen.

A group of deer including one rather large mature buck (furthest to the left) moving through the heather at speed

Tell tale sign of a deer, this stem has been roughly bitten off. Deer do not have two opposing sets of incisors like humans instead their lower incisors bite against a gristly pad in their upper jaw leaving this rough bite rather than the cleanly bitten shoots left by rabbits and hares which have two opposing sets of incisors. 

A group of adult does, with some younger ones (born earlier this year) in tow. 

As well as the birch polypore there were lots of these large parasol fungi to be found. Here my daughter Lillie performs her  favourite chore of chopping the mushrooms I have foraged. 

A delicious (and very cheap) meal mushrooms fried with bacon in a bit of butter. 

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